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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Surnames Moderators: George Willson
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Desmond
Posted: July 6th, 2022, 4:28am Report to Moderator
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Hi. This may sound silly but why do we use surnames in some scripts mainly crime dramas. For instance (UK only) ITV touch of Frost. He is always called by his boss as FROST although his name is William Edward Frost. Inspector Morse is called Morse Endeavour Morse. Endeavour was the name of Captain James Cook's vessel HM Bark Endeavour.

In the work place, you would not expect your boss to call you SMITH or JONES. Even in the US of A there was a drama called Alas Smith and Jones.

IS there a good reason for this or could a script writer give first names.
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SteveClark
Posted: July 6th, 2022, 9:07am Report to Moderator
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Sometimes calling someone by just their last name sounds cool?


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Desmond
Posted: July 6th, 2022, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Nice website Stephen Clark. Not sure what it is meant to be though.
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LC
Posted: July 6th, 2022, 5:28pm Report to Moderator
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It's also a mark of respect, and depending on the character's role, for example, a policeman - well, you're not going to call a DI  William or Paulie for example, are you?

In real life too - it's doubtful you'd call your boss by his or her first name.

It's part of setting up character too like Steve said, it can be cool, or humorous, or a clever pun on a full name, or maybe a character is a grump so other characters call him Happy.

You're the writer, you can concoct anything you like.


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SteveClark
Posted: July 6th, 2022, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Desmond
Nice website Stephen Clark. Not sure what it is meant to be though.


Haven’t touched it in a couple years. Too busy writing. At the very least it has a big old closeup of my pretty face.


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Desmond
Posted: July 7th, 2022, 4:43am Report to Moderator
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Well you might be American. I called my boss by his first name Malcom and he called me by my first name Desmond.

A lot depends on your position. If you were the cleaner you would use first name. But for people within an office would all call their manager by their first name.

A school teacher would probably call the headmaster by his first name. It's a social thing probably not seen in USA
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LC
Posted: July 7th, 2022, 6:39am Report to Moderator
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I'm Aussie.

I agree it depends on the circumstances.


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Desmond
Posted: July 7th, 2022, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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Dempsey & Makepeace. They are work colleagues calling each other by their surnames. SERIOUSLY

Cagney & Lacey the same.
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LC
Posted: July 7th, 2022, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Seriously, I think you have to face facts that -

Harriet & James
and
Christine & Mary Beth just doesn't have the same ring to it, or gravitas for that matter.  


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LC
Posted: July 7th, 2022, 6:51pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting reading:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/LastNameBasis/Film

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LastNameBasis#:~:text=Advertisement%3A,a%20character's%20given%20name%20entirely.

And here's the opposite where characters are memorable by their full first and last names:
https://www.filmsite.org/100characters1.html


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Desmond
Posted: July 11th, 2022, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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Yes Thanks [Administrator] I especially agree with Danny and Sandy Olsson. If you build up the characters with solid names.  I am working on a BBC comedy with two lesbians living together called Rosy and Lucy. They both have surnames but we refer them by their first names.
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Desmond
Posted: July 11th, 2022, 10:25am Report to Moderator
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Just thought. What about soaps. Here in the UK (Emmerdale and Coronation street) they all use first names.
What about Kylie Minogue: in neighbours.
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