CalArts students wish you good ‘Karma’

Andrea Turk, Summer Wagner (co-director), Janelle Brosnan (director) and Alissa Rooney (cinematographer), left to right, pose in front of the background they made for the "KARMA" music video. Courtesy
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A Valencia High School grad and California Institute of the Arts student recently stepped out of her comfort zone to help a fellow artist.

Photographer Janelle Brosnan met award-winning singer Andrea Turk, an Indonesian pop artist, at CalArts, and the two became fast friends.

“She likes my photography, and I had taken a couple photos of her for press releases,” Brosnan said. “So, she asked me to make a (music) video for her.”

Though Brosnan had previously done short videos for Unchained SCV, a collective that highlights local bands and artists, it was never anything on this scale.

Still, she decided to take on the challenge, diving head-first into the project for Turk’s song “Karma” and recruiting some help along the way.

The first call she made was to childhood best friend Summer Wagner, a film student who helped to show her the ropes, who then brought on Alissa Rooney, a cinematographer.

Screenshots of Andrea Turk, center, in the “KARMA” music video. Courtesy

“I specifically wanted a female to film it just because of pure feminine power, I guess,” Brosnan added. “She was able to get access to a ton of industry-level equipment, filters, lenses, lights — the whole nine yards — more than I could have ever expected.”

Together, they worked to figure out what they wanted to portray for Turk’s Indonesian fans, settling on an ode to 1980s and early 1990s arcade games.

“I wanted to do a Nintendo theme from the beginning when I heard the song,” Brosnan added. “Within video games, there is a direct effect to every button you push, and every door you open.”

Brosnan enlisted the help of another friend, who was able to do pixel animation to make parts of the video look like an arcade game and features the collaborating artist, Prince Husein, as a video game character.

With their tight budget, they worked hard to do most things themselves. Together, Brosnan, Turk and Wagner spent more than 10 hours painting the backdrop that is featured through a majority of the video, while Brosnan also scavenged for thrifted clothes that she then sewed together to make matching costumes.

Andrea Turk and Summer Wagner paint the main backdrop for the “KARMA” music video. Courtesy

“All in all, we probably spent $200 on the video. Everything else was things we already had, or things from the Dollar Store,” she said. “We were able to make it work … Everybody had a uniform vision and believed in it enough to put forth the effort to make it look the way that it does.”

In total, the project took about five months to complete, a true example of “local men and women, coming together and making something they’re passionate about,” Brosnan said.

“I think the video, in general, is a colorful break from all the chaos happening right now,” she added.

For Brosnan, it’s the message in the lyrics that she thinks the world needs to hear right now.

“The part where she says, ‘It seems like nothing’s ever getting better, so I wish you well, I wish you karma,’” she said. “Right now, I feel like a lot of people … feel like they just keep trying and nothing ever gets better … We hope there’s karma in the good things that we’re putting out, though it seems little, it will turn around and we will have good karma.”

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