1. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Referencing Popular Movies/books

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Evelyanin, Jan 6, 2010.

    Hi everyone, I know there is a thread somewhere relating to this, but I couldn't find it.
    My dilemma is that I would like to reference a fictional character from a popular movie. It involves a joke regarding someone with the same first name. However, are there certain legalities that I need to know about?
    For example, if a character doesn't believe another character about his identity, he might say something like: "Sure, and I'm Mickey Mouse." Can you write something like that without worrying about getting in trouble with Disney, or are there strict rules to adhere to?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A reference such as that would not be a problem.
     
  3. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    Honestly, the writer would probbably enjoy the reference to their work. BUT keep in mind that that dates your piece. I wanted to do a Twilight reference in my peace and didn't because it would put my piece in the time frame of today and always today. So be careful. I would not do something meggapopular like Twilight or Harry Potter.
    ;)
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's okay if you are fixing your story to a particular time period, to use references specific to that time. But WriteWizard is right about trendy references in contemporary fiction. Even if you are sure Tiger Woods will be universally admired as a golfer and an icon of wholesomeness, you could find the manuscript you submitted last month became laughable because of a reference at a significant moment of the story.

    You can never be quite sure.
     
  5. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    I'll be specific. I am using the character Ethan Hunt from the movie "Mission: Impossible". A certain character in my story has the same first name, and introduces himself as Ethan Hunt as a joke. Since it is a perfectly normal name, the chances of someone catching the joke can be pretty slim, so all the people in on the joke can have fun at the MC"s expense. In this case, the MC notices the joke, and turns it around for her own advantage. Since the movie is already 14 years old, I figured it would work for my story.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Insider jokes are generally not a good idea. Unless you are very subtle about it, te reader gets the feeling you have slipped something in that is over his or her head.

    Making the reader feel stupid or out of the loop is never wise.
     
  7. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Hmm... very true. I added a little piece with the part mentioned above. I haven't reached that moment in my story yet, but this is how I see it happening right now. If you don't think it will work, I'll leave it out.

    This is the point in the story where Evalyne is introduced to Ethan. Though names might change, I plan to keep Ethan's the same. I haven't actually reached this point in the story yet, but I'm trying to smooth out the wrinkles before I get to them.

    "Hi, my name is Ethan. Ethan Hunt."
    "Oh indeed? My name is Amelia Earhart."
    "You noticed huh?"
    "Even girls are allowed to watch action movies."
    "Touché."

    A little bit rough, but you should get the idea.
     
  8. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I think cogs previous post sums it up correctly this is such a throw away comment that most people won't get it, i myself am a film buff and if I read this out of context without the introduction you have already stated I probably wouldn’t have picked up on it at first read, it would work better if the character had a more recognisable name, but a character in a moderately popular action movie, will go over most peoples heads, and the Amelia earhart retort even more so.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not a good idea with that name, imo... other than cruise and MI fans, i suspect most readers wouldn't get it even if you included the title...
     
  10. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll leave it out. I myself am not that much of a Cruise/MI fan, but I did see the movie a few months ago. I guess that might have affected my idea. Oops.
     

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