When researching how comic books are made it was repeatedly said that drawing comes after ‘scripting’, although other words were sometimes used. I’ve already written a script when I was planning the general format (which ended up A5 Landscape) and I’m using this post as a place to just write this up and edit it to completion prior to making a final layout plan and then final artwork.
Title: “Seven Days” in hand-drawn lettering. Dramatic. News.
Yamato is in the back of is parents’ car and is happy and not expecting what is to come. Yamato’s father, Takayuki is not happy because his son has been misbehaving and decided on a punishment. Yamato’s mother is always present at this point but we never clearly see her face.
Father: Yamato… get out of the car.
The car drives away leaving Yamato at the side of the road in the middle of a huge forest that is dense and inhabited by brown bears.
The car turns around after less than a minute a calmly return to collect Yamato – this has been a bluff and Takayaki is expecting his son to be chastised but still at the lay-by where he got out.
When the car arrives Takayuki leans out of the window and calls his son.
Father: Yamato? It was only a lesson – you can get back in the car now.
There is silence. No reply.
They stop and get out of the car and look around
Mother: (shouts) Yamato!
Father: (shouts) Yamato!
Mother: (shouts) Come here Yamato… we can go home now!
There is no reply still
Father: Where is he?
Mother: I don’t know. He can’t have gone far.
Father: We must look further.
They continue searching… some time passes… perhaps half an hour .
Takayuki is on his mobile phone speaking to the police
Police… my son is missing.
A while later the police are there talking to Takayuki.
Officer: we have several people out searching now. Do not worry we will find him.
(cont): Please show me again where you became separated when you were foraging?
It is evident that Takayuki has not been completely honest about the nature of the situation – has has actually told the police that Yamato became lost while the family was foraging for vegetables.
Several hours pass before Takayuki overcomes his own shame and tells the officers what has really happened.
Father: Officer I am ashamed of my actions and I have not told you the truth about why my son is missing…
We see a large search party being briefed and setting out to search the huge forest. the situation has changed because Yamato feels he was deliberately left rather than accidentally which may change his behaviour.
The search co-ordinator is briefing the searchers – local people
Co-ordinator: Yamato has been missing since yesterday; he is wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. He may have moved away from this area but we will start here and move outwards up and down the hill.
We see an aerial view of the search beginning.
co-ordinator: we will do all we can to find him. Your wife will join this search party <
[2 clasped hands]
you must wait here in case your son returns. There is a lodge nearby <
Father: thank you, officer. <
Father smiles – he looks hopeful. <
Father and Mother embrace <
Father (to wife’s ear): We will find him. <
They separate – he smiles at her as she backs away to leave.<,
We see father alone and his smile fades… it was a front… he dares not hope. <[6 open].
We find the father in the aforementioned lodge. He is pacing and very tense. Although he has come clean he has not yet properly reacted to the situation and the waiting he is forced to do while his wife is with the search party is putting a strain on his ability to maintain a stoic exterior.
After a while there is a knock at the door. Mr Tanooka’s adrenaline rises hoping for good news… fearing bad news… of his son.
The door opens and a man bearing a tray of food enters – he leaves the tray on a table, bows and exits.
Mr Tanooka picks up a glass of water from the tray and looks at it. His expression slowly changes, saddens, as he looks at it for a time much longer than the glass of water warrants attention.
Suddenly he yells
…and throws the whole tray of food forcefully across the room.
…yells again in the afertmath.
Finally he closes his mouth and starts to compose himself. His expression returns to neutral and he once again appears as a conventional, controlled, peaceful Japanese man.
Two serious off-road vehicles are parked on a forest track.
We see two men walking from the cars to the search co-ordinator… they are dressed for ‘business’… which is to say they they are serious animal hunters carrying rifles and wearing hunting attire… nothing is fashion or tradition they are all ‘business’.
Hunters and co-ordinator bow to each other.
The co-ordinator bows to the hunters as they approach.
