2018 - Spring

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Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses – Spring 2018

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

RTF 380       RESEARCH METHODS • KARIN WILKINS

This course is designed to provide graduate students in media studies with a broad knowledge of methodological approaches in order to gain skills in critiquing and proposing research. We begin with an exploration of epistemological foundations, broadly in social research and specifically in media and communication studies. Based on an understanding of these empirical and historical contexts for research, we address issues in research design; conceptualization and operationalization; sampling; and observations of texts, people, processes, and contexts. In this section of the course, students will build on conceptual knowledge of methodological practice to engage in critique of published literature in the field. Weekly critiques will build toward a literature review of a selected area in the field of media and communication studies. In the final section of the course, students will construct a research proposal, building on literature reviews, to pose a critical research question and design an appropriate research approach to address that question. Recognition of the ethical and political contexts of the research process is critical in this planning process. This section will conclude with a discussion of written and oral presentations of proposals and research.

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 REWRITING • TOM WILLETT

A continuation of the first-year screenwriting class taught in the Fall, this course will focus on the process of revision. As a part of developing an organized strategy for approaching their second drafts, students will also be introduced to the “sequences” method of screenplay structure. All students must have a completed feature-length screenplay ready on the first day of class.

RTF 380M         *ADVANCED SCREENWRITING II • STUART KELBAN
This course fulfills the second year/second semester writing requirement for all MFA screenwriters.  In this advanced screenwriting workshop, students write either a feature-length screenplay or an original television pilot (30 or 60 minute).  With instructor’s permission, students may also write TV specs and revise previous work. Students will continue their exploration of the craft of screenwriting, while finishing polished, professional work that can serve as a calling-card.

*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 380N    *WRITING FOR SERIES TELEVISION • CINDY MCCREERY

This course will explore how to write for both network and cable television, with an emphasis on 30-minute sitcoms and 60-minute dramas. The dramatic elements of each genre will be analyzed, with each student completing a "spec" script for a current sit-com and drama. Additionally, we will develop an original TV pilot as a class, from the original "franchise" premise through a completed story-outline for the pilot episode.

*Open to graduate students other than Screenwriting MFA candidates, as space permits by instructor permission.

RTF 384N    INTERNSHIP IN FILM & ELECTRONIC MEDIA

RTF 385L    FILM HISTORY FOR MFAS • KATHY FULLER-SEELEY

This course is a survey of international film history for graduate students who have not taken previous work in the history and aesthetics of the motion picture. It is required of all RTF MFA students in production and screenwriting. Covering the development of the medium from Thomas Edison to Robert Rodriguez, the history of cinema will be approached 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 of film’s formal elements. Several assignments are designed to acquaint students with how research in film history is conducted.

RTF 386      ALTERNATIVE POETICS • CHARLES RAMIREZ BERG

This course is specifically designed for second year MFA 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 conducts a survey (in weekly screenings) of alternatives to that narrative model. Among them will be films directed by Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story), Robert Bresson (A Man Escaped), Akira Kurosawa (Ikiru), Carl Th. Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc), Luis Buñuel (Los Olvidados), Federico Fellini (8 1/2), Abbas Kiarostami (Close-Up), Michelangelo Antonioni (L’Avventura), and Lucrecia Martel (La Mujer sin Cabeza [The Headless Woman]). Additional films include Casablanca, F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise, John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. In each case the central question is “How does this film’s narration operate?”

RTF 386C    GENDER AND FAN CULTURE • SUZANNE SCOTT

Over the past decade, fans have been transformed from a stigmatized subculture into a mainstream power demographic, catered to and courted by media industries. This course will survey fan studies from the 1990s to the present, with an emphasis on fandom within convergence culture and digital fan cultures and practices, from fan fiction to fantasy football. 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, and industry-audience power dynamics. Finally, this course 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. In addition to critically analyzing fans' transformative works, students will mobilize course concepts to produce and theorize fan texts of their own.

