Thursday, April 18, 2013

NAMING CHARACTERS IN A SCREENPLAY

WWW.DRMELCAUDLE.BLOGSPOT.COM

April 18, 2013

DR. MEL'S WEEKLY MESSAGE



Dr. Mel in the passenger seat
I realize it has been awhile since posting my last blog, 4 weeks, and I really apologize.  When I am filming, traveling, and opening up our new office in Los Angeles, there simply isn't enough time in the day.  The good news is lots of things have transpired since my last posting and all of it is really great news.  Lots of updates coming forth, funny stuff, sad stuff, and just simply stuff.  OH , and a great article on naming characters for screenwriters.  However, as an actor, you too need this information as names of characters have a direct impact on how you portray a character.    So, stay tuned and keep reading.  There is something for everyone.  The pictures aren't to bad either.

HAPPY TRAVELERS

Robby Cook Stroud driving
I'll start by explaining Robby's and my trip, in her Jaguar XKR Convertible, from New Orleans to Los Angeles.


We took the Southern route and took our time to stop along the way at many different destinations and points.  In fact, we took a cue from the life of our friend, Destiny, who I say not only stops to smell the roses, but stops and smells every petal.  That is exactly what Robby and I did on this trip.  We took the long route, the side and back roads, and roads not usually traveled.  We turned a three-day drive into a six-day drive.  Each day, we started not knowing where we would stop, or where we would spend the night.  We stayed at places we wanted too.And, we took Furbs with us.  He loved the wind blowing in his fur and he picked up a girlfriend in Arizona, Furbette.

Furbs goes 
It was so much fun just seeing the beauty of our American soil.  From the hills in Texas, the plains and desserts in Arizona, canyons of New Mexico, mountains and oceans of California, we enjoyed each area.





Furbette and Furbs
The most fun was really not having a designated trip plan and having the flexibility to stop anytime and anywhere our journey took us.  We took the uncharted path along small roads and simply just enjoyed the scenery.  Our country is really beautiful as we were able to take in oceans, mountains, hills, and deserts.  The sun sets were simply magnificent as were the sights.

I'm not sure if I even have my favorite spot, as all quickly became my favorite. Furbs and Furbette had a wild time as he met up with Lions, tigers, bears, cowboys, Indians, chili peppers, cactus spurs and more.

You'll get the general idea by some of the pictures posted in this blog below.





















The first night we made it to San Antonio, Texas.  Wow!  This city must be one of the cleanest cities I have encountered.  Simply beautiful.  The skyline of this town is also magnificent at night and one everybody should take the time to go see one day.  And, of course, we did remember The Alamo.

Also, we spent the night with my middle daughter's God Parents who we have known for a very long time.  It was great seeing friends who had moved away from New Orleans.  Early the next morning we set out to drive across Texas.  Texas really is a huge state; as it took us two days to simply reach New Mexico.

One of my favorite things we did while in New Mexico was to stop at a winery.  Personally, I was shocked to even discover that wineries existed in New Mexico and Arizona.  But they do.  I also was amazed by all the leather goods that are handmade in both of these states and I purchased to styles of moccasins.  They really do feel good on your feet.

Anyone that knows me well, knows that my mind is always spinning.  Robby quickly came to the realization that I had a very unusual way of seeing the sites in our cross country travels.  As we approached Tuscan, I asked if we could stop and go to the federal prison and visit someone.  You see, one of the most famous "Serial Killers" is currently on death row there and I wanted to go and interview him.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us visit him or interview him.  I would have had to make  prior arrangements and get clearance etc. from the Superior Court Judge.  But, we still didn't waste our time and I did get an interview.  But not with a serial killer, but with one of the nation's foremost doctors in toxicology treatment etc.,Dr. Michael Gray.   We took off to Benson, AZ where he practices.  While visiting him, I was able to interview him for 2 1/2 hours for my documentary on toxic environmental poisoning.  Some really great stuff forthcoming that I hope will have an impact and provide hope for those who suffer.

