2023 - Spring

Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses - Spring 2023

Note: Some changes may still occur.

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

Find descriptions of undergraduate courses also on our website, to review as electives or for teaching assistance purposes.


MEDIA STUDIES COURSES

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 385L        FILMS OF BILLY WILDER • NOAH ISENBERG

This course explores the films of Billy Wilder, from his earliest efforts as a screenwriter in Weimar Germany to the more famous, award-winning work he undertook as a writer-director in Hollywood. We will examine his multi-year partnerships with American writers Charles Brackett (The Major and the Minor, The Lost Weekend, A Foreign Affair, Sunset Boulevard) and I.A.L. Diamond (Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Buddy Buddy), and his independent work (Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch). We also look at the mentorship he received from other directors, notably Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka) and Howard Hawks (Ball of Fire). Among the chief focal points are: the question of authorship, personal style, and film aesthetics; the strictures of genre; working within and outside the studio system; casting, character, and recurrent players. Open to MFA screenwriting and production students as well as studies students interested in the life and career of Wilder.

RTF 386          BLACK MEDIA AND COMEDIC RAGE •  ADRIEN SEBRO

In this course, we will investigate how Black comedians, writers, and artists have utilized comedy across varying media as a form of pedagogy to redress past injustices, critique America’s racial divide, mourn Black life, and celebrate Black survival. Through the lens of vaudeville performances, party records, print media, stand-up comedy,  film, television, and podcasts we will examine how comedy has been used to create vulnerability in the precarity of daily Black life.

RTF 386          READING DIGITAL CINEMA • LALITHA GOPALAN

To overstate, the arrival of the digital has changed the episteme in Film Studies. We now resort to a range of nomenclatures for fields of study that include Cinema Studies, Moving Image, Software Studies, Visual Culture, 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 drawn from connections between art forms that are unruly and provocative. At stake in this course is to explore how we read the digital in its various iterations. This course explores the various portals to the digital and the continued fascination with cinema that are evident in these readings.

RTF 386C       ART AND ACTIVISM • CURRAN NAULT

This course immerses students in the intersectional study of transmedia art and activism, its attendant theories and practices, from the protest march, to the DIY punk club, to online hacktivist enclaves, to subcultural film festivals and beyond. Students will explore salient politics, practices, peoples and movements for radical/creative liberation, both past (e.g., the Harlem Renaissance, the Situationist International, Riot Grrrl) and present (e.g., Tik Tok takedowns, #BlackLivesMatter, #TransLivesMatter), delving into a diversity of artivist forms and strategies deployed across space and time. Students will read key theoretical texts on transmedia production and art/activist practice, and will have the opportunity to participate in artivist happenings, presumably online. This course insists on an intersectional approach that actively engages differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, nation, ability, generation and beyond.

RTF 386C /377H 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 395         THEORY & LIT PART 2 (PhDS) • JENNIFER McCLEAREN

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      398M   MASTERS RESEARCH/WRITING

RTF      398R   MASTERS REPORT - HYBRID/BLENDED

 

MFA SCREENWRITING COURSES

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        PILOTS KATHERINE CRAFT

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 380N        WRITERS ROOM WORKSHOP  CINDY McCREERY

Students will work as a writers’ room run by Professor McCreery and television executive Jordan Levin where they will create an original pilot as well as the entire season of a television series. 

RTF 385K      FILM HISTORY (FOR 1st YEAR MFAs) • Hybrid/Blended • 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. 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.


MFA PRODUCTION COURSES

RTF 385K      FILM HISTORY (FOR MFAs) • Hybrid/Blended • 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. 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 388F/344M   POST-PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (COLOR GRADING) DAN STUYCK

This course involves intensive hands-on work in digital color grading. It is designed to familiarize students with the entire digital image-making process, whether you are a director or a cinematographer who wants to understand how picture finishing works, to more advanced students who wish to specialize in post production or color correction.

RTF 388F/340D   PRODUCTION DESIGN BASICS ADRIANA SERRANO

Understand the role of production design and how the creation and selection of sets, locations and environments contribute to the visual language of film. Explore fundamental elements of story, production, critical analysis, and the collaborative process of film making from the design perspective.

RTF 388F/341D   PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR TV PILOT • ADRIANA SERRANO

Covering all aspects of production design for the concept of a TV pilot—from pre-production to production—we will develop the production design of an actual pilot through collaboration with the class “Producing the TV Pilot,” taught by RTF professor Ya’Ke Smith. We will delve into the various PD tasks and approaches to the work, including scouting locations, creating graphics, doing research, designing costumes, selecting props, and exploring the differences between shooting on location vs. on a soundstage. No previous experience in production design is necessary.

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 • RACHEL BARDIN

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 / 343     ADVANCED PRODUCTION: DOCUMENTARY • ILIANA SOSA

This course involves intensive hands-on work in all aspects of documentary video production, in addition to critical investigations of a variety of contemporary non-fiction forms. Much of the semester revolves around producing a documentary (either individually or in a small group) and completing workshop projects, thus offering experience in project development and conceptualization, camerawork, sound recording, lighting, and editing.

RTF 388P / 343     CINEMA LABORATORY  DEBORAH EVE 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@utexas.edu.

See website for more information

RTF 388T         PRODUCING FILM AND TELEVISION SARAH SEULKI OH

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 389P/368P         PRODUCING SHORT FILMS • SARAH SEULKI OH

Short films are often seen as an excellent calling card for first time filmmakers. But it’s much more than just a way to practice your craft or make something that is shorter or cheaper than a feature film.  Though the principles and steps involved to produce a short film is no different than producing a feature film, it is also a unique discipline of its own. How do you tell an interesting and compelling story in a short film?  How do you translate a minimum budget into maximum quality on screen?
This course will examine all fundamental aspects of development, pre-production, production, and distribution of producing a short film. Students will practice the step-by-step processes of physical production such as script breakdown, scheduling, budgeting, location scouting, crew hiring, working with cast and crew, etc. Using weekly lectures, homework assignments, course readings and class workshops to reinforce each class topic, students will put together a final production binder for a short film

RTF 390E      AUDIO FOR PICTURE: PRODUCTION & POST-PRODUCTION TODD THOMPSON

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 an entry-level working knowledge of various microphones and their usage; the Sound Devices 633 mixer/recorder; wireless lav systems, techniques of production recording, sound editing and basic mixing; the use of Pro Tools for editing and recording Foley and ADR; and a broader appreciation of audio in storytelling for screens.

RTF 488M      PRE-THESIS FILM: POSTPRODUCTION  YA'KE SMITH

RTF 488M      THESIS PRODUCTION 

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 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.


SPECIALTY COURSES

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