CHARACTER NAMES, umpteenth (specific idea)

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  • CHARACTER NAMES, umpteenth (specific idea)

    I know, I know.

    I've read some of the posts from previous threads and haven't seen this approach. If I'm repeating a suggestion, I apologize. Oh, and I started this new thread just to give it life.

    Sometimes those threads with 38 pages grow fungus.

    I think every character's name should reflect who they are. And this is nothing new. But my reasons might be.

    To remind the reader who they are. Sometimes, the reader has trouble keeping track of who's who. The unique name of the character will help. Yes, a properly written script will already do this through via action defining character, but after a few pages, some characters previous actions may get lost in the shuffle.

    Now, this will more than likely lead to contrived names that don't seem realistic. Well the names assigned don't have to be the final names in the film. They are purely given for the ease of the read. Some names might make the final cut by the director, others won't. This is the thing that I think makes this a good idea. (at least to me, until one of you prove me wrong and I cry myself to sleep.)

    You got a big fat girl - name her Bertha. People will always remember who she is.

    You got a nerdy scientists - name him Martin Zelnick.

    Sexy Siren - Alexis Ivory.

    If sending the script to an agency, maybe you might want to sneak half a sentence in the query as to your temporary cliched character names that can be changed if the script gets the green. So they don't think you lack imagination. Or is it that too self-conscious?

    Of course we don't want to create cliched names, being as original as possible is great, but i'm just saying it might happen if sticking to this idea. If you can pull this off while maintaining originality - then you get a gold star.

    Any thoughts on this? Am I wondering in the wilderness?

    I know some people might want to just add their idea for best character names, but please, first discuss my idea and whether you like it. Not out of selfishness, but I'd really like to know and is another reason why I created a new thread.

  • #2
    "If sending the script to an agency, maybe you might want to sneak half a sentence in the query as to your temporary cliched character names that can be changed if the script gets the green. So they don't think you lack imagination. Or is it that too self-conscious?"

    Yes. Besides, you wouldn't be telling them something they don't already know.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Augie.

      Isn't this a bit like saying, "If the dialogue is bad I can change it."?

      I like(d) to have my character's names mean something. You have to name them something, why not let their name add to the script, right?

      I learned - here - quickly - that you must be subtle in this endeavor. I named a weak-willed gent 'Gelding.' The single most frequent comment I recieved, both here and Zoetrope, was ...

      Change Gelding's name.

      Calling him 'Smith' might have been boring, but it wouldn't have taken people out of the script.

      Comment


      • #4
        It depends...

        Ah, you see- to me, Alexis Ivory is the slightly nerdy lab assistant, who may or may not blossom into a full fledged sexy siren by the end of the movie.

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        • #5
          Re: It depends...

          I see sleepyhead's point. Individual interpretation. I came up with Alexis Ivory off the top of my head.

          But I think there are names that will conjure up the same image among most people. Maybe not all, but most. I just chose poorly with Ms. Ivory.

          bottomlesscup: "Isn't this a bit like saying, 'If the dialogue is bad I can change it.'?"

          I don't think so. Dialogue is a constant on the page and in the film. It remains. But names appear every time a character speaks only in a script, not in the film. In a film, we might only hear the character's name once or twice, or maybe never hear it but only read it, like on a nameplate or on an office door.

          Many people even admit that their choice of names are usually random and meaningless anyway - "Go through the phone book"

          At least this has purpose - makes it easier to read and follow the characters.

          But in the film, once the name is changed, it can be a random phone book name, because then it has lost its purpose of being an easy to read name. Not that it should be random, it can and should have meaning, just a different meaning (not for ease of read).

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: It depends...

            Phone book is good; graveyards better.

            Lately I have the first character encountered have a name that starts with "A" and work through the alphabet with the rest.

            When looking for a suggestive name for your sexy siren, dont forget Ivana Humpalot.....and why that name is so funny.

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            • #7
              Re: It depends...

              Not sure if this will help, but I remember Stan Lee used to give his comic book characters a same first and last initial, so it would be easier to remember. Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, etc.

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              • #8
                Re: It depends...

                Read the column "Name Dropping" on wordplayer.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: It depends...

                  I don't think so. Dialogue is a constant on the page and in the film. It remains. But names appear every time a character speaks only in a script, not in the film. In a film, we might only hear the character's name once or twice, or maybe never hear it but only read it, like on a nameplate or on an office door.
                  Okay, bad example.

                  I should have explained myself more clearly. What I meant was, I don't think it's a good idea to imply something's wrong with the script in a query letter. I think you should display total confidence in your script. If the writer isn't sure it's good, why should they bother reading it?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: It depends...

                    Gotchya.

                    I agree.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: It depends...

                      Boobsie, I love your new sig lines.

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