2022 - Fall

Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses - Fall 2022

*note: changes still in progress*

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


MEDIA STUDIES COURSES

 

RTF      380D/347P    BUSINESS OF HOLLYWOOD • ALISA PERREN

What is going on in the media industries today? What kinds of issues and challenges are entertainment industry professionals dealing with? This class has two 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 video 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 range of guest speakers coming from Hollywood, New York, and Texas about their personal experiences navigating the media business, past and present. While some of those visiting the class will work in production and postproduction (writing, directing, editing, etc.), most of the guests will work in other types of creative, managerial, and executive roles (e.g., studio and network development, acquisitions, marketing, talent management, etc.).

RTF      386      ALTERNATIVE POETICS- Web-Based • 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      386      EXILES IN HOLLYWOOD • NOAH ISENBERG

This course focuses one of the largest mass migrations of the twentieth century: the more than 150,000 German-speaking refugees who arrived in Southern California between 1933 and 1945. The course addresses the most significant areas impacted by this vital cultural shift, in particular the entertainment industry. Among the key figures we explore: philosopher and critic Theodor W. Adorno; novelist and screenwriter Vicki Baum; playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht; actors Marlene Dietrich and Peter Lorre; filmmakers Fritz Lang, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Billy Wilder; and salon hostess and sceenwriter Salka Viertel.

RTF      386C   FAN IDENTITIES AND CULTURES • SUZANNE SCOTT

This graduate seminar will survey contemporary fan studies from the 1980s to the present, with an emphasis on fandom within convergence culture and digital fan cultures across media. 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 discussions of fan labor, fan representations, fannish taste, modes of fan performance and production, industry-audience power dynamics, and our identities as fan scholars. This seminar will additionally consider identity work that has been elided or sidelined as a result of the field’s focus on gender as its core critical axis, in an effort to model a more intersectional conception of fan identity and fan studies.

RTF      387C    GLOBAL MEDIA INDUSTRIES AND CULTURES • 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.

The course will begin with an overview of some of the major theoretical debates in global media studies. In particular, we will focus on frameworks from South Asia, East Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean that have emerged in the past few decades in conversation with and in contrast to scholarship from the US and Western Europe (such as critiques of media imperialism, theories cultural hybridity, mestizaje, and rhizomatic flows.). The second part of the course will cover specific case studies of media industries and cultures in South Asia and East Asia. The third part of the course will include specific case studies of media industries and cultures in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although situated in specific regional and national contexts, the case studies will foreground the interregional character of global flows in film, television networks and digital platforms that are transforming media industries and cultures in these regions.

RTF      386      LATINX POP CULTURE • FREDERICK ALDAMA

In this course, we will explore how pop-cultural phenomena by and about Latinxs grow from and engages with different US sociopolitical, historical, ancestral, and regional contexts. We will critically engage with comics, TV shows, films, performance art, music videos, as well as web and digital media. We will learn about the different critical approaches and methods in the study of Latinx pop culture. We will contextualize and assess key critical interpretations, perspectives, development, and debates in Latinx pop cultural studies. We will critically examine how a variety of Latinx pop cultural phenomena as it interfaces with issues of creative and consumptive practices informed by religion, race, class, gender, and sexuality. Through our shared inquiry we will sharpen our critical thinking about the challenges and the prospects reflected in pop culture by and about Latinxs. These learning goals will be assessed through class participation, 1 short piece (critical review or interview) for publication, and 1 final research paper (15-20pp). No background in Latinx studies is required.

RTF      388C    RESEARCH PROBLEMS: DOCTORAL EXAM PREP

RTF      386C    MEDIA INDUSTRIES • ALISA PERREN

Three main objectives will guide us throughout the semester:  First, we will survey the history of the media industries and of media industries-related scholarship. Using Hollywood’s film and television operations as our primary objects of analysis, but referring to other contexts throughout, we will consider key ways that regulatory and technological shifts, along with growing impulses toward globalization, have intersected with industrial changes. 

Second, we will look at the range of qualitative methods that have been employed to research the media industries. In the process, we will read several case studies that provide applications of each of these approaches.

Third, we will explore the evolving field of media industry studies. This field, which incorporates work in film, media, communication, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, argues for the importance of integrating analysis of media structures with consideration of cultural and textual matters. Although our readings will focus most heavily on filmed entertainment from Hollywood, students are welcome to research such areas as video games, music, comic books, publishing, and radio in their final projects. Further, students are encouraged to apply the theoretical and methodological frameworks surveyed in class to other local, regional, and national contexts.

