Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing: Timmons Chronicles Pilot: Act IV

This is the final act that covers things not in the Theater Boy book. It's very revealing, and I hope it translates as dramatically on the small screen as I'd like it to be. Especially the final scenes. Anyway, enjoy!

ACT IV
EXT. BASEBALL FIELD - DAY
Seven years has passed, June 1979. DOTTIE, now 13, lean, tall, slightly flat-chested, plays baseball with a group of boys. She is the pitcher. Her fastball typically makes the catcher shake his hand in pain. Yet she strikes out batters.
COACH #1, coaching the other team, sidles up to COACH #2, Dottie’s coach.
COACH #1
You gonna let that girl embarrass my boys?
COACH #2
It’s all about winning.
COACH #1
Heck, your own players don’t like her.
COACH #2
What do you want me to do? Pull her from the game because she’s too good?
COACH #1
At least give us a chance without losing to a girl.
Coach #1 pats Coach #2 on the back.
COACH #1
(Cont.) I know you’ll do the right thing.
He goes back to his own dugout. Dottie strikes out the last batter and comes into the dugout. She grabs a helmet and a bat.
COACH #2
Dottie, I’m going to let Matthew hit for you.
DOTTIE
What!? I’ve got a no-hitter going!
COACH #2
I know, and since this game is out of hand I want to save you for another game.
Dottie looks at him incredulously. She puts the bat and helmet down, grabs her glove and walks out of the dugout.
COACH #2
Hey! There’s no call for that!
Dottie turns to him.
DOTTIE
Answer me truthfully: If I were a boy I’d still be in the game, right?
Coach #2 stays silent.
DOTTIE
(Cont) I thought so. I quit.
She leaves the ballfield. PENNY Thomas, now 12, and SARAH, Dottie’s six-year-old sister, join her.
PENNY
Where are you going?
DOTTIE
Home.
SARAH
But you were doing so well!
DOTTIE
Life’s not fair. It’s a man’s world.
PENNY
Oh not that again.
DOTTIE
(turns to her) It’s true. You saw their coach talking to mine. Then he takes me out! I’m embarrassing them because I’m a girl.
They walk in silence for a while, Dottie with her head down. They pass some construction and Sarah gets excited.
SARAH
Hi daddy!
They stop walking. Her father stands from where he is pouring concrete and waves at her.
PENNY
What are they building there anyway?
DOTTIE
Some kind of theater. The owner only contracted dad to build the foundation. Says he’ll do the rest.
Brad Timmons stands close to their dad, talking to him. Dottie shudders softly.
DOTTIE
(V.O.) No! I got rid of you! Why are you coming back?
She turns away from the construction and walks toward home. Penny and Sarah follow her.
INT. BOBBY’S CHICAGO ROOM - DAY
It is July 1979. BOBBY, now 13, is in his room with a friend, DOUG. They are pouring over books. A blackboard sits in front of them.
BOBBY
Read that question again?
DOUG
(math question)
BOBBY
Okay...(answers using chalkboard to explain)
DOUG
How do you do that? You always explain things better than the teachers.
BOBBY
Oh, well I can visualize the problems a lot better than they can.
DOUG
Oh I know, and they get mad at you, brother.
BOBBY
I don’t let it bother me.
Doug looks around the room. He stands and goes to a stack of trophies, and a large pile of baseballs, all with something written on them.
DOUG
Hey you still have that Karate trophy. I remember that.
BOBBY
You mean your nose remembers. I still can’t believe I broke it.
DOUG
That was 3 years ago. And besides, it was my fault, I moved the wrong way.
BOBBY
I stopped competing because of that. I felt so bad that I hurt you.
DOUG
That’s silly. You were the best. I’ll bet even now you’d beat me.
BOBBY
(smiles) I don’t even want to think about that.
DOUG
Come on. Just you and me. We’re both tougher now!
There is a knock on the door and Brad comes in.
BRAD
Time for Doug to go home, Bobby.
