In the beginning, I didn’t care much for my character’s names. They just were, know-what-I-mean? Didn’t serial killers just happen to be called Gacy and Bundy? Didn’t Stallone and Schwarzenegger become action film brands? So what if my sister and I were named after our neighbours? (And why do people find this amusing?)
Names are important, though:
– Elliott & Rossio
I’ve long since run out of first and middle names of friends, family and acquaintances. Unlike John August, no streetnames I can remember or think of lend themselves to being affixed to my puppets characters.
I have to work at it. But maybe I learnt from the best:
INT. LOUNGE, MY PARENTS’ HOUSE – EVENING – SOME TIME AGO
My MOTHER cradles her week-old grandson, DAVID (not his real name), and makes coo-ing noises. My FATHER peers at the packet of swaddling and wrinkles.
What’s his name?
My mother wrinkles her nose.
What sort of name is David?
‘S a great name – direct and unambiguous.
My father nods slowly and, after a beat, clears his throat:
We will call you... Safune.
He likes that.
(getting a little cross)
What’s wrong with David?
Safune and his grandparents ignore the recently-minted father and leave the room.