RTF 386C / 377H   QUEER MEDIA STUDIES • CURRAN NAULT

This course immerses students in the critical and theoretical analysis of queer media in order to explore dominant strategies used by the media industries, as well as those utilized by LGBTQI independents and subcultures. Important to this project are historical shifts in representation, including the mainstreaming of queerness, and the alternative media reception, production and exhibition practices developed by LGBTQI communities. Marginalized queer identities (including qpoc and transgender) will be centralized and the intersections of queer identities, queer politics and media culture will be engaged.

This course meets with undergraduates in RTF 377H. Enrollment is capped at 18.

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 • SHANTI KUMAR

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 388C     RESEARCH PROBLEMS: DOCTORAL EXAM PREP

RTF 388D/RTF 388E      RESEARCH PROBLEM IN SPECIALIZED FIELD OF RTF

RTF 388P      ADVANCED CINEMATOGRAPHY • PJ RAVAL

This course is designed for students to explore the art of cinematography beyond the basic principles of camera and lighting. Students will film several assignments designed to help one understand the cinematic tools used to create an overall visual approach to storytelling. A close study of film genre will also be emphasized as well as aesthetic and technical topics such as color, texture, lens continuity, and aspect ratio. We will also explore practical on set strategies and challenges.

Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to take 343 Advanced Narrative Production or equivalent as a prerequisite. If they have not previously taken 366K Intro to Narrative Production, undergraduates will not be admitted.

RTF 388P      CINEMA LABORATORY • DEB LEWIS

Limited to 15 participants. In the cinema laboratory, we will make ten short films – some during class and some outside of class – with the emphasis being on making, taking risks and exploring the cinematic form on an elemental level. There will be failures and triumphs—all work strengthening and stretching our ability to express ideas and feelings through picture and sound. Cinema Laboratory’s practice of consistent moviemaking aims to create a space and time where filmmaking efforts are not expensive and precious, but intuitive, brief, engaging, and challenging in a fast-paced workshop setting. Motivated, hard-working, curious and highly creative students are sought to participate.

Throughout the semester-long laboratory, we will sharpen our cinema-making skills through attention to process and experimentation in order to move to a higher level of precision in our work. We will take many exercises from the notebook of Robert Bresson, who wrote, “It is with something clean and precise that you will force the attention of inattentive eyes and ears.” Precision arises through both practice and experimentation.

“The cinema language happened by experimentation—by people not knowing what to do…. I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby… If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?”—Francis Ford Coppola

Cinema Laboratory seeks self-driven RTF graduate students, upper level RTF undergraduates (especially those in their last semester at UT), Photojournalism students, and students from the School of Architecture and the Art School. There will be a Wednesday evening lab for those from non-RTF departments to learn RTF protocol and basic editing, camera and sound work.

Undergraduates registering for this class will need to acquire emailed consent of the instructor. Please contact Deb Lewis with questions regarding the Laboratory: deb.lewis@austin.utexas.edu

RTF 388P / 343C    ACTING FOR FILMMAKERS • MIKALA GIBSON

This workshop explores the key elements of basic acting technique through active engagement in a variety of exercises and assignments: improvisation, monologue and scene study, observation, and emotional preparation.  The goal is to develop a deep understanding of the job of the actor: to live life truthfully under imaginary circumstances.

RTF 388P      IMMERSIVE MEDIA PRODUCTION • DEEPAK CHETTY

This class introduces basic concepts of “Immersive Media” as it applies to virtual reality and stereoscopic 3D content. Relying on basic production techniques regarding spherical photography as well as more advanced completely computer-generated techniques, students create content in the virtual (computer-generated) and photoreal realm. All content created is 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 use the Unreal Engine.
Official prerequisites* include any one of the following classes and the consent of the instructor, Deepak Chetty:

  • 344M – 3 Visual Effects and Motion Graphics
  • 344M – 2 Comp Graph for Film and Games
  • 366M Introduction to 3D production

*Interested students who lack the prerequisites, may contact Deepak Chetty for more information.

