1. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    Real or fake?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shinn, Aug 31, 2010.

    Hey all.

    With my TV script, I've got the Greig siblings working for the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. I am just tossing up between having their names, i.e. James Greig, Lisle Greig, etc, as their real names, or making them pseudonyms like "Mike Coburn", "Kiwi Mike", "Andy McNab" or "Chris Ryan" from Bravo Two Zero. What path do you think would be more interesting for the viewer?

    ~ A confused Shinn
     
  2. L. Ai
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    L. Ai Member

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    ...totally not the question I was expecting from the title...

    I hope I read your question right:

    Nicknames are tricky. If that's how the narrator thinks of that character then stick to using it to refer to that character. But you're writing a script, so... make sure the audiance knows the characters' real names, but it's ok if people call them by their nick names, just don't overuse it. Like, either have someone who gives everyone a nickname, or one person that everyone calls by a nickname, but don't have everyone use nicknames for everyone- unless it's plot relevant.
     
  3. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    Thanks Ai. I'm thinking it's plot relevant, since SAS operatives use psuedonyms sometimes when writing stories of their actions in combat, like I described.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    youtube has clips from a TV show about the SAS called Ultimate Force - Chris Ryan was the co creator. Might be worth you looking at.
     
  5. jameskmonger
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    jameskmonger Member

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    Here's a funky (sort of) idea for nicknames, if you want to use them.
    Take the first letter of the characters first name, and the first letter of the surname, and make them into phonetics.
    For example, Joe Bloggs would become:
    Juliet Bravo.

    Or, you can take the first two letters of their name, and do the same, so Joe Bloggs would be:
    Juliet Oscar.

    Or, the last one:
    The first letter of the first name, and the last two letters of the surname, so Joe Bloggs would be:
    Juliet Golf Sierra.
     
  6. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    First off, are the Greig siblings real people or just characters you have created?

    If it's the second, how will the viewer know if the names by which you introduce the characters are nicknames or real names? If you mention both in the script, what would be the point in them having nicknames? Andy McNab et al are names created to hide identities. You wouldn't be hiding identities if both the real names and nicknames are made known.
     
  7. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Here are my two cents on the matter.

    Military (and law enforcement) distinguish themselves apart from normal people by addressing each other by last names instead of first names.

    Private Adam Hawkins and Private Walter Jones refer to each other as "Hawkins" or "Jones", in casual conversation.

    In official dialogue the rank and last names are used. Its "Private Hawkins reported for duty at 0700 hours sir!"

    It is the nature of special operations that they are all classified and most never "officially" happened, thus everything is encoded. US Navy SEAL team four is not SEAL Team four when deployed to the field. They become "Viper Team" or "Reaper Team" or some other macho sounding code name (And yes, military team code names are ALWAYS macho sounding as a matter of ego and morale...you'd undermine team morale by assigning a code name like "Pink Panda Team")

    Team code names, using the above method, breaks down into "Viper Leader" = Team leader and individual team members are "Viper One", "Viper Two", "Viper Three" etc.

    I'm not familiar with SAS operational procedures, but fake I.D.s and false identities are a part of covert ops, depending on the mission objectives. One thing I do know is that a false identity is only used once, then discarded (If word gets out that someone posing as a "Jeffery Davies" is a covert operative, he's toast. That's why each mission issues a new false identity.
     
  8. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    From a realistic perspective, no one would call Kiwi Mike, Kiwi Mike. That is to say, how many people have you known that had nicknames that it involved their first name? A guy we work with got given the name 'Pappy' because he said to he daughter, 'Pappy will be home soon'...We jumped mercilessly on that and call him Pappy but it would sound weird if we called him that with his first name.

    The point is that a nickname usually comes with a story. If it doesn't it sounds like the writer is just trying to make the guy sound cool.

    The only example I have is a character I've been mulling around called 'Bump Flagger' His 'real' name would be Daryl Flagger. However, as the story would go, when he was a kid in junior high, while being driven through some road construction, his friends saw two signs next to each other that said 'Bump' and 'Flagger' and the friends jumped on that and it stuck and thus the name Bump Flagger.

    I don't know if that is a great example but I think my point is that a nickname needs context to have worth in its use. Otherwise Kiwi Mike is a way for the writer to try to make the character seem cool versus a reason that the character's personality is unique. So, I think, use sparingly.
     
  9. Shinn
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    Cheers for the input Jeff :)
     

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