2019 - Spring

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Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses – Spring 2019

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 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 • TOM WILLETT
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        PILOTS • CINDY McCREERY

Each student will create a new original television show (30 or 60 minute, network or cable) from the ground up: researching the setting and historical moment, inventing the characters and relationships, and ultimately designing the conflicts necessary to propel a show through multiple seasons. Students will then distill all of this work into a single showpiece episode - a pilot - that demonstrates the artistic and commercial potential of the new show. We’ll also be looking at a range of produced pilots (both aired and unaired) and discussing what makes the best of them work.

RTF 385K        FILM HISTORY (FOR MFAs) • CHARLES RAMÍREZ BERG

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.  The course will cover the development of the medium from Thomas Edison to Robert Rodriguez.  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) and 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 385K        MEDIA, MEMORY AND THE ARCHIVE • CAROLINE FRICK

This course introduces one of the most complicated (and under-studied) components of the media industries:  Preservation.  The course will employ both a theoretical and practical approach to archival media product, as well as will investigate the emerging connections with media and memory studies.  Debates over the merits (and drawbacks) of defining media product as artifact will be complemented by larger discussions over the practical ramifications of copyright, physical deterioration and the so-called “digital dilemma.”

RTF 385L         AMERICAN FILM HISTORY, 1960 TO PRESENT • TOM SCHATZ

This course examines the history and aesthetics of Hollywood cinema from the post-classical era to the present day, tracing the industry’s recovery from its disastrous postwar decline in the 1960s, through the so-called Hollywood Renaissance of the late 1960s and the 1970s, the rise of the New Hollywood in the 1970s and ’80s, and the eventual consolidation of Conglomerate Hollywood in the 1990s and early 2000s. The main focus will be mainstream Hollywood films and filmmaking, although we will consider important ancillary developments and adjacent industries as well – the art and commerce of American independent film, for instance, and Hollywood’s volatile relationship with the television industry.

RTF 386           MEDIA AND CULTURAL HYBRIDITY • SHANTI KUMAR

This course offers critical perspectives on media and popular culture by deconstructing polarized views on whether globalization and digital convergence are making our world more homogeneous through "Westernization" and "Americanization," or enabling the creation of more heterogeneous cultures due to the proliferation free markets, democracy, diversity.  Rejecting such polarized views and focusing on more nuanced perspectives that embrace concepts like hybridity mestizaje, cultural mixing and remixing, the course critically interrogates the discourses of globalization media convergence both in the historical contexts of colonialism, and postcolonial nationalism  and in contemporary debates on neo-liberalism, postnationalism, and postmodern cosmopolitanism.  The seminar has two interrelated objectives: 1) to focus on the role of hybridity in contemporary global media and culture in areas such as media convergence, digital art and remix cultures; and 2) to gain a critical understanding of the political, cultural and theoretical significance of hybridity in diverse historical contexts of colonial and postcolonial discourse. In this course, we will closely read some of the well-known writings of noted postmodern, poststructuralist and postcolonial theorists of cultural hybridity such as Jean Baudrillard, Homi Bhabha, Judith Butler, Nestor Garcia Canclini, Jacques Derrida, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Gayatri Spivak and Edward Said. The course readings will also include the works of contemporary scholars and practitioners such as Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Henry Jenkins, Lawrence Lessig, Lev Manovich, Amit Rai, among others who focus in different ways on the role of hybridity in global media and culture. The course grade will be based on attendance, class participation, weekly responses to readings, and a final research paper.

RTF 386C         FEMINIST MEDIA STUDIES • JENNIFER McCLEAREN

Feminist media studies will consider how feminist theory can be applied to the political, social, cultural, economic, and structural conditions embedded in media representation, production, and reception. While the broader sub-field of feminist media studies is epistemologically and methodologically diverse, this course will primarily draw upon feminist cultural studies and other humanistic traditions that are strategically political in identifying inequalities and spurring change. The course is decidedly intersectional in approach and will examine gender as it intersects with race, ethnicity, sexuality, and other minoritized identities, in particular.

RTF 386C         POST-NETWORK TELEVISION • STEVEN MALCIC

In recent decades, television has been dramatically transformed by new technologies, shifts in media industry structures and practices, a range of deregulatory acts, as well changing formal-aesthetic traits and representational practices. These developments in infrastructure, industry, policy, style, and representation have given rise to what is now commonly called the post-network era of television.

In this course, we will survey a variety of theories and methods used to examine the current post-network era, including approaches to new technologies and infrastructures, media industries, corporate and government policies, emergent modes of audience engagement, and formal textual practices. Among the topics to be covered during the semester include: industrial transformations and their ramifications, the impact of diverse national and international policies on creative practices, changing global patterns in the circulation of content, the ascent of “connected viewing” and the impact of the streaming ecosystem on legacy media forms, the politics of digital platforms, and shifting modes of representation emerging in conjunction with the rise of a more niche-oriented media landscape.

The course will draw on recent scholarship in the area of post-network television, including selections from We Now Interrupt This Broadcast: How Cable Transformed Television and the Internet Revolutionized It All (Amanda Lotz, 2018), Netflix Nations: The Geography of Digital Distribution (Ramon Lobato, 2019), Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (Jason Mittell, 2015), Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status (Michael Z. Newman and Elana Levine, 2011), YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, 2018), Connected Viewing: Selling, Streaming, and Sharing Media in the Digital Age (edited by Jennifer Holt and Kevin Sanson, 2014), Wired TV: Laboring Over an Interactive Future (edited by Denise Mann and Derek Johnson, 2014), and others.

RTF 386C / 377H          WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA • LALITHA GOPALAN

This course looks at a range of international women filmmakers to explore how their film-work shaped, challenged, and transformed the cinematic medium.  In this regard, we will look at their role in various film movements, understand their location in relationship to national cinemas, and map the mutually reinforcing relationship between their concerns and those of film theory, particularly feminist theory.

This course will be structured in a seminar format similar to graduate-level or honors courses. Advanced undergraduate students interested in learning more about graduate school, or graduate students seeking a more introductory approach to advanced theoretical materials are especially encouraged to enroll in the course. Class is capped at 18 students.

RTF 387C         GLOBAL TV AND NEW MEDIA • JOE STRAUBHAAR

In this course we will examine some of the main theoretical, technological, economic and cultural in tendencies in global media by analyzing television, new forms of television, such as Netflix, and new media, such as social and mobile media. we will examine global, regional, national and local media theories and trends. We will put media into the context of larger forces and their theories as well.  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             RESEARCH PROBLEM IN SPEC FIELD OF RTF

RTF 388E              RESEARCH PROBLEM IN SPEC FIELD OF RTF

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 / 368D   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 / 343     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 388S         RESEARCH PROBLEM SPEC FIELD RTF: PROD

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. Open to a limited number of students from other disciplines.
An intensive introduction to audio for picture from writing to production and post. The course integrates with the 881KB assignment and is designed to prepare first-year MFA students to make good decisions about audio with a base of knowledge and practice. By the end of the course you will have a basic knowledge of various microphones and their usage; professional mixer/recorders; techniques of location recording, sound editing and basic mixing; use of Pro Tools for editing and recording Foley and ADR, and an understanding of audio as a significant tool for storytelling.

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 488M       PRE-THESIS FILM: POSTPRODUCTION • ANNE LEWIS

RTF 488M       THESIS FILM PRODUCTION

RTF 881KB      PRINCIPLES OF FILM AND 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.