1. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    Introducing race to characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AltonReed, Jul 26, 2014.

    Admittedly, character description in screenplays is an area I need to improve on but what are the best ways to introduce a character's race?

    Sometimes I find it easy - 'The driver - TYLER: a young, black man wearing...' but having trouble in this instance.

    'NICOLE, a pretty, confident red haired girl with vibrant and colourful makeup applies makeup to her friend LAURA's face.'

    I want to present Laura as mixed race here. I guess it will take a sentence restructure but how do the rest of you screenwriters do this?
     
  2. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I only do it if it serves a purpose.
     
  3. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    It does. If I don't, the casting directors will assume they're white and I want this to be diverse.
     
  4. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Mention that she needs to use different colours, as her skin tone is different. Caramel skin?
     
  5. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    Wanting it to be a certain way is not good enough.

    What is the *story purpose*?

    If there is no story purpose and the same story can be told with any character cast as any race, then that's what the casting director will do. Hell, the movie Salt started out as Edwin A. Salt - a man. They cast Angelina Jolie. They were free to change the gender without changing the story because the gender had no impact on the story, and that's exactly what they did.

    If you want A character to be black and B character to be white, there MUST be a reason within the story for those casting limitations to be in place. If there's not, you can still write that Max is black and Annie is white, but your suggestions will be ignored. That is a cold, hard fact about the business. They'll cast whoever they can get for the role, because it's not about preserving your ideal, it's about making money. They might cast John Goodman and Michelle Yeoh, or Freida Pinto and Salma Hayek. If they're not affecting the story by making these casting decisions, they can and will cast whoever they want, regardless of what you wrote.

    If you want certain races just because, go ahead and write it that way, but understand that it will likely be changed, so there's no use in stressing over something that is not significant to anyone else.

    The business of screenwriting does the writer zero favors, and that is the very reason why I don't write screenplays anymore.
     
    Mike Kobernus likes this.

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