Old man is a scientist and wannabe fictional writer. Scene starts with science props, showing his profession (photos of him and papers?). His apartment is dark, dingy, depressing, but unique. He likes fixing stuff with random objects. There are weird trinkets. He has an extensive library of fictional writers.
He is typing on his keyboard/typewriter/computer (like stereotypical writer). He still prints on a paper with holes on the sides. He doesn’t care about getting the most recent wonders of technology, he thinks while his old stuff work, it’s fine. The mail comes one day (when the story starts) and he gets more “rejected” letters from various publishers to whom he submitted his fictional writing. He puts those letters on a table, aside the pile of the similar rejection letters and his manuscript. In his anger and disappointment, he throws his manuscript (children’s book with illustrations) in trash. He sighs and decides to waste the rest of the day in front of the TV.
TV is visible and audible in whole scene, or whenever he is in a living room. Whenever he changes a channel, there is different ad, and all the ads sound the same, trying to convince him to get the product. There is Duende ad, which finally really upsets him (because he is a writer, or wants to be one). [latest changes in red, as follows:] In a magazine, or on TV, or radio, he finds out that one writer whom he knew just got published. He is at loss because he never thought that guy had a chance. Perhaps he calls him to congratulate, and the writer tells him his little secret: he used Duende to help him write!And after that, he sees devil’s ad. It asks an array of questions, and he in his mind (maybe just by nodding with his head) answers “yes” to all the questions. Because at that moment he was so fustrated and desperate, for he realized that he will never become a successful writer, this ad appealed to him. It is one of the long ads and the phone number is always visible across the screen. It features a series of testimonials of people who have sold their souls and they are all happy that they did so. He glances at the phone a couple of time but can’t make up his mind. Finally, he calls. Fish warns him that he shouldn’t do that, but he calls anyways. He just wants to see what happens, for now.
Phone rings for a while and just about when he wants to hang up, an automated answering system accepts his call. The voice sounds warm and inviting. He has several option, and he chooses the one about selling a soul. He thinks it’s a joke. When he gets to talk to the real person. He listens to her in disbelief, and she finally tells him about their 30 day return policy in case he is dissatisfied with this deal. OK, he accepts the deal, still not believing it would make any difference in his miserable life. He has to pay a small handling fee, but he also gets a “free gift” – a knife set!
As soon as he hangs up, the door rings, and when he opens it, he sees a wrapped gift. This freaks him out. He opens it, and there’s silence, even the TV is not audible anymore, and in the next moment his phone rings. A publisher is calling him to tell him that his work is going to be published. The cut to the knife set and focus on a logo with devilish scary look will suggest that the good news is devil’s doing.
Faust feels satisfied for now, and goes to sleep feeling like his life has turned for the better at last. In the next scene (and here we shall indicate some time lapse), he is rich and lives in a nice, luxurious house. However, he feels empty and there is nothing that can fill this void in him. Everything looks and feels so fake, he can’t even truly enjoy his success, because without his soul he can hardly feel anything.
There is a huge line in front of the store in which he is signing his book – everyone seems to love his work and can’t get enough of it. He is proud, but at the same time feels that it is all wrong and that he didn’t deserve all the fame. Perhaps the largest part of the animation should cover this part of his life, when he has all he ever wanted to have, but it all looks fake and he can’t enjoy it, and, above all, he can’t write, which frustrates him the most.
He tries some potions, but hallucinations just bring horrible visions, monstrosities are everywhere and he can’t even get scared, only terribly annoyed with his life and all that he became.
Finally, he considers having his soul back. He calls the Once Lived service and asks about the return. He points out that 30 days indicated as period for return have not elapsed yet and he wishes to get his soul back. The operator tells him that it can be done, but he will lose everything. He doesn’t care, he just wants it back. And he gets it back.
However, he now lives like a bum, on the street, after his career has been destroyed because some conservative groups pointed out that his book have extremely bad influence on children, so that his novel got banned and his name ridiculed and cursed in daily news. It all happened because the Duende translated his metaphores wrongfully. On a side note, here is an essay on Duende and what it meant for Federico Garcia Lorka.
He is now poor and desperate. He feels sadness, but also he is able to enjoy most ordinary things, such as trees and fountains and butterflies. His condition is getting worse, he is in the cold and feels that his end is near. At that point, he sees a kid with a book passing by. He addresses the kid and asks about the book. The kid says that it is his favorite book and shows it to him – he sees that it’s his book. Finally, he dies on the street, but with a smile on his face.
Or alternative ending could go like this: at the end instead of meeting the kid, he sees a street seller who has his book as one of the items, and the price is very high. He inquires about the high price and the seller says that now that the book has been banned, people will pay triple price for it, because it’s totally worth it, for it’s the best book ever. After this he dies happy.