Part 24: The Headline

Generally speaking, the task of writing the headline (or "hed") and subhead (or "dek") falls to our display-copy team of executive editor Bob Cohn, managing editor Jake Young, plus story editors Sarah Fallon and Jon Eilenberg. This time, though, a number of us weren't satisfied with "Puzzle Master," the headline that made it into the layout. Nancy and Jason asked Bob and Jake if we could come up with some alternatives. This is the conversation that followed. By the end, everyone was pretty much signed off, although the dek continued to get tweaked on the final proof.

On Sep 19, 2008, at 11:16 AM, Jason Tanz <> wrote:
OK, we've come up with a few alternatives.

Head Master
Uneasy Writer
And, you knew it was coming:
[Clever Headline Here]
On Sep 19, 2008, at 11:32 AM, Bob Cohn <> wrote:
Puns puns puns.

Chris hates em
Jason followed up by sending a couple more ideas Nancy's way.

On 9/19/08 1:11 PM, "Jason Tanz" <> wrote:
Sigh. Well, here are a couple others. Not really crazy about any of em. What do you think:

Kaufman Unbound
Welcome To the Not-So-Funhouse
[or just Not-So-Funhouse]
The Man Who Cannot Be Summed Up In a Headline
Or my favorite, which is certainly not even worth suggesting:
This Headline Doesn't Work
Meanwhile, I was independently lobbying Jake for a new headline.

On 9/19/08 4:32 PM, "Scott Dadich" <> wrote:
any way you guys would consider a different Kaufman hed?

Puzzle Master just sort of lays there, seems a little deflated...

(not carrying Jason's water here, I was going to ask anyway)
On 9/19/08 4:33 PM, "Jacob Young" <> wrote:
Not wedded to Puzzle Master, but haven't heard anything better yet.
On Sep 19, 2008, at 5:12 PM, Jason Tanz wrote:
Hm. This may not be perfect, but:

Kaufman's Paradox
He wrote such mind-bending films as Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But with his directorial debut, has Hollywood's biggest brain gotten too smart for his own good?
On Sep 19, 2008, at 5:16 PM, Scott Dadich wrote:
i like that and can do something cool with that type
On Sep 19, 2008, at 5:53 PM, Jacob Young wrote:
Sounds nice and very Wired-but explain the paradox part to your dense managing editor, please.
Jake had a point; we couldn't put "paradox" in the headline without delivering a paradox in the dek. We set to work trying to come up with something.

On Sep 19, 2008, at 6:24 PM, Scott Dadich wrote:
he does nutty shit-which made him successful-which led to directing this movie-which is nutty-which may be his downfall.

On Sep 19, 2008, at 7:06 PM, Tanz, Jason wrote:
Hollywood's brainiest screenwriter pleases crowds by refusing to be crowd-pleasing. His directorial debut is his trickiest film to date. This time, has he gotten too smart for his own good?

Paradox is only in the first sentence. What do you think?
On Sep 19, 2008, at 7:11 PM, Scott Dadich wrote:
i like, but it seems like it needs a transition from that first sentence to the second...feels a touch choppy?
On Sep 19, 2008, at 7:14 PM, Tanz, Jason wrote:
What if we change "trickiest" to "least compromising"? Follows crowdpleasing...
On Sep 19, 2008, at 7:26 PM, Scott Dadich wrote:
mm, yes.
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