Q. In an NYPD BLUE script I read:
Meanwhile MICHAEL WOLFF, 28, in sport coat and slacks, has entered the Squad. He's carrying a manila file folder.I have two questions about this.
1. When do you give a character's age? As far as I can tell, this man's
age is completely irrelevant to the story. And if it were, would it
really matter that is was 28 and not, say, 27 or 29?
I always give a character's age right away. Age is crucial to what we see. It may not always be crucial to the story. But if I don't know how old a character is, I can't create a mental picture. You always want the audience to have a mental picture.
You can say "late 20's" but why be vague when you can be specific in fewer words? No one on the show will take the age too literally. They'll probably cast a 35 year old actor who looks late 20's.
2.On the next page it's revealed in the dialogue that this man has a black eye. Wouldn't that be something that you would describe when introducing the character?
Usually, yes. But if the scene is written so that the guy is probably in a wide shot, we might not notice it. If you want the black eye to score, you might not mention it until other characters notice it, and then have someone actually remark, "Hey, is that a black eye?"