Day of Dreams: Only Child

Set to "One Man's Dream" by Yanni (2:43)

This series illustrates the scenes of the animation short "A Dream For His Only Daughter". A scientist gives up all his wealth and his life perfecting a miraculous but controversial machine for the sole purpose of granting his only child a second chance at life; the dream which carries him onward to the end.

My sincere thanks to W. Michael Dooley for his hard work in drawing so many sketches for this storyboard series!

The animation medium will by almost entirely traditional hand-drawn cel animation, using soft pastel tones and shading to accent the gentle, lilting melancholy of the story and song.

Setting

A lonely run-down cottage in the countryside during the winter just as the first snowfall moves in.

Characters

The old scientist (and flashes of his younger self) plus his daughter.

"Dream Symbol" Placement

Two places, as part of the intricate neural circuitry in the android, and in the end as the central part of a snowflake shown drifting by.

The Story

Itís a winterís late evening, the old cottage in the field, a leafless Japanese cherry tree to one side of a lone window. The moon is full, shining on and off as the sky begins to cloud over. It has just risen over some low hills in the background, so the view is to the east with the shadow of the cottage reaching toward the viewer. On the ground tufts of grass can be seen here and there, the cold winter winds blowing a few leaves past. In essence, it's a sad lonely scene, with a snowflake drifting down now and then.

The view zooms in towards a lighted window where a silhouette of a man can be seen moving about near shadowy images of complicated-looking machinery. He turns away for a moment as the camera passes through the window, and what the man is working on becomes clearer. A nearly-completed feminine android is lying on a table, hooked up to monitors and computers. The face has not yet been put on, as the wrinkled hands working with small tools seem to be adding some final touches to delicate servos and artificial fibers that will serve to replicate facial muscles. The brow is also open and within the head, the fine wiring and tiny parts form the figure of the dream symbol. The view shifts up to show that the man is quite old, his face tired, but seemingly pleased with his work. His features are soft and kindly; his head bald save for a ring of white hair from his ears and around and a small tuft in the front.

He tests the connections, looking back at a monitor to ensure the right voltage is attained. He sits back to take a sip of a hot drink from a mug on a table, and takes a pill from an open medicine bottle. Noticeably he puts his hand up to his chest and rubs it, sighing and appearing to grow even wearier.

As he places the mug back on the table, the camera view moves to some papers and a framed picture upon the table. It is from years ago when he was only middle age, the scene of his award ceremony for the bio-cybernetic neural pattern transfer, one of the greatest breakthroughs in history. The scene comes to life, though in muted colors, since it is in the past. His daughter in the audience applauding, she waves to him. Then the scene changes with a sweeping motion to the tragedy of his daughter's accident and her in the hospital bed on life-support. The next scene shows him arguing, the first try at creating an android body at his workplace has been forbidden by law. He is then seen leaving, then at the hospital placing a scanning device on daughter's head to copy the synaptic pattern.

At this point, it moves back and forth a few times between ages, phasing between the hospital room in which his daughter lies in a coma and his present-day cottage. In each scene, the story is told of how he secretly transferred her memory patterns to a disc and prepared to remake her in a new and immortal body.

For the climax, the scene will flash back to him again, dissolve or fade, as he finishes the android. The face is still is not seen, we simply see him lay down his tools and smile. He presses a few buttons on the computers to complete the download of his daughterís mind, then sits heavily in a chair at a table beside the window, through which snow can be seen softly falling. His breathing looks labored and his left hand is massaging over his heart. A grimace of pain distorts his face; sweat beading upon his pale brow. He tries to reach for the medicine bottle; but itís knocked over and he slumps over the table, knocking the pictures and papers and glass of water to the floor. There is a close up of his face, eyes glazing, tears flowing from the edges, as they close and his body goes limp. Then, a slender pale hand lifts up his, the view moves up the arm to show the completed android, the very image of his dead daughter, gazing down at him.

The camera moves back from this scene, as if to no longer intrude. The silhouettes of father and daughter are seen through the window as the view recedes, snow covers the sill; the landscape now sparkling as the moon peeps through the clouds once more high overhead. The view lifts up to the night sky as the last vestiges of snowfall drift by, the last flake sticking to the camera lens with the dream symbol incorporated as its central region. Fade to black.

Storyboards