Screenwriting : Names of Characters in print vs screen. by Alex R Price

Alex R Price

Names of Characters in print vs screen.

I will apologize ahead of time. I will be asking a lot of questions since I am in the midst of writing my first screenplay.. To set the stage, my fourth novel is in its editing stage and I have a question about naming characters. In the novel, I developed 2 characters that were so dynamic I thought that they needed a story of their own. In developing their story, I realized that I could not justify their story with a novel. It has to be a screenplay. There is to much visual comedy. A typewriter could never do it justice. Can I keep the same names from the novel, or should I make them different? What is typical in this situation? In the novel, they are minor characters.

Steve Cleary

Huck Finn was a secondary character in "Tom Sawyer". Keep the names as they are and build your own cinematic universe! Plus, anyone who can bang out material using a typewriter should do whatever tf they want

Ally Shina

I second that. Keep the names the way they are and build a story universe. Who knows, you might have a franchise on your hands if the screenplay sells and you develop even more of the characters from the novel or the novel itself into sequels. Have fun with it.

Andrew J. Ramirez

I would say it depends how long their names are. If the name they go by is longer than a few syllables, you might want to change it. This also goes for naming screenplays, because a script is supposed to say the most with the least amount of words possible.

Craig D Griffiths

Will there be a rights issue with your publisher?

Pierre Langenegger

It's your novel, you own the rights to the characters and their names. I assume you're going to write the same story but just in screenplay format rather than as a novel? If that's the case, why would you consider changing their names?

Alex R Price

Craig, I am self published and Pierre, it is two minor characters that need to have their story told.

Dan MaxXx

I don't know much about self-publishing but I know a little about traditional publishing. (my cousin works for a big publisher in a big midtown building) and she doesn't want Authors to write screenplays. Their Authors are paid to write multiple books; the movie rights are sold before some books are written. Usually, folks buy for main characters. Your screenplay is just another a spec in the world.

Dan Guardino

I would use the same names.

Tabitha Baumander

I agree with Dan G use the same names. My only stipulation is if they are hard to say names you might want to simplify.

As for adapting your own go ahead. 99% of all non spec scripts never see the light of day why not write a spec script? If you get lucky mind you they might take the script and hand it to someone else and you will have to be satisfied with knowing you had full control over the book as they pull the script to bits BUT that doesnt mean you shouldn't write it. Heck one of my novels was born from one of my scripts and visa versa. Enjoy the process. Most of the time thats all writers have.

Pierre Langenegger

Alex R Price "it is two minor characters that need to have their story told.". This is not a reason to change their names.

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