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I've written a screenplay and as I sharpen it/enter it into Final Draft I've come across some confusion related to character names. My main character is named Bathsheba and throughout the story, especially early, she is cruelly called Bat(she is blind). My question is: 1) I assume she should always be Bathsheba on the character line 2)should she also always be Bathsheba in action line? ~the name issue is a topic of interest for her and becomes one as well with other characters as well, revolving around them being "nicknamed" and called something they do NOT prefer.

--any help is much appreciated as this is my first foray into the screenwriting process, thx. -Matt

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Simple Answer

INT. HOUSE - DAY

BATHSHEBA runs through the front door, crying.

                BATHSHEBA
        Leave me alone!

             EVIL BITCHES (O.S)
      (sing-song)
        Bat! Bat! Come out to play. We have a bat for batty Bat.

Somewhat Complicated Answer

Character names must be consistent by the time a script gets into preproduction. Until then it depends on the story and how it flows. You want someone to read it.

So JOHNNY may grow up into JOHN. But JOHNNY (10) is different from JOHNNY (18) and JOHN (40).

NAKED WOMAN may become JANE once it is obvious she will be part of the team. I haven't read how Blindspot did it in the pilot.

However unless the names spoil the twist, keep it simple. Call her BATHSHEBA all the way through. It should be obvious when she is in the scene or when people are talking about her in her absence.

If BATHSHEBA is also the MASKED KILLER, then don't reveal that until the mask is pulled off her face, then refer to her as BATHSHEBA.

e.g.

INT. SCARY HOUSE - NIGHT

The MASKED KILLER is caught in the ropes.

            MASKED KILLER
        No!

The SCOOBY SQUAD emerge from hiding.

            THELMA
        So who's behind the mask?

SHAGGY pulls the mask off to reveal-

            BATHSHEBA
        And I'd have gotten away with it too if it 
        wasn't for you meddling kids.
  • 3
    Once "MASKED KILLER" is revealed to be BATHSHEBA, normal screenplay format requires the first dialogue tag after the reveal read "BATHSHEBA (MASKED KILLER)" to make this clear. After the first use, the parenthetical after BATHSHEBA is no longer necessary. If Bathsheba disguised her voice as the Masked Killer, we presume under BATHSHEBA her voice doesn't change. Add a parenthetical if necessary, eg BATHSHEBA (and underneath) "(in MASKED KILLER voice)". – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Aug 28 '17 at 11:31
  • I agree with a caveat... the problem with BATHSHEBA (MASKED KILLER) is that introduces a 3rd character into the script breakdown if the producer /1st AD/Pre-Production team isn't careful. MASKED KILLER can (and often will) be played by a stand-in and from most departments' perspective is a separate character from BATHSHEBA. It becomes a big problem if the same actor plays both roles but they have different names. – paulzag Aug 30 '17 at 7:23

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