Empty Spaces by Jess Waters | Script Revolution

Empty Spaces



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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: August 27, 2019
Times Downloaded: 182
Last Downloaded: February 21, 2020

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The Writer: Jess Waters

I write stories that matter so that the world can begin to understand the necessity for the valuable representation of marginalized communities. I am a queer black woman, and that is essential to how I approach my writing; whether it be through characters, settings, or experiences. All my short films are for sale or free(if we reach a credit agreement). There is value in collaboration, and I am always open to working with other writers, creatives, or producers so we can do the work that needs to be done. Like all writers, I would love to see my work produced so please contact me if you have any questions. If you would like to direct/produce one of my short films, please get in touch with me... Go to bio

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