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process &


Cayla Gao


Type for Nonmajors



Short vignettes/narratives of different characters within disparate spaces on one dust particle

Different virtues, sins, attachments, social injustices exemplified through each story

Microcosms of humanity, good/bad, light/dark, interpersonal relationships

"The universe is so immense that its boundary is imperceptible, yet so tiny that neither are its most microscopic particles of matter perceptible."

- from "Zhuan Falun"

by Li Hongzhi

Use of own morals, characteristics, personal narratives as inspiration for each short story

Use of dust as setting/point of cohesion due to its suggestion of ephemerality and impermanence, and having various worlds within one microscopic level





"Lessons" A Series of 6 Shorts







6 stories that can act as stand alone shorts or as part of a compilation

Each loosely based on an aspect of my own idiosyncratic characteristics, morals, & anecdotes

Intention is to present poignant, relatable narratives that are personal but open to interpretation


Rough cuts

First Drafts of Rough Animation/Keyframes of Actions

1  Sharing

"Sharing" is based on my love of sharing things with others, whether it's in the form of food, material possessions, advice, etc. It serves as a reminder to myself and others to strive to be selfless and thoughtful towards others (albeit with a weird twist).

2  Gluttony

"Gluttony" stems from my tendency to finish others' leftovers, purely due to my love for food and my hatred of wasting and throwing away food. The playful back and forth between the characters is not based on personal experience, though the end result is quite representative.

3  Empathy

"Empathy" is inspired by a friend who implored that I have more empathy for her during a heated argument. From then on I decided to be more cognizant of this virtue and to be more empathetic in general for others. This is reflected in this piece wherein one of the characters absorbs the feelings of the other and turns the negative emotions into something new.

4  Sleep

"Sleep" is based on my troubled relationship with sleep while growing up in relation to my parents. As is typical of most adolescents and young adults, I grew accustomed to sleeping late and waking up late. However, my parents insisted on reversing this habit of mine, and were strict with their methods of enforcement. This translated to me becoming a pro at pretending to be asleep when my parents periodically checked on me throughout the night, when in reality I would be reading, working, etc.

But I also became extremely anxious and on edge at night for if I wasn't sneaky enough I would suffer retribution, even if I was doing homework (ironically they didn't care so much about my schoolwork/grades).


Thus, I am happy to say that years later, I've finally successfully righted my body clock (at least for now), in part due to morning classes, my newfound appreciation for sleep, and the joy of feeling more productive upon waking early.

5  simplicity

"Simplicity" is directly derived from a childhood anecdote.


My parents claim that when I was a few years old, they took me to Toys R Us on my birthday and said I could choose anything I wanted. I responded by choosing a simple bouncy ball.

Ah to be as pure and simple as a child again.

6  resilience

"Resilience" pays homage to my mother who recently emerged victorious after her long battle with breast cancer. One of the most resilient and admirable people I know, she refused to let the illness get the best of her and valiantly carried on with her life in the face of adversity.

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