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  • Character

    Sorry if this has been asked before. But when referring to a minor character that might show up once, maybe even twice do you have to do the following break down.

    JOHN DOE, fourties, tall, large and in charge....etc.etc. etc.

    Do you need a character description like that? I do want to describe the character yet, he isn't much importance to the story and might show up only a couple times.

    thanks all!
    We Are Legion.

  • #2
    Re: Character

    You really shouldn't describe anything about any character unless it's necessary to convey your story. For main characters, you obviously want to provide some setup, but often less is still more there (though I personally don't mind the long character description as long as it's interesting).

    With minor characters, though, you don't want to confuse the reader. Providing a lot of description for a minor character (or even a name) could be a tad misleading. Reading a lot of description might lead one to assume that not only is the character important, but also what is listed in the description.

    One little trick is to give minor characters a generic names like UNIFORMED COP or SALES CLERK or SMELLY GUY. I've seen some really silly, but oddly effective character names. Things like FART GIRL.

    I have a pretty good idea what FART GIRL does in a script. No need for the police blotter run down on her physical stats. Just writing plain old FART GIRL is more than enough.
    Last edited by prescribe22; 05-09-2008, 07:21 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Character/scene help

      Thanks a lot...

      I also have a question unrelated to characters.

      Okay, how do you write the following in script form so that it makes sense.

      A crowd is dancing and partying.

      A picture is taken


      the crowd is frozen to resemble the picture that was just taken and we kinda transition with that still frame into the next scene where that still frame pulls away from the screen to land on a desk revealing that the picture is on the front page of a newspaper.?

      Did i just kind of answer my own question or is there a more simple way to do this??? thankies!
      We Are Legion.


      • #4
        Re: Character

        There are a few ways, but one possibility is:

        A crowd is dancing and partying.

        CLICK. A picture is taken...
        MATCH CUT TO:


        The B&W photo of that very scene graces the front cover of a newspaper. It is picked up by...


        • #5
          Re: Character

          Prescribe22 nailed the character question!

          If you stck around and watch the closing credits on a film, you often see names such as Prescribe22 mentioned.

          Here are a few from Titanic ...

          Crewman, Promenade Deck Steward, 1st Class Waiter, Praying Man, Noble Sailor, Drowning Man, Man Being Combed for Lice, and Irish Mommy.

          And this snippet from a script draft ...

          Near Tommy, an IRISH WOMAN stands stoically with two small children and their battered luggage.

          And this from Die Hard

          Kissing Man, Girl in Window, Convenience Store Clerk, Hostage, Man, and Dispatcher.

          And this snippet from an undated draft ...


          A SUPERVISOR weaves her way back from the break room toward a
          DISPATCHER who is monitoring the call.

          Often times these people are referred to as 'Featured Extras'. Some will have a small speaking part, most will not.

          Some are merely generic titles, like Dispatcher. Others, such as Kissing Man, are more about the role. The casting Director will figure it out.