RTF      390N   NEW MEDIA TECHNOLGIES & CULTURES • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA

"New Media” is an umbrella term that has been in usage for a few decades now to refer primarily to technologies and media shaped by the development of the Internet in the 1980s, the creation of the Web in 1990s, and the emergence of social media platforms since the 2000s. In the 1990s, scholars debated the “new-ness” of digital and virtual technologies but more recently, they have also wondered whether the term “new” is outdated for media that have been around for over three decades now. Today it is virtually impossible to not have some aspect of our everyday life intersect with or be shaped by new media technologies and cultures. 

This graduate seminar will introduce students to cultural studies scholarship on new media. Readings will be a mix of theoretical essays and qualitative research-oriented case studies from around the world. Issues relating to power relations, discursive constructions, ideological politics, and socio-cultural contexts will be centered in the course readings and class discussions. A sampling of topics that will be included in the course include digitization, interactivity, virtual communities, online identities, hashtag activism, streaming, big data, surveillance, privacy, mobility, digital capitalism, cultural citizenship, and information economies. The two key course goals are (1) to provide an overview of the key debates, theories, and methods in the field of new media studies and (2) help students develop critical skills relating to theoretical frameworks and research methods that can be applied to the study of new media texts, cultures, and contexts.  

RTF      395      THEORY AND LITERATURE I - FOR PH.D. STUDENTS • CURRAN NAULT

Drawing on literature from a rangy archive in the interdisciplinary field of media studies, this course aims to (re-)familiarize students with the established “canon,” while also broadening its horizons into dynamic and overlooked “elsewheres.” Charting significant developments in media theory, across differences in methodology, platform, representation and beyond, students will participate in debate, thought experiments, writing projects and rigorous discussion filtered through class readings and images. Within this framework of thoughtful engagement, students will explore how these texts can be activated, applied and reimagined. This course is required for all new PhD students in the RTF Department and is also open to PhD students from other departments interested in media-focused scholarship, with the permission of the instructor.

RTF      395      THEORY AND LITERATURE - FOR MEDIA STUDIES MASTER STUDENTS • MARY BELTRAN

This course provides an introduction to the broad range of theoretical scholarship in media studies from the perspectives of cultural studies and social sciences.  It is required for all new M.A. students in the RTF Department, and is also open to graduate students from other departments interested in media-focused scholarship, with the permission of the instructor. We will review the primary theories and researchers in the field, with an emphasis on understanding the development of the discipline and its varied trajectories. The course will be conducted as a seminar, with in-depth discussions of the books, articles and authors we encounter.  

RTF      398M   MASTERS RESEARCH/WRITING

RTF      398R   MASTERS REPORT - HYBRID/BLENDED

 

MFA SCREENWRITING COURSES

RTF 380J         FIRST-YEAR SCREENWRITING (Fall)CINDY McCREERY

The gateway course for entering MFA Screenwriters, this class focuses on writing the feature-length screenplay, which means delving into the three primary elements of screenwriting: story, character and structure. Students discuss and evaluate each other's work on a weekly basis, developing their critical skills as screenwriters. By the end of the semester, each student will have a completed treatment, step-outline, and Act I of a feature-length screenplay. RTF Screenwriters will complete-and-revise their screenplay during the Spring, in the 380J companion course.

RTF 380M        ADVANCED SCREENWRITING IRICHARD LEWIS

This course fulfills the second year, second semester writing requirement for all screenwriting majors specializing in narrative motion pictures and television. The goals of this course are as follows: That you complete a feature script or television pilot suitable for submission to agents, production companies and/or contests. That you leave this course a better writer than when you entered. That you help your fellow classmates achieve the above two goals and vice-versa. *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        DEVELOPMENT FOR SCREENWRITERSMAYA PEREZ

The focus of this course is to help students gain an understanding of the screenwriter's role in the film industry and set themselves up for a career as a professional screenwriter. This is an advanced course where students will learn how to create a screenwriter's resume and portfolio, build a network, advocate for themselves, discuss representation, screenplay competitions, and fellowships, practice general and staffing meetings, prepare pitches and treatments for writing assignments, develop networking skills for industry events, and learn how to conduct themselves in a writers room and in production company/studio notes meetings.

Through lectures and discussions with industry guest speakers, this course will focus on best positioning students to pursue a professional screenwriting career.

RTF 380N        TV SPECSSTUART KELBAN

This course explores writing for scripted series television. Over the course of the semester, students will write "spec" scripts of an existing half-hour comedy and hour-long drama. The class will take an in-depth look at TV writing from the inside out, learning how to "break" an episode and how a TV writer's room works.

RTF      386      ALTERNATIVE POETICS - WEB-BASED • 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?”


 

MFA PRODUCTION COURSES
 

RTF 380C         SCREENWRITING FOR DIRECTORS (for 1st Year Production MFA students) RICHARD LEWIS

Though focusing on the short script, 380C explores basic dramatic principles – story, character, and structure – which are applicable to all forms of narrative screenwriting. Students apply these narrative principles to the development of their own original short scripts, with an emphasis on the writing process: from the initial premise, through character exploration and outlining, to drafting and revision. At the end of the semester, students will leave class with short scripts ready to shoot in the spring RTF 881KB narrative production class.

