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Defining Heroes
by Joseph Thompson (sepster13@aol.com)

Rated: PG   Genre: Drama   User Review: **1/2
More of a character study between a boy saved from a burning building and the friendship him and the fireman develope some twenty five years later. Still just a work in progress so keep checking back.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


The stars shine bright in the night sky. We pan down to the
New York City skyline. The life of the city is heard. Car
horns,sirens and the hustle and bustle of the city life
echoes through the night.
Amongst the buildings,a pillar of SMOKE rises to the sky in
the distance. An orange glow pulsates beneath it.
We cut to a FIRETRUCK blazing down the city streets.It's
lights flashing. The FIRETRUCK weaves in and out of traffic
as it heads towards the source of the smoke.
The FIRETRUCK comes to a stop in front of a two story
APARTMENT BUILDING that is ablaze. Several other law
enforcement OFFICERS are on the scene.
One firefighter,RAY DYSON, late twenties, jumps out of the
firetruck. As RAY starts to head toward the burning building
he is approached by a fireman,PETE,late thirties,heavy
set,who has already been on the scene.
What do we got,Pete?
Not sure what caused it. Got a
call from the neighbor across the
street. Says she saw the smoke
from her window.
In the background at the edge of the crowd a woman,AMBER
young,very upset and histerical, is seen trying to push her
way through the barricade as officers try to hold her back.
Everyone get out okay?
We were just getting ready to go
inside when the second floor came
crashing down.
AMBER finally breaks through and runs towards RAY and PETE.
      (very upset)
Please help,my son is still
upstairs. He's only two years old.


                       AMBER (cont'd)
I've been trying to tell these
goddamn people but nobody will
listen to me.
Two OFFICERS grab Amber and try to usher back behind the
barricade.RAY rushes over to her.
Let her go goddammit!
The officers release AMBER.
What floor is your son on?
The third floor.Room 14. I was
only down the hall for two
minutes. Everyone was
pushing...I'm so sorry.
What's your son's name?
Timmy. Please save my baby!
Please go with these officers,I'll
be right back.
RAY turns and starts towards the building.PETE runs up next
to him and keeps pace.
Ray, what the hell do you think
you're doing?
Don't try and stop me Pete. I'm
going after the boy.
It's out of control in there.
You're just going to get yourself
Stay here if you want,but I have
to try.


RAY puts on his mask and runs into the building leaving PETE
Ray! Come back here! Ray!
RAY enters the blazing inferno. The SILHOUETTE of his body
dissapears as he makes his way in through the smoke and
RAY stands in the foyer to the house. Flames and smoke make
it almost impossible to see. As BOARDS and debris fall all
around Ray, he makes his way over to the STAIRCASE.
RAY starts to ascend the stairs when he notices the stairs
to the third floor are missing. RAY looks down,below he sees
where the STAIRS had collapsed to the ground.
RAY notices along the wall, some of the frame work that had
held the stairs is still in place.
Carefully placing one FOOT at a time on each piece of the
frame,RAY starts to make his way to the third floor.
Come on Ray, just a couple more
With three more steps to go RAY looses his footing and
falls. He grabs the ledge to the third floor and hangs on
for dear life.
RAY looks down to the firery death that awaits him should he
let go.
The sound of a child crying is heard over the raging flames.
The sound gives RAY an extra push of determination as he
starts to pull himself up onto the third floor.
Once on his feet RAY races down the hall,following the sound
of the crying child.
RAY glances at the room numbers on what doors he is able to
still read. Until he finds the room he is looking for.


RAY checks the DOORKNOB for heat. Satisfied he stands back
and kicks the DOOR open.
RAY runs into the apartment. The child still crying. RAY
follows the crys to the back bedroom.
The only reply is the cries of the frightened child,coming
from the CLOSET.
Ray rushes over and opens the CLOSET DOOR. Sitting in the
corner on the floor the weeping CHILD looks up to Ray. RAY
reaches down and picks Timmy up in his arms.
It's gonna be alright Timmy. What
do you say we get out of here?
AMBER is standing at the back of an ambulance as she stares
at the building her son is in. Tears run down her face.
Closer to the building PETE paces nervousely watching the
door waiting for a sign of life.
Come on Ray. Please make it out of
Onlookers become horrified as the BUILDING starts to
Several FIREFIGHTERS and POLICEMEN scatter as some of the
building starts to fall to the sidewalk.
PETE looks the building up and down. The look of concern on
his face.
PETE turns to AMBER. She begins to cry.
                       FIREMAN #1
Over here!
PETE and AMBER both look up. The FIREMAN that cried out is
pointing towards the building.