Now, there is a strange thing in Benson- in the Butterfield RV park, just across the street from Dr. Gray, is a $20 million dollar telescope.  Wait!  Think about what I just wrote and ask yourself, "What is a $20 million dollar telescope doing in a RV Park when there is nothing else close to it or in Benson, AZ?"  Then, you also have to start thinking about the surroundings.  Less than 30 miles away is the town of  HUACHUCA, which according to the historical marker was established in 1958.  Is there a Roswell connection there?  How convenient if you ask me.  However, also in this town is the famous military base FORT HUACHUCA where many of the scenes in my film A.D.A.M. takes place.  So here we were, just 20 miles from the setting of my next film.  Of course, we had to go and off we went down another beaten path.







First, we routed ourselves to TOMBSTONE, AZ.  The first stop was at the US Tombstone Marshall's Office.  I know, another unusual place to stop for tourists, but I love getting to know the local law enforcement.  You never know when you might need them.  We also visited the tourist traps, had a beer, and ate dinner at Kate's and listened to a local band.  This is where Furby met his first true cowboy.  How fitting, don't you think?






















The next morning, we headed to Sierra Vista, AZ, home to FORT HUACHUCA.  One of the amazing things is I got to visit this place on my Birthday.



But, wait. OMG!  You won't believe what happened next.  As we were driving there, just above us flew two UFOs.  Really!  But, the closer they came to us, we concluded they must have been the new military AMERICAN DRONES, which soon were followed by A-10 Fighter Planes.  We quickly pulled off onto the side of the road to take pictures and simply enjoy the FREE AMERICAN AIR SHOW along our path.  They flew right over us several times.  It really was amazing.








Then we continued to go to the military base and along the way we saw something else.  Not only was it radar, a flight tower, and a "Launch" pad for stealth helicopters.  It was amazing.



We finally got to the gate of Fort Huachuca and we were stopped by the Military Guard.  Our goal was to see if they would let us onto the base.  (Now you might understand why I have an unusual way of sight-seeing).  Having never been on the base before, and knowing that this was the setting for a part of my film, I wanted to see the base for realistic writing.  Guess what?  They took our passports and driver's license and let us onto the base.

While driving around the base, we weren't alone.  In fact, we had escorts everywhere we went and were being followed.  We were able to see everything including their obstacle course, and the US MILITARY INTELLIGENCE COMMUNICATION MUSEUM.  In fact, they had two of them.

I wanted to take footage and pictures badly.  We were already strictly warned that we couldn't take any pictures or footage while on the base, off the base, or pointed toward the base.  If we did, we would have gotten arrested.  Do you know how hard that was for me not to do this?  Extremely, but I didn't want to press our luck and have my camera gear confiscated since I had already taken some amazing footage while off the base.  Needless to say, it was very, very exciting and provided me with a perfect memory to write my scenes.

One of the best things that I got to spend my birthday at a canyon watching the sun set.




















Then, on the road again.  the things we saw, the things we did all the way to Los Angeles.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  One fascinating area were the Wind Farms.  Again, we got off the beaten path and took the dirt roads right up into the wind farm.  Then on to San Diego and to Los Angeles.
















In fact, once we arrived into Los Angeles, we weren't ready to stop.  We wanted to keep going and maybe land in San Fran.  But, we didn't, as it we knew we had to get things ready to open our Los Angeles office and find a place for Robby to live.

A.D.A.M. NEWS

So far, things are going great.  In fact, we raised $1,200 more dollars and we also met with two other potential investors.  Then things got really good as we were contacted about submitting the entire script and EPK package to the SyFy Channel.

And, speaking of A.D.A.M., today we filmed another scene with Bill Ensley, as General Anbar, along with DH Lewis, as Dr. Bradford.  James Karnes got a bonus role as he visited our office just as we were about to film and put him in the scene as the N.A.E.T. Communications Director.  That is the beauty of being the producer/director/screenwriter and having ownership of a project.  I can write in or delete any character I want to.  And, that is exactly what I did for James.

