Graduate ProgramsMFA in Production PhD in Media Studies MA in Media Studies MFA in Screenwriting

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2015 - Fall

FOR CLASS DETAILS, INCLUDING TIMES, CLICK ON "FIND COURSES NOW" ON REGISTRAR'S PAGE
 

**Production/Screenwriting Courses for Studies Students**

RTF 380            INTRO TO RESEARCH • ALISA PERREN

This course provides an introduction to research theory and design for media and cultural studies graduate students interested in conducting qualitative research. There are three primary objectives to the course: First, we will address the major considerations involved with developing and designing research projects as well as consider the potential ethical, political, and logistical challenges involved in undertaking research. Second, we will survey the range of qualitative research methods employed by media and cultural studies scholars and discuss the key considerations involved in employing each of these methods. We will examine different types of methods involved in dealing with people (e.g., interviewing, ethnography) and in dealing with texts (e.g., archival research, discourse analysis). Students will be asked to undertake a series of assignments in which they review, criticize, and analyze varied types of published research. Third, students will be asked synthesize our semester-long survey of methodological challenges, concerns, and practices by developing their own research proposal.

RTF 380C            SCREENWRITING FOR DIRECTORS • TOM WILLETT

The purpose of this course is to explore how to write effective narrative screenplays, with an emphasis on the short script.   By breaking-down screenplays and films  (ie: figuring out how they "work"),  the class explores the basic dramatic principles of story, character and structure, applying these concepts to the development of original short scripts.  

At the end of the semester, students will leave class with short scripts ready to shoot in the spring RTF 881KB narrative production class.

RTF 380G           SOCIAL CAPITAL & SOCIAL NETWORKS • WENHONG CHEN

The seminal work of Robert Putnam on the decline of social capital in the US has generated a growing multidisciplinary literature. Social capital can come in many forms (trust, civic engagement, community attachment, and social networks) and has become one of the most contested concepts in social sciences. What makes social capital unique is its relational nature. Social network analysis provides a critical lens and powerful tools to understand the causes and consequences of social capital. Social network analysis focuses on how connections and structural positions affect fundamental issues such as cognition, creativity, cultural capital, social status, information flow, political coalition, interlocking directorates, social movement and social change. Scholars and pundits have been debating on the implications of new communication technologies and digital media for network structure and social capital at the individual and community levels.

This course is designed to balance theories, methods, and applications, drawing on literatures from sociology, communication, media studies, and management. It begins with key concepts and theories of social capital and social networks. In the second part, we explore the relational and structural embeddedness of actors, communities, and organizations. In the third part, we focus on how to collect network data and do network analysis.

RTF 380J          FIRST YEAR SCREENWRITING • CINDY MCCREERY

The gateway course for entering MFA Screenwriters, this class focuses on writing the feature-length screenplay, which means delving into the three primary elements of screenwriting:   story, character and structure..  Students discuss and evaluate each other's work on a weekly basis, developing their critical skills as screenwriters.  By the end of the semester, each student will have a completed treatment, step-outline, and Act I of a feature-length screenplay. RTF Screenwriters will complete-and-revise their screenplay during the Spring, in the 380J companion course.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 380J fulfills the 1st year/1st semester writing requirement for all MFA screenwriting majors. Other students will be admitted as space permits, by instructor permission.

RTF 380M         *ADVANCED SCREENWRITING I • RICHARD LEWIS

This course fulfills the second year, second semester writing requirement for all screenwriting majors specializing in narrative motion pictures and television. The goals of this course are as follows: That you complete a feature-length script suitable for submission to agents, production companies and/or contests. That you leave this course a better writer than when you entered. That you help your fellow classmates achieve the above two goals and vice-versa.

*This course fulfills the second year, first semester writing requirement for all MFA screenwriting majors. Other qualified students will be admitted as space permits, by instructor permission.

RTF 380N         ADAPTATION • BEAU THORNE

This course will provide a pragmatic, hands-on approach to several skills crucial to the screenwriter's craft: adapting a screenplay from existing material, and executing creative work "on assignment". Students will write a film adaptation of a short story or similar source material, which will be assigned by the instructor. Students will also create an outline or treatment, revise their writing extensively, and engage in weekly discussions of each other's work.

