Grace Murphy BFA Illustration Thesis Spring 2017
We got karma wrong. As an idea in western pop culture, we commonly believe that karma is about the universe dispensing justice in a “get what you give” way that rewards good behavior and punishes wickedness, but that’s not what it actually is. As a cornerstone of eastern philosophy, karma is not about scales being balanced, but rather, that our thoughts and actions pave our futures, and therefore we are largely responsible for the way our lives unfold. For my thesis project, I’ve created a pitch packet for an animated series titled Bad Karma, which will explore this concept from multiple angles and how it exists in contemporary American life. The project includes visual development for the characters, environments, and props used in the story, as well as the developed narrative in which they exist. Bad Karma is a coming-of-age story that follows two grumpy anti-heroes as they learn about honesty, luck, and how our choices pave the road for us. The story focuses on two protagonists: Karma, a magic being whose day job it is to distribute bad luck to people who have earned it for themselves; and Roman, a nosy high school journalist who hides his own secrets by exposes the secrets of others. Joined by a pact made under false pretenses, Roman and Karma set out to take on the undesirable side of life in Portland. Their goal is to right enough wrongs that Karma can get a promotion to the lofty position of Agent of Good Luck, freeing Roman from the pact in the process. On their journey, they tackle issues of morality, personal responsibility, and the ever-present theme of karmic law.