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Old 04-09-2019, 11:25 AM   #1
Michael Underwood
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Smile What about pen names?

I'm not really sure where this question should go but if you use a pen name, is there a way to keep true identity a secret?
Is it true that there are writers whose real names are not known by their publishers? How does that work? Or is it even true?

Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:35 AM   #2
Cooper
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Underwood View Post
I'm not really sure where this question should go but if you use a pen name, is there a way to keep true identity a secret?
Is it true that there are writers whose real names are not known by their publishers? How does that work? Or is it even true?

Thanks!
Publishers? You don't mean screenplays then but novels?

I have three pen names for three different series (two MTS, one YA) I write for the same publisher. The publisher knows my Legal name because they issue my advances and royalty checks, so my "identity" is no secret. The pen names are strictly for marketing purposes.

A pen name is far less common in the screen world since you have to take meetings and disguises are generally frowned upon.

I do know of one case where an established screenwriter wrote a low-budget slasher under a pen name as a lark.

A lot of contests won't accept pen names, though some will.

Why are you asking this particular question?
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:02 PM   #3
dpaterso
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Whoever's paying you will always have to know your real name, how else can they pay you, but they will likely respect your wish for privacy.

On the title page, I'd include real name and pen name, e.g.

Michael Underwood
writing as
Ralphie Fabulosa
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Underwood View Post
I'm not really sure where this question should go but if you use a pen name, is there a way to keep true identity a secret?
Is it true that there are writers whose real names are not known by their publishers? How does that work? Or is it even true?

Thanks!
Let’s talk screenwriters here on this screenwriting forum. “Woody Allen” is a pseudonym.

Article: “8 Pseudonyms Famous Writers and Directors Used in Movie Credits
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
spyder23
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Underwood View Post
I'm not really sure where this question should go but if you use a pen name, is there a way to keep true identity a secret?
Is it true that there are writers whose real names are not known by their publishers? How does that work? Or is it even true?

Thanks!
I've written screenplays under a pen name for the last 4 years. No one cares. I've gotten a manager, a team of agents, was hired to do an adaptation, and taken a ton of meetings etc. You're getting some bad advice that it's frowned upon. Not a single person cares and 99% of them have never even asked if it was a pen name.

But yes, whoever is paying you will need to know your real name.

Also, do not put your pseudonym and real name both on the title page, that will look ridiculous. Just use your pen name.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
Satriales
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Use my middle name because I broke in and had to keep working and my contract prohibited outside business and I couldn’t let my employer know. Never had a problem. Was worried the first time I drove on a studio lot with my license that has just my middle initial. No one cared.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: What about pen names?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
A pen name is far less common in the screen world since you have to take meetings and disguises are generally frowned upon.
I nearly fell over, laughing.
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Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 04-11-2019 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Added quote code for clarity
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:04 PM   #8
Cooper
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Default Re: What about pen names?

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Originally Posted by ComicBent View Post
A pen name is far less common in the screen world since you have to take meetings and disguises are generally frowned upon.

I nearly fell over, laughing.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: What about pen names?

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Originally Posted by spyder23 View Post
I've written screenplays under a pen name for the last 4 years. No one cares. I've gotten a manager, a team of agents, was hired to do an adaptation, and taken a ton of meetings etc. You're getting some bad advice that it's frowned upon. Not a single person cares and 99% of them have never even asked if it was a pen name.

But yes, whoever is paying you will need to know your real name.

Also, do not put your pseudonym and real name both on the title page, that will look ridiculous. Just use your pen name.
+1
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:01 PM   #10
Bono
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Default Re: What about pen names?

My Pen Name is BIC
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