Laced by Ben Paynter | Script Revolution


Traumatised DEAN receives a therapeutic AI brain implant, but what if this technology unveils secrets that Dean himself wasn't aware of, and that powerful people will go to any lengths to suppress?



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London, England, 2030s. Capital of a minor - no longer united - kingdom on the edge of the EU.

Dean (40s) is a veteran of the war in the East. The conflict was short but extremely sharp. The West lost, and China continued its expansion. Many vets like Dean received therapy for their post-traumatic stress. But, for Dean at least, it's not working. He can't remember much of the traumatic events, yet he still suffers debilitating depressive and delusional episodes.

Enter: the 'Lace', a brain-computer-interface device that offers to free the mind of all woes. It's an incredibly seductive option for Dean. The only obstacles - beside his own minor reservations - are the attitudes of his wife Marjani and daughter Lexi, both of whom oppose the idea completely. They don't want a 'robo-dad'!

The thing is, Dean knows that he's close to the edge. And so he decides to receive the implant secretly, without his family's knowledge. He's reassured that, although the device will transform his own mental life, it needn't be obvious to others - that is, he can be discreet about it if he wants to.

And so Dean receives the revolutionary technology that essentially unifies him with 'the cloud' - brings the internet right into his brain - bestows him with all the knowledge and power that that implies. For example, what if we could predict exactly the behaviour of others - wouldn't that give us astonishing leverage and advantage? At first, he's amazed by the results; his only challenge is to keep things secret from his loved ones.

Except it's not all plain sailing. Why does Dean notice himself starting to do, say and even think things that are obviously not true to himself? Why does he start to remember details of his past that he'd 'forgotten' and that suggest shocking, suppressed truths? Why does he get the feeling that he's being followed, watched, scrutinised? These trials are only the beginning of what's awaiting him as he realises more and more about himself, and battles to distinguish fact from fiction.

And, all the while, his wife Marjani is pursuing her privacy-rights campaign, challenging those in power. At home, however, she starts to piece clues together to understand what's going on with her husband, and finds herself torn between her principles and her family.

'LACED' is a sci-fi thriller in six to eight hour-long episodes. It explores pressing issues of our zeitgeist - the age of technological revolution - through the lens of an intimate (yet diverse) family. By uncovering layer upon layer of intrigue, the story world expands incrementally so that by the end of season one the vistas of several other seasons are in sight; there's potential for this story to develop across twenty-plus episodes, each season more epic than the last.

The script extract you see here is an early draft version, provided as 'proof of concept' and a means of finding producers who are interested in the story. I'd then be happy to share newer iterations of the full pilot script and pitch deck, if requested.

Attached Talent: 

High-quality UK director and talent attached to production of a short version of the pilot, intended as proof-of-concept.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Other versions of this script have received a 'Recommend' rating by an analyst at Industrial Scripts as well as quarterfinalist position at the ScreenCraft TV pilot competition. The project has been adapted and improved since then.

Submitted: November 26, 2020
Last Updated: November 28, 2020

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The Writer: Ben Paynter

Ben is a UK-based screenwriter who works both at home in the UK and internationally. His collaborations have included work with directors from Switzerland, India, China, Croatia, and the United States. He gets a lot of inspiration and pleasure from exploring outside his own culture, but then brings these lessons back to reflect on his homeland. Ben has proven himself both in the comedy and drama fields. His comedy series set in Germany was selected for development by Studio Canal in 2020. His sci-fi-thriller set in the UK has been developed by an Australian firm and has gained interest from a UK director. He is also working on dramedy features. The script shared on Script Revolution is a... Go to bio