Safely Home

This was not an easy script to revisit.

Before Tony passed away, I had this idea for a script called Brain Dead. It was in the very early stages, but the main plot revolved around a brain transplant. I even shared this idea with Tony months before he died. After the funeral, I secluded myself with the exception of visiting his mom and brother. Back in those days, I wrote my scripts on DOS computers and saved them to floppy disks. 

When I started to write the actual script, Brain Dead no longer seemed like an appropriate title. While trying to rename it, I remembered the prayer cards from Tony's funeral, which included this poem, written by Anonymous:

I am home in Heaven, dear ones;

Oh, so happy and so bright!

There is perfect joy and beauty

In this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,

Every restless tossing passed;

I am now at peace forever,

Safely home in Heaven at last.

I couldn’t get that last line out of my head, and named the script Safely Home.

I wrote for long periods of time, sometimes for twelve hours straight. I was depressed and in a very dark place and it shows in this script. It always remained a first draft and I never had an interest in rewriting it. More than twenty years later, it was tough to read and brought back lots of memories. 

When I originally wrote it, the rock band Faith No More just released their album Angel Dust, and it was the only music I listened to. The album was on audio cassette, which meant I had to flip the tape every time a side was over. Just like Angel Dust, the script for Safely Home is brutal and disturbing. The singer for Faith No More, Mike Patton, recently received praise for an original score he composed for the film The Place Beyond the Pines starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. In a way, Mike also composed the score for Safely Home, in my mind at least. I would love the opportunity to work with him on a project someday.

In the script for Safely Home, there are two separate groups affected by the brain transplant. There is politician Paul Powers, who is murdered to make it look like a suicide. Then there is Tom McCallum, who dies in a car accident the same night. The Tom character represents Tony and his best friend in the script, Scott, represents me. Other than some similarities with Tom's personality and the friendship, the rest of the story is completely original.

The script dealt with the idea of never seeing someone again after they died. But what if you could? In a scene from Safely Home, the main character is visited by Tom in a dream, something that happened to me often after Tony died. The dream was always the same. Tony was back as if nothing happened. He explained that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding, that he wasn't really dead. My recurring dream appears as a scene in Safely Home.

The story revolves around the transplant of Tom’s brain into Paul’s body and the ripple effect it has on everyone involved. When Paul's murderers think he is still alive, they make a second attempt to kill him. This allows the main character, Scott, to team up with Paul to help save his life, and in turn, save Tom, and in my mind, save Tony. Sorry if this is confusing. Everyone deals with death in their own way, and this was how I did it.

Both of the scenes included in this book are difficult to share. The first scene is when Scott learns of Tom's death and intercuts with Paul's wife learning of the brain transplant.

CLICK HERE to read this script excerpt.

The second scene is the ending. Yes, the ending. Just like my own dream about Tony’s return, I knew the story in Safely Home had to end with reality. We always wake up, so there was no happy ending, or could there be? The happy ending is the title of the script.

CLICK HERE to read this script excerpt.