Screenwriting : Would I need to modify all well known character's names after finishing script? by Tim Everyman

Tim Everyman

Would I need to modify all well known character's names after finishing script?

In my story there's many references to pop culture and existing fictional characters. This is not just simple pop culture references like Supernatural, but straight up fictional characters playing some part in even small interactions with the film's characters. Like say one character grew up on specific movies and TV shows which played a part to her ideals and preferences as an adult. Or say a holodeck type technology from Star Trek exists and it's being used for various combat simulations which features various existing fictional characters. If I ever finish my script, would I immediately need to Simpsons and Epic Movie those characters (in which their names are slightly altered even though it's blatantly obvious who they're suppose to be) while the script is simply at the stage of being looked at? I'm all for trying to find some way to negotiate the real character into the film for some cameo if that's even possible in this day and age.

London Moquin

if your mean characters can have there name changed but the best thing is keep them the same cause if you change any thing to soon then if a tv show or a movie they try to keep with what your goal is if it was me I would use the words pop culture if this help then that is good but if not will I am only one as of right now posting..

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Tim. Yup, you could be venturing into copyright infringement here and would need written permission... But perhaps you are within "fair use"—it's hard to say. Most fair use analysis falls into two categories: (1) commentary and criticism, or (2) parody. So if you do develop this further perhaps seek legal advice—know what you can and cannot do. Best of luck on your script! :)

Dan MaxXx

it's a spec . don't worry. let the Buyer worry about the legal headaches. Pros know what they're buying and you're a long ways from a movie. just finish your story, be the storyteller.

Bill Costantini

You would definitely need permissions from the characters' owners if you want to use characters from other works in your story. It's one thing to have your original characters talk about owned characters or real-life people, but it's totally another thing to physically represent those owned characters or real-life people in your new work.

Regina Lee

As Beth said, read up on Fair Use.

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