James Karnes, Bill Ensley, Clyde R. Jones
CLYDE R. JONES as Agent Ed Morrison
Bill Ensley as General Anbar

James Karnes as the N.A.E.T. Director of Communications
Next, we filmed another scene between Agent Morrison, played by Clyde R. Jones, and Dr. Bradford.
DH LEWIS as Dr. Sandra Bradford
General Anbar Confronts Dr. Bradford
Bill Ensley and DH Lewis
The following Saturday, we filmed the cast and producer's interviews for the EPK video.  We have a great deal of fantastic footage to be able to put this all together.  Once complete, we'll start our crowd funding campaign to raise the rest of the money for the production of A.D.A.M.  But, in the meantime, take a look at some of the scenes I cut for DH Lewis to use for her demo reel from A.D.A.M.

CLICK ON PICTURE TO VIEW DH LEWIS' DEMO REEL OF A.D.A.M.


I AM IRONMAN:  Naming Characters in a Screenplay

By Dr. Mel Caudle

I always have fun naming my characters.  For me, that is one of the best parts of writing a screenplay.  As a screenwriter, not only am I creating a story, I’m also creating characters to go with it.  I want the names of my characters to reflect them.  I want them to come alive and breathe from the depth of the white page they in which they were written.  However, finding the perfect name for a character can be daunting. 

There are no hard fast rules to follow, no graphs, and no charts other than you need to introduce your main characters within the first 10 pages of a feature length screenplay and the first page of a short script.  Additionally, a character’s name, the first time you introduce the character is always formatted in uppercase letters and when you insert the character’s dialogue you always indent it 3.5 inches from the left margin.  

Look at the following example from my screenplay A.D.A.M. 

Example – Character Name Formatting

1.         EXT. MONO LAKE - NIGHT
            SUPERIMPOSE:  MONO LAKE, CA. 2011

A small boat comes to a stop in the open on Lake Mono.  The monolith crystal forms are evident.  DR. SANDRA BRADFORD (30), JESSICA PARKER, a female graduate student (20), and DR. GREGORY PETERSON (35) begin to prepare large five gallon containers.  Once complete, they quickly put on scuba diving gear.

                          DR. BRADFORD
Thank you for coming.  I’m certain I couldn’t
retrieve this sample without the both of you.

                         DR. PETERSON
What can I say other than I owe my career to you.

                        DR. BRADFORD
That would be the government student loan.
I simply guided you as your major professor.
                       DR. PETERSON
I wouldn’t have joined the astrobiology institute
much less research if...

                       DR. BRADFORD
...No ifs.  I needed help, you needed a topic
for your dissertation.

Lights from a boat appear far on the horizon.

Jessica drops a piece of her scuba equipment.

                      JESSICA
Dr. Bradford.  Dr. Peterson.  We have company.

Dr. Bradford and Dr. Peterson seem to ignore Jessica and continue to put on their scuba gear.

****
You can resort to using a book that helps to name your baby, but that often confuses me.  Therefore, I resort to etymology.  Etymology is investigating a name by its historical application, earliest use, and the meaning.  To me, these are very important elements.  I don’t want to name an evil character Angel or a super hero Trash.  Why do you think Ironman works so well for the Robert Downey Jr. character?  It reflects the character perfectly.
 
Now, look at how I named each character for The Keystroke Killer and the reasons I assigned the names to them.

THE NAME GAME REVEALED

Once I create a profile and complete the Character Questionnaire, I carefully search for names that reflect each profile or that is a play on words to describe each character. 

