I envy writers who have the talent to just come up with story titles. Do they partake in secret night classes where the syllabus largely consists of title breakdowns? Or maybe they throw a bunch of words on a page and hope for the best. To be honest, I’m convinced the guy who came up w/ Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was high on crack because nobody of a sound nature can be that genius.
While writing this screenplay, my self-diagnosed “title blockage” caused me just as much frustration. Initially, I worked w/ Untitled Monster Project (Untitled… If that doesn’t deserve the Pulitzer, I don’t know what does.) However, my obsession with Steven Spielberg not only inspired the story, but also its title.
For the past year, I’ve been soaking in as much Spielberg as humanly possible – collecting all his movies, watching special features, and I’m finally circling the corner on his Biography.
Through this research, I learned while making E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial he and his crew conjured up a working title for confidentiality purposes.
“Fearing a TV movie rip-off, Spielberg shot E.T. under a false title, A Boy’s Life. Deliberately causing confusion with Spielberg’s announced project Growing Up, the company simply described A Boy’s Life as a ‘Comedy about antics and lifestyles of boys living in southern California today’”.
After reading this passage, I switched out my Untitled w/ this new one and it’s grown on me since. Is it the most thought-provoking? Maybe not. However, I’m a firm believer of fate, and as I sat at my desk writing a hugely inspired Spielberg short, I owed it to myself (and the film) not to ignore the signs.
A Boy’s Life it is.