Whats ok and what isn't


New member
When writing scripts and developing characters, how far can you usually base a character or events in a characters life off of people around you and in your own experiences without encountering legal trouble from the person? Seems to me that it would be pretty tough to go and lobby every single person that a quote or conversation or personality is based off of. So how does it work?

Tyler Emerson

New member
It's a question of whether the story is about you or the people around you. If the protagonist is based on yourself, you don't need any written permission because it's your story, your perspective. If it's somebody else, you can probably base material off of them. Just don't outright reference that the character is the person. I'd be more worried about offending the people than getting agreements on paper, because it sounds like you are in a situation where you don't need written permission. I know that when I do a script about myself and people around me, I ALWAYS give a copy to each of my friends and tell them exactly which characters are based on them. I also tell them to take everything with a grain of salt because it's just a movie. They usually find my caricatures of them pretty humorous, though. Always give them advance notice.


New member
Well Im really actually not in ANY situation right now...nothins happening. But lets say you just know a person or have met a person that is an aquaintance at best, but has very observable characteristics.


every writer writes the world around them into their films... from their point of view...

however... what you have to realize is:

the characters/events in a "FICTIONAL" screenplay, not a documentary or biography, are based on your mental impression of the characters/events around you in life... not the actual person...

and you protect yourself in the end with that special catch-phrase at the end of the credits...

any resemblance/similarity to blah blah blah blah... purely coincidental... blah blah blah.

just write & write freely.

Happy writing,


New member
portraying actual people in scripts

portraying actual people in scripts

Danny G,

It's very hard to "prove" that any character was based on a real person. If you're concerned about it, just be sure to add in enough disparate elements to deflect comparison. Or make the character a composite of more than one person that you know. If you reproduce an actual person and their traits too faithfully and completely, yes, that person might have claim. It is hard to prove, but if they want to try, it could be a big hassle for you. Is it worth portraying him/her that literally?