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Screenwriting : Bad Ass Names by Peter Roach

Peter Roach

Bad Ass Names

Just had a pleasant 2nd draft review. I review early so I can make changes.

Curious criticism: Character names were too ordinary.

I did not go full porn and have Rock Hard or Bambi BadGirl as character names, although my own introvert self may be keeping me from the ‘hot’ names.

Is there a better character name than Mr. Smith in The Matrix?

Should I name the protagonists after weapons, the ‘bad guys’ after venomous animals?

I am being a bit facetious here, I will have to step up my naming choices.

Jim Sharp, Peter Granite, Sylvia Silver, Fiona Fire, comes to mind.

To me it seems like padding a resume.

Craig D Griffiths

I don’t know the situation. But no one is Really named strange things.

However there is versions that feel different.

Sara feels younger than Sarah.

Joanne is more formal the Jo.

Think about how names feel. I have a new script about some drug-f#%ked individuals. They are Chrissy, Donnie, Abby there is a theme to their names. There is a straight laced friend Janet.

The names may get changed as we move towards production. I just wanted silly trivial names for the group.

Imo Wimana Chadband

I agree with Craig. For me, the names just resonate as you think of it. It's like you hear the name and it just fits to the particular character and their traits. If the name doesn't sound like a match, then it probably isn't. The good thing is, there is an endless list of names to rotate throughout to find the one that rings :)

Stephen Floyd

It’s part of the language of storytelling. Names tell us what to or not to expect from a character, and we as writers can amplify or subvert those expectations. Definitely not an afterthought.

Nathan Smith

I do think a character's name needs to reflect their personality but most important for me is that it has to flow and sound natural to my ear and be something that's fun to say. For example in my current project my main characters are Bonnie Harper, a struggling actress and William Roman Greyson, a seasoned deep method actor.

Dan MaxXx

Yeah, names are a big deal. George Lucas invented names like Skywalker, Solo, Obi-Wan, Leia, Darth Vader. The Wachowski Siblings named their leads - Neo, Morpheus, Trinity.

Box office sales will say you're either a genius or a donkey.

Wal Friman

Darth Vader must come from Dark Vater (Father in German). German bad father.

Bryan Steers

Can't remember who first mentioned it. I think it was in a screenwriting book somewhere? But Cemeteries are a good source of names.

Stefano Pavone

I use international characters in my stories (Italian lead, Russian sidekick, etc.) and I choose names that I have not used before, names which are popular or at least consistent with the character's home culture and fit their personalities reasonably well.

Krista Crawford

I try to match names to my character's personalities, at least in my mind. In my current project, I have two park rangers, one named Flynn who is laidback and unflappable and the other is a new enthusiastic trainee named Parker, who was named by her grandfather who loved the outdoors/parks. To me, it fit. My head ranger is named Bruce because I honestly pictured him like Bruce Campbell.

Jim Boston

Peter, to me there's nothing wrong with your naming choices!

Dan Guardino

I always try to keep the name simple.

Bill Costantini

Just looking at the names above mine gives me the shivers.....Roach Peters....Stefano Two-Fingers Pavone....Krista Kore....Crawford Josephs....Boston James....Gunner Guardino.....I'm getting the fudge out of here while I still can.....

Stefano Pavone

Two Fingers? Where did you get that from!?

Bill Costantini

Danny the Digger MaxXx told me that was the name of the guy shaking down the East Coast script consultants. OMG...I hope that's not you!

Stefano Pavone

What the smeg are you talking about? I don't know anything about shakedowns.

Rutger Oosterhoff

I would simply call every male character Snake Plissken, and every female character Ellen (rip you apart) Ripley.... No, I would'nt, and I try to explain why...

Let me start with saying the use of the name "Smith" is not bad. Smith is a very common name, almost boringly common. There are a lot of Smith in this world. As there are a lot of Smith (like machines/hups) in the Matrix.