Hunter 1: Where is it? <
Co-Ordinator: Over here <
Co-ordinator: This is new. I don’t think it was here before <
The Hunters examine where the co-ordinator is pointing, picking up a piece o the droppings to smell them. They are un-concerned with touching it or how this looks. They don’t wear gloves.
Hunter 1: Yes. These are from a brown bear. what do you want us to do? <
Co-ordinator: Join the search. Protect Yamato. If you have to shoot a bear… <[5b]
Hunter2: It’s getting colder. <
Co-ordinator: Colder than last night – It may rain too.
Hunter1: The trail… the trail is getting colder. <
Father is crying alone. <
There is a knock at the door < and he quickly composes himself < < before saying…
Father: please, enter <
the co-ordinator enters the room < and bows <
Co-ordinator: Mr Tanooka. The military have arrived. <
Takayuki walks to the veranda < (The co-ordinator follows) to look at the military over the rail. <[10 big view on second page]
Mr Yanooka stands at the rail with the co-ordinator behind him. The following are spoken perhaps to himself rather than to the co-ordinator.
Father: So much effort. If only I had not been so harsh with… <
He can’t finish the sentence – it is hard to say his son’s name in this context. There is a moment of silence before he continues with renewed self-reproach. <
Father: This is all my fault. I do not deserve to be a parent. Perhaps I won’t be now. <
The co-ordinator tried to approach a positive outlook…
Co-ordinator: The military increases our range and chances of… <
Mr Tanooka interrupts and turns to face the co-ordinator. Not in anger… more in fear
Father: …even after 5 days ? <[15 split with 14?]
As the two men stand a look at each other… both know the score… it starts to rain. < They stand like statues as the rain gets heavier. <
Very late in the day… the sun is about to set. Mr Tanooka is inside and the low sun shines in through the windows creating deep and strange shadows. He is remembering the last day he spent with his son and alternately being happy and being sad. First he remembers Yamato running and is happy. Then Yamato starts throwing stones and hitting cars with sticks… Takayuki is sad now.
This day starts, passes and ends with only the thoughts inside Takahuki’s head to keep him company. His thoughts centre on his son, that he is missing, memories that he’s had and all the while the hours pass.
He speaks the following aloud in the room as if to himself but responding to the memory of his son… it is ambiguous whether the subject of the statement is himself or his son…
Father: You behaved shamefully
following this there is the final image of Yamato as the car drives away but this time Tanayuki appears to be standing with him by the side of the road. In the final three frames Tanayuki is standing in the same position but it is him standing looking at the sunset turn to night. Yamato’s image fades with the sun and becomes the stars, and it is raining.
This spread is very visual and does not necessarily tell a story – the thoughts come in no particular order.
We see the Self Defense Ground Force officer walking towards the storage hut number 2. Inset he pushes open the door and sees a child’s arm sticking out from between two mattresses.
He lifts the top mattress (similar to the press photo) and the boy opens his eyes and looks at him. The man asks…
SDGF: Are you Yamato? <
SDGF: Yamato Tanooka? <
without smiling the boy replies
Yamato: Yes. I’m hungry. <
The man smiles and takes a rice cake from his bag, hands it to the boy.
Now Yamato smiles.
The two sit quietly for a moment.
Inset around the Father’s head are panels showing the events of the final day after finding Yamato alive…
- An ambulance / medical chopper
- The press – a crowd of photographers, TV cameras, presenter, journalist
- Yamato on a Paramedic Gurney
- Yamato in a hospital bed
- The parents offering their bow of apology
- Yamato waving to onlookers with his geodesic get-well card
Father kneels in front of his son. They are alone.Limbo?
Father: Dad made you go through such a hard time. I am sorry
Yamato: You are a good dad. I forgive you.
We see them hug… they are together again. It is a happy ending.
Roll Credits…Track Out… Curtain Falls… Fade to Black… Music Swells…