2015 - Fall
RTF 301N* THE AMERICAN SOUTH ON FILM • JACQUELINE PINKOWITZ
*Only open to non-RTF majors.
This course will examine the American South as a cultural construct and analyze its representation in popular film. It will explore the ways in which the region has been imagined and depicted throughout Hollywood history, whose films have participated in constructing ideas about what "the South" means for the nation (and the world). In this course, students will gain an understanding of key developments in American film and cultural history over the last century and will critically read and analyze films in relation to their historical context, their construction of "the South," and the portrayal of racial, gender and other identities within these cinematic Souths. This course will blend lecture and classroom discussion formats and will include a weekly film screening. Please note that students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and should be prepared to discuss issues related to race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and region as they appear in selected films.
RTF 301N* SUBVERSIVE MEDIA & COUNTER CULTURE • LUCIA PALMER
*Only open to non-RTF majors.
This course invites students to engage with media that question or undermine the status quo. Using a cultural studies perspective, we will examine the meaning of the terms “counter culture” and “subversive media” and how these ideas have been constructed over time through popular culture and society. We will ask what it means to push against the status quo through cultural politics, resistance, and alternative discourses in the media. In this course, students will look at efforts over time and across a range of mediated texts that challenge social norms and mainstream histories through strategies such as satire, identity politics, advocacy, and the avant-garde. We will examine historical figures and texts that pushed against the dominant societal constraints of their time period. We will also investigate contemporary media that challenge current common sense assumptions and structures of oppression, including the potential of alternative media formats such as YouTube and subcultural movements such as political street art. This course is designed to be interdisciplinary, and welcomes students from a variety of departments. Students are expected to participate in class discussions and activities and attend a weekly screening.
RTF 301N* VIDEO GAME HISTORY & EVOLUTION • MORGAN O'BRIEN
*Only open to non-RTF majors.
This class examines the development of the global video game industry. It surveys the history of the industry and arcade culture to provide insight into the key players and moments in the rise of the world’s largest and fastest growing entertainment sector. Over the course of the semester students will engage critically with the aesthetic, cultural, historical, political, technological, and social forces that have shaped an industry that is still exploring its limits. No design or programming skills are required, but students will be expected to play games outside of class hours in order to actively participate in class discussion.
RTF 305* INTRODUCTION MEDIA STUDIES • SWAPNIL RAI
*Only open to non-RTF majors.
This course focuses on the study of both traditional and new electronic and film media. It surveys the cultural industries of music, film, radio, television, mobile media, social media and gaming, with a special emphasis on film, from multiple perspectives, including history, economics, genres and content, representation, regulation and social effects. It emphasizes the relationships among media, culture, and power. The whole course is taught online, including lectures, discussions, screenings, quizzes and tests. Grading is by straight scale.
RTF 307 MEDIA AND SOCIETY • JOE STRAUBHAAR
This course surveys the role of media in our society through understanding economic, social, political, organizational, ideological, and global contexts. We will discuss themes relevant to media representation, audience interpretation, and social consequences.
RTF 308 DEVELOPMENT OF FILM AND MEDIA • KATHY FULLER-FULLER
This course examines the historical development of media industries—film, radio, television and digital. Through lecture, section discussions, readings and screenings, we will investigate historical contexts (cultural, industrial, technological) in which media have been produced and consumed in the US and globally.
RTF 317 NARRATIVE STRATEGIES AND MEDIA DESIGN • TOM SCHATZ
RTF 322C HISTORY OF FILM • CHARLES RAMIREZ-BERG
This course is a survey of international film history for undergraduate students who seek an understanding of the history and aesthetics of the motion picture. On a weekly basis, it consists of two 75-minute lectures, one 50-minute discussion section meeting, and a screening of a feature-length film. All RTF majors interested in learning more about the development of the motion picture are welcome, regardless of concentration. The course will cover the history of the medium from beginning (Thomas Edison and the Lumière brothers) to the present, concluding with filmmakers such as Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater. While the history of cinema will be looked at from various perspectives (as a technology, an industry, an entertainment medium, and a mode of personal and national expression), particular attention will be given to the evolution and development of film’s formal elements. Several written assignments are designed to acquaint students with how research in film history is conducted; three exams are also required
RTF 337 AUDIO DOCUMENTARY: MIC AS CAMERA • MICHELLE GARCIA
From the selfie to the Serial public radio podcast, producers and journalists increasingly confront the question of where and how they fit in the story. Whether we tell a story from a personal perspective or as a detached narrator, our presence invariably influences the story and the story-telling. In this class, students will experiment with different forms of audio narratives to encourage self-awareness and reflection of themselves in relation to “the other” to discover narrative techniques that are probing, empathetic and unexpected.