To accomplish this task, I use the following categories as my guideline to identify names for my characters:

·         Age of Character
·         Name fits the style or genre of the screenplay
·         Name is easy and recognizable
·         Name is common spelling or easy to spell
·         Names always begin with a different alphabet
·         Names never sound alike or are similar
·         Try not to end names in “S”
·         Definition of a name
·         Play on Words

Age-Appropriate Names

When choosing a name it is also important that the name is age-appropriate for the character.  You can’t use an old-fashioned name for a young and pretty teenage female.  I decided that each character’s name in The Keystroke Killer would be reflective of their generation.  Take a look at my reasoning.

·         Matthew -  this was a very common name given for this age group.
·         Blaze – reflects youth and the generation that named their children unusual and unique names.
·         Judas – a very old name with historical significance
·         Jenni – a popular name given for this age group
·         Mag – a popular name given for this age group
·         Landlord – no individual name provided in screenplay; rather he is referred to by his occupation

Fit the Screenplay

If you are writing an epic screenplay you don’t want to use a modern name for your characters.  Having a King Ice doesn’t make sense to me, whereas, King Arthur or King Charles does.  Using Ice for a hitman’s name or Angel for a ICU nurse are perfect matches to the theme of those screenplays.  The theme of The Keystroke Killer required names that reflected the same.  Identified below is my determining factor of the names of the characters reflecting the theme and genre of the screenplay.

·        Matthew - a solid name that reflects goodness.  The name fits for a detective.
·       
         Blaze – Modern take on the name Bliss.  Became popular in the 21st century.  Gives a connotation of Sci-Fi.
·     
      Judas – This name fits an antagonist.  Historically, the name of the Disciple who murdered Jesus.  Fits a killer.
·       
     Jenni – A modern version of Jennifer.  Also, many people associate the name Jennifer with Jennifer Aniston who portrayed Rachel Green on the sitcom Friends as a friend.  The name Jenni is a solid friend’s name.  The spelling leans toward a modern spelling and Sci-Fi.

·       Mag – often associated with Saint Mary Magdalene or “magnificent one.”  Since she vaporizes into thin air, the name needed to be larger than life.  Mag is the modern version to reflect the screenplay style and theme.
·         
     Landlord - No name given; reflects profession and character in screenplay.  If I would have named him, I would have called him Shramidhi – which means worker.  However, there is no need to provide a name for this character.

Easy Recognizable

The last thing you want to do is to name a character that no one can pronounce or spell.  Talk about confusing cast and crew members; name a character something outlandish and difficult to spell.  That is one reason I didn’t name the Landlord Shramidhi.  First of all, no one would be able to say it.  Then, it is very difficult to spell and remember. 

I experienced difficult spellings and pronunciations on two film sets.  I never could pronounce those character’s name.  You try – Exacheauxrado from the screenplay Death Angel written by Xander Fleshmeyer. Oh yea.  That one is correctly spelt according to the screenwriter.  We all started to call the character “Tuxedo” then “X” or “What’s his name.”  Please don’t do that to yourself.  Avoid giving your characters outlandish names.  It really doesn’t serve any purpose other than to confuse others.
  
Another example of a difficult name was the character in the film Dark Blue written by Dave C. Kirtland.  Dave and I produced this film together through our production companies, New Guy Films and On the Lot Productions, LLC respectively.  He was also the director and screenwriter for this film.  He named one of the characters Detective Pawalski.  It wasn’t until the last day of filming that I was able to pronounce that character’s name correctly.

The names I chose for The Keystroke Killer followed were recognizable:  Matthew, Blaze, Judas, Jen, Mag, and the Landlord. 

K.I.S.S.

