Please omit redundant information/irrelevant details: Ralph Fiennes' character in Red Dragon is called Francis Dolarhyde, and that's how he's listed in the credits. It's simply overkill to have him listed as "Francis Dolarhyde/The Tooth Fairy/The Red Dragon" even though those are factually correct descriptions.
Names are usually enough, and the character name shouldn't be descriptive, unless absolutely necessary to identify the actor (i.e., if a role doesn't have a name, someone may be identified as "Man in Van" or "Woman with Umbrella").
Avoid extra embellishments/repetitions/nicknames unless they are part of the credited character name: it's enough to list Robert Patrick as John Doggett in the "X-Files" TV series, instead of "Special Agent Jonathan Jay 'John' Doggett"; Jeri Ryan played Seven of Nine on "Star Trek: Voyager", not "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, aka Annika Hansen"; Edward Norton played Will Graham in Red Dragon, not "William Graham" or "Special Agent Graham" or "FBI Special Agent William 'Will' Graham"; Matt LeBlanc plays Joey Tribbiani in "Friends", not "Joseph 'Joey' Francis Tribbiani". You get the idea.
Whether that extra info is accurate or not doesn't matter. Robert Englund's character in the Nightmare on Elm Street films is known as Freddy Kruger, not Frederick Kruger or Frederick 'Freddy' Kruger, even though Freddy is probably the diminutive form for Frederick.
For TV episode appearances it is no longer necessary to include 'appearance' details in the character field (as the appearance is itself, now unique to an episode). Thus:
There may be some credits under this old system still present during a transitional period.
The main cast for a TV series is derived from the episode listings (where available). Changes to the existing TV series main cast lists are generally no longer accepted.
Avoid punctuation within character names where possible:
Superheroes/supervillains and other characters with secret identities are considered to be two characters, so if both character names are included in the credits, then they should be separated with a slash. However, if only one name appears in the credits, only that one name should be submitted. Any secret identities not appearing in the onscreen credits can be added to the Trivia section of the title beginning your item with:
This tag will then be recognized by the database and automatically placed beneath a SPOILERS! warning, so that anyone who does not wish to know what happens can avoid reading it.
For 'self' type appearances, 'Himself' or 'Herself' should be used as the character name ('Themselves' for groups). This should, where appropriate, be followed by a hyphen and a short description of their role in the title (rather than role in 'life'). For example:
For news and current affairs programs/documentaries, the description given in the subtitle when the name appears on screen is preferred. Long biographical descriptions should be avoided here and should be submitted to the individual's biography section instead.
Appearances where an individual is interviewed as well as performing an act, or where an individual has multiple and distinct roles can be submitted using a forward slash as a separator. For example:
If in the above examples, the individual is appearing as part of an 'act', the act name should be submitted instead of the individual names when the act is credited. Use of the act name as an attribute e.g. (as Aerosmith) is now deprecated.
Where someone is billed in the credits as Himself/Herself in a fictional piece and are playing a scripted, fictional version of themselves, we use the performer's name as the character name to avoid moving the credit to the 'Self' category even if the credits say Himself/Herself.
Please use standard English capitalization rules as used for titles in the database, so all words in a character name should start with an uppercase letter except for prepositions and non-leading articles, for example:
Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs; Brian Cox plays Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter. Yes, they're the same character but the spelling is different and we will stick to each film's peculiar version.
Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien is called simply Ripley. The fact that her first name is Ellen is not disclosed/introduced until the sequel Aliens; therefore her character name in Alien is Ripley, not Ellen Ripley.
Including extra information that comes from other sources than the film is especially wrong: Nichelle Nichols plays "Uhura" in the TV series "Star Trek" and in the films. Even though, according to some Star Trek books and novelizations, her first name is Nyota, that name is not used in the films or TV series to the best of our knowledge.
Even if the various Star Wars books and novelizations may include name, rank and serial numbers for every single Imperial Stormtrooper ever shown in the films, we'll still list them all simply as "Stormtroopers" unless the on-screen credits have a different description.
Plural/group names can be converted to their singular form, if needed. For example, if the credits of a film read:
It would be ok to use either the plural "Children" or the singular "Child" as a character name for each one (as long as it's used consistently)
As a special case of this, if the character name in the credits contradicts the character name seen or spoken in the film (for example, Winston Zedd(e)more in Ghost Busters), we list the character name as it appears in the credit, and note the discrepancy as a continuity goof.
Ian Hart plays Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. You're not supposed to know he's also Voldemort. Ian Holm plays Sir William Gull in From Hell. His character name is not "Jack the Ripper". Those are both supposed to be surprises.
If you haven't seen those two films, we just spoiled them for you. Sorry about that, but imagine how our users feel when they come to the site and see those character names before seeing the film. Even if factually correct, character names that constitute spoilers must be avoided at all costs.
This is especially true for multiple character names that can be easily omitted: it's just as effective to say that Cary Grant plays "Peter Joshua" in Charade. There is no need to say that he plays "Peter Joshua/Alexander Dyle/Adam Canfield/Brian Cruikshank", even if that's true.
David Prowse plays Darth Vader in Star Wars. Clint Eastwood plays Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. Even though the Italian release of those films changed those two names to Darth Fener and Harry Callaghan respectively, we will stick to the character names used in the original version.
For descriptive character names (e.g., Mayor, Man #1), they should generally be entirely in the language of the original version, but English can be used if the original is not known.
(Note: This practice is being phased out, and should not be used for new data; it is retained here to help you interpret existing data. For new data, the credits should be added to specific episodes.)
Cast changes are the rule on long running TV series. Unless an actor has been part of the cast for the entire run of a series, we try to include the time frame of his/her appearances on the series.
For example, see the following character descriptions for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999):
|Christopher Meloni||...||Detective Elliot Stabler|
|Stephanie March||...||ADA Alexandra Cabot (2000-2003)|
|Ice-T||...||Detective Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola (2000-)|
Christopher Meloni has been a cast member since the first episode and
still appears in new episodes. His character name doesn't therefore need a
Stephanie March joined the show in 2000 but left the show in 2003
Ice-T joined "Law & Order: SVU" in 2000 and is still a cast member at this time.