Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Madeleine Taylor Illustration

The Lottery


For my Senior Thesis I adapted the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson into a short folk horror animatic. I have always had a deep passion and interest in film and the narrative medium, and besides being a visual artist I am also a musician who has trained in piano for the past 16 years. I decided to choose the story “The Lottery” because from the first time I read it, it never left my mind. I also felt that I had yet to see any kind of modern adaptation that captured the atmosphere that the story had to me. I wrote and arranged the music for the animatic, as I wanted to explore the way that music and graphic images can convey a story without the use of dialogue. As a companion to the animatic and music, I created block printed posters to act as the promotional art for my short film.

I decided to turn this short story into a folk horror film because the genre is having a comeback for the first time since its inception in the late 1960s. The themes of the story and genre (hive mentality, the horror of domesticity, and the false promise of the “ideal” life and community) feel more relevant than ever in this current era of political upheaval, uncertainty, and the idealization of a traumatic history. Film is a medium that is a symptom of the society it exist in, and this story and these themes feel especially symptomatic of our western society today.