“Seven Seconds” is a short film script written by Artemis Fraine during their master’s degree at the New York Film Academy. It can be read through their online portfolio at https://artemisfraine.weebly.com/writing.html. A list of featured works are available here, with links to their respective PDF uploads. The site is frequently updated and continuations as well as new works are made available regularly. “Seven Seconds” as well as all other projects are freely accessible through any web browser. If desired, they can also be downloaded in PDF text format. This particular work is written in the format of a script to be made into a short film.
For those unfamiliar with film scripts, the formatting may read strangely, but it’s still entirely comprehensible and rather institutive. Inclusions beyond dialogue such as location, transition, and mood are included in third person. There is minimal use of hypertext, with no embedded links, and bold or italicized text limited to aid in emphasis and paragraph distinction.
A screen shot has been attached as an example of this, featuring a scene in the first half of the script. Our protagonist’s surroundings, the mood of the scene, dialogue, and actions taken are included.
“Seven Seconds” is one of several dozen works I’ve read from Artemis, and found it to be one of the most impactful pieces. The story, over twenty pages, follows a middle-aged woman (Miriam) on forced stressed leave from her job as a firefighter. Over the course of the script, we learn the cause of Miriam’s distress as previous events are revealed in a series of flashbacks and false-prophetic hallucinations. Stubborn, she resists help from the secondary characters (chief of firefighting department, therapist). I found the fast-paced storyline and deliberate way information is revealed while still maintain a certain obscurity around what is real and what is hallucinated—both physically in regard to events that have happened or happening, and factually such as the therapist’s connection to the young girl whose fatality in the house fire.
The film script is something I consider to be a clean-cut. There is no excess to it, and the prose only to offer the most minimal of directions for settings and character descriptions that would be elaborated on at a later date during filming. To read the script without watching an accompanying digital production, I think frees the media consumer of total immersion. Without a visual component beyond text, we are not subjected to the same level of stress from graphic sense and are able to keep focus on how these are someone else’s recollections and imaginings. We have a distance from Mariam that allows us to judge her and sympathize with her more thoughtfully.
The ending is ambiguous, leaving it open to the reader's interpretation if Miriam is once again hallucinating or if the scene is the beginning of a second traumatic event. The reader's interpretation of this has a significant effect on the story's theme. If there is another fire, then Miriam's paranoia is justified. She may possibly have the opportunity she needs to offer herself redemption. If not, and the circumstances are hallucinated, then she seems truly trapped in her worsening delusions.