does none-speaking character need name?



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  • does none-speaking character need name?

    I have I character who appears in two scenes, but who never utters a single word. Indeed she's spoken to, but she doesn't reply.
    Should I refer to her as WOMAN or should I give her some name.(She is never called by name)?

  • #2
    re: does none-speaking character need name?

    My script has such non-speaking characters. One is called Crusty Bartender. So his first appearance is all caps like any other character.

    Does the woman that gets spoken to really effect the story? Would the person talking to her ask or say her name?

    Just calling her Woman doesn't do it for me.


    Good Luck


    • #3
      No. She does not need a name. Bu, it's fine to give her one if you want. In the "production" end of the film business, your person would be considered a "featured extra" or a "silent bit" part.

      You may want to call he by an attribute, MUTE WOMAN, especially if she plays an important roll in your script.

      Hope that helps, good luck with your script.



      • #4
        I'd avoid giving her a proper-name for the simple reason that if she has a name like LORA are JANET or whatever, the reader very well may assume that she is important and must be remembered. Giving her a generic name let's the reader know that she need be nothing more than a secondary thought. This is especially true if you have a lot of protagonists with which the reader must already keep up. A character that occupies two scenes doesn't require a name, nor should she be given one, in my opinion.



        • #5
          Keep it simple. No proper name, but you can give her a descriptor to help the reader envision her, much like the aforementioned CRUSTY BARTENDER.

          Use a visual descriptor, though, not like STUPID WOMAN, because we can't see that. (But you already knew that...)


          • #6
            Naming a character.

            From what you describe, this character seems unimportant to the story. If so, you wouldn't give names to functional or unimportant characters.

            Naming them will give the character a sense of importance that will confuse the reader.

            You should identify them by their role: WAITRESS, LAYWER, INFORMER, etc.

            You gave no background on her role. If she doesn't have a specific role, then you could use a personality trait or physical feature. Example:

            LONELY WOMAN
            BIG NOSE WOMAN


            • #7
              Go Joe

              I'm taking notes.


              • #8
                Re: Go Joe

                I call all of my secondary characters "Jack". "Jack Godfree" works just great for me.


                • #9
                  Even if the character does speak they don't need a name unless someone says their name. Otherwise call them something like HENCHMAN #1 or COP #2 or even GIRL WHO SMILES.


                  • #10
                    I have characters who have speaking parts that don't have names: Braces, pigtails, beer-gut executive. You'll find something quirky about your minor characters in which to call them, I feel sure of it!



                    • #11
                      In Boogie Nights, one of the characters is not named for the whole film!! Rollergirl!!
                      I wouldn't use WOMAN 1, or POLICE OFFICER 3 etc. Call them something that deals with their personality/appearance.
                      eg: SHY WOMAN, EXCITED POLICEMAN, BLOND WAITRESS. This willl give the reader an idea of what this character looks like!!



                      • #12
                        I agree with what a number have implied, the "names" you give to your functional characters can go a long way in distinguishing them. Names like Big Gut Executive, Young Jock, Doe eyed Girl, Muscle head and Bookwormess create a visual in the reader's head of what this person looks like and can save you the trouble of wasting precious white space trying to make them unique through description. I don't think you need to worry if the audience can see or hear the trait implied through the name, after all you can't see someone is named Jack. So you can "cheat" a bit, naming functional characters after nonvisual traits (like Dumb Blonde) where as, if you were to use description to designate their unique tags you'll need to paint the picture more, using what the audience can see or hear, thus sucking up the old white space.


                        • #13
                          thanks all

                          From all the responses I pretty much know now how to go about it. Thank you all.