Graduate Courses – Spring 2020
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RTF 380 RESEARCH METHODS • ALISA PERREN
This course provides an introduction to key methodological approaches used by media studies scholars. There are four primary objectives to the course: First, we will address the considerations involved in developing and designing research projects, addressing potential ethical, political, and logistical challenges related to conducting different types of research. Second, we will survey several qualitative research methods employed by media studies scholars including historiography, discourse analysis, genre studies, ethnography, interviewing, and more. We will assess how such methods can be employed in the study of media industries, texts, and audiences. Students will be asked to undertake a series of assignments through which they apply and critique various methodologies. Third, we will engage in a number of question-and-answer sessions about methodology with RTF faculty members. In addition, we will read several different examples of the diverse work produced in RTF. Fourth, students will be asked to build on our semester-long survey of methodological challenges, concerns, and practices by developing their own research proposals.
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 • RICHARD LEWIS
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 • STUART KELBAN
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 385L AUTHORSHIP, INDUSTRY, AND ARCHIVAL RESEARCH • TOM SCHATZ
This course will examine filmmaking practices and the mode(s) of production in the American film and television industries, focusing heavily on theories of authorship and archival research methods. Utilizing the resources at the Harry Ransom Center, we will gauge the contributions of a wide range of individuals to the production process – from classical Hollywood figures like Gloria Swanson, Alfred Hitchcock and David Selznick, to key figures in the burgeoning New Hollywood like Ernest Lehmann, Robert De Niro, and Paul Schrader, to contemporary television show-runners like Matthew Weiner. Readings will include key works on American film and television authorship, along with a wide array of scholarly and journalistic writings on film and televisions authorship that rely heavily on archival research. Students will write a research paper and also will present their research to the class.
RTF 386 GENDER AND RACE IN SPORTS MEDIA • JENNIFER McCLEAREN
This course examines the cultural politics of sports with a focus on the representation of gender and race across an array of digital and legacy sports media. We will draw upon critical, cultural, and feminist theoretical lenses to consider sports as more than “just a game” or mere escapist entertainment. Rather, sports media culture can be understood as a microcosm of broader cultural, political, economic, and social forces where power struggles play out on the court, on the field, in the ring, and across multiple screens. This course investigates how discourses of gender and race shape who watches, who participates in, and who is represented in the multi-billion-dollar enterprise of mediated sports. We will specifically scrutinize how discourses socially construct the sporting body to reinforce social inequalities and how fissures of resistance continue to erode these constructions.
RTF 386 GLOBAL TRANS* MEDIA STUDIES • CURRAN NAULT
This course evokes trans* as an expansive, intersectional terrain in which transgender, transnational and transmedia productively intertwine. As such, students will explore theories, practices and productions of gender across a variety of media forms and global frameworks. With specific attention to the recent upsurge in transgender media visibility, students will explore attendant issues of identity, politics, activism, economics, performance and spectatorship—within different national and historical contexts. This course will combine readings of key queer and trans/-feminist texts with explorations of both mainstream and subcultural trans*media artifacts. This course will insist on an intersectional approach to trans*media that foregrounds differences of race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nation and generation, in addition to gender.
RTF 386 SCREWBALL COMEDY • NOAH ISENBERG
This course examines the rise of the classic Hollywood screwball comedy, 1934-1942, and its enduring impact. Occasionally thought of as “a sex comedy without sex,” screwball often blends slapstick, farce, and lunacy with sophisticated, rapid-fire dialogue, wit, and innuendo. Starting with such early entries as It Happened One Night (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936), and The Awful Truth (1937), we cover such classics as His Girl Friday (1940) and The Lady Eve (1941). Finally, we make our way to the screwball revival in films like What’s Up, Doc? (1972), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Screenings are accompanied by primary and secondary texts that focus on the wide-ranging meanings that the genre has held over time in literature, film history, and theory. Open to MFA screenwriting and production students as well as studies students interested in screwball comedy more generally.
RTF 386C READING DIGITAL CINEMA • LALITHA GOPALAN
To overstate, the arrival of the digital has changed the episteme in Film Studies: from Cinema Studies to Moving Image, Visual Cultures, and Digital Arts. In this rearrangement of interests and directions, scholars have drawn on different genealogies that have brought into proximity practices before and after film that reverberate with the cinematic. Far from being settled, extant scholarship reveals insights and draws connections between art forms that are unruly and provocative. This course explores the various portals to the digital and the continued fascination with cinema in these readings.
