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Old 03-30-2018, 01:44 PM   #1
Merlin
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Default Anonymous characters

At several instances in my script, some character appears along with followers who are basically extras, but have a couple of lines to speak. For instance:
---

Captain Crumble and three of his men burst into the room.

CRUMBLE
On your feet, you scallywags!

MAN 1
There's pirating to be done!

MAN 2
And burning!

MAN 3
Don't forget raping!

ALL
Arrrr!

---
Later in the script, a similar crowd occurs: a character with some followers. All different people than in the first scene. I'm calling them also MAN 1, MAN 2 and so on. Is this okay? Or will it confuse the reader? Should I give all such persons unique names such as "CRUMBLE'S MAN 1"?
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:41 PM   #2
socalwriter1
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Default Re: Anonymous characters

I like to give them distinguishing characteristics such as the Tall Man, Mr. Baldy, Mr. Mustache, etc.
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:13 AM   #3
Centos
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Default Re: Anonymous characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
At several instances in my script, some character appears along with followers who are basically extras, but have a couple of lines to speak. For instance:
The "extras" don't have to speak. Just describe (generally) what they're doing. Otherwise you'll find yourself inventing useless ("idiot") dialogue.
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Last edited by Centos : 03-31-2018 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 03-31-2018, 06:20 AM   #4
Merlin
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Default Re: Anonymous characters

Thanks all. Excellent comments & ideas. All of what you suggest makes the writing better. With short exclamations, the

THREE MEN
(separately)
(1)There's pirating to be done!
(2) And burning!
(3) Don't forget raping!
(then all) Arrrr!

version is perfect. It might not work as well if they are actually having a conversation and arguing different viewpoints. In which case the "tall man", "fat man" etcetera might work better.

Anyway, thanks!
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Old 04-03-2018, 05:06 AM   #5
MoviePen
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Default Re: Anonymous characters

The producer in me would rewrite this. IIRC, your characters may have gone from "extra" to "actor" (with residuals) which increases the budget. Since I can't turn off that producer's voice, I tend to make any one-off lines of dialog integral to the story, or have some real comedic or dramatic ooompf, in order to justify that extra cost.

In this case:

CRUMBLE
On your feet, scalywags, there's pirating to be done!

accomplishes everything, especially since "pirating" covers everything else in the dialog.
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