RTF 380P       PRODUCTION WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS • BRYAN POYSER

This class, open to students in Radio-TV-Film and the Department of Theatre and Dance, will provide an introduction to the art, tools and practice of filmmaking through hands-on collaborations between writers and actors to create original short films. This course is designed for non-production majors, so no prior production experience is required. Students will learn basic lighting, cinematography, directing and editing skills through short, collaborative hands-on exercises. The class will culminate in the production of original short films, developed collaboratively between the actors & writers.

RTF 384C         ALTERNATIVE AND ACTIVIST MEDIA • LAURA STEIN

This course surveys scholarship on the theory, history, politics, aesthetics, and practice of alternative and activist media, including subcultural, radical, tactical, social movement, community, participatory, ethnic minority, indigenous and transnational media. The class will draw on a number of theoretical approaches to analyze these media, including communication, public sphere, social movement, political economy, and critical cultural theory. The course provides an overview of this growing subfield within media studies and addresses questions of: what constitutes alternative and activist media; what historical, contextual and technological factors shape its practices; who are its audiences; and how can we study its meaning and influence.

 

RTF 384C                NEW MEDIA LITERACY • KATHLEEN TYNER

This course explores the expanding nature of literacy in a digital world. The goal of the course is to create understanding of the social uses of literacy and the relationship between medium and message.  Through the use of new media tools and an awareness of the historical uses of literacy, students will explore concepts of multiliteracies and the way they change social practices over time. Students will survey international theories underlying contemporary media education and apply them to the uses of media in formal and informal environments.  Relationships between the theory and practice of alphabetic, electronic, mobile, social and digital media are explored through crosscutting techniques that highlight the content and contexts of mediated communication. The class will address topics related to privacy and surveillance, media arts, game design and Big Data.  Students will use promising practices and new tools in the field to practice and enhance their media literacy skills and to design innovative, customized projects that support their research interests.
 

RTF 385K                POLITICS OF PRESERVATION • CAROLINE FRICK

This course introduces one of the most complicated (and under-studied) components of the media industries:  Preservation.  Beginning with a contextualization of the field, and of its precedents in European collecting practice, public records offices, and museums, the course will employ both a theoretical and practical approach to archival media product.  Debates over the merits (and drawbacks) of defining media product as "artifact" will be complemented by larger discussions over the practical ramifications of copyright and physical deterioration - increasingly problematic areas for both the filmmaker and academic researcher.  Topics include:  preservation principles, the impact of access programs and strategies, and the role of the archivist or curator.  Utilizing the literature available as well as film and video resources of the University of Texas and the Austin community at large, students will combine an analytical approach to the history and theory of collecting with "hands-on" research - from Hollywood features and educational films, to home movies and the ever vanishing footage of the public domain.
 

RTF 386                ALTERNATIVE POETICS • CHARLES RAMIREZ BERG

This course is specifically designed for second year screenwriting and production students and for studies students who are interested in a comparative investigation of film form and film narrative. Beginning with the classic Hollywood paradigm (as delineated by Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson), the class will begin a survey (in weekly screenings) of alternatives to that narrative model. Among them will be the films of Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story), Robert Bresson (Pickpocket), Carl Th. Dreyer (Day of Wrath), Jean Vigo (L'Atalante), Andrey Tarkovsky (Andrey Rublyov), and Ousmane Sembene (Black Girl). Additional films include W.C. Field's Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, and Casablanca. In each case the central question will be, "What is the narrative's organizing principle?"

RTF 386C                GENDER AND FAN CULTURE • SUZANNE SCOTT

This graduate seminar will survey contemporary fan studies from the 1980s to the present, with an emphasis on fandom within convergence culture and digital fan cultures across media (television, music, sports, etc.).  Using gender as a critical axis, this course will consider the lingering impact of fan studies’ roots in feminist and queer media studies, and contemplate how gender shapes our discussions of fan labor, fan representations, fannish taste, modes of fan performance and production, industry-audience power dynamics, and our identities as fan scholars. Finally, this seminar will consider what forms of identity work have been elided or marginalized as a result of the field’s focus on gender as its central critical axis, in an effort to move towards a more intersectional conception of fan identity and fan studies.

RTF 386C                POSTCOLONIAL THEORY AND CRITICISM • SHANTI KUMAR

This course provides an in-depth introduction to debates in postcolonial studies on a range of issues such as the history of colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, Orientalism, nationalism, subaltern identities, hybrid cultures, feminist theory, and diaspora studies.  It introduces some of the key theorists in postcolonial studies who have played an influential role in critiquing dichotomies such as the West and the non-West, and the colonizer-colonized relationship.  The goal of this course is to critically survey a diverse set of theoretical writings in postcolonial studies, and to recognize how the term "postcolonial" signifies a complex set of political, economic and cultural forces in world affairs; both historical and contemporary.

