Picking a Name for the Film (Making an Animated Movie)

In this post of the Making an Animated Film series I’ll tell you why I’m changing the title of my film, the process I went through with name finding and my result.

Why the change?

When I picked the name Geometry Exercise, I didn’t know much about my film.

I came up with the idea of a cube and a ball in a geometrical world only because I wanted to have the simplest characters I could create, and get the most out of them. After establishing the basic idea for the story of a cube and a ball trying to move forward until reaching an obstacle (the hill), I thought Geometry Exercise was an appropriate name. It captured what the film was about for me at the time.

However, while in production, the film developed depth. It was more than just about a ball and a cube trying to get somewhere. It was about the relationship between the two, about helping someone without expecting anything in return, about friendship, and so on. The name Geometry Exercise just didn’t seem relevant anymore. Plus, it was a bit complex and dry. I needed more emotion.

Finding a new name

Not an easy thing to do. I wanted something creative, but not corny. Cute but not too cute. I wanted something that reflected their journey of helping each other, and maybe incorporate the hill and going up a slope somehow. A good system to finding names is choosing an idea, and going to town on it as much as you can, and then moving on to another idea.

For example, lets say we want something with a square or a cube, since we have a cube as a character. I would just make a list like that:

  • Squared Away
  • Squared
  • We’re Square
  • Rectangled
  • Cubism
  • Rounding Corners
  • Sharp Edges

Then I would focus on a different element, maybe the ball:

  • Bounce
  • Bounced
  • Bouncing
  • In the Ball Park
  • Round and Round
  • Up and Down
  • Rolling

Then maybe something about the hill, or moving up:

  • Up the Hill
  • Moving Forward
  • Over the Hill
  • Path
  • Hill Side
  • Over the Hump
  • Lift Up

Then you pick the ones you liked:

  • Up and Down
  • Moving Forward
  • Rectangled (one of my favorites, but too complex)
  • Lifted (taken by a Pixar short)
  • Lift Up
  • Rounding Corners (again, a geometry joke. Irrelevant)
  • Bounce
  • Over the Hill
  • Squared Away
  • Cubism

The reason it’s a good system is that it lets you focus on a single idea and get the most out of it, instead of looking at a white canvas and trying to come up with something. It’s similar to the Restriction Method I wrote about in a previous article.

So I looked at the list. They were all cute, but with names, just like with love, when it’s right you just know it. And only one of them was right. All the other names I found either lacked emotion or were too emotional and cutetsy.

And the winner is…

Reveled here for the first time, Bloop’s next animated short film – LIFT UP.

The name is good because it captures the emotional journey the characters go through, and the physical one as well. They both ‘lift’ each other up during that journey, and the double meaning of course is an emotional lift up (like cheering someone up). It’s short and sweet.

Previous step: Camera Shots and Angles 
Next step: How to Animate

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