Screenwriting: How To Write Titles or Opening Credits

The art of screenwriting is essential to the movie making business. We have been brought up on a staple diet of movies on the big screen and small screen, and at least some of us have wondered what goes on behind the scenes. How are the titles and the opening credits of a movie decided upon? How are they written and prepared?

Exactly like the script or the screenplay of a movie, the titles and the opening credits undergo tons of changes before actually being finalized. Most movies actually start with a longer title and then end up with one word wonders. The process of writing and selecting movie titles and the opening credits is an exciting one.


As specified earlier, movie titles are vital to the success of a movie and unknown to most people they contribute to financial gain. Before writing a title, one needs to follow certain ground rules.

  1. The title should sound catchy and capture the attention of the common man.
  2. The title should be of a length that arouses just enough curiosity among potential viewer.

There is no hard and fast rule to pen down a movie title. All you need to do is understand the gist of the movie very well, capture the important points and highlights of the script and most important of all subscribe to the director’s vision of the movie. Once you have these things in order, you should be able to put yourself on the path to selecting a suitable movie title. From this point onwards it is largely a creative effort that really cannot be taught but it is something that needs to be naturally expressed.

One thing that you want to keep an eye on is the way movie titles and the opening credits are presented changes from generation to generation. If done correctly, the movie name and credits can be something that sticks to the memory for years. Think Star Wars!

Opening Credits

Before writing the opening credits, you have to understand that a movie is produced for the sole purpose of entertainment and will generally target a much younger audience. This demographic of the audience has a very low attention span and hence the opening credits need to be something more than a simple name sequence. Creatively and correctly implemented opening credits will capture the attention of the audience from the get go and hold them in their seats until they are funneled into the opening scene that has been designed to absorb them into the movie.

Writing opening credits is a relatively simple job because traditionally they do not contain much. The real challenge is to implement these in a creative way to capture the audience. To do this, the designer needs to understand the mood, tone and the pulse of the movie script and the scenes. This job may become easier if the designer has access to the already shot and finalized sequences, because then the visualization of the concept becomes much simplier.

You will need to sit down with the director and the creative director to understand their expectation and then capture the ideas onto a storyboard and then finalize them through approval sessions with the stakeholders. Once finalized you can get down to the actual development using a software suite.