Home Contact Biography Works Media News

Jane Recommends
Who Hates Whom / Bob Harris

Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris

"The geopolitical equivalent of scorecards that get hawked at ball games. Only Bob could make a user’s guide to our increasingly hostile world this absorbing, this breezy, and—ultimately—this hopeful."
~ Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac


Jane in Print
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe, edited by Jane Espenson

Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and including Jane Espenson's short story, "Georgiana"

Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson and Glenn Yeffeth

Jane in DVD

Jane in DVD

Now Available:
+Battlestar Galactica Season 3
+Dinosaurs Seasons 3 & 4
+Gilmore Girls Season 4
+Buffy: The Chosen Collection
+Tru Calling
+Angel: Limited Edition Collectors Set

Jane in Progress


Home » Archives » July 2006 » End Titles
[Previous entry: "Title-ation"] [Next entry: "Didja Notice?"]

07/25/2006: End Titles

I noticed something interesting on one of my new colleague's office walls today. A framed story -- just a few sentences long, written in large letters in a shaky hand. I thought at first that it might have been written by his small child. But it was written by HIM when HE was a small child. Isn't that great? Makes me want to dig out my old stuff. The best part of the framed story was the title. An account of a childhood accident, it was called "The Hammock and the Blood." Wow. Great title. Seriously. A classic structure, a promise of violence, and a concrete visual image -- the dangerous dangerous hammock.

One trick I have employed to find a cool and memorable title is to find an unusual and concrete word that connects tangentially to something in the episode. Early on at Buffy, I got to write an episode that involved a creepy guest appearance by Hansel and Gretel. I named the episode "Gingerbread." Love that one.

Later on, I tried the same technique again. I wrote an episode which dealt a little bit with a love triangle. I called it "Triangle." Total failure of a title. The love triangle part of the script wasn't highlighted enough to make this work. People still ask me where the heck the triangle was hiding in that episode. Win some, lose some.

Okay. One last final point about titles, using another example from my own career:

If your script has a surprise, make sure the title doesn't give it away. My Buffy episode "The Replacement" was originally called "How the Other Half Lives." The original title is actually more apt, since the episode was really about how Xander's personality is split in half, and how one half ends up staring in awe at what the other half is able to accomplish. But the episode contained a huge mislead, in which the audience needed to think that Xander was being supplanted by an evil look-alike. The eventual title sold the mislead, and was therefore better.

Is there more to say about titles? Oh, probably. But I do believe I'll be moving along...

Lunch: a simulated mustard and grilled cheese sandwich created at work by using a combination of toaster-and-microwave technology.
Clarification: the mustard wasn't simulated. The "grilled" was simulated.


Get Blog Updates Via Email

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Walt Disney Writing Fellowship Program
UC Berkeley
Jane recommends you also visit BobHarris.com



July 2006

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Powered By Greymatter
Greymatter Forums

Home | News | Works | Biography | Frequently Asked Questions

Site design Copyright © PM Carlson
This is a fan site owned and operated entirely by PM Carlson with the cooperation and assistance of Jane Espenson. This site is not affiliated in any way with Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or ABC.