The Drake Equation

Nicola Lanthier-Rogers, Writer 

Sloan Grant(s) Received: 2020, Screenwriting Award Honorable Mention, NYU 

Project Type: Feature 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Coming of Age, Family 

Length: 98 pages 

Field of Science: Astronomy, Environmental Science 

Stage: Screenplay 


Mackenzie (10) is an oddball at school, and her only friend is her older sister, Lori (17). But Lori plans to move to Toronto to study astronomy at university and never come back. Their small coastal town in Nova Scotia is struggling with dwindling tourism, and a crumbling sea wall can’t stop the flooding brought on by climate change. When Lori teaches Mackenzie about the Drake Equation, its implication that civilization might have an expiration date throws Mackenzie into an existential panic. Mackenzie embarks on a mission to mobilize her community to combat climate change, and, emboldened by her growing knowledge of environmental science and astronomy, Mackenzie finally starts to connect with her classmates. But if she can’t convince the town, or their local politician, to join the cause, Mackenzie fears she won’t be able to prove to Lori that there’s a future for their home.