Screenwriting : Character Name in Script by John Gannon

John Gannon

Character Name in Script

I'm writing a drama script at the moment based on extensive research I have undertaken. Set in 1840s Liverpool (UK), the main character is a young girl from Ireland who was brought to Liverpool under false pretenses and forced into prostitution. My problem is, upon becoming a prostitute, she changes her real name to a 'street-name' in order to deal with the trauma of her situation: you are, no doubt, aware of this from Jack the Ripper movies, etc - 'Long Liz', 'Fairy Fay', 'Pearly Poll', etc. How do I convey this in a script - though writing for the same character, she had two names - her real name in Ireland, her prostitute name in Liverpool and beyond. Not sure if this is to be a series, or movie script, but there is HUGE potential for either two series, or two movies - the second upon her transportation to the female factory's of the then, Van Diemen's Land!

John Gannon

Oliver - thanks for the input, appreciated.

Richard Gustason

Another thing you could do is during a conversation with someone in the business have your character be told that a name change is needed and then have them bounce around names. This way the audience sees why she had to change her name and how it came about. My thoughts on this. Use what you feel works best.

John Gannon

Richard - thank you. much appreciated.

John Gannon

BTW Richard, that is very much in the script already- the audience will know where that painful decision came from - and the reasons why.

Richard Gustason

Well sweet John. Carry on with your day then.

William Martell

1) One script at a time... no one ever knows if there will be another. 2) It's better to use the same name all the way through - because if it is ever made, each "character name slug" is seen as a different character. So maybe her character name is always NORA even though she is referred to as Long Liz? Oliver's underline bold flashing lights thing you'd think would solve this, except this stuff is broken down by computer now - and the computer can't read that line. (so even if you use Oliver's suggestion now, it will eventually change).

John Gannon

It surprises me there is not a protocol for this 'dilemma' already in place. It surely happens a lot in scripts; you would think it would be catered for. I was originally thinking, path-of-least resistance, simply using a '/' between the two names (NORA/LONG LIZ). However, this could only be used after the name change: then you have the emotional changes in each of the character personas, NORA has a very different persona to LONG LIZ.

William Joseph Hill

I concur with what Oliver White says. It's easier for the reader to follow along, since all the other characters will be calling her by her "street name", and the point is made clearly enough that when the AD or UPM breaks the script down (if you get it produced), then they will know that is one character and not two.

Bo. R. R. Tolkien

use this: Origninal Name/Street Name. the "/" symbol signifies alternate identity or ego of character of the same character. where as the "&" signifies two or more seperate different characters. sounds like an interesting story. hope you success with it.

Dan Guardino

She is not a different character in your movie so you would use the same name you gave her when she first appears in your film... That is the protocol.

John Gannon

Will have a check about and see how this 'problem' has been dealt with in other movies - say, Jeykll & Hyde , etc. See if there is a standard. That might be of interest.Thanks for all your input peeps, much appreciated.

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