Graduate Courses – Fall 2021
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MEDIA STUDIES COURSES
RTF 380J THE GREAT DEPRESSION: RESEARCH IN MEDIA AND HISTORY • KATHY FULLER-SEELEY
This research methods course will use the American (and global) crisis of the 1930s as a case study focus through which to explore and apply cultural history techniques. We will examine a wide range of primary sources – archival documents, film, broadcasting, photography, oral histories, and digitized archives of newspaper, periodical, artistic, governmental and other materials. Students will create assignments based on a variety of research methods, and will develop research projects drawing on historical methodologies.
RTF 386C DIGITAL IDENTITIES • SUZANNE SCOTT
This course draws on emergent research in digital media studies to explore digital identities from a range of critical perspectives, with an emphasis on feminist, queer, and critical race theory. In addition to historicizing and analyzing how bias is baked into digital technologies and cultures, this course considers both social justice movements and hashtag activism as well as instances of spreadable and networked racism and misogyny. Additionally, this course will address how particular digital platforms such as Reddit or Pinterest shape, and are shaped by, identity politics, and theorize "born digital" identities, from trolls to microcelebrities.
RTF 386C RACE AND MEDIA INDUSTRIES Web-Based • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA
This graduate seminar takes a critical and cultural studies approach to the politics of race in media industries. An underlying logic of this course is that media does not just represent ‘race,’ it produces it. We will examine and engage with issues of race and racial diversity as they inform media’s institutional practices. The theme of representation—how race and racial difference is produced, managed, stereotyped, and erased through media practices—will be a key area of study in this course. However, a key goal of this course is also to think about the politics of race in media industries beyond the issue of representation. Therefore, topics of study will include media production, distribution, circulation, talent agencies, creative labor, hiring practices and racial diversity on and behind the screen. While many of the specific case studies will be focused on U.S. media, we will engage with race and racial capitalism as global concepts. For example, we will discuss how the commodification of racial difference is both nationally iterated but globally produced. We will discuss developments such as the turn towards “diversity” in recent decades, controversies over whitewashing, critiques of underrepresentation of racialized minorities, and industry disclaimers relating to “outdated cultural depictions,” within the historical, cultural, and globalized contexts of imperialism, capitalism, and neoliberal multiculturalism. Course readings/viewings will include theoretical and scholarly writings as well as popular articles, industry reports, and news clips. The course work will include short writing assignments that will be spread out across the semester.
RTF 386C TELEVISION STUDIES • ALISA PERREN
This course has two primary goals: First, we will trace the historical development of television studies from a humanistic perspective, exploring a variety of critical approaches that have been taken in the study of the medium. We will look at some canonical texts from the last several decades and consider the ways that they have continued to shape ideas in this evolving field of study. Second, we will look at recent scholarship in television studies as a means of assessing both the changing nature of television and of television studies as an area of inquiry. The readings for the class will cover a range of industrial, institutional, sociocultural, textual, and audience approaches and issues.
RTF 387C GLOBAL SPORTS MEDIA • JENNIFER McCLEAREN
Sports adopt numerous forms around the globe that tell vivid stories about the locations and cultures from which they come. Our myths, ideologies, and narratives embed themselves in sports media, which become windows into broader issues such as nationalism, international relations, immigration, human rights, and a plethora of other matters. This course examines sports media as a cultural, political, and economic phenomenon that are simultaneously nationalizing and globalizing forces. We interrogate the ways in which sports function as sites of contestation on local, regional, national, and international scales. The course will study sports media from a cultural studies perspective, which considers how power struggles operate through sports and who is advantaged and disadvantaged in this process. Topics may include colonialism, diasporas, regional and global fandoms, sports and development, racialized bodies and exploitation, human rights violations and sports mega-events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, American exceptionalism, and human trafficking.
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 395 THEORY & LITERATURE – M.A. • SHANTI KUMAR
This course provides an introduction to the broad range of theories in media studies from the perspectives of social sciences and cultural studies. It is required for all new M.A. students in the RTF Department. 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 of research (such as mass communications, political economy and critical-cultural analyses of media). The course will be conducted as a seminar, with in depth discussions of the books, articles and authors we encounter.
