Independent Films by the Numbers

The marketing of Independent Films

Archive for the 'Names' Category

More on Festival Film Titles

Some more random descriptive statistics about film titles….

  • 89% of Festival Titles contain at least one noun vs. 20% that contain at least one verb.
  • 23% have at least one Adjective, while only 8% have one or more adverbs
  • 4% of the above nouns-based titles contain a possessive
  • 5% of titles contain a number (numeric or alpha)
  • The average title contains just shy of 3 words

To help illustrate the structure of word titles better, I present the following histogram showing counts for the number of words used in a title.

Number of Words in Festival Title

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Language Structure of Festival Titles

I ran the collection of festival movie titles I have gathered through a part of speech analyzer. My goal is to use this tagged information to help refine some future performance analyses I plan on doing. The results by themselves are interesting.

First, a disclaimer needs to be made about POS tagging using an automated piece of software. It is not perfect, especially in the case of tagging part of titles, which tend to lack rich contextual hints given their brevity. If fact, I had to trial a few POS taggers before I found one that worked to my liking. I think that nouns (NN) are over represented by the fact that when in doubt the tagger tags a word as a noun.

Also note, that I had to relax the cues for Proper Nouns vs. Nouns given the standard structure of titles, which captialize most words. As such proper nouns are not reflected in this analysis and were treated as standard nouns.

The results are as follows for the top 25 title part of speech structures:

key: Format = [RANK 1…25] [POS Tag] [Count] [% of Sample]

tags: NN = Noun; NNS = Plural Noun; JJ = Adjective; DT = Determiner; POS = Possesive Ending; IN = Preposition; VBN = Verb Past Participle; VBG = Verb Present Participle; CD = Number; RB = Adverb

1 NN 526 (14.66%)
2 NN NN 248 (6.91%)
3 JJ NN 184 (5.13%)
4 DT NN 161 (4.49%)
5 NNS 90 (2.51%)
6 JJ 72 (2.01%)
7 DT NN NN 69 (1.92%)
8 NN POS NN 53 (1.48%)
9 DT JJ NN 52 (1.45%)
10 DT NN IN NN 46 (1.28%)
11 NN NNS 46 (1.28%)
12 NN IN NN 44 (1.23%)
13 JJ NNS 40 (1.11%)
14 NN IN DT NN 34 (0.95%)
15 VBN 29 (0.81%)
16 NN NN NN 27 (0.75%)
17 DT NNS 24 (0.67%)
18 NN CD 23 (0.64%)
19 NN CC NN 22 (0.61%)
20 RB 21 (0.59%)
21 VBG NN 21 (0.59%)
22 NN VBG 21 (0.59%)
23 NN VBZ 19 (0.53%)
24 NNS IN NN 19 (0.53%)
25 CD NNS 18 (0.50%)

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On the Naming of Independent Films

My initial survey of the names for Independent Films showing at film festivals this year is complete. What I have discovered is that that there is skewed distribution of name lengths with a mode (the highest frequency for the distribution) at 10 characters including spaces. Some films of course have much longer names… as much as 82 characters. See the histogram below…

Length of Names for Independent Films

Take this information with a grain of salt…this does not necessarily suggest that this is the best length for name. It does tell us the norm for naming films. What remains to be seen is if the length affects performance of these films on the festival circuit.

My assumption is that it does, since this length matches the best practice of branding, which is to create easily read and remembered names. Ten characters forces the filmmaker to use one or two words, which will keep naturally work better for branding purposes than longer names.

The next steps in this analysis will require more data including what films won or lost at festivals (audience and jury awards). My hypothesis is that shorter names win more awards than longer ones. We will see.

Regardless, understanding what works and does not work in naming your film is critical for successful marketing of a film, since this is the first thing typically a perspective viewer will see or hear about your work. A good name will make all the difference in grabbing an audience. There is much more work for me to do on the topic.

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