1. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    Is it okay to base characters off of celebrity faces?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ellebell16, Feb 22, 2011.

    Whenever I read a book, I always 'cast' characters as celebrities. It's usually more entertaining if I can see the book in my head as I read it. So naturally, as I write my book, it's hard for me to just picture the characters - I feel the need to cast them. I like being able to look at pictures of my characters and watch videos about them to get ideas on how they interact.

    However, some of the celebrities play roles that mirror what my story is about. I don't know if that's subconsciously why I picked the celebrities, but I don't want to copy characters from another TV show or book into my story by accident. I feel as though I could distance the character and the celebrity quite well, but I always feel guilty for some reason, like it's not my character. But it's really hard for me to picture a random person without making it look like a celeb.

    What do I do?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I quite often base at least my MCs off celebrities or at very least find a photo on google that looks right. My characters are mine but its nice to be able to see them in the flesh. I try to pick actors that also sing so they can sing to me whilst I writer lol It is also lovely when I get to see two of them interact on screen lol Watching my Abbot interview my Socrates was fun lol

    Sometimes the roles are similar I make no apologies for casting John Barrowman in a time travel novel lol then deciding obvious choice for his partner was David Tennant :) Whoopi Goldberg is my malaprop housekeeper etc It helps me bring my characters alive and is just more fun. I currently have two very young pictures of two actors on my profile that represent my current main character and his wife.
     
  3. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    there's absolutely nothing wrong with your approach...i tend to imagine them, but do find that some characters present inconsistently...in the long run, what you picture will differ from what the reader envisions...
     
  4. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I don't see any reason for you to feel guilty. Keep going. :)

    In my first stories, my characters were either my friends or celebreties. Nothing wrong there. You will probably start to develop your own characters as soon as you run out of celebs or start feeling bored. :)

    You probably quickly start mutating your characters anyway, and if it helps your imagination, why not?
     
  5. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I try to put a face to the name,
    be it a model(professional or amateur),
    actor someone I saw somewhere.

    I don't use their personalities, because actors adapt to their characters, so they are easily molded.
    It is easier to maintain a comon description if you have a set person in mind, even more so when writing several stories at once.

    Now was Dakara the black haired blue eyed elf, or is she the blond haired green eyed elf? (the answer; Dakara is the blond, and Aritae is the Black haired blue eyed one.)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you can use anyone you want for a physical description... no one but you will know anyway, will they?
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nothing wrong with "casting" your characters. I do it all the time. It's fun sometimes, even if it is a bit weird given my stories. :rolleyes:
     
  8. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    I thought I was the only one who did that! LOL :D
     
  9. Mystic_snowfang
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    Mystic_snowfang Member

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    Why just use celebs? Why not use just someone you saw on the bus?
    But if you state "they look just like (insert super popular super hot celeb here)" that might be pushing it a little
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Advantage of a celebrity is pictures and videos are available. Whilst I do have the confidence to ask someone on a bus questions and video them with my camera - google and youtube don't often say no and offer a wirder variety. One of my character's is currently singing a duet with Josh Groban on my play list lol I try to pick ones with a connection so I get to see them interact as well. Although I am not expecting to find my current two interacting.

    I try to go for the multitalented and blank canvas type actors so I get to see them in a variety of situation.
     
  11. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I think I tend towards compositing a character. No one person makes up my character.

    That said, just like everyone, I used people too. You can't not do it. It's your only reference.

    I tend to use a distinct voice/pattern for my characters dialogue. When I write it, I try to hear it in my head. Doing so helps me make character dialogue that doesn't sound as mundane...or so I think...

    The personality/profle may be a different person than who I use for speech patterns. I don;t split these intentionally but I find I naturally shy away from a cliché and I think using the speech and personality of a celeb/character make me turn the character in to a cardboard cut out and not a real person, so to speak.
     
  12. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Just a thought: you could find c.v.'s on the web, with a picture.... Maybe at linkedin, facebook you get ideas for "real life characters".
     
  13. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    I always do this. If I see a new an actor or actress who's face I like I look up their pictures online and when I'm writing I try and capture that actor/actress. It usually doesn't work as I don't really know how to match faces to my descriptions.
     
  14. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there's nothing wrong with that and it might even give your characters stronger identities. However, most celebrities are pretty typecast and kind of end up being parodies of themselves (Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Robert DeNiro). So in a way, why would you want any of these big names to appear in your book? They are already very 2D.

    I think you'd get more latitude from the character if you chose a fairly unknown person/actor. That way your imagination can really take over.

    I might be totally wrong about this. Just a thought.
     
  15. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Do it.

    I recall that Superman's face was based on a popular actor in the 30s.
     
  16. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I was thinking that later on.
    Even the best physical description of a movie star probably wouldn't make most people picture that star. But if you describe someone in your life,friends or family, then I bet people will figure out who you are depicting, even if you change the names.

    Now if you said drunk/drugged popular movie star imploding as your description, then depending on sex, people might think of Lindsy or Charlie.

    But physical descritions in words just can't describe a person to a "t". The addage a picture is worth a thousand words, if we tried, it would be very boring description.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    They might not know exactly but have found as soon as I put a picture of an actor up on my profile people who have read my work have got who they are even the one's where there isn't much physical description in the book.
     
  18. Vacuum Eater
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    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

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    Anne Rice based her character Lestat's looks off of actor Rutger Hauer.
     
  19. DreamisVision
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    DreamisVision New Member

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    I'm very bad in that I simply struggle to think of an imaginary face, so I always use actors. It helps me play the scenes out in my mind better. Being able to visualize my characters "performance" helps my writing.
     
  20. BobLobLaw
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    BobLobLaw Member

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    I think it's alright. It might be useful if your story turns into a movie. XD

    If they happen to play a role similar to your character, oh well. I don't think it matters in the long run.
     
  21. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    I think every writer, subconsciously or consciously, does this. It's fine, as I've read published authors admit to doing the same thing.

    On a funny side note, I based a character in by book of a certain actress who makes...urhh...films for an adult audience ;)

    The arduous research an aspiring writer has to do...

    I wonder if any readers would see the similarities and be willing to admit where out loud where they have seen her before.
     

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