A character name should not automatically be badass (although I like badass names), it simply should fit the character. IT SCHOULD BE FUNCTIONAL,

Example from "The Final Solution" . Logline: "After an SS officer's family accidentally is sent to a Nazi death camp he must save them before the commandant dismantles the camp and kills all inmates."


Ludwig stands on the top of a pyramid of clothing, an

accumulation of Treblinka’s prisoners, it’s two-stories tall.

He can see all of the camp from his perch.

Down below prisoners are sorting through clothes, making

piles for pants, jackets, shoes, etc. In concert they must

sing the Treblinka anthem.

From atop of the pile of rags, Ludwig conducts his arms as if

the music were his own symphony. Ukrainian’s stroll through

the prisoners, making sure they are singing too.



The tramp of the workers is heard,

Their faces are set and grave,

Their columns leave for work,

always faithful and brave. This is

why we are in Treblinka, whatever

fate may send, this is why we are

in Treblinka, always ready for the

end. When the voice of our master

thunders, and when he seems to look

our way, we form columns and stand

waiting, always ready to obey. Work

is our existence, we must obey or

die. We do not want to leave… til’

destiny winks its eye!

A Ukrainian pulls a prisoner out of the sorting line. Ludwig

notices, at his side is a German Shepard, Barry. He pulls on

the collar.

LUDWIG: Look, Barry! That man isn’t singing.

He releases the collar and Barry charges down the slope of

clothes. The Ukrainian steps aside and Barry bites the

prisoner’s groin. He screams as Barry tugs and tears.

The Ukrainian and nearby German soldiers laugh.

LUDWIG (CONT’D): Now he is singing!

Ludwig WHISTLES and Barry releases his jaw, the prisoner

drops to his knees, bleeding.

Barry runs back up the pyramid, panting as blood drips from

his tongue. Ludwig shoulders a rifle, takes aim at the

prisoner, and shoots him dead.

The Treblinka Anthem is still in harmony. Ludwig pets Barry’s


He sees underneath Barry’s paw is a familiar piece of fabric.

Ludwig pulls on a sleeve from the pile and holds up the

wrinkled article of clothing. It’s an SS Officer’s grey

jacket, Baldewin’s.

He drops it back in the pile and makes his way down the


LUDWIG (CONT’D): Come, Barry. Treblinka can not

always be fun. We have announcements to make.


Ludwig Harman = (in real life) Kurt Franz ; yes nazi's most popular clasical composer is Ludwig van Beethoven.

Barry, the dog, for has a name of a human character drinking a beer in "Cheers". But he's the opposite of laid back, he's inhuman, atleast when Ludwig is arround.

Baldewin (Brandt)), or better said "Baldwin" or Balduin is an Old German and Anglo-Saxon surname. It may either derive from Bealdwine, or the Old German equivalent Baldavin, meaning "brave, bold friend".

It is found in many other modern European languages: French Beaudoin or Baudouin, Italian Baldovino, Dutch Boudewijn, Icelandic Baldvin, Spanish and Esperanto Balduino.

Eleonore Brand (Baldewin's wife); the meaning of the name Eleonore is: Shining light.

These nazi monsters do not have to rinven them selves to become (more) human, but there names already tell us they wil change.Stil arriving in Treblinka they become a number as all inmates, in some way even dirigent Ludwig and his henchmen.

Not in this scene:

Berrin (9), youngest son of Baldewin and Eleonora. a shy boy with a good hart. Adores his daring brother. Barrin means "gift of God. He's taken to the "hospital" by arrival and shot. The Technicians see him as a "useless eater' and there's no place for a gift of God in Hell.

Explained like this:

ALVIE: It’ll be okay Berrin. Mom and dad

will come get us!

The Ukrainian shoves Alvie out the door and it closes behind


Berrin’s big eyes are brimming with tears. He looks at the

doctor for comfort.

BERRIN: Can I go with my brother, please?

The doctor is emotionally cutoff, he does not answer.

BERRIN (CONT’D): Do you like me?

The doctor cannot look the boy in his eyes.

BERRIN (desperate): Am I your friend?