When assigning a name to your character I follow the K.I.S.S. plan, “Keep it Short & Simple.”  As the screenwriter, you will be typing that name more than you might realize.  Then, when you are in production, your crew will also be typing it.  Limiting your names to as simple and as short as possible, but cleaver, will make everyone’s life much easier.  Which one of these would you rather type 300 times in a row?
Chris or Christopher
Mac or Macdonald
Fred or Frederick
Jaqueline or Jackie
Alexandria or Alex
Melissa or Mel
Besides the length or spelling of the name, giving your character a weird name or one that is completely unusual can cause problems.  Long and weird names can hamper your audience from identifying with your character.  The end- product becomes more distracting than enhancing and can pull your audience away from the plot.  The only time I think this doesn’t apply is in a Sci-Fi film.  But then, even some of our best Sci-Fi films today have simplistic names.  For example, Han Solo, Luke, and Princess Leia.

The names I chose for The Keystroke Killer didn’t rely on tricky spellings or any outlandish names:  Matthew, Blaze, Judas, Jen, Mag, and the Landlord.  The only thing different is I could have shortened Matthew to Mat.  However, I wanted to use the full name for the formality of the character.

Same Name, Different Game

Likewise, you want to avoid names that are the same or sound the same.  I’m guilty of doing it in the screenplay I wrote based on the Novel by the same name written by Michael Ragsdale called Dreamweaver.  We really didn’t have a choice because it was a father and a son only one was a junior while the other was a senior.  So, by the end, we had to add Jr. and Sr. afterword to write the screenplay.  If you like high impact drama novels, read this one.  It is very good and available on Amazon.com.

Another difficulty is if you as a screenwriter assign names that sound the same.  For example, John and Sean are different names, but will be easily confused on a film set.  Likewise, names with cute spellings offer a challenge for all.  Actors don’t find it easier to comprehend their lines and the final production binder ends up a mess with character names being spelt every way but correctly.  Therefore, if you name a character Christy spell it the most common way possible and not Kristy, Krissty, Kristie, Kristi, Christee, Christi, Christie etc.  Can you see the confusion a cute spelling can cause?

Names that begin with the same letter can also cause confusion.  The last thing you need is to name everyone beginning with the same letter.  Why?  Because when filming, you often use first initials on call sheets and wardrobe lists.  You also can easily confuse names.  Having a Matthew along with a Matty or Maddy can be very confusing and cumbersome.  The same holds true for Martha, Marsha, Marian, Marion, Mary etc.  You get the picture. 

Look at this example.

Example 1 - Names that Sound Alike

EXT. BOURBON STREET – NIGHT

Matty and Maddy walk hand in hand down Bourbon Street.  Mardi Gras is in full swing.

       MATTY
Let’s go to Pat Os.

       MADDY
Hurricane time.

      MATTY
Party like there’s no tomorrow.

A drunk pushes between Matty and Maddy and separates them.  Maddy quickly grabs for Matty.

      MADDY
Last one there pays. 

Can you easily remember who said what in the above scenario?  Without re-reading it, who wants to party like there’s no tomorrow?

Now read the same sample scene with replacing Maddy with Janis.

Example 2 - Names that aren’t Alike

EXT. BOURBON STREET – NIGHT

Matty and Janis walk hand in hand down Bourbon Street.  Mardi Gras is in full swing.

       MATTY
Let’s go to Pat Os.

         JANIS
Hurricane time.

       MATTY
Party like there’s no tomorrow.

A drunk pushes between Matty and Janis and separates them.  Janis quickly grabs for Matty.
        JANIS
Last one there pays.  

The only two names in The Keystroke Killer that begins with the same alphabet “M” is Matthew and Mag.  However, there is enough of a pronunciation variance that it doesn’t cause problems.  The only difficulty was the automatic name choice in my screenwriting software.  When I began to type either Matthew or Mag’s name, I had to type in three letters instead of one for the software program to be able to automatically locate the name.  In the end, this problem didn’t slow me down.  I think that if I were to extend the screenplay into full-length, I would probably change Mag’s name to Bella which means beautiful in Spanish to reflect her beauty queen status.

