I always get a kick out of people that tell you; you can’t name your characters unusual names.

And I also get a little rankled and annoyed. These folks tell you to let the audience think for themselves and then want to know why you don’t explain something or think you should dumb it down so the audience will get it.

My name is Nathan Raynald. Until I was in College, I knew of only one other Nathan. Even today I may know of only 10 or so, though it is becoming a more and more common name.

My brother is Norris Rayland, my sisters Fawnda LaRayna and Felisa LaRae, and no they are not black. I have a grandfather named Aud, a cousin Rdell, a cousin Bacon and another distant relative named Uriah. I went to school with a Doak McDonald, Warwick Chester, fell in love with a Mallary Schell. I knew a girl named Mitchell and a guy named Salon. I have worked with Metro, Ace, Skylan, Cleat, Erfield, Senator, Rit, Wael, Doc, Strickland, Tran and Schulyer. All first names and all normal Midwestern guys, except for Erfield. 
He was normal, just not from the Midwest. 
I played in a band with a Cutter Worth. And knew a brother and sister named Arly and Arvis.  I have known a lifeguard named Station, Purvis and Katheia, a camera operator named Captain, and producer named Hardly, two collegues Kerwin and Ryder, male and female respectively, a college professor Nuala, and a cheerleader named Sunset.  

I thought Sydney was a really cool girl’s name until it suddenly started to become more and more common.

And the nicknames get even more outrageous.

I like my name. Always have, always will. I like unusual names. Especially when a group of individuals come together and everyone has an unusual name. It happens more often than you might think. But either way, an unusual name gives an actor a great starting point from which to build.

Hurley, Troop, Keanu, Sawyer, Huckleberry, Wyatt, Tripp, Book.

You are making a movie. Two hours of entertainment. Heightened reality whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Write characters you want to live with. You don’t have to like them, relate to them or enjoy them, but you will have to live with them.

 


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09/01/2017 12:20am

I envy people with unusual names. Some of their names are derived from cool languages, some from the mixture of different names from their families, some from old characters or even items from famous novels and stories. I think the conception that people have in naming characters with unusual names is that it will make the story unrealistic that is why they opt for more generic names. I think people and the industry has become more accepting for unusual names and that goes for real life and fiction.

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03/30/2016 8:41am

Yes you can but it should be readable!

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