RTF 386C                RACE, CLASS, GENDER AND AMERICAN TELEVISION • MARY BELTRAN

Entertainment television is one of the primary forums through which American notions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship, in intersection with class and gender, have been presented, narrated, validated, and challenged. This seminar explores the evolving poetics and politics of this representation. In addition to study of how racial and ethnic diversity, gender, class and sexual orientation have been represented in U.S. television, we will survey the evolution of scholarship on these topics and areas of theoretical and popular contention. Key concepts interrogated will include race, racialization, and whiteness; intersections with gender, class, and sexual orientation; debates over equitable representation and over the possibilities for television to serve as a public forum; self-representation and television authorship; and feminist and anti-racist thematic content in television. Although a variety of media studies approaches are taken up in the readings, critical and cultural studies approaches will be emphasized.

RTF 386C                YOUTH AND SOCIAL MEDIA • S. CRAIG WATKINS

Nine out of ten American teenagers are online and more than 70% use social network sites as a daily routine.  From social gaming to social networking young people are leading the transition to the social and mobile media lifestyle.  In this class we explore the growing role and social consequences of social media in the lives of young people. Drawing from both critical studies perspectives and empirical-based examinations of specific communication technologies the course seeks to illuminate some of the theoretical, methodological, and critical analytical issues central in the study of teens and young adults social media behaviors.  Some of the issues we address include the shifting norms of privacy in the digital age; the building and maintenance of friendships and social ties; the negotiation of identity; cyberbullying; the appeal of mobile technologies in youth culture; gaming; addiction and distraction; peer-based modes of learning; and the role of race, gender, and class in the formation of the digital world. This course is for students who are interested in exploring the social aspects of social media.

RTF 387C           GLOBAL MEDIA • JOE STRAUBHAAR

In this course we will critically examine the political, economic, cultural and technological discourses of globalization in terms of the multiple forces which produce, sustain and disrupt global, national and local media. We will address questions of representation, production, consumption, identity and difference in specific cultural contexts, and pay particular attention to the role of media in globalization.  The goal of the seminar is to ensure that by the end of the semester, all participants will be able to map key issues, concepts, theories and methodologies for future research in this area of inquiry.

RTF 387D           MEDIA AND MIDDLE EAST • KARIN WILKINS

This graduate seminar will build from the fields of communication, media studies, and contemporary analyses of the Middle East, toward a consideration of how communication technologies and media structure and resonate with political, social, economic, and culturalcontexts in the region. First we explore television in the Arab world, as an industry working within a political and economic context contributing to and responding to cultural spheres in entertainment and news programming. Reality television allows us to consider these issues in more depth.  In the final section of the course, we reflect on the role of digital media in national (political protests in Iran) and global contexts.

RTF 388P                CINEMATOGRAPHY • PJ RAVAL

This course explores visual storytelling and the art of cinematography through practice in a workshop environment. We will explore visual expression through a variety of cinema tools including camera and lighting. Students are encouraged to think cinematically in both fiction and non-fiction approaches. A number of readings and exercises are assigned to also increase a student's technical knowledge and understanding of one's tools, leading to greater creative and personal visual expression.

RTF 388P/343         ADVANCED DIRECTING • ANDREW SHEA

This course is designed to bring together advanced directing and acting students in an environment that will foster mutual growth and understanding of the director/actor dynamic in the filmmaking process.  The class will work closely with Lucien Douglas's Acting For The Camera course in the Department of Theatre & Dance.  Each student will direct or co-direct a Dogme-style film in which the Theatre & Dance actors play the leading roles.  We will adhere to a production code that is a modified version of the Dogme 95 Vow of Cinematic Chastity.  The goal will be to create collaborative, performance-based works that emphasize simplicity and ingenuity in image and sound choices.

RTF 388T           PRODUCING FILM AND TELEVISION • SUZANNE WEINERT

Practicum in producing independent short films. Please note: The class is going to meet on Wednesdays for the first two class meetings (Wednesday, Aug. 27th and Wednesday Sept. 3rd), but will meet on Mondays for the remainder of the semester, all from 6:00 – 9:00 PM in CMA 5.130.