RTF 388S      RESEARCH PROBLEM IN SPECIALIZED FIELD RTF: PRODUCTION

RTF 388T      PRODUCING FILM AND TELEVISION • MICAH BARBER

RTF 388T is cross listed as the undergraduate course 367K. It will detail how things work in the supposedly noncreative side of the entertainment industry. The course will focus on the function and duties of a producer as he or she shepherds an idea through a project "life cycle": development, financing, pre-production, post-production, marketing and distribution. Lecture topics will mirror the project life cycle while students concurrently develop their own business plans/prospectuses for original film or television projects of their choosing. At the end of the semester, each student should have a complete and realistic business plan for a film or video project, one which is ready for presentation to entertainment industry contacts and financiers. Lecture topics will mirror the project life cycle while students concurrently develop their own business plans/prospectuses for original film or television projects of their choosing.

Please note: This is a "Substantial Writing Component" course with three 5-6 page papers. RTF 388T is cross listed as the undergraduate course 367K.     

*This course fulfills a second year requirement for all MFA production majors. Other qualified students will be admitted as space permits, by instructor permission.           

RTF 390E      AUDIO FOR PICTURE: PRODUCTION & POST-PRODUCTION • ANDREW GARRISON

Required for first year MFA production students.
An intensive introduction to Production and Post Production Audio. The course is designed to prepare first-year MFA students to make good decisions about audio with a base of knowledge in ideas about audio and their practical application. By the end of the course you will demonstrate basic knowledge of various microphones, recording devices common to sound for picture, techniques of location recording, use of Pro Tools for editing and recording Foley and ADR, and an understanding of audio as a primary medium and as supporting medium by creating different sound track projects of increasing complexity from start to finish.

RTF 393N      COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION POLICY • SHARON STROVER

This course examines the U.S. communication policy in light of domestic and international structural, economic and technological changes. We will investigate how notions of control, access and expression have changed during the 20th and into the 21st centuries, examining communication policies and regulation against a backdrop of technological innovation. Our point of departure is that definitions of and debates on what constitutes the public interest intersect with policies for broadcasting, cable TV, computer networks and the Internet, and various other telecommunications systems. The course begins by examining some of the framing documents and events that established expectations about how communications and telecommunications systems should function for society; the course pursues the events and shifts in broadcasting, cable, telephony, and network communication - particularly the Internet - history in order to discover how original conceptualizations have been reshaped.

RTF 395        THEORY & LITERATURE - HUMANITIES PHD • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA

This course offers an introduction to the most significant theoretical developments in critical media studies as influenced by the humanities and to the progressive politics that underlies such scholarship. This Ph.D-level graduate seminar follows the development of these ideas through various schools of thought, illustrating how the field has grown more complex, diverse, and engaged with and responsive to shifts in mediated popular culture, media industries, and audience’s media consumption practices over time. It will provide a broad working knowledge of the main interventions in critical media studies and of the scholars whose work fueled new trajectories. By the end of the seminar, students will have a familiarity with key concepts, movements, and approaches that have informed the critical and cultural analysis of media histories, industries, texts, and audiences.

RTF 398R                   MASTER'S REPORT

RTF 399R/399W         DISSERTATION

RTF 488M                   PRE-THESIS FILM: POSTPRODUCTION - YEAR 2 MFA • DON HOWARD

RTF 488M                   THESIS FILM PRODUCTION

RTF 650L                    SEMESTER IN L A INT-L A

RTF 698A/698B          THESIS

RTF 699R/699W         DISSERTATION

RTF 881KB                PRINCIPLES OF FILM & TV PRODUCTION • YA’KE SMITH

An introduction to the fundamentals of narrative filmmaking, this course gives students the opportunity to direct and edit a 3 – 7 minute short film. These projects will introduce students to scheduling, location scouting, storyboarding, workflow, directing the camera and directing actors. The films also serve as the culmination of skills learned in the cinematography and audio class, taken concurrently. Emphasis in the class is placed on collaboration, visual storytelling, performance and production value.

RTF 999R/999W                     DISSERTATION