RTF 340 MULTI-CAM TELEVISION DIRECTING • DAVID SCHNEIDER
This course will examine the techniques of multi-camera live television directing in numerous formats. It will provide an overview of the current technology and how that technology impacts directing decisions. Students will learn how directing styles shape various genres of broadcasts and how the director contributes to a successful production. The course will focus on planning and preparation and elements of production design. The demands of a controlled studio atmosphere will be compared and contrasted with those of live remote sports and entertainment programs. Exercises will acquaint the students with camera placement, shot blocking and shot selection.
RTF 342 DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE • KARIN WIKINS
If we are to improve our attempts to address serious global problems and resolve devastating conflicts, we must re-evaluate development communication as a practice and as an approach. Development communication involves the strategic application of communication technologies and processes to resolve social problems. This course surveys the field of development communication, from its historical conceptions within the US toward its current practice in developing countries.
RTF 342 GLOBAL MEDIA • SHANTI KUMAR
The goal of this course is to introduce you to a broad range of issues that are stimulating research in the field of global media studies. The first part of the course will focus on global media institutions, and the second part on audience uses of global media and issues of cultural identity.
RTF 344M CG MODELING AND RENDERING • BUZZ BAYS
RTF 344N CG CHARACTER ANIMATION • WILEY AKINS
The course in Character Animation is designed for students who seek an understanding of the art of character performance in 3D animation. It provides comprehensive artistic and technical training to help each student develop as an animation artist within the computer-generated (CG) animation environments. Using Maya the student will create character rigs, learn the basic animation principles, and become familiar with the variety of animation tools found in Maya. We will also be venturing into using Motion Capture and applying the data to existing 3D characters.
RTF 344N INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAME DEVELOPMENT • PAUL TOPRAC
This course provides students with the fundamentals of interactive media through digital game creation. The course focuses on two areas: (1) general principals of game design and game development, and (2) development of simple 2D games.
RTF 347C ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY: CAREERS AND CONTEXTS • ALISA PERREN and CINDY McCREERY
What is going on in the media industries today? What kinds of issues and challenges are entertainment industry professionals dealing with? What job opportunities are available for RTF majors – and how can one best prepare for them?
This class has three key goals: First, students will learn how the media industries operate, gaining a sense of the “big picture” of the contemporary film, television, and digital media landscape. Large-scale issues being faced by those working in the entertainment industry – including the impact of conglomerate ownership, regulation, globalization, and digitization on creative practices and work roles – will be addressed through readings and class discussion. Second, students will hear from a series of guest speakers coming from Hollywood, New York, and Texas about the range of career opportunities available in the entertainment industry today. While some of these speakers work in production (writing, directing, editing, etc.), other guests will include attorneys, talent agents, and managers, as well as development, production, and marketing executives. Third, students will undertake a series of individual and group activities (e.g., creating a digital portfolio) designed to prepare for a career in entertainment. The class will include a semester-long group project, supervised during lab sessions, in which students research the work roles and responsibilities of the different guest speakers and incorporate that information, along with clips of video from their class visits, into a website.
Please note: The specific speakers and topics will depend in part on guests’ availability, but readings and lecture/discussion will address areas not covered by guest speakers.
RTF 351D ADVANCED 2-D ANIMATION • LANCE MYERS
In-depth study of 2D animation techniques and an introduction to stop-motion animation, green screen techniques, and postproduction effects.
This course offers a conceptual overview of alternative media, or media that lie outside of the "mainstream" in terms of content, aesthetics, organization, production practices and audience relations. The course focuses on several alternative media forms, including subcultural, radical, tactical, social movement, community, ethnic and indigenous media. Primary course objectives are to expose students to alternative approaches to media as a cultural practice, to foster critical analysis of various alternative media forms, and to both construct and deconstruct alternative media. Additionally, the course will address: the significance of alternative media from cultural, political economic and democratic perspectives; factors motivating and shaping different alternative media forms; alternative media aesthetics and techniques; and alternative media audiences.
