To Hyphen or Not to Hyphen the Virgin
There’s an old adage among film advertising art directors when dealing with unnecessary pain and suffering at the hands of a studio client with an MBA:
“At least I’m not a copy writer.”
There’s also an old adage among film advertising copywriters when dealing with unnecessary pain and suffering at the hands of a studio client with an MBA:
“At least I’m not a copy editor.”
(We guess this “At least I’m not…” downhill progression continues until it ends somewhere around working at the front gate on the studio lot.)
The weblogs Defamer and The Velvet Blog have picked up on the frustration of virgins everywhere when a keen-eyed observer noted the missing hyphen in the title on The 40-Year-Old Virgin one-sheet, only to see it return on the DVD key art. (That missing hyphen would translate to 40 One-Year-Old Virgins versus a single 40-Year-Old-Virgin.)
We’re guessing execs at the studio didn’t really care about the proper punctuation, and simply went with the all-governing mantra of what “looked better” (to them). We’ve never heard of any film ad exec ever breaking open to read an ad placement company’s “style guide” — unless it’s spelled out in a “contractual”, anything is possible when it comes to copy on a poster.
Sniping aside, this type of punctuation pain isn’t exclusive to copywriters and proofreaders — many a graphic designer has cringed at all those “foot marks” (') taking the place of a proper “apostrophe” () in titles/logos/copylines/etc.