Graduate Courses - Spring 2022
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 COMEDIES OF CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD • NOAH ISENBERG
This course examines the rise of Hollywood comedies from the 1930s to the 1960s and traces their impact up to today. We focus by turns on slapstick and screwball comedy, on romantic and dark comedy, on the fleeting freedoms of the pre-Code era and the creative means—via sexual innuendo, double entendre, suggestion and ellipsis—of eluding the strictures of the Production Code. Along the way, we will analyze touchstone films by the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and Mae West, by comedy auteurs Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges, and Billy Wilder, and movies featuring the great comic talents of Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Rosalind Russell, and Katharine Hepburn. In addition, we consider the legacy of classical comedy in recent films (Girls Trip, Crazy Rich Asians, Booksmart). Screenings are accompanied by primary and secondary texts that focus on the wide-ranging meaning that comedy has held over time in film and cultural history, criticism, and theory.
RTF 385L DOCUMENTARY & CREATIVE NON-FICTION • CAROLINE FRICK
What do Muhammad Ali, the Tiger King, the local TV news anchor, and the Lumière Brothers have in common? They have all been featured or otherwise involved in the creation of non-fiction film and media. Reality shows, true crime dramas, Academy Award-winning documentaries, industrials, and more have contributed to the so-called “blurred boundaries” between truth and fiction as represented on screen. Questions include: What are our assumptions underlying media defined as “documentary?” Can reality truly be captured? Who is involved in producing non-fiction media and how do industrial structures impact how stories are told? This course will feature a look at a wide range of non-fiction genres through carefully selected readings, videos, and more.
RTF 386 LATINA FEMINIST MEDIA STUDIES • MARY BELTRÁN
This graduate seminar surveys Chicana and Latina feminist media history and media studies scholarship. We will explore the rise and development of Latina feminisms and activism in relation to the Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, and U.S. women’s movements and U.S. film and media, and the social history of women and girls of Mexican American and other Latinx heritage. We’ll also survey scholarship on Latina participation and representation in mediated popular culture and strategies of self-affirmation and resistance enacted through Latina film and media production. Our readings will include scholarship by Emma Pérez, Gloria Anzaldúa, Maylei Blackwell, Rosa Linda Fregoso, Jillian Baez, Michelle Habell-Pallán, Katynka Martinez, Angharad Valdivia, Dionne Espinoza, María Elena Cepeda, Dolores Inés Casillas, Mary Beltrán, Isabel Molina Guzmán, Deborah Paredez, and many others. There also will be a weekly screening that everyone will watch outside of class
RTF 387C POSTCOLONIAL CINEMAS • SHANTI KUMAR
This course provides an in-depth introduction to debates in postcolonial film studies on a range of issues such as the history of colonialism, imperialism, Orientalism, nationalism, subaltern identities, hybrid cultures, feminist theory, and Deleuzian studies. It introduces some of the key scholars in postcolonial studies and film studies who have played an influential role in critiquing dichotomies such as the West and the non-West, and the colonizer-colonized relationship. The main objectives of this course are to critically survey a diverse set of academic writings and films that are important to debates in postcolonial film studies, and to recognize how the term "postcolonial" signifies a complex set of political, economic and cultural relations in world affairs; both historical and contemporary.
Required readings for this course consist of e-books (available online at UT libraries) and journal articles on Canvas. Once every few weeks in the semester, there will be required screenings that will be available online (Canvas, YouTube, or other online links). The required assignments and grading criteria are as follows: attendance (10%); class participation (10%); facilitating class discussion (10%); 3–4-page film analysis (10%); film analysis presentation (10%); 3–4-page research paper proposal (10%); 20-page research paper (30%); and research paper presentation (10%).
RTF 389 BRAND/CONSUMER CULTURE • JENNIFER McCLEAREN
This course will focus on the intricate marriage of identity, meaning, values, and commodities in brand culture vis-a-vis critical/cultural and feminist scholarship. We will examine the symbolic power of brands, interrogate the ways that brand strategies operate through neoliberal business and cultural logics, and consider how consumers are interpellated into brands via participatory culture.
RTF 395 THEORY & LIT PART 2 (PhDS) • 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.
MFA SCREENWRITING COURSES
RTF 380J FIRST-YEAR REWRITING • MAYA PEREZ
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
The class will develop and write an entire season of an original Television series. At the end of the semester, the entire show will be sent out for consideration by every major network and the students will get full writing credit for their episodes.
MFA PRODUCTION COURSES
RTF 385K-WB FILM HISTORY FOR MFAs • Web-Based • 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 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 / 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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) • 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 PRODUCTION DESIGN A FEATURE FILM • ADRIANA SERRANO
In this class we will cover all the aspects of how-to production design the concept for a feature film. The class will develop the production design of a film currently under preproduction. We will have different modules with special guests, from the screen writer, the director, the cinematographer and the costume designer giving the class their vision of the script. We will be covering all the main steps into developing the design: from scouting locations, creating graphics, period research and the use of the integration of VFX into the design.
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 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 • ILIANA SOSA
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.
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