Of course, as a writer, I’m just as interested with the back story and I’m delighted to know what they’re up to and what made them think to search for me. Do they live in the place you knew them from? Are they doing the same job they were doing then? Do they have a family? Do they keep in touch with any of your mutual friends?
For example, through Facebook I recently reconnected with an old school friend of mine named Fred Melamed. He is as creative as ever, working as both an actor and writer, and living with his wife and children. In addition to his life with his wonderful family, he’s just finished working on the new Coen Bros. film, A Serious Man. Says Fred:
I just finished a great part, the villain in a new Coen Bros’ film called A SERIOUS MAN, which will open in October. It will likely be in the Rome, and either Telluride or Toronto festivals. It is extremely dark–but was an utter blast to make. What a screenplay! And what a DP, composer, etc. They get the most wonderful people.
As an exercise:
Think of someone who you haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time. Now, imagine what they are doing now. Are they still interested in the same things? Or have they moved on to something else? Do they have a family? Take 5 minutes to write a brief character sketch about them. Did you get a glimmer of something you can use for one of your own characters?
As an added bonus, if you’re on Facebook or one of the other social sites look them up and find out what they’ve been up to. Even if you don’t get something you can use in your script, you just might reconnect with an old friend.