After three attempts on his life, an ordinary man enlists the aid of a mysterious stranger to fake his death, changing his identity and appearance, but when he attends his own wake to uncover the truth, he gets far more than he ever could have imagined.

Gavin West is a troubled soul. A divorced, ex-con, and victim of long-term unemployment, he struggles to get through a life that has come to resemble purgatory, a limbo of uncertainty and regret.

But when old friend Rob hooks him up with a data entry job at the Bureau of Transportation Statistic, he begins to smell a faint whiff of hope. It’s only a temporary assignment, but a stressful one, entering highway crash statistics into a database under the watchful eye of Marvin Moylan, his boss.

Gavin gives it his best, ready to put the past behind him. But when he’s seemingly shoved in front of a speeding bus one morning, and nearly killed, it’s an unnerving wake up call, and a shaken up Gavin is not about to start feeling comfortable just yet. After two more brushes with death, including a car accident, and a mugging, Gavin has no choice but to wonder whether his new lease on life is as temporary as his job.

After noticing troubling discrepancies in the traffic data at work, Gavin resolves to bring it to Moylan’s attention, swinging by his demanding boss's house to drop off a report. When he arrives, Moylan is dead, and Gavin’s paranoia goes full blown, fearing he will be the obvious suspect.

Enter Mr. Winters, an enigmatic stranger, part black-ops agent, part philosopher, part guardian angel, who has a keen interest in Gavin and his future. He offers to help him, not just escaping the police, but escaping his life and more potential attempts on it. Gavin goes along with the plan, which requires him to fake his death and start over with a new appearance, and a new identity. The plan goes off without a hitch, “Gavin” apparently perishing in a high speed chase with police. Brandon Morrow is born, a new identity, and a nearly unrecognizable appearance, thanks to a make up expert associate of Winters. Gavin is all set to start anew when he finds incriminating evidence that Winters is in cahoots with the very people who tried to kill him.

When he sees the listing for his own wake in the paper, he cannot resist, crashing the party, and mixing with the guests, ferreting out information on the guilty parties who wanted Gavin West out of the picture. The list of suspects include Rob, his girlfriend Sophie, Gavin's ex-wife Evelyn, and her stepfather, the rich and powerful Colby Rasmussen. Winters shows up, determined to dissuade Gavin from continuing his recon mission, but with little success. As Gavin gets closer to the truth, Winters reveals a secret that will change everything he thinks he knows, about his life, his past, and his future, and shake him to his very core.

Gavin West must make a fateful decision that will have startling ramifications, in unraveling a shocking conspiracy, and a mind-bending twist of events that he never saw coming...


Karma runs over.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Starring Roles For:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Michael Shannon
Marion Cotillard
In the Vein Of:
The Game (1997)
Unknown (2011)
Author Bio:
John Christopher has studied filmmaking at the Academy of Art College San Francisco, and SUNY Empire State College. He is the author of more than 40 original feature-length screenplays, mostly action / suspense-thrillers, several of which have been recently optioned. He has placed in several contests or received honorable mentions. "Wake", a psychological-thriller, was recognized as a quarter-finalist in the Final Draft/Big Break Contest (top 10% of 6,000 entries) and in the American Zoetrope contest, also as a quarter-finalist.

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Contest Results:
American Zoetrope (Quarterfinalist) [2013]