RTF 386C/377H CENTRAL EUROPE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD • KATHERINE ARENS
Hollywood’s golden age, from the 1930s through the 1960s, was due in no small part to the presence of emigrants or refugees: actors, directors, writers, studio heads, and technical production people. The films in this class come from one of Europe’s most dynamic culture industry: the filmmakers in Central Europe (= Austria, Germany, and Slavic countries) and what they brought with them that created Hollywood as we know it.
This course will introduce you to some of their finest films, to the relationship between films and how/when they are made, and to the problems faced by artists in exile then and now (as they try to recoup careers and reputations, and deal with media, publicity, stereotyping, and language barriers). While these examples span films from b/w times on, they represent how the commercial film industries worked before the era of streaming and niche audiences.
The class will offer case studies in various problems associated with understanding films in their own right and as part of a culture industry. Case studies here will favor especially “Austria in Hollywood” as representing a cluster of problems surrounding filmmakers’ styles, audience expectations, censorship, and commercial film genres (and how they came from the stage. The talent from Central Europe on Broadway and in Hollywood was an unparalleled source of within the culture industries, this exemplary immigrant community offered an unparalleled source of film industry talent and critical intelligence, contributing an urbane, witty tone to the Hollywood film, joining entertainment to sophisticated social criticism.
These films will also be used to introduce how to “read” plays, films, and media and how to think critically about their content -- especially what it means to cross cultural lines, to import and export culture across political and social boundaries. Topics to be addressed include:
- adaptations (book to play to film to remakes)
- conventions and stereotyping
- film genres and intertextuality
- directors, esp. Ernst Lubitsch & Billy Wilder
- famous faces: how celebrity works
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. Undergraduates who have not previously taken 366K Intro to Narrative Production will not be admitted.
RTF 388P / 366K INTRODUCTION TO PRODUCTION DESIGN • ADRIANA SERRANO
This class explores the world of production design and art direction for film. By watching films, analyzing concepts and using a series of practical projects the students will learn the different components of film design including: script interpretation, mood boards, breakdowns, clearances, scenery, location, props and color concepts.
The students are required to crew or design one film in collaboration with the RTF students.
RTF 388P / 343 ADVANCED PRODUCTION DESIGN • ADRIANA SERRANO
This class teaches production design in a more advance level. This class is an in-depth exploration off all the visual components of studio sets and design for film. Students are required to have taken Intro to Production Design or have other equivalent credits in design, art or architecture.
All the students are required to design/or crew in one narrative project with the RTF students. Instructor consent required.
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: email@example.com
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 393N COMMUNICATION, TECHNOLOGY & CULTURE • SHARON STROVER
In this course we will examine several influential books that address the interplay of media systems, technologies and society. The class does not have a single theme or one overarching question. Rather, the material we'll read during the term has been selected because it raises issues concerning the social context for which media, old and new, have defining powers. Our simplest goals will be to understand alternative conceptions of how technology is viewed, including its supposed "impacts" on society, its role in creating and shaping broad media systems and the attendant cultural reverberations. Theories of society are foregrounded in some of the readings, and occupy central positions in other work even though they may be more implicit than explicit. Our point of departure is that one cannot meaningfully discuss media systems without acknowledging the social context in which they reside, originate, function and evolve. Culture and cultural issues are defined and explored broadly as encompassing the common practices and rituals of everyday life as well as the long-standing patterns and values that characterize American society. The ways in which media systems or technologies are synonymous with modernity will be directly addressed in many of our readings. The social construction of technology, technological determinism, actor-network theory and the political economy of communication will be among some of the theoretical approaches we will consider.
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 • ANDREW SHEA
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 384N INTERNSHIP IN FILM & ELEC MEDIA
RTF 388C RESEARCH PROBLEMS: DOCTORAL EXAM PREP
RTF 388D RESEARCH PROBLEMS IN SPEC FIELD OF RTF
RTF 388E RESEARCH PROBLEMS IN SPEC FIELD OF RTF
RTF 388S RESEARCH PROBLEMS SPEC FIELD RTF: PRODUCTION
RTF 398R MASTER'S REPORT
RTF 399W DISSERTATION
RTF 650L SEMESTER IN LA / INTERNSHIP-LA
RTF 698A THESIS
RTF 698B THESIS
RTF 699W DISSERTATION
RTF 999W DISSERTATION