Screenwriting : Drawn up characters who are from cultures and backgrounds outside of yours? by Kai Van Benthem

Kai Van Benthem

Drawn up characters who are from cultures and backgrounds outside of yours?

Do you think its appropriate to draw up characters who are from cultures and backgrounds outside of yours? I think the protagonist in one of my screenplays would be best played out as an Italian-American but it's crossed my mind recently that I might piss some people off because I am not Italian myself - especially because the protagonist's father has a weak character. Any thought? I very much appreciate it!

Jody Ellis

I don't think its necessary or even possible to only write characters within your own cultural realm. One of my scripts has a cross-dressing gay guy who pretends he is Latino. I am none of those things but people seem to love the character anyway.

Fiona Faith Ross

I make an effort to diversify my characters. It's one way of ensuring actors from different walks of life get a chance to pitch for a role, not to mention the interest and dimension it adds to your story. Go for it, I say.

Kai Van Benthem

Thank you. It didn't really occur to me until recently. 'Whatever is best for the story' is what I thought until something sparked worry in me tonight. Thanks again you guys. I appreciate your opinions.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@KVB: Jody, FFR and Sam are all correct. And to take it a step further, consider scriptwriting as an art from of exploration, where you have an opportunity to venture outside your comfort zone. In portraying any national origin or ethnicity, endeavor to convey the richness of various cultures; and avoid shallow stereotypes. Good luck!

Bill Costantini

A weak Italian father? Weak? What are you....pazzo? Come down to the Italian-American Men's Club, and I'll show you weak. Infamia!

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