Population: One by Dan O'Sullivan | Script Revolution

Population: One



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A nineteen-year-old drops out of film school following a tragic accident and returns to his quirky Pennsylvanian hometown in hopes of finding himself again.

Lost from life and stumbling on his feet after a tragic accident involving a close classmate, nineteen-year-old Hayden McKarra drops out of his film school in bustling New York City and returns to his small northern Pennsylvanian hometown of Mansfield, where he hopes to rebound through quiet, unbothered simplicity in his former video rental store job. Only his widely-unannounced return instead seems to garner him a greater deal of attention than he’d prefer, as everyone from neighbors to former high school classmates either show their emotional support through countless cookies and apologies or convey their surprised reactions of his presence through excited questions of life in the big city. To them, Hayden was the one who got out—who escaped the small town bore to travel a road leading to success and eventual possible fame, and everyone is all-too-eager to hear his stories of the past year. But talking about his feelings is the last thing Hayden wants to do with anyone—especially his alcoholic single mother Rachel and his detached best friend Gabe, both whose downward personal turmoil only add layers to the problems he was trying to run from to begin with. Passively shutting everyone out, Hayden’s only current desire is to settle back into his dying video store position and shelve his feelings with the rest of the DVDs to collect dust. That is, until Darby Wagner comes along. Darby is a beautiful, smart, free-spirited, well-opinioned girl who has spent the past year of her adventurously-spontaneous life traveling cross-country on the road, where she has connected with her share of places and faces. And although she may also be a bit on the oddly-quirky side, she still represents everything Hayden is not, which now, through their new comical oddball friendship, begins to challenge and open him up for the first time. Darby shows Hayden that emotions don’t always have to be confusing and you don’t need all the answers to the world’s difficult questions at once in this wonderfully-poignant coming-of-age portrayal of life, loss, laughter and love—because when life’s a trip… sometimes you’ve just gotta take it.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

2nd Place, The Monthly Film Festival (August-September 2017 Edition)

Submitted: August 1, 2017
Last Updated: August 3, 2020

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The Writer: Dan O'Sullivan

American screenwriter of widely-diverse genre titles with nearly sixty awards and contest placements. Personal strengths rely on sharp, snappy dialogue and fantastic vision of detail to create engaging, believable, original and memorable stories. Graduate of the New York Film Academy and Brooklyn College for screenwriting. If you are an agent, director, producer or representative of a production company that would like to read a full screenplay, please contact using the message system. Go to bio

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