30 Ways to Brainstorm Production Company Names
With over 12,000 production companies in the United States alone as of March 2019, brainstorming creative production company names for your new company and coming up with something that’s interesting, informative, and most importantly, unique, may seem daunting.
And, yeah, it is — it is somehow the most important, most difficult, and likely the first decision you’ll have to make as a new producer, among others. But it doesn’t have to stop you before you’ve even begun.
With this list of 30 ways to come up with cool and exciting production company names, complete with examples from some of Hollywood’s most successful production companies, you’ll have a top production company name that defines your creative vision and captures your corporate mandate, all before you even have to send a PA out for lunch.
1. What’s in a name? Your name, maybe.
The most straight-forward and time-tested way to land on a new film company name: use your own. It’s simple. It’s bold. It puts the focus where it should be: you. All while saying, I can’t waste time fretting over how to name a production company; I’ve got movies to make. You’ve got the company of Hollywood’s best and brightest here. Think: Walt Disney Pictures, LucasFilm, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
Worried your own name isn’t creative enough or doesn’t have the right “ring” to it? Make up a pseudonym.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay named their Gary Sanchez Productions after a fictional Paraguayan entrepreneur and financier.
2. Keep it short and sweet with an acronym.
If your name is too long, or you feel like it will yield only uninspired, boring sounding production company names, shorten it and name your company with an acronym based on your initials.
This approach has worked for TSG Entertainment (The Seelig Group; Chip Seelig) and LD Entertainment (Liddell Entertainment; Mickey Liddell), to name a few.
You can also forego the acronym, and just name the company with series of letters pulled from, say, the end of the alphabet, like XYZ Films.
3. Be calculating.
Another way to make production company names short, clear, and to the point: include numbers.
Numbers can help clarify your company’s purpose, like 3 Arts Entertainment which specializes in producing work in, you guessed it, three artistic mediums: film, television, and the dark arts.
Numbers in studio names can also reference something unique and important for you or your company: the street address of the house you grew up in, the number of dogs you have, or an important year for your historical namesake, like writer/director Christopher Columbus’s 1492 Pictures.
4. Make it a family affair.
Breathe significance into movie company name ideas, while also honoring the people who got you where you are today by naming your production company after a member of your family.
Paul Thomas Anderson named his Ghoulardi Film Company after a character his father portrayed on a Cleveland television station’s late night horror program.
But you can also think of family more broadly and look to your four-legged relatives, like Natalie Portman’s Handsomecharlie Films named after her dog Charlie. Or, Charlize Theron’s Denver and Delilah Productions, also named after her two dogs.
Just remember, while family-derived production company names can honor loved ones, they can also embarrass and tarnish a good name (as in the case of Miramax; Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s first company, named for their father Max and mother Miriam).
5. Find the beauty in it.
As you produce projects in film and television, your entertainment company will bring beauty into the world.
So why not choose studio names that communicate beauty, like Magnolia Pictures, Lotus Entertainment, or Drew Barrymore’s Flower Productions.
You don’t have to limit yourself to botanical film company names either — name your company after anything you find beautiful, whether it’s Little Red Car Productions or Egg Sandwich Entertainment.
6. Reference your work.
The best way to let an audience know what to expect from your production company is to remind them of something you’ve already produced. If you have written a script, produced a short film, or created work in any other medium that you are proud of, incorporating it into potential film company names will allow its legacy to live on.
It could be the title of your student film, as it was for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.
Or, if you starred in two comedy blockbusters in the mid-90s, mash-up their titles like Adam Sandler did in naming Happy Madison Productions.
7. Reference someone else’s work.
But maybe you haven’t made something just yet. Or, you feel indebted to artists that came before you and inspired by their work. Paying homage is a great way come up with cool production names.
Quentin Tarantino’s A Bande Apart Films is a not-so-subtle nod to Jean Luc Goddard’s 1964 French New Wave classic, Bande a pàrt — what else would you expect the encyclopedically referential director? Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue is named after Eddy Grant’s very catchy 1982 funk song. Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Productions references a 1967 Star Trek episode. And James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions combines the names of two great literary heroes — John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom and John Fante’s Arturo Bandini.
8. Predict the future.
Or maybe the best is yet ahead for your production company, as it was for David Ellison, who founded Skydance Media in 2006 to finance Flyboys, a film in which he starred. Skydance then went on to back some of the decades most adrenaline-pumping action adventures.
By brainstorming production company names that highlight a project or idea you are working towards, you can set a beacon that will light the way forward, guiding your company as you start out.
9. Look back on the past.
Alternatively, drawing inspiration from your past, particularly childhood, can be a powerful way to tap into your creative intuition and generate unique company names.
