Shelly Altman a member of Ron Carlivati’s writing team at One Life to Live, last week blogged as a special guest blogger for the Writers Guild of America’s website in their new column cleverly called, Write On. The scribe’s latest post entitled, What’s In a Name? Take a look at those interesting choices writers make for their newly found characters!
Here is an excerpt: “Eden. Jax. Greenlee. Markko. Soap opera names; exotic, outrageous, sometimes unforgettable enough to find their way into mainstream American life. How many 28 year-old Lukes and Lauras do you think there are today? If you search the internet for baby names, you’ll find tons of websites devoted to soap opera names.
Choosing the right name for a character on a TV show is critical. It helps define the character’s personality. The name Slade suggests danger whereas Joey sounds like your good buddy. Mary’s probably a sweet girl, but Jezebel’s trouble. When you add someone new to a forty-year old soap opera with a history of roughly 1,000 characters over the years, coming up with an original name can be a challenge. Over the years, I’ve found my own ways to meet it. Sometimes I name characters to honor people in my own life. On One Life to Live, lawyers Alex Cody and Morgan Guthrie were named for my sons. Their high school directory has provided names like Margay and Grayson and Asher. For their school’s charity fundraiser, I used to auction off the right to have a one-shot under-five character named for the highest bidder. When the last winner gave me a really hard time because she didn’t like her namesake’s characterization (even the audience has divas), I abandoned the practice.”