Being Possessed

One of the most difficult names to write in an action description are those that end in “S.”  As simple as it sounds, it can cause confusion when you write the name with the possessive form of that name.  It really can create havoc.  As simple and great of a name Marcus is, this name can cause confusion.  For example, look at the following.
Example 1 – Names Ending in “S”

INT. MARCUS’ APARTMENT - DAY

Marcus enters his apartment.  Marcus’ dog Brees BARKS.  Marcus picks up a Frisbee and tosses it at Brees.
        MARCUS
Come here boy. 

Now read the exact same example with a name change for Marcus and the dog Brees.

Example 2 – Names Not Ending in “S”

INT. MATTHEW’S APARTMENT - DAY
Matthew enters his apartment.  Spot, his dog BARKS.  Matthew picks up a Frisbee and tosses it at Spot.
        MATTHEW
Come here boy. 

Which one of the examples was easier to read?  For me, it is example 2 without the name ending in “S.”  It seems to roll off my tongue easier.  These examples provide evidence as to why you shouldn’t end a character’s name in a “S.”

I didn’t follow my advice for The Keystroke Killer.  I assigned the name of Judas to the antagonist although the name ended in “S.”  In this circumstance, I felt it was more important for the connotation of the name that Judas provides that for the name not to end in “S.”  I did consider other names that reflected betrayal such as Bernie, for the betrayal of Bernie Madoff and Brutus who betrayed Julius Caesar.  However, the name Bernie reminded me of a cartoon character and Brutus sounded like a thug and not a serial killer.  There was a serial killer duo from Australia named David and Catherine Birnie.  I still didn’t like the name. 

I stuck with my initial name.  Sometimes as screenwriters, we can over think things.  Often, your first choice is the best.

Meaning of Name

Often, the character’s profile and personality can define the name of the character.  As a screenwriter, I will try to find names that mean what the character is or describes the character.  For example, according to The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria, Matthew means “Gift of God.”  I felt that this name was appropriate for the detective in The Keystroke Killer.  My reasoning was simple.  In essence, the detective was fighting everything evil – the serial killer.  That would be the closest type of person provided by the devil.  Therefore, the opposite name for a character would have to be a name that meant provided by God or a gift from God.

The names I selected for The Keystroke Killer reflect the characters and what they are about in terms of meaning, definition or association to the name.  Take a look.

·         Matthew -  meaning The Chosen One – also references Saint Matthew who was on of the twelve disciples and credited with the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew.  I view Matthew as the chosen one to save the human race from the most powerful entity in the universe.  It was more of a natural selection, than a chosen selection.  Therefore, I feel the name is appropriate for the protagonist.

·         Judas – although the meaning of Judas is praise, the name Judas Iscariot is associated with the betrayal of Jesus.  Iscariot refers to group of assassins among Jewish rebels called the Sicarii.  Many theologians think Judas was a member of the Sicarii.  Considering that the serial killer “assassinates” people by pressing the “Delete” key, I felt it was appropriate to name the antagonist Judas.
·         Blaze – as a girl’s name, Blaze is usually spelt Blaise with the meaning of stammer or stutter.  However, Webster’s Dictionary defines the term blaze as “a bright fire, to burn, or to shine brightly.”  I felt this was appropriate for the young college girl that attracts Matthew’s attention.  Not only is she eye-catching, but also the memory of his sisters burns brightly in Matthew’s mind.  That is why I named our motivator character Blaze
·         Mag – the name Mag is a female name which means a person who is elevated.  It also means the magnificent one referring to Mary Magdalene.  I felt that this name was appropriate since Mag is a beauty queen with magnificent beauty and she is the one that vanishes (elevates) into thin air.
·         Jenni – the name Jenni means white, fair, and smooth.  Also, the name can refer to a white ghost or phantom.  Also, Jennifer Anniston played a great friend in the sitcom Friends. Besides that, I had a good friend growing up named Jennifer and the name to reflects that of a good person who would be willing to reach out to others if they needed help.  

