when writing a screenplay about an african american as the hero overcoming racism in a sports industry: how essential is it to describe him as african american, and for that matter, everyone else in the story? (i.e. friends, co-workers, antagonists) family members would be obvious enough, right? if it needs to be done, is there proper etiqutte? can i say he's black/white, or, he's african american/caucasian?
When you take the rule of thumb to keep descriptive lines of action to less than 3 or 4 lines, you want to use as little space as possible. My college professor used the phrase "economy of expression" in order to get us to be as brief and to the point as possible. So that said, the word black takes up less space than African American. Political Correctness is overrated and passe.
I usually tend to write my scripts without making them race specific. In other words, any actor of any race could play the part. However, I intend to write my next script specifically for an all black cast. My main character and opening scene involves them getting ready for church. I will only mention probably once that they are black (or not at all since I'm planning to film it myself). However, only mentioning it once will set the precedent on my script. We may be America, but we are segregated in most of the circles we socialize in (like church).
I'm assuming your script is a period piece a la Jackie Robinson because blatent racism and struggle in MOST sports is rare these days. Anyway, if your main character is black, I'd say so when you first describe him and leave it at that. You do not have to pepper your script in describing everyone's race. Let that come through in the way they treat him through their actions and leave it to the readers imagination.
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