Countdown | Script Revolution


A devoted couple turn on each other when a stranger claiming to be from the future
demands they hand over their only child to save mankind.

Are you a director seeking a single location Science Fiction feature – one which can be shot on a shoe-string budget, and generate the ever-so-vital festival and watercooler buzz?

Then Countdown might be just what you’re looking for.

Set in a lonely rural cabin (and the surrounding woods), Gary Rowland’s mind twister follows in the hard-SF footsteps of works like PrimerMoon and Cube… then takes a few bold steps more. A dramatically gripping story which eschews flashy FX for what’s always driven good SF since time began: the intriguing prime-mover known as “What if?”

Living off the grid, Jed and Diana Clayton have never had much at all. No money. Or luck. Justice from society is a slice off their bucket list the two surrendered as a pipe dream, years ago. Jed’s a veteran military medic with plenty PTSD generating tours in his wake.  As for Diana? She grew up in a toxic household which harbors plenty of dark secrets… including some she hasn’t told her husband yet.

But at least they have each other.  And four year old Beau of the piercing blue eyes and blond hair. Both parents dote on their son. But wait, there’s more. Clearly in her third trimester, Diana’s got a little sibling on the way.

A hard scrabble life, but it’s about to get way worse.

After strange lights invade the cabin. Massive vibrations shake the walls. Jed grabs his rifle and heads out to take a look….

….what he sees and hears next could be interpreted– well, many different ways. An experience that’s made all the more confusing when a figure stumbles out of the forest and collapses - dressed in astronaut gear. 

What else can a trained medic do? Jed brings in the stranger. Binding him to a chair – just in case – he and Diana tend to the man’s wounds, eventually stirring him to consciousness.

Which they’ll soon wish they hadn’t done. Because the mystery man (named Piper) has a bizarre tale to tell. Of course, he’s not an alien. But he is from the future, on a mission to save humanity. Or at least, what’s left.

According to Piper, a planet killing asteroid is due to hit the earth in 90 minutes. Those who escaped now live a tenuous life in orbit on the International Space Station – led by a top scientist who needs a bone marrow transplant. One which ONLY Beau can provide.

Piper’s mission: to bring the boy back to the future.  That’s as bizarre as tall tales get, right? Except that Piper knows things which back up his story. And the clock is already ticking for the world.  Jed and Diane don’t have long to decide.

Should they believe Piper, and hand Beau over to a stranger? Or risk letting their cherished boy die with them on Earth?  What of the baby Diana’s carrying now? Questions like that are ones few couples could survive. Will Jed and Diana make the right decision?  A slick and gut-punching experience, you’ll have to read Countdown to find out!

Rich in SF concept,and low on budget needs, Countdown’s not only a perfect storm for directors who care about ideas.. but also the ideal showcase for a talented cast. If brought to life correctly, Jed, Diana and Piper are characters the world of Science Fiction won’t soon forget!

About The Reviewer

J.E. Clarke's picture
Real name: 

Known for her unique characters and plots, J.E. Clarke has optioned her feature length horror, "Containment" with Primestar Film Group (director Mike Elliott of Scorpion King 4 attached), her SF feature "Stream" with Purryburry Productions, John Noble of "Fringe" and "Lord of the Rings" attached.  Her fantasy/SF "Evergreen" (cowritten for Adam Zeulhke of Zenoscope Productions), is currently in preproduction, along with Entanglement...Read more

About The Writer

Gary Rowlands's picture
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Produced screenwriter. Commissioned writer on several series of hugely popular sketch show Spitting Image. The show was broadcast on national television in the UK for several years. Now concentrating exclusively on features. My preferred genres are horror/thriller/comedy. My contained supernatural thriller 'Offline' was the featured script of the month on Simply Scripts and was subsequently optioned.Read more