As I’m writing the outline for my screenplay I discovered that I was basing a lot of the store elements on moments from my personal life. It’s not a biopic by any means—some moments and ideas in the screenplay are loosely based on moments and ideas that have occurred to me. Because the main character, then, is also loosely based on me I gave him the name “Mitch.” Like the story, the guy I have in my head for this is kind of like me, but not completely, so I only gave him a similar name.
I know that I’ve mentioned before in this blog that in recent years I stopped naming characters in my prose works unless absolutely necessary—such as the friends of the main characters in “The Diary of Lost Suicides” and “To Love a Ghost” (both of which are still available as e-books on Amazon). Another good example is the two characters “Sophia” and “Sophie” from one of the novels I’m currently working on, as it was the best way I could connect the two in the mind of the protagonist.
As I’m trying to make this screenplay a little more realistic and less stylized than my previous work, I figured I would go ahead and name my characters. The lack of names would be too noticeable and might alienate the audience. Other than Mitch I didn’t put any thought in to the names, keeping them mostly drab such as Larry and Mary. It wasn’t something I wanted to invest much time on.
Once I named Mitch I had second thoughts. I don’t care if the character ends up accurately resembling me in any way. That’s not my problem. I do feel weird, however, in the act of naming him that way. Am I being egotistical? Will I really be able to disconnect myself from him or am I going to think of him as a mini-me?
More likely, the fact that I feel so weird about it is the problem. I don’t feel compelled to change his name. I should just get used to it and press on. Still, I wonder what people would think of me. This is, of course, assuming that a.the movie gets made, b.people watch it, c.people pay attention to my movie credit and d.they make the connection in the first place. It’s all such a long shot I shouldn’t worry about it right now anyway.
It is weird that if I’m taking embarrassing moments and insecurities from my real life and basing a screenplay around them, the only thing I’m caught up on is the main character’s name. I should be prepared for people connecting the events to me, not just the character name. I shouldn’t worry about that, either. Maybe I should just concentrate on writing the damn screenplay in the first place.