RTF 365 NEW MEDIA LITERACY • KATHLEEN TYNER
Media literacy is the ability to strategically access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms. This course explores the expanding nature of literacy in a digital world. 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 have changed society over time. Relationships between alphabetic, electronic, social and digital media will be explored through crosscutting techniques that can also be used to analyze the content and contexts of a wide variety of media. Students will use promising practices and new tools in the field to expand their existing media literacy skills and to design innovative presentations and projects that take advantage of new media.
RTF 365C MEDIA, COMMUNICATION LAW AND ETHICS • SHARON STROVER
This course will engage some of the contemporary ethical and policy issues facing the transforming media industries and the American public. This course will enable you to understand both how our policy and legal systems operate as well as where the pressure points are located in our public culture. Rooted in an understanding of the First Amendment and the development of communication industries, the course will examine a range of topics raised by the waves of “new media” over time, especially focusing on the Internet.
Typical questions we will examine include:
- What is the public interest in the 21st century with respect to communication systems?
- How do technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and services such as Google complicate the standard values associated with older communication forms?
- Where do the opportunities that they present – such as to help mobilize political movements – fit into our understanding of law and our social values?
- With Facebook information pervasive and surveillance technologies deployed throughout society, where do privacy rights and responsibilities stand?
- How should the international Internet be managed?
- Are contemporary censorship and decency standards “working”? Why do we need them?
- How do industry practices and laws compare for the press & broadcasting as opposed to cyberspace?
- Why is the government involved in regulating media industries? How do policies and laws for different communication technologies (the telephone versus the Internet, for example) vary? Why should they?
- What is the role of public broadcasting in the US? What are the expectations for public broadcasting in other countries? How do the economics of various communications systems influence law and policy?
The course will be structured in terms of modules on different ethical issues or dilemmas, and students will write several “position papers” and/or White Papers on certain topics. This course carries the Ethics and Leadership flag.
RTF 366D DIRECTING WORKSHOP • ANDREW SHEA; ANDREW BUJALSKI
This course will serve as an immersive and hands-on introduction to documentary production. Students will direct, shoot, edit and record sound on 8 - 10 short documentaries throughout the semester. Students will present works-in-progress in all phases of the creative process and participate in constructive critical discussions about each others work.
To supplement ongoing production, we will screen and discuss a variety of documentaries by both historical and contemporary filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and points of view. Students will have multiple opportunities to attend local and community documentary events.
RTF 366K MUSIC FILM PRODUCTION • ELLEN SPIRO
Students in this course will create music videos, short-form music documentaries and a live music/film performance. This is an intensive production course that will require ongoing creative work. Film students without music experience and music students without film experience are welcome in the class. We will work with original music, local musicians and/or creative commons copyright-free music to create innovative music videos. We will discover local subjects for music documentaries.
We will screen and analyze music videos and films by directors who are also established feature directors, including Mark Romanek, Martin Scorcese, Ondi Timoner, Michael Apted and Michel Gondry featuring artists such as R.E.M., Laurie Anderson, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Bjork, OK GO, Pearl Jam and others. We will have in-class visits from local music video and music documentary directors and producers including Bradley Beasley (Flaming Lips) and Karen Bernstein (Lou Reed, Ella Fitzgerald).
Professor Spiro produced the companion album to her Oscar short-listed film Body of War. The album was co-produced by Eddie Vedder and featured two of his original songs written for the film. Spiro directed a music video of Vedder’s song, “No More” for MTV and VH1.
RTF 366K NARRATIVE PRODUCTION • STEVE MIMS; MIGUEL ALVAREZ; PJ RAVAL; NANCY SCHIESARI
RTF 368 IMMERSIVE MEDIA • DEEPAK CHETTY
This class will introduce basic concepts of “Immersive Media,” as it applies to virtual reality and stereoscopic 3D content. We will rely on basic production techniques regarding spherical photography as well as more advanced completely computer-based techniques, as students move from creating content in the virtual (compute-generated) and photoreal realm. All content created will be intended for use on HMD (head mounted displays) such as the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR.
Qualified students should have had some experience with 3D software—Maya, Unity, or another game development program. The class will primarily be using the Unreal Engine. Official pre-requisite will be any one of the following classes, or the consent of the instructor:
- 344M – 3 Visual Effects and Motion Graphics
- 344M – 2 Comp Graph for Film and Games
- 366M Introduction to 3D production
Consent applications may be forwarded as an attachment to email@example.com.