RTF 390C          INTRO TO EDITING • ANNE LEWIS

Required for first year MFA production students.
This is an introductory course in which we will build the foundation for later postproduction practice within the MFA program. It will incorporate technical, aesthetic, and practical considerations into an overall view of editing as a process, and we will use class discussion, written assignments, and (provided) editing exercises toward that end. The final third of the class will workshop your documentary film at various stages of postproduction

RTF 393P           NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES AND CULTURES • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA

This course will critically examine new media technologies and cultures. The course will map key theoretical and conceptual issues relating to "new" media and information technologies, networked societies, digital cultures, virtual communities and e-commerce. Drawing from media and cultural studies scholarship, the readings for the course will allow us to pay particular attention to topics such as new media institutions, Internet governance, digital divide, transnational labor, mobile technologies, race, class, gender, sexuality and nationalism in new media contexts, virtual citizens, online communities and transnational social movements. The course will emphasize an integrated approach to the study of new media technologies, societies and cultures by focusing on the intersections between institutions, texts, social contexts and users.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Non-RTF majors are welcome in this class.

RTF 395              THEORY AND LITERATURE (MA)  •  CAROLINE FRICK

This course provides an introduction to the broad range of theories in media studies from the perspectives of social sciences and cultural studies.  It is required for all new M.A. students in the RTF Department. We will review the primary theories and researchers in the field, with an emphasis on understanding the development of the discipline and its varied trajectories of research (such as mass communications, political economy and critical-cultural analyses of media). The course will be conducted as a seminar, with in depth discussions of the books, articles and authors we encounter.

RTF 395              THEORY AND LITERATURE (PhD)  SHARON STROVER

This course provides an introduction to the broad range of theories of society and media communication from the perspective of social scientists. The companion course, offered in the Spring, introduces theories of media communication from the perspective of the humanities. It is required for all new Ph.D. students in the department. We will review the primary theories and researchers in the field, with an emphasis on understanding the development of the discipline and its varied trajectories of research. The fall term will include discussion of theoretical bases in psychology, anthropology and sociology, and specific theories including the public sphere and public opinion, diffusion, media effects, internationalization/globalization and media, propaganda theories, various social change theories, and political economy and media, among others. The course will be conducted as a seminar, with in depth discussions of the books, articles and authors we encounter.  

RTF 398T                SUPERVISED TEACHING • KATHY FULLER-SEELEY

This is a course on methods and practices of teaching communication area college courses.  It is designed to introduce you to some of the philosophies behind different ways of teaching, as well as to assist you in your teaching experience at UT Austin.  We will thus be dealing both with theoretical material as well as more basic, “how to” information and skills.  The goal of the course is to make you more comfortable in the classroom, to better your pedagogical skills, and to improve your understanding of your own teaching.  The course plan moves you from “how to teach at this particular institution” (i.e., the syllabus assignments) through “thinking about the theory and practice of teaching” (i.e., the research paper, observations, discussions of ethics, practicums) to evaluating your own teaching and preparing to sell it on the job market (i.e., teaching philosophy and portfolio). You are expected to keep up with the reading, meet all course deadlines, and fulfill your responsibilities as a member of an academic community.  Class time will be reserved every week for the discussion of issues, problems, and positive experiences in your individual classrooms.

RTF 488M               PRE-THESIS PRODUCTION • MEGAN GILBRIDE

This is the required class for 2nd year MFA students. It is not open to anyone else.

RTF 488M            THESIS FILM PRODUCTION • ANDREW GARRISON

This course is designed to aid students in the planning, production and completion of "short project" film/video projects required as partial fulfillment of the MFA degree; Students involved in pre-production must complete a story synopsis, treatment and/or shooting script (if the latter is already under way), plus a production budget and date for production start and completion; a student must have script, production plan, budget, and equipment list approved by his/her MFA committee before shooting can begin; and each project in post-production must have a budget and picture delivery date set by the student producer's MFA committee and course instructor.

RTF 881KA           DIRECTING DOCUMENTARY • PAUL STEKLER

This course offers an introduction to the principles and techniques of filmmaking with an emphasis on documentary production. The class does this by focusing on both the hands-on practice of all the necessary craft and technical skills to create successful documentaries and the necessity to understand aspects of storytelling and characters that are common in all genres of filmmaking. Each student will complete a semester long short documentary project. All work will be screened and critiqued by class members.