Empty Spaces by Jess Waters | Script Revolution

Empty Spaces



Page Count: 



Age Rating:

Two sisters struggle with the loss of their father and wonder if and how they can move on.

Debbie returns home to console her sister, Aiden, after the loss of their father. They fight, reconcile, and finally understand who and what they lost and wonder if they can get their lives back.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

"Forget about "looking in a bottle".... if you desire a solid, intelligent drama to wow festival audiences, a director need go no further than this" - Linda Hullinger in Shootin' The Shorts

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Empty Spaces
Two sisters struggle with the loss of their father and wonder if and how they can move on.


Do we, as children, truly know our parents? And do we, as parents, let our children truly know us?

When growing up in a family environment, the order of birth, gender, and personality traits all play significant roles in how each individual child perceives their parents. And when one parent finds solace in a bottle, unveiling that reason is sometimes left to those who pay more attention to who their parents really are as opposed to who they want them to be.

Then, more often than not, when the oldest moves out of the unhappy home, the siblings who are left behind feel resentful as if they’ve been abandoned and are no longer loved. But, in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

This rings true between the sisters, Debbie and Aiden, in Jessica Waters’ “Empty Spaces.” And the dialogue in this script rings sharp, indeed:

You’ve been eating nothing but nicotine for the past two days. Mom’s worried.

And you?

I was worried too until I spent an hour being chastised by mom. Now I’m thinking of picking up the old habit again.

That’s what habits are for.

Aiden digs around in her pocket and pulls out a cigarette a moment later. She holds it out to Debbie who reluctantly takes it. Aiden pulls out a lighter and does the honors for her sister.

You’re not a pod person, right? I mean you’re still...you?

What the hell does that mean?

I just don’t wanna lose you.

Debbie takes a long drag of the cigarette. A moment later she’s doubled over coughing, Aiden pats her back playfully until Debbie regains her composure.

You know I don’t know how to act. I can’t sit at the kitchen table drowning in bullshit memories that mom’s created for him. I can’t.

So love him how he was.

You can’t love someone who spent the past five years consumed by the thought that he’d rather live for booze than live for us.
(she snubs out her cigarette)
Well for me at least. You’ve been God knows where.

I’ve been working. Don’t act like I abandoned you.

Aiden clenches her jaw tight. Debbie reaches out to her but Aiden brushes her hand away.

In “Empty Spaces,” Debbie figures out early on why her father appeared to have chosen alcohol over his family.

And later, shown symbolically through a box of their father’s photos, Aiden, too comes to terms with the reason for his personal torment.

In this one location, small cast drama, Jessica Waters’ “Empty Spaces” exposes the deeper wounds of a family dealing with alcoholism and the secrets it harbors. Forget about "looking in a bottle".... if you desire a solid, intelligent drama to wow festival audiences, a director need go no further than this.

Review by Linda Hullinger
Submitted: November 21, 2016
Last Updated: June 3, 2020

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

Tyna Ezenma's picture
Lani Neumann's picture
Manfred Lopez Grem's picture
Travis Sharp's picture
Charley Carey's picture
Kyra Dax's picture
Loraine McBarron's picture
Govind Chandran's picture
Valentyn Korotkevych's picture
Olivia Maiden's picture
Joy Tennille's picture
Jess Waters's picture

The Writer: Jess Waters

Jess Waters writes stories about queerness, blackness, family, and all the ways that people on the margins of society can find healing and family. Building on her childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, she aims to create characters like herself and those who nurtured her growth as a writer. As a queer Black woman, Jess understands how and why representation matters, and makes it her purpose in life to fight for the opportunity to tell stories like her own, especially stories that detail young Black women’s coming of age in dynamic and compelling ways. Jess has won numerous screenwriting awards including Official Selections at WeScreenplay’s Diverse Voices Competition and Shore Scripts... Go to bio

More Scripts From Jess

After a sexual assault derails her career, Val takes her first steps toward reclaiming her life.
Short Drama For sale 8pp
The Weigh Station
On her last cross-country trucking route, Amelia is startled by the daunting realization of what she's really transporting and forced into an unruly game of cat and mouse.
TV Pilot Action, Drama, Sci-Fi For sale 60pp
Gravel Wounds
Felicia is a recovering alcoholic trying to figure out if she has what it takes to be a mother again.
Short Drama Under Option 10pp
4 readers love this script
A recently widowed father puts his parenting skills to the test when his 11-year-old daughter gets her period.
Short Family Available for Free 10pp
4 readers love this script
A Lesson On Dying
In order to face her dying mother, Pearl must learn to embrace the much-needed lessons from her father, before it's too late.
Short Drama Available for Free 15pp
2 readers love this script
Theo's a reclusive writer who goes to her father's cabin to get away from her jaded life, but Rosa shows up, and she doesn't quite know what to do with a woman carrying a shotgun.
Short Drama Available for Free 20pp
1 reader loves this script