RTF 369 ADVANCED SCREENWRITING: FEATURE FILM • BRYAN POYSER; MIKE AKEL
RTF 370 ASIAN HORROR • LALITHA GOPALAN
This course assumes the student’s familiarity with classical horror films, European and American films to be precise, and all the attendant theories on genre and spectatorship. While the established theoretical tracts have taken American and European films as their models, they seem totally unprepared for the vibrant horror films emerging from Asia, India to Japan, and this is exactly our charge for the course—to better understand the cinematic style of Asian horror films. As any cinephile would testify while these films have the stock figures of ghosts and monsters, haunted houses and possessed women, they also question our settled ideas of beauty and disgust that imperceptibly shape our notions of racial, sexual, and national differences. The course will consider how questions of national style and authorship revise the ways in which we consider genre cinema.
RTF 370 THE FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK • TOM SCHATZ
This course traces the career of Alfred Hitchcock, focusing on the films that he directed as well as the social, cultural and industrial context in which those films were produced. While the general approach is historical (assessing Hitchcock’s films in chronological order, from The Lodger and Blackmail in the 1920s to Psycho and The Birds in the 1960s), the main thrust of the course is critical and analytical, combining various approaches – principally auteur and genre analysis; narrative, textual, and stylistic analysis; and theories of gender and sexuality – to assess Hitchcock’s films and his distinctive filmmaking style. In the process, we will trace Hitchcock’s development through nearly a half-century of filmmaking in England and the U.S., his changing status within the British and American film industries, and his changing stature within the critical and scholarly communities as well.
This course carries a writing flag, so most of your work involves critical and analytical writing. This includes three critiques, a research paper, and a final essay exam. There is also a good bit of assigned reading (roughly 30-40 pages per class meeting), and a required weekly screening.
RTF 370 SCREEN THEORY • LALITHA GOPALAN
The course explores how the screen in its many incarnations has been a source of fascination for both viewers and makers. Since such meditations on the screen are extensive including formulations on film’s relationship to other art practices, the course will focus on how the cinematic screen has long provoked theoreticians to consider the relationship between time, space, and movement. Central to the course are writings by filmmakers whose practices include exploration of film as art.
Please note that this is a writing intensive course and attendance is mandatory.
RTF 658A ANIMATION THESIS PART 1 • BEN BAYS
TF 658A is the first semester of a two-semester course, with the second semester course being RTF 658B. Students can only get credit when completing both RTF 658A AND RTF 658B. Students will receive no credit for only completing RTF 658A. No exceptions. This is a 2-semester course is designed for students who have already refined their animation/CG/Visual Effects/Sound Design skills and want to apply them toward making an entire animated short film. Each student (or team of students) will write and produce a 2-5 minute animated film for the class. They will be expected to write the script, develop the visual style, create animatics, character sheets, budgets and schedules, record audio, animate, and finish all post production of one single film. They will also be expected to support their classmates through discussions and work in progress screenings throughout the semester. All animation styles and techniques are welcome. Sound design students are also encouraged to enroll. Sound design students are as important (and hard-working) as the image students. Ideally, sound design students will already be attached to an animation team (or single animator) when you enroll, but if you are not, the instructor will attach you to a project after the class begins. If you are enrolling as an unattached sound designer please email the instructor so he is aware of this. Since this is a chance for advanced undergraduate students to make an animated project that shows off their potential, I expect everyone enrolled to have taken at least TWO of the other animation courses we offer (see list below)*.
Students can work in teams of 2-4 people. The teams must consist of at least one director/animator and can be up to 2 additional animators (or co-director/animators). The team can also include 1 sound designer. It is preferable that you form your team in advance of enrolling in the class. Animators can only be attached to one project in the class. Sound designers can be attached to 1 or 2 projects in the class.
If you are interested in creating an animated short film for festivals or for your reel, this is the class for you! If you have any questions, please email Ben Bays at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "animation thesis question".
Upper-division standing and two of the following:
341, Audio Prod: Sound for Picture
341C, Sound Design and Mixing
344M (Topic 2), Comp Graph for Film & Games
344M (Topic 3), Intro VFX & Motion Graphics
344N (Topic 1), Adv VFX & Motion Graphics
344N (Topic 5), CG Character Animation
344N (Topic 6), Game Dev Capstone: 2D Games
351C, Intro to 2-D Animation
351D, Advanced 2-D Animation
Or consent of instructor