There’s a wide swath of imaginative source material to pull from here, whether it’s the quaint and sentimental, like Rockinghorse Films, pulled straight from the jungle gym, like Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment, or something more authentically awkward, like Head Gear Films.
In all cases, nostalgia can be a very rich production company name generator.
10. Think broadly.
Many of the industry’s most successful companies have production names that gesture toward large ideas — the sort of weighty, broad concepts that confer a sense of importance all while making sure no one asks too many questions about what it is you actually do. There’s Legacy Pictures, Dimension Films, Relativity Media, and Millennium Films, among many others.
If you are having trouble finding the right mind-blowing, paradigm-shifting vaguely important noun to adopt as your company’s new moniker, flip open the dictionary (or twenty-first century internet equivalent). Choosing from it at random might prove to be the best production company name generator.
11. Go corporate.
Another way to communicate the importance of your new company to the world: think of corporate-sounding film company names.
By playing it straight, you will lay the cornerstone of a growing business empire, like IM Global. Alternatively, by not taking yourself so seriously, you can poke fun at boardroom stuffiness, like David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, Zach Kanin’s Zanin Corp, or Nicholas Stoller’s Stoller Global Solutions.
12. Shoot for the stars.
The third and final way to lend a grandiose sense of importance to independent film company names (and yes, there are only three ways) is to focus on the superlative quality of your company’s work.
You might be king of the hill, like Paramount or Summit Entertainment. Or you could be the best of the best, like Maven Pictures. Maybe you are just really good at taking tests, like Grade A Entertainment.
Whichever it is, by veering toward studio names that announce your company’s preeminence, you will not-so-subtly let others know that you are the real deal in your email bio and on your paychecks.
13. Be modest.
On the other hand, you might lower expectations and show off an endearing and humorous humility by opting for film company names that are less boastful. After all, you don’t want to make it seem like you are trying too hard, right?
Some ideas to get you thinking: Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, the more slapdash Working Title Films, the apathetic Why Not Productions, and the very low profile Anonymous Content.
14. Keep it local.
You can also ground your company by brainstorming production company names that reference a specific places: whether it’s where you are from, a place that’s important to you, or just somewhere with a cool name that would sound great. Film company names that incorporate a specific place allow creatives, buyers, and your audience to get a better sense of where you are coming from and therefore relate to your company on more human, less business-y terms.
Annapurna Pictures is named for a mountain in Nepal that founder Megan Ellison visited while traveling the country. There’s also Walden Media, named for the pond in Massachusetts made famous by Henry David Thoreau, Simpson Street, named for the street where founder Kerry Washington grew up, and the more general, but still just as evocative, Lakeshore Entertainment.
15. Hit the road
Maybe your spirit of adventure prevents you from staying in any one place for too long. And that’s great — it’s that sort of restless drive to push forward into the unknown that will allow your company to seize upon new opportunity and grow.
Capture that wanderlust when you are thinking about how to come up with a production company name by generating names that convey the promise and adventure of the open road. There are a ton of good examples, from the quite literal Open Road Films, to A24 (which takes its name from a highway in Italy), to Village Roadshow, to Roadside Attractions.
16. Talk about what you do.
You might also want to think of movie team names that hint at the sort of projects your company will produce. This class of unique company names will have attention-grabbing originality, while also setting you apart and making clear you’re a company that knows what it does.
Whether you derive the name from a genre-focus like M. Night Shyamalan’s Blinding Edge Pictures, or J.J. Abrams Bad Robot, or from more formalistic considerations, like your methodology for piecing together motion pictures, as in documentarian Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, descriptive studio names like these will help establish a clear and cohesive brand for your production company.
17. Get technical.
Another way to show you know your stuff: think of movie company name ideas that reference technical aspects of production.
Francis Ford Coppola named his American Zoetrope after a very cool and very analog pre-film animation device that created the illusion of a motion image by spinning a series of images or 3D objects, each depicting progressive stages of a particular motion — a spinning cylindrical flipbook of sorts.
Focus Features references the very important optical principle of image focus, while Blueprint Films lays the plan for awards-worthy movies like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and In Bruges. But if you want to get really technical, you can opt for something scientific-sounding, like Oscilloscope Laboratories.
18. Go online and check the URL.
This is a practical bit of advice more than anything. Cool production names aren’t worth a dime if every possible permutation of a domain name is already taken. As a new company, you will want to develop a cohesive and strong web presence as you build your network and direct new eyes to your work, and a crucial piece of the puzzle here is having a clear and simple domain name.
There are a lot of sites, like the US Trademark Office, that allow you to check availability of particular domain names. Search the production company names you are considering and, if they happen to be taken, think of creative ways to tweak yours.