With the screenplay being a psychological sci-fi thriller, it would have been very easy to take a different name-giving path for each character.  Trust me, I thought about it.  I came very close to naming the serial killer Jagger, referencing a jagged edge; and Willow instead of Matthew, referencing a weeping willow tree referencing the grief of the character.  I also thought of name Stone for Matthew; Echo instead of Blaze, referencing that the character “Echoes” the looks of the protagonist’s sister; Lad (acronym for Life After Death) or Aeron (god or goddess of death) for Judas; Elita (meaning the chosen one) for Mag; and Lavada (Persian name meaning friend) instead of Jenni.  

Play on Words

Screenwriters also assign names for their characters for a variety of other reasons.  I have found that many screenwriters will defer to seven associations when naming their characters.

1.  A Person with Significant Meaning

Screenwriters will give a name to a character named after someone of importance to them.  Most likely, they choose a relative or a close friend.  The opposite holds here when screenwriters name their antagonist.  They may choose someone they strongly dislike such as an ex-husband or an ex-boss.  No matter the direction, the name will have a significant meaning to the screenwriter.

2.  Historical Speaking 

Screenwriters survey and select character’s names from historical figures and/or celebrities to honor them. 

3.  Take the Biblical Route

Screenwriters also rely on biblical names.  I’m not certain as to why screenwriters do this.  However, if you research IMDB and characters names on Oscar winning movies, you’ll come to the same conclusion.

4.  Play on Words

Screenwriters will use a play on words such as for a moralist preacher name him Justin Wright indicating a self-righteous man or Dr. Aiken for an interrogator that inflicts pain as in my screenplay MK-ULTRA.  Another example is to name a communist spy Agent Redman indicating his association with the Communist Red Party.
 
5.  Abbreviations of Names

Screenwriters will form words by using abbreviations or only the first letter of each word in a string.  A perfect example is in the 1977 Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind and one of the main characters.  The alien in this film is E.T., the abbreviation for extraterrestrial. 

6.  Use of a Nickname

Another example is in my screenplay Secret Romances in which a nickname is used rather than the character’s given name.  The female protagonist’s name is Juliet.  However, she is referred to and called “Jules” for short.  In The Keystroke Killer, Mag is the nickname for the given name Magdalene. 

7.  Use of Acronyms

The acronym RADAR, in the film written by Ring Lardner Jr. and television series M.A.S.H is also used.  In both circumstances, the character and the film’s name are acronyms.  Radar stands for Radio Detection and Ranging; whereas, M.A.S.H. means Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

Additionally, another example is in the 1998 film The Truman Show.  This film is a satirical comedy-drama about a man who is unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show that broadcasts to billions of people 24-hours-a-day.  The screenwriter, Andrew Niccol, chose for Jim Carey’s character name Truman Burbank meaning “True Man” who lives in Burbank, California.  It was a play on words meaning that the person Jim Carey portrayed was a “true man” although everything around him wasn’t in a fake town referring to the “Fakeness” often associated with the glitter and glam lifestyle of Burbank, California.  Niccol thought long and hard on the name for the character and the name of the film.

I hope as a screenwriter you find the above information helpful.  As an actor, anytime you are cast in a role, investigate the meaning of your character's name.  It just might have more impact on how you interpret the character than you initially may think.

DEAR DIARY
BY ROBBY COOK STROUD

4-18-13

Dear Diary,

I don’t even know where to begin. It has been such a whirlwind since the day I left New Orleans. Mel and I drove my Jaguar the first day to San Antonio. We stayed with Kelly’s godparents. What a treat to see them again after so many years. Thanks Tim and Cindy and you have an awesome family.

We also took Furby to the Alamo. We got up the next morning and it was cold. So we had to ride with the top up for the first and only 2 hrs of our whole trip. We finally made it across Texas and stayed in Las Cruces New Mexico. Found the world’s largest Chili Pepper .

So the next day we spent in Arizona. We did go to Fort Huachuca and to see Mel’s Dr. Gray. What a delightful and very intriguing interview she conducted for her next documentary film on Toxic Mold Exposure.

