It’s pretty easy to tell if a movie’s of the hipster-indie variety.
Are there bright, quirky colors?
Do the titles of 98% of the soundtrack elude you?
Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it?
But there’s an even easier way to pick out the sweater-vested flicks from the bunch: just look at the titles!
Yes, there is a very particular formula when naming your modestly budgeted feature about a young girl who copes with body image while riding the off-beats provided by bands with names like Period. and Lola and the Polka Dots, and here it is:
1 part gender of protagonist
2 parts inciting action of plot (alt. primary location of plot)
1 dash weather reference
1 garnish of pertinent social issue
1. Take the gender (or non-gender, if you’re THAT progressive) of your protagonist and give them a quirky name (aka the name of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s lovechild/something nobody else would dare name their kid [ie Lola, Sue, Zooey, Shoelace, etc.]).
2. Take inciting action (or primary location) and identify its antonym. You know, for irony.
3. Add a dash of symbolic weather and stir.
4. Punnify the garnish for extra clout.
5. Reorder the words so they make just a little sense. Add articles where necessary.
My protagonist is genderqueer (in other words, identifies as both guy and girl).
Their name is Toe, which is short for Topaz.
Toe, having lost major weight in hopes of finally fitting in both their new skinny jeans and with the hipster kids at school, was called out for still having cankles. So let’s call the inciting action “fat-shaming.”
Toe likes to cope with their rejection by hanging out in a sunny, summery cornfield with their only friend, Gay Chuck — the sassy, fabulous jock-target of their school whom the audience will love in spite/especially because of his limitless collection of Cosby sweaters.
The pertinent social issue is body image.
Therefore, the title of my indie flick is: Toe Wants a Summer Body.
BONUS: The soundtrack.
1. “Tongue Tied,” Grouplove
2. “Slow Moe,” Lola and the Polka Dots
3. “Plaid-Out,” Period.
4. “Wild Horses,” The Rolling Stones
5. “Concerning the UFO Sighting,” Sufjan Stevens
6. “Pistol Dreams,” The Tallest Man On Earth
7. “Hide the ‘Stache,” Period.
8. “Summer’s Life,” The Shaky Hands
9. “Paper Snowflakes,” Son, Ambulance
10. “Shimmy and Run,” Lola and the Polka Dots
11. “Organic Heart,” Llama, Prius
12. “High Brow, Low Thrust,” Period.