Berrin’s lip starts to shake. The doctor motions for another

Ukrainian guard over.

JEWISH DOCTOR: Take this one to the field.

Berrin is grabbed by the arm and pulled off the medical bed

and lead to a back door. Berrin looks over his shoulder at

the doctor and he has his back turned to him. Once Berrin has

left the hospital and the DOOR SHUTS. The doctor let’s the

tears roll from his eyes.


The Ukrainian guard walks Berrin to the edge of a huge pit, ...


... and

Alvie (11), oldest son of Baldewin and Eleonora. Alvie meaning "elf or magical being, friend". Alvie (in our story) is only family member to survive the Treblinka revolt of 2 august 1943.

Of the the six hundred escapees, there remained, on the arrival of the Red Army a year later, only 69 inmates survived. So you need friends you can trust to set up the escape and more than magic to survive!

Bill Costantini

Stefano: Sorry....Digger MaxXx mixed up the names of the guy doing the shakedowns of the East Coast script consultants. It was Rutger Three-Fingers Hasselhoff.

Debbie Croysdale

I try to keep the name in context with the genre AND character in the script Eg. Diamond Lil might be ok for a character in a pulp downtown but might sound ridiculous as a housewife in a simple family soap. Occasionally though I have given names suggesting the opposite of a character BUT that is only to embellish dramatic irony, if I feel its needed in the story. Eg It could be that Mr Smith has characteristics opposite to any common denominator known to man. Travels private jet, keeps enemies in deep freeze and only wears Armani. Names are horses for courses, depending on what you want the audience to initially feel about a character. I get where @Bill is coming from. “Two fingers” makes reader “Think” in the first instance. Gangster or Tragic accident? And then we want to know more, apart from the actual story itself. Above all if its a memorable character, in a well written script, their name will be remembered whether its simple or complex. Eg Mia and Honey Bunny in pulp fiction.

Rutger Oosterhoff

I'm not a fan of David, but I am a fan of Rutger Hauer.

"“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to meet my maker, Bill."

Bill Costantini

Rutger: Yeah...that is such a great scene, and he sure was a great all-around artist.

RIP, Rutger Hauer.

Rutger Oosterhoff

Yes, Rutger was great. I especially loved him in "The Hitcher". ... But you know what is really scary and describes my life Bill, I just turned on TV and who was the first person I saw,,, you got it, The Hoff.

Bill Costantini

Rutger: That is freaky. Maybe that's a sign from Rutger Hauer to you, like...."get the Hoff for your next film, Rutger....get the Hoff for your next film!"

Funny thing here in the states after Blade Runner came out....it was kinda the middle of the New Wave music period, and after Blade Runner was released....there must have been 10 or 20 guys at every music club every night...sporting bleached blonde, gelled and feathered hair styles. Not the spikey style of the punk period, and not the Billy Idol/Peter Murphy slicked back style, either...but the Roy Batty special. Heh-heh.

I've seen some of his work with Paul Verhoeven back in the day...I'm sure you've seen them all. What a team.

And get the Hoff, Rutger! Get the Hoff!

(And sorry for the mini-sidetrack, Roach Peters. I mean...Peter Roach.)

Rutger Oosterhoff

I'm not sure Bill, for Elevator Pitch we wanted Harry Dean Stanton from "Paris, Texas" (yes, directed by Wim Wenders, an other Dutch director, but that's a coincidence), for the lead. He literally died on us, just before we started to shoot. The number two on our list (of five) was/is Tom Wright. He did a great job!! Not sure how fit The Hoff still is...

Stefano Pavone

Well, he had a bit part in a movie called "Kung Fury" back in 2015 (and even recorded and performed a song for it - "True Survivor"), so... I'm guessing he's OK.

Debbie Croysdale

Hey @Rutger The Hitcher was a seriously cool film. The other Rutger said a lot with just his eyes, windows to the soul.

Debbie Croysdale

I think names can say it all up front or be a trojan horse. Eg Walter White in Breaking Bad. Walt is just the right name for a nerdy teacher but then script shows alter ego.

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