RTF 395 THEORY & LITERATURE – Ph.D. • CURRAN NAULT
Theory is the foundation of knowledge production. Drawing on literature from the interdisciplinary fields of media studies, this course aims to (re-)familiarize new PhD students with a broad range of media theories, their uses and critiques. Charting various developments and debates within media theory, students will explore how these theories are applied, criticized, appropriated, revised, and reclaimed--crossing boundaries of media form, discipline, nation and beyond. This course will be taught in a seminar-style with in-depth discussion and interactivity, and will serve as a prologue to 395.2 in the Spring.
RTF 398T PEDAGOGY - SUPERVISED TEACHING IN RTF Web-Based • CHARLES RAMIREZ BERG
This is a course on methods and practices of teaching communication area college courses. It is designed to introduce you to some of the philosophies behind different ways of teaching, as well as to assist you in your teaching experience at UT Austin. We will thus be dealing both with theoretical material as well as more basic, “how to” information and skills. The goal of the course is to make you more comfortable in the classroom, to better your pedagogical skills, and to improve your understanding of your own teaching. The course plan moves you from “how to teach at this particular institution” (i.e., the syllabus assignments) through “thinking about the theory and practice of teaching” (i.e., the research paper, observations, discussions of ethics, practicums) to evaluating your own teaching and preparing to sell it on the job market (i.e., teaching philosophy and portfolio). You are expected to keep up with the reading, meet all course deadlines, and fulfill your responsibilities as a member of an academic community. Class time will be reserved every week for the discussion of issues, problems, and positive experiences in your individual classrooms.
MFA SCREENWRITING COURSES
RTF 380J FIRST-YEAR SCREENWRITING (Fall) • STUART KELBAN
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 I • RICHARD 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 TV SPECS • TAMAR LADDY
Introduction to the fundamentals of writing for television where students will develop and write both a one-hour and half-hour television ‘spec' based on an existing series. Consent required: contact Tamar Laddy.
RTF 380N DEVELOPMENT FOR SCREENWRITERS • MAYA 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.
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 388P ADVANCED DIRECTING • ANDREW SHEA
This course is designed to bring together advanced directing students and actors in an environment that will foster mutual growth and understanding of the director/actor dynamic in the filmmaking process. Each student will direct or co-direct a Dogme-style film and 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 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 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/337 EARS ONLY: AUDIO STORYTELLING • TODD THOMPSON
Audio production and post for storytelling using voice, actuality, music, ambiences and sound effects. Structuring stories for audio only, plus microphone and recorder techniques, mono, stereo, and binaural recording, field mixers, basic Pro Tools, signal processing, and noise reduction, applicable to sound for picture as well. Students will make a variety of small projects leading up to a longer, final project of their choice.
RTF 388P/366K INTRO 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, 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/344M POST-PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (COLOR GRADING) One section will be held in person, and one will be Web-Based • 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. A limited number of seats are open to non-majors.
RTF 388P / 343 PRACTICUM IN PRODUCTION DESIGN • 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.
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/366K PRODUCING: DEVELOPMENT AND DISTRIBUTION-WB Web-Based • SARAH SEULKI OH
Marketing/Distribution is at the heart of film business as it performs a critical role in connecting films to audiences. Yet filmmakers and producers often do not think about marketing/distribution until the film is made. In this course, we will overview the role of the producer during the development stages and also familiarize ourselves with the marketing/distribution process of a motion picture, not only at the business end but also as a key part to the development and creative process. Students will workshop and develop a project from early inception to a fully formed pitch package that will include a distribution strategy. Throughout the semester, exclusive sessions will be taught by Kyle Davies, the former President of Domestic Distribution at Paramount Pictures who oversaw the release of dozens of movies, including Arrival, Fences, Transformers: The Last Knight, Annihilation, and recent hits A Quiet Place, Book Club and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
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 • PJ RAVAL
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 PRODUCTION • ILIANA SOSA
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 • PAUL STEKLER
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 10-15 minutes in length, will be completed and screened at semester's end.
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