DOUG
All right, but you owe me a match, Timmons.
Doug leaves the room.
BRAD
We need to talk.
He sits on Bobby’s bed.
BOBBY
It’s safe, guys.
Bobby’s room becomes filled with motion. Robots of all sizes come from every corner. Some even hover. Bobby sits at his desk.
BOBBY
So what’s up?
BRAD
You do know that you’re gifted, right? Smarter, more compassionate, tougher than normal?
BOBBY
(smiles) What do you think, guys, am I normal?
Robots shake their heads and a chorus of robotic voices says ‘Negative’.
BRAD
You have a sense of humor at least. I hope I’ve instilled a sense of humility as well. (pause) But have you ever wondered why you’re so different?
BOBBY
All the time. But even my magic ball couldn’t tell me the answer to that one.
BRAD
It’s because you have a mission in life.
BOBBY
(sits up) Do tell. Is this where I find out I’m a starchild?
BRAD
(laughs) No, you’re not from another planet.
BOBBY
Aww...
BRAD
You’re from another time.
BOBBY
(Raises an eyebrow) Einstein didn’t think time travel was possible.
BRAD
Hmmm, interesting, isn’t it? There’s more, of course. I’m glad you’re taking this so calmly.
BOBBY
One thing you did teach me, sensei, is patience.
BRAD
Good. One lesson learned. There is, however, a lot of information to be shared. We’d like to put it directly into your brain, but the process is a bit painful.
BOBBY
No pain, no gain.
BRAD
Good. Follow me.
They get up and leave the room.
INT. SECRET ROOM - DAY
The door opens and Brad and Bobby enter. Lorie is already there.
LORIE
I’m glad you’re here Bobby. Have a seat and I’ll explain the process.
Bobby looks around the room.
BOBBY
You’ve hidden this from me the whole time?
He sits in the chair in the middle of the room.
LORIE
What’s going to happen is a helmet will drop down from the ceiling and fit itself around your head. It has needles that will attach to your skull, but not penetrate it. The needles will carry the information to the parts of the brain that hold memories. Okay so far?
Bobby nods. The helmet comes down and Bobby watches it until it covers his head.
LORIE
Try to relax.
BOBBY
Easy for you to say.
The lights flicker and Bobby tenses. In his eyes images form: complex Mathematical formulae, chemical formulae, an image of the Earth being covered with a black cloud. The last image is of Brad, Lorie and the Old Man. They stand for a moment, then all 3 disappear at once. The Old Man appears again and slowly becomes younger until he becomes an infant, with Brad and Lorie holding him. The image of a red light on a massive computer comes into his mind.
The lights come back on and Bobby relaxes. He pants for a moment, looking inward.
BOBBY
What a rush. (pants, looks at Brad and Lorie) So (pause) you’re not real?
BRAD
We’re as real as you want us to be. We’re still here for you.
Bobby gets up, touches Lorie on the arm.
BOBBY
And I can’t read your thoughts, because you have no brain in that body. Funny, it never occurred to me before. (Spreads arms wide) Wow, I mean (pause) wow! So much you haven’t told me before now. (pause) But there’s something missing. (Looks up) Hey Old Man? You out there? Show yourself!
The Old Man appears.
OLD MAN
Scan him for damage.
BOBBY
No, no, I feel fine, just so much to process. But one question still lingers: Why? Why go through all this just to lay the mission on me?
OLD MAN
You’ve seen what happens to the Earth.
BOBBY
That doesn’t explain why you’re so obsessive about this. Going to all this trouble, building a massive computer hidden away somewhere to hold all this information; making holograms of (pause) everything and making yourself young again, into me. Why? What drove you to such extremes? And why is this Dottie Brown such a key?
The Old Man pauses, a gleam in his eye. Zooming in on the gleam, we find a scene playing out.