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 PRACTICUM • ADRIANA SERRANO

This class is structured around the practical aspects of how-to production design your own script.  Students will learn how to develop a design from conceptualization to execution based on the needs of your particular story.  The students will learn how to approach and find creative ways to deliver a design that will contribute to the creation of an effective visual design.

We will cover budgeting, breakdowns, creating specific graphics, drafting, clearances, and basics of set construction.

RTF 388F/344M   POST-PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (COLOR GRADING) SIMON QUIROZ

This class will examine best practices in the finishing and mastering stages of digital post-production for a film or media piece focusing primarily on picture control and quality. The class will reinforce strong habits in media preparation when it comes to editing -- but this is not an editing class. We will depart from the moment the offline edit is done and move forward with preparing assets for online editing, sending them to sound design and mix, integration of VFX to color correction and grading (finishing) and then integration of all these elements (mastering) for deliverables creation. While we will cover color correction and grading, this course will also emphasize the technical elements that allow us to deliver the best quality images possible for different platforms. The concepts of infrastructure, pipeline and workflow should become second nature to the student upon successful completion of this course. Ideally, students should come with a pretty good understanding of nonlinear editing software.

This class is open to all the students who have some previous experience in film or narrative production.  Each student must have a script that they want to develop for this class.

RTF 388P           ADVANCED DIRECTING • ANDREW SHEA

This course is designed to bring together advanced directing and acting students in an environment that will foster mutual growth and understanding of the director/actor dynamic in the filmmaking process. The class will work closely with Lucien Douglas's Acting For The Camera course in the Department of Theatre & Dance. Each student will direct or co-direct a Dogme-style film in which the Theatre & Dance actors play the leading roles. We will adhere to a production code that is a modified version of the Dogme 95 Vow of Cinematic Chastity. The goal will be to create collaborative, performance-based works that emphasize simplicity and ingenuity in image and sound choices.

RTF 388P           CINEMATOGRAPHY DEBORAH EVE LEWIS

This course explores visual storytelling and the art of cinematography through practice in a workshop environment. We will explore visual expression through a variety of cinema tools including camera and lighting. Students are encouraged to think cinematically in both fiction and non-fiction approaches. A number of readings and exercises are assigned to also increase a student's technical knowledge and understanding of one's tools, leading to greater creative and personal visual expression.

RTF 388P/340M   MUSIC VIDEO/FILM PRODUCTION • PJ RAVAL

This course explores the collaborative nature between filmmakers and performing artists. Students will partner with a local musical artist/band to create a portfolio of original short films ranging from live performance videos, to non-fiction and promotional materials, to music videos and ultimately music films. This course embraces conceptual and non-traditional forms of filmmaking often seen in the works of early music video pioneers. From the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” to Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” music videos have defined generations and cultural movements. This course will explore the artistic expressions and subsequent social impacts that music videos have had in steering the public conversations around artist personas, censorship, and cinematic innovation.

RTF 388S         RESEARCH PROBLEM IN SPECIAL FIELD RTF: PRODUCTION

RTF 386      ALTERNATIVE POETICS- Web-Based • 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 390C         INTRO TO EDITING FOR GRAD STUDENTS ANNE LEWIS

Required for first-year MFA production students. This is an introductory course in which we will build the foundation for later postproduction practice within the MFA program. It will incorporate technical, aesthetic, and practical considerations into an overall view of editing as a process, and we will use class discussion, written assignments, and (provided) editing exercises toward that end. The final third of the class will workshop your documentary film at various stages of postproduction.

RTF 488M       PRE-THESIS PRODUCTION YA'KE SMITH

For 2nd-year MFA Production students only. This course is designed to aid students in the planning and production of a short narrative or documentary film. Students must complete a story synopsis, treatment and/or shooting script, production budget, schedule, and equipment list prior to shooting. Pre-thesis fiction projects shall be under 12 minutes in length, and documentary projects shall not exceed 30 minutes. Production must be completed prior to the end of the semester. Post-production will take place in the spring semester.

RTF 488M      THESIS POST-PRODUCTION 

 

RTF 488M      THESIS PRODUCTION PJ RAVAL

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 881KA     PRINCIPLES OF FILM AND TV PRODUCTION: DIRECTING DOCUMENTARY NANCY SCHIESARI

For MFA Production first-year students, this course focuses on directing and producing short documentaries. Using a combination of screenings, workshops, discussion and analysis, all in parallel with each student's semester-long documentary project, we will cover aspects of film structure that pertain to both documentary and narrative. Documentary projects, within a range of 10-12 minutes in length, will be completed and screened at semester's end.

 

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