Or check back on this list for, I don’t know, a couple dozen other suggestions for how to come up with a production company name.
19. Flip it and reverse it
Oprah Winfrey simply reversed her iconic first name in branding Harpo Productions. You can do the same in generating original studio names for your production company.
And you don’t have to use your own name; as long as you are choosing words that are somewhat intelligible when spelled backwards and have significant meaning to you, they can make for creative and unique company names. Spelling a name backwards is also a great way to get around around those pesky unavailable URLs.
20. Coin a new word.
Alternatively, you can mint new words and formulate unique company names by mashing two existing words into one. These portmanteaus lend themselves naturally to creative and original production names.
For example, Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball’s hugely successful and influential Desilu Productions simply merged together the couple’s first names, the original Brangelina if you will. Pixar combines not pixel and radar as you might expect, but instead radar and “pixer,” a made-up word coined by co-founder Alvy Ray Smith who thought it sounded like a Spanish verb meaning “to make pictures.”
21. Play with words.
Another way to have fun with words: borrow from a common expression. Thinking idiomatically will be a great strategy as you mull over how to come up with a production company name. There are tons of examples, but just to name a few…
Danny McBride and Jody Hill produced Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals, television shows where grown adults often act like children via their Rough House Pictures. The folks behind movies like The Witch and American Honey evoke a more handcrafted feel in naming their company Parts and Labor. And Ridley Scott plays on his own last name with his Scott Free Productions.
22. Look around you.
Sometimes your surroundings can be the best production company name generator. Take a minute to look around you and you might find the remarkable amongst the ordinary. Or at the very least, serviceable production company names based on everyday objects.
There’s no way to know on the minds or in view of producers who founded Paper Kite Productions, Goldfinch Studios, or Orange Studios, but also, who’s to say those production names are any better than whatever you can come up with just by looking around the room right now.
23. Find it in translation.
English-to-foreign-language translators can serve as another readymade production company name generator. And while I wouldn’t recommend using translation solely as a way of exotifying production company names, when there is personal significance informing the translation, such an approach can imbue movie team names with personality, as it does for Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions.
24. Shout it out…
If your production company is action or animation oriented, you might find exciting film company names in comic book callouts, like Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment.
Exclamations like this or like in BOOM! Studios, make for bold and thrilling production company names that get audiences hyped for whatever exhilarating production your company is about to serve up next.
25. … or chill out…
But if that seems too over-the-top for your company, there are plenty of options for studio names based around much calmer concepts, things that will lower an audiences’ blood pressure and have them taking a deep breathe like Riverstone Pictures and Blue Sky Studios.
So take a moment, rake your zen garden, hum a meditative Om and envision film company names that lift the stress from right off your shoulders.
26. … and get cozy.
And while you’re relaxed, direct your thoughts toward things that make you feel warm, comfortable, and secure, because this is exactly how you’ll want your audience to feel when they are cuddled up at home watching your movies and TV shows. And it’s exactly how you’ll arrive at more creative names for a production house.
Emphasis on house here, because winning film company names of this sort will make you feel at home (at least in name), whether it’s Jason Blum’s Blumhouse or Elizabeth Banks’s Brownstone Productions.
27. Project strength.
You can also strongarm your way into the industry with studio names like Castle Rock Entertainment and Hammerstone Studios, names that will make your production company sound strong and dependable.
Solid, weighty, and very tangible nouns are going to feed this production company name generator… words like pillar, brick, anchor, and big heavy metal ingot might help get your gears spinning.
28. Get mythical.
A different but equally effective way to lodge your company name solidly in the firmament of motion picture production: borrow from the storytelling tradition’s greatest mythologies. There are plenty of unique company names to be mined here, following in the lead of Atlas Entertainment, Orion Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures, and Camelot Pictures.
29. Be an outsider.
But maybe your production company doesn’t belong lodged right in the middle of things, boxed in by established norms. Maybe you fit in better with the nonconformist, rebellious strain of filmmaking, paradoxical as that is.
Studio names that proudly announce your maverick status, like Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios or Rogue Pictures, will persuasively rally your company’s band of misfit fans, at least until you sell out to one of the big guys.
30. Your why.
As you’re brainstorming production company names, think about why you’re starting a production company in the first place.
Some of the best, most honest, and simplest names can come from articulating this higher purpose.
Whether it’s to spur social change, like Participant Media, or to make movies unlike any other, like Original Film, keeping in mind your “why” as you think about how to name a production company will help you land on the interesting, informative, and unique name your production company deserves.
The best production company names…
Stand out in an opening title scroll. As long as you come up with something that reflects your brand and is memorable, you’ll nail that first impression. Now go get that first job.
What’s your production company name? Let us know in the comments.