INT. OLD DOTTIE’S LAB - DAY
It is 2036. OLD DOTTIE, around 70,mostly red hair with a white streak, sits in front of a glowing portal. A bucket of baseballs at her side. Her eyes glaze over. She picks up a ball, writes something on it, and tosses the ball through the portal. The ball disappears.
The Old Man comes in.
OLD MAN
What are you up to?
OLD DOTTIE
Sending messages, like a note in a bottle.
OLD MAN
You’ve never been able to get that time portal to work. You said yourself it takes too much power.
OLD DOTTIE
For a person, maybe, but not a baseball.(Smiles and gets up) The theory is sound. We just need bigger batteries.
The portal glow fades.
OLD MAN
I’m good, but not that good.
She kisses him.
OLD DOTTIE
You play with your toys, I’ll play with mine.
OLD MAN
We’ll be late for the reunion.
OLD DOTTIE
Nah, flight traffic is light today.
She takes him by the hand and they leave the room.
EXT. TIMES SQUARE - DAY
In the middle of Times Square, the usual crowds of people walk by. Taxis hover on standby or fly by at various heights. XAVIER LOPEZ, in his 20’s walks up to a large advertising screen. He carries a suitcase and sets it down on the ground. He opens it, and takes out a large container, filled with a clear liquid. He takes out 2 smaller containers and puts them to the side.
XAVIER
Ladies and gentlemen, I represent a group of very unhappy South Americans.
Some of the crowd stop to listen.
XAVIER
In the last year many of our people have been put out of work because of the work of one of your American scientists. One Sarah Simmons-Jackson. You may remember her as winning the Nobel Prize recently for her work in curing the addiction to cocaine and other drugs. I worked for one of the groups that happily provided this cocaine to your citizens. I am now out of a job because too few people want to buy my product.
Several of the people watching jeer him.
XAVIER
I know. Our product led to death and addiction, yet it was the lifeblood of my family. I am here today not to apologize for the problems my friends and I have caused, but to seek vengeance in the best way I know how, to cause more death.
He takes one of the smaller containers, opens it and pours it into the larger container. The contents bubble.
A policeman comes up to him. A floating news camera hovers near him.
POLICEMAN
What are you doing?
XAVIER
I hereby exact vengeance against America. May one die for every one of my people who are now destitute or dying themselves!
The policeman tries to grab him, but Xavier lifts the other small container and pours it into the larger one. The contents bubble over and a black cloud forms. The cloud quickly spreads and grows thicker by the minute. The people watching cough and retch, then fall. Xavier himself, with a smile on his face, breathes deep and then falls.
The policeman knocks over the container, and its contents spill. The cloud only gets denser. The cloud continues to spread through Times Square and then through New York City.
EXT. PARK - DAY
The Simmons family Reunion takes place in a park in the small town where Dottie grew up. The park is filled with men, women and children, all related somehow to Dottie and the Old Man. In a nearby parking lot, cars hover, and other cars fly by.
In the midst of the celebration, one bored teenaged girl walks away from the celebration, put on her holo-glasses, and put on her favorite teen soap opera. The broadcast is interrupted for a news report. At the same time beeps are heard throughout the party.
OLD DOTTIE
That’s the terror alert!
Everyone stops what they are doing and puts on holo-glasses.
REPORTER
Once again, a black cloud that started in Times Square is spreading very quickly around the globe, engulfing every place it reaches with what appears to be Carbon Monoxide and other toxic fumes. We urge our viewers to get to a terror shelter at once.
A map appears, showing the position of the cloud and it’s projected spread-rate.
OLD DOTTIE
Everyone evacuate! Now!
The gathering breaks up as families rush to their cars.
INT. OLD DOTTIE’S CAR - DAY
Old Dottie and the Old Man climb in. The Old Man grabs his pocket computer.
OLD MAN
At this rate, we have maybe 45 minutes before it hits us. I’m gathering info from central processing now.
OLD DOTTIE
Home, top speed.
OLD MAN
No, we’re not sheltered enough at home. Head for the shelter.