Emerging from the burning building is RAY carrying young
Timmothy. Several paramedics and other fireman rush in.
AMBER sees them and begins walking towards them.
Timmy? Oh my god. Timmy!
Once the realization Timmy is with Ray, AMBER starts
PETE stares in disbelief.
Son of a bitch.
PETE smiles and walks over to RAY. Who is now breathing
oxygen through a mask at the rear of an ambulance.
You have got to be the most
stubborn son of a bitch I know.
But also the luckiest.
RAY pulls the oxygen mask away from him.
All in a days work right?
You almost got yourself killed.
RAY motions to AMBER who is now being reunited with her
A paremedic removes his stethoscope from TIMMY'S chest.
                       PARAMEDIC #1
He is going to be just fine. A
little frightened,but other than
that nothing to worry about.
AMBER picks TIMMY up in her arms.
      (To Timmy)
You hear that? Everything is going
to be alright. Mommy will never
leave you again, I promise.
AMBER embraces TIMMY.


PETE and RAY continue to watch the happy mother with her
You see Pete. That's what it's all
about. That's why I do this. For
that moment.
What about the moments things
don't go as planned?
For these moments I rejoice. Well
as far as the bad ones......thats
when I pray.
We cut back to AMBER holding Timmy in her arms. She looks
down at him smiling. The frightened child starts to calm
down. As we hold on TIMMY'S face the screen solarizes to the
next scene.
The open road. Mountains are seen on the horizon. The big
blue Montanna sky stretches for miles in every direction.
Words superimpose over the bottom of the screen "twenty-five
years later".
The highway stretches back into the distance like a black
vein across the beautiful landscape. In the distance a
VEHICLE is seen approaching.The image blurred from the heat
rising off the asphault.
As the VEHICLE comes closer we see it is a GREYHOUND BUS.
The sun reflects off the silver siding as it passes
All kinds of different passengers occupy the bus. An ELDERLY
COUPLE on their way to try their luck at some casino, a
YOUNG GIRL on her way home from college. Finally we hold on
one passenger in particular. This is TIM(the child rescued
earlier)now older. TIM sits alone,writing in a notebook as
"Link Ray" plays into his headphones.
Occasionally TIM will tear away from his writing to look out
the window. The anticipation of his final stop is clear as
he trys to look ahead of the bus.


The bus's air brakes are heard as it pulls of to the side of
the road and stops in front of a STORE that reads "Lakeside
The DOORS to the bus open up and some of the PASSENGERS
start to get off the bus.
TIM finally steps off. While making his way around the front
of the bus TIM scanes the small town of Lakeside. He looks
over to the POST OFFICE,the MARINA and finally the BLACKTAIL
TIM removes his headphones.
      (to himself)
Mine as well start there.
TIM begins to cross the street over to the DINER.
TIM enters the diner. A HEAVY SET MAN wearing a cowboy hat
sits at the counter drinking coffee. An OLDER WOMAN sits in
a booth totally engrossed in her newspaper. Several other
locals populate the rear of the diner eating.
TIM heads over to the counter and has a seat. He picks up a
menu and skims through it. A waitress approaches,LAURA
WISHER,twenties,attractive and obviously tired.
And what can I get you this
How about ....just a cup of coffee
will be fine.
TIM sets the menu down.
Are you sure? The lemon merange is
pretty good.
Actually, I could maybe use your
help with something.
LAURA looks Tim up and down for a second.


How about we start with the
I'll be right back. Cream and
Blacks fine. Thanks.
LAURA walks away to get Tims coffee. TIM glances over to the
large gentleman wearing the cowboy hat, FRANK, late forties
and a little slow, staring at him.
LAURA returns with Tims coffee and sets it on the counter in
front of him.
Here you go.
TIM leans in over the counter.
Why is that guy staring at me?
TIM nods his head in the direction of Frank.
Oh,don't mind Frank. He's
harmless. Just a little intrigued
when it comes to strangers.
TIM sits back down in his seat.
I guess I'll just have to take
care of the whole "stranger"
TIM extends his hand towards Laura.
I'm Timothy Burch.
LAURA shakes Tims hand.
You can just call me Tim.


I'm Laura.
I know.
TIM motions to her NAME BADGE.
LAURA looks down at it and laughs.
Of course.
Never the less. It's very nice to
meet you.
And that's Frank over there.
TIM smiles and waves. FRANK just sits with a blank
expression on his face.
Don't hurt yourself with all that
thinking Frank. A simple "hi" will
Perfect,now enjoy your coffe and
quit staring.
FRANK lets his full attention drift from Tim to the
So,now that the introductions are
out of the way. What brings you to
Actually that's what I was hoping
you could help me with.
Exactly what would that be?