We spent that night in Tombstone. We had so much fun at the old bar that looked the same as it did in the 1800’s.

We also did a night tour, at midnight  of the oldest cemetery in Tombstone. Another weird sight-seeing request of Mels.  I think we have some footage of ghosts. We will have to see. The next night we stayed in Yuma Arizona.

As you can see it took us a while to get out of Arizona. The sightseeing was incredible there. One of the best vineyards I have ever been to was there. Santa Clara Vineyards. They have a wine made from chili peppers that is awesome. You owe it to yourself to go on line and order this wine. The last and final day of our trip we went the southern route and went to San Diego so we could cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway.







We had so much fun , we weren’t ready for our road trip to end. I think we could have driven the northern route back before we where road weary. Needless to say the Jag is very comfortable on the road. Next week I’ll get into what I have accomplished here in LA love and hugs to all.

Rockyn Robyn

P.S. Today is my son Taylor’s 13th birthday.. Welcome to the teenage years.. Also April 16th was my son Dylan;s 16th birthday!! I love and miss you guys.. See ya real soon. Muah!!

MONOLOGUES
BY JAMIE URIBE

One of the things I have learned in my journey as an actor is that I have to have at least three strong monologues ready at all times.  You never know when you will meet a casting director, producer, or director who wants to see what you can do.  By having a monologue, in your back pocket so to speak, could make the difference of landing an audition or a role.  So, be warned and be ready.

My problem has always been finding just the right monologue that fits me, that is current and not outdated, and something that I can relate too.  Every time I picked up a book on monologues, none of them suited my needs because they were outdated.  That is why I started writing my own.  And, now, I am going to start sharing my monologues with you through Dr. Mel's Blog.  I hope you enjoy my first one.  Feel free to learn it and use it for your needs.

Subject Matter:  Life Crumbles
Title:  My World is Crumbling
Target:  Adult M/F Monologue

How can this be?  How am I supposed to function?  Another late payment charge. Another excuse for them to say they have control over my life. How do they expect me to pay when I got terminated?  And, terminated against my will.  The Unemployment office won't even help me.  How do I not qualify?  I worked hard for countless years stuck in this hole.  Not to mention the numerous amount of times I went above and beyond.  And, this is how I am repaid.  What am I going to do?  Where can I find motivation when everything around me is crumbling?  My marriage?  My relationship with my children?  My own dog doesn't even greet me at the door anymore.  What did I do to deserve this? Where is God in all of this?  I thought He was to supposed to save me?  

Yes, that is selfish!  But, what about me?  Don't I deserve to think about me?  I've been a good person my whole life.  I paid my debt to society.  I honored my family.  Yea, maybe I didn't get to spend as much time with them that I would have liked, but I needed to provide for them.  Why can't they understand that?  Everything was fine until I lost my job.  And, now, I have nothing to show for it.  Peace.  You say peace as I could just flip a switch.  If it were that easy, I wouldn't be talking to you right now.  I don't even know how I'm going to be able to pay you after all.  Yet, you still listen, "care."

At least someone has a soul around here in my life.  Without you Dr. Wilson, I'd probably be six feet under.  I know I shouldn't talk like that, but everything just seems hopeless.  I'm suffering.  My only joy and happiness is when I walk out to that shoreline and take it all in.  Maybe, you are right?  My answer will come soon enough I guess.  There has to be mercy in the world somewhere.  Somehow, I'll manage.  Somehow, I'll catch a break.  I'll tell you one thing, I'm meant for much more than this.

NOTE:  Jamie Uribe is an actor and writer.  Last year she published her first book of poems, WHERE THE MIND WANDERS, and was in the T.D. JAKES film WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED: ON THE 7TH DAY.  Below is one of her poems and the information on how to purchase her book.

LESSONS ON LOVE
BY JAMIE URIBE



   



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