OLD DOTTIE
If I’m right, no place is safe for very long. Look at the corrosive nature of that cloud! It’s eating through everything. We need to open a time portal and prevent this from happening.
The Old Man stares at his computer screen.
OLD MAN
Very well, home then. Break the sound barrier.
The car lifts off and rockets forward. A sonic boom is heard momentarily.
INT. DOTTIE’S LAB - DAY
Old Dottie and the Old man come running into the room.
OLD DOTTIE
You still connected to central processing?
OLD MAN
No, it went down a few minutes ago. But I think I have enough information on when it happens to stop it. We need to go back 3 hours. It was a Latin American drug cartel set off the cloud. I’m still trying to work out its composition, but it appears to be primarily carbon monoxide. Can you take us back 3 hours?
OLD DOTTIE
Only one of us needs to go. I need to stay behind to run the equipment. I have to find the power somewhere.
OLD MAN
No. We promised each other that we’d never part.
OLD DOTTIE
I’m not sure I can fine tune it for 3 hours. Grab some supplies. You might be in for a long wait.
OLD MAN
You’re not listening to me.
OLD DOTTIE
Yea I am. If I can find the power for two people to get through, I’ll follow you. Now get those supplies ready, especially the video camera.
The Old Man starts to gather boxes of supplies. A glowing portal appears for a moment, then fades.
OLD DOTTIE
I don’t suppose you’d like to get a sample of that cloud? It might come in handy.
OLD MAN
Do you have anything that would hold it?
OLD DOTTIE
Try those self-capping vials on my workbench. They’re as tough as nails.
The Old Man grabs a vial from the bench and heads out. Old Dottie looks at her scanner.
OLD DOTTIE
That cloud is picking up speed as it moves. It should be here soon.
OLD MAN
(V.O., over intercom) I’ve got the vial hooked up to our atmosphere sampler system, but it may allow the cloud in.
OLD DOTTIE
I just need another minute to reroute power.
An alarm sounds.
OLD DOTTIE
(Cont.) Time’s up.
She goes to the Old Man’s computer, sitting on one of the boxes, and types furiously at the keyboard. She comes back to her console. The Old Man comes back into the room and seals the door. He puts the vial in one of the boxes.
OLD MAN
It’s eating through everything, but I got the sample. Seems safe so far.
OLD DOTTIE
All right then, let’s begin. Get ready with the camera. I don’t know where or when that will come out.
Old Dottie presses a series of buttons and a loud hum fills the air. A glow appears, large enough for the Old Man to walk through. The Old Man plunges a video camera through the portal. The picture shows what appears to be farmlands and a sunny sky.
OLD MAN
Looks clear.
OLD DOTTIE
Great, get the supplies through, your computer first.
The Old Man picks up the first box and steps through the portal.
EXT. FARMLAND - DAY
The Old Man steps out of the portal, takes a deep breath, puts the box on the ground and steps back through.
INT. OLD DOTTIE’S LAB - DAY
The Old Man steps back through, grabs another box and steps back through. He repeats the process until all the boxes are gone.
OLD MAN
Come with me!
OLD DOTTIE
Get through while you can. I have my hands full finding power.
OLD MAN
I won’t go without you!
OLD DOTTIE
(looks at him) I promise I’ll be right behind you!
The Old Man nods and steps through the portal.
EXT. FARMLAND - DAY
The Old Man turns and sees Old DOTTIE still at the console on the other side.
OLD MAN
Hurry! I’m through!
Old DOTTIE frantically presses buttons, glances up.
OLD DOTTIE
One more burst and we’re done.
She presses a button, the hum becomes louder. She makes a beeline for the portal, but the hum dies down and the portal begins to shrink.
OLD DOTTIE
It’s not stable. I can’t get through.
OLD MAN
(softly) Dottie!
He reaches his hand out, she does the same.
OLD DOTTIE
You have to stop this!
OLD MAN
I will.
Their hands almost touch and the portal closes. The Old Man breaks down in tears.
END OF ACT IV.