I'm looking for someone. I heard
this is where he lived.
Who are ya looking for?
Ray or Raymond Dyson. Use to be a
fireman. Heard of him?
Ray was a fireman?
So you know him?
Yeah,small town. Everybody pretty
much knows everybody,and their
business for that matter.
So do you know where I can find
Well I can't tell you where he is
at the moment,but I can give you
the next best thing.
LAURA points over to the woman,SUSAN DYSON,fifty's, that has
been reading her newspaper in the booth.
That's Rays wife sitting right
TIM turns to SUSAN, who is oblivious to their conversation.
Definately a step in the right
direction. Thank you very much
TIM stands up from the counter and takes a sip of his
coffee. Afterwards he leaves few dollars on the counter for
The service was great. Can't say
too much about the coffe though.


Hey,I said the lemon merange was
good.I didn't say anything about
the coffee.
TIM and LAURA give each other a smile. TIM heads over to
where Susan is sitting.
Excuse me, mame?
SUSAN looks up from her paper.
Laura was just telling me your
husband is Ray Dyson.
Why yes he is. Do you know Ray?
Well not exactly. Mind if I sit
down? It's quite a story.
Please have a seat. I'm Susan.
Hey,Susan. I'm Tim.
SUSAN moves a couple of things around on the table to make
room for Tim.
TIM slides into the booth and joins Susan.
So exactly how do you know my Ray?
TIM reaches into his breast pocket and unfolds a newspaper
clipping. He holds it open on the table and slides it in
front of Susan.
This was cut out of the New York
Post about twenty five years ago.
SUSAN picks up the clipping. The HEADLINE reads "Local
Firefighter saves child". A PICTURE of Ray with young Timmy
is also on the clipping.


I remember this. So you're the
child then.
Yeah I found that after my mom
died three years ago. I was
cleaning out some of her things
and found that lodged between some
pages in her bible.
SUSAN hands the article back to TIM.
So you didn't know about the fire
until you found this?
Well mom told me we were in a fire
when I was two, but I didn't
remember exactly how bad it
almost was. I don't remember being
rescued or anything like that.
Once in a while I dream of smoke
and suffocating. Must be just
repressed memories seeping out
into my subconscious.
So how did you and your mom get
seperated anyway?
I had been sleeping,and I guess
she ran to the end of the hall to
check if her clothes were dry.
When she came out of the laundry
room everybody was rushing out of
the building. She kinda got forced
out. The whole time she was
screaming about me still being in
the apartment. Ray was the only
one to listen to her.
So what do you want with Ray now?
To meet him.To thank him. I've
come along way to do so I hate to
intrude but it's really important
to me.


Look Ray is in Polson right now.
He won't be back til this
evening.. If you were planning on
sticking around why don't you come
with me to the house for dinner
with me and Ray.
Sounds good to me what are we
How about meatloaf and mash
I should warn you. Alot has
happened between New York and here
for us. He might not be the person
you are hoping to find.
Some things have surfaced recently
and well...... all I want is to
thank Ray for the person he was
when he saved my life. Regardless
of how he might be now.


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From Nick Hanks Date 3/26/2005 *
I think that you've really studied how to write a screenplay. There are some things you do that make that obvious. But to give you a little constructive critizism, there are a couple of things you need to know. The action descriptions are too long. Maybe you've heard this before. The dialogue has been done a million times. I could name several movies with a begining like this one. This screenplay lost me at the word "Timmy". I didn't know if I was reading "A Christmas Story" or an original screenplay. Originality-Originality-Originality. Did I say that enough? But now you know and now you can re-write it. Trust me, O.K.. You've got potential. I've been in this business for over twenty years now and I know who has potential and who doesn't. Keep writing.

From Nicole S. Porter Date 3/18/2005 **1/2
There are some misspellings here and there, such as "apartmant" and "debry," so this needs to be spell checked more thoroughly. Also, why did Amber leave her two-year-old in the apartment? Either she abandoned him or left him alone, and either way, it seems careless and stupid. Amber's dialogue wasn't much more believable. Further, what is Ray's sudden ailment? What's different about him that caused Susan to warn Tim? This left me desiring more; the ending didn't satisfy. Fleshing this script out and infusing more believability into it will definitely help it along. Good luck.

From Nicole S. Porter Date 3/18/2005 ****
There are some misspellings here and there, such as "apartmant" and "debry," so this needs to be spell checked more thoroughly. Also, why did Amber leave her two-year-old in the apartment? Either she abandoned him or left him alone, and either way, it seems careless and stupid. Amber's dialogue wasn't much more believable. Further, what is Ray's sudden ailment? What's different about him that caused Susan to warn Tim? This left me desiring more; the ending didn't satisfy. Fleshing this script out and infusing more believability into it will definitely help it along. Good luck.

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