31 Seconds by Heather Maclean | Script Revolution

31 Seconds

In a dystopian land, citizens can only be off camera for 31 seconds before their breathing stops. A teenage girl, Saoirse, challenges the system that puts her a breath away from oblivion.



Page Count: 



Age Rating:


In a dystopian society, 31 seconds can determine life or death. In this world, everyone must remain on camera. If their camera goes off, the countdown begins, and they have 31 seconds before their breathing stops.

Saoirse Wells (17) lives off the grid with her father, Roy (48). Roy’s goal in life is to keep his daughter alive. This drives every one of his behaviors and since her mother’s death, the drive has been colder and harder. While they live on their farm, that world still rules them. If the battery on their cameras should die, they have 31 seconds before a passive strangulation takes place: the body will not act when the mind tells it to breathe.

From her world, Saoirse sees only one set of lights from her bedroom window – those of a giant power substation. The lines extended their glow all the way into the city. Of course, the lights pulled at her teenage pique. She thought frequently of following them into the eerie night and into what her father described as a “dangerous and decadent” society on the other end.

The disruption in their worlds comes one day when a young boy, Thorne, arrives at the hidden property. On the condition that he show Roy how he found their house, he is allowed to stay for one night. The boy tells Saoirse what about the decimation of the poor neighborhoods in the center of the city. He describes the increasing power outages that are radiating outward. He speaks of the Collective, the frontier, renegades, and rebellion. With conviction, he announces that very soon nobody will be safe. That is why he is running.

He is gone in the morning. As much as Roy wants to secure and seclude, the outside has come in and his teenage daughter is impacted. After fighting with her father, Saoirse follows Thorne’s trail. Their interaction leads her to an incredible discovery: she was not born in a hospital, so she was not “vaccinated” by the system. In fact, she is one of the very few people immune to it. This means she can be off camera.

This revelation is also discovered by the system and the collective. This means she is a threat and threats must be eliminated. Saoirse realizes she is a target that must be hunted and destroyed. The Collective sends its 5 most dangerous specimens to do just that.

Saoirse returns to her father to find blood. The battle has just begun. Saoirse must now survive. She and Thorne head to the border where she would be able to escape. They are pursued every step of the way. When it comes to actually leaving, Saoirse understands that hiding and running away will not stop them. Only she can face the danger determined to hunt her and humanity to extinction.

In a moment, it seems, she grows up, embraces her birth, and determines to fight.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Page Screenplay Quarterfinalist 2020
Coverfly top 9 percent

Submitted: April 8, 2022
Last Updated: December 28, 2022

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

This Script Is Loved By 1 Readers

Gabriel Okonkwo's picture
Heather Maclean's picture

The Writer: Heather Maclean

Raised in Lockerbie, Scotland, then the Lake District, I grew up surrounded by literature and beauty. My inclination to travel took me across Europe to Japan and then to the States. There I married, have three kids (not so kiddish now), developed a love of ice hockey, and advanced my education and writing. I hold a doctoral degree in educational technology from Pepperdine University and I have taken many screenwriting classes officially and unofficially through UCLA Extension and CalArts (through my book-writing partner). I consistently receive positive feedback on my work and look forward to advancing my skills and writing career. Go to bio

More Scripts From Heather

The Infinity Paradox
The way life started on Earth holds the key to ending all life, everywhere.
Feature Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi For sale 115pp
1 reader loves this script
Broken Angel
If you wake the devil, you'd better have a good reason.
Feature Action, Adventure, War For sale 74pp
1 reader loves this script
DEN (Dome Earth Normal)
The human race has ended. Can it begin again?
Feature Sci-Fi, Thriller For sale 87pp
1 reader loves this script
The Bawbag
Atty. Robert Green (23) travels abroad to carry out the last wishes of an eccentric deceased pub regular. The close-knit pub becomes a place of contentious chaos when they find he was worth 30 million.
Feature Comedy For sale 103pp
1 reader loves this script
The Wall
An aging goalie faces life after hockey, then gets the chance for one last run.
Feature Biography, Sport For sale 111pp
An ex-con has to con sin-city's elite.
Feature Crime, Thriller For sale 101pp
The Ringer
A new player joins the youth ice hockey team in rural New York. Nobody expected her to be a ringer.
TV Pilot Comedy, Sport For sale 47pp
Telegraph Alley
At the birth of the digital age, a Confederate soldier creates the most deadly misinformation of the war in the shadow of the spy sent to stop him.
Feature War, Western For sale 84pp
Izell Reese (46) has one weekend to prove himself to sin-city's elite. Can his old street-gang in Philly help? He’s a gambler at heart and he is about to bet his life on it.
Feature Action, Crime, Film-Noir For sale 101pp
Influence Nv.
During her senior year, misfit Mia a first generation Mexican-American, hides behind a diligently painted make-up mask. This true teenager sets out to hoodwink a prestigious college and destroy her nemesis.
Feature Comedy, Drama For sale 104pp
Sounds of Christmas
Daniel Cross(28) returns home to Vermont. The grieving, workaholic sound technician finds he must convince the town, the beautiful deaf inn-owner Tennyson and ultimately himself that the most cherished Christmas tradition in town, needs modernizing.
Feature Romance For sale 77pp
Rock Salt
A band of teen musicians leave their small Alaskan town. They embark upon a wild journey- each experience is farther out on the edge until they come to the land of grace.
Feature Comedy, Drama, Musical For sale 97pp
Coverfly All-time Overall Top 10%
Dane Lewis (19) is a local speedster who gets away in a televised police pursuit and then finds a way to cash in on it.
Feature Action, Comedy For sale 89pp
Coverfly All-time Overall Top 25%
Butch Ellis just can’t catch a break. He witnesses a mob hit. The Don visits him and tells Butch he can testify at the trial, but if he does everyone in his family will die.
Feature Action, Thriller For sale 79pp
A coming of age story of insatiable blood lust.
TV Pilot Drama, Horror For sale 56pp
24-Hour Cleaners
The top trigger men in the city come here to clean up.
Feature Action, Thriller Under Option 95pp
Evolution is genocide. And it's our turn.
Feature Action, Sci-Fi, War For sale 109pp
Coverfly All-time Overall Top 25%
Day 90
Microbudget dramedy based around the founding and necessary failure of a band.
Feature Comedy, Music For sale 97pp
Double Blind
The final psychology exam at Warwick leads to a series of murders on campus and beyond.
Feature Mystery, Thriller For sale 95pp
On Rails
Lara and Stone brother and sister, board an overnight train in Thessaloniki bound for Prague. It travels under a gypsy moon (once every six years). They hope to recreate a story told by their parents.
Feature Drama For sale 77pp