Graduate Courses – Fall 2020
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RTF 380C SCREENWRITING FOR DIRECTORS (for 1st Year Production MFA students) • STUART KELBAN
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 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.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 Cindy McCreery.
RTF 380N WRITERS ROOM WORKSHOP • CINDY McCREERY
The class will develop and write an entire season of an original Television series with the Instructor and a known Hollywood Showrunner. 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.
RTF 386 MEDIA INDUSTRIES • ALISA PERREN
Three main objectives will guide us throughout the semester: First, we will trace the development – and increasing interrelatedness – of the media industries from the early twentieth century to the present. We will focus in particular on the evolution of Hollywood’s film and television operations, considering the ways that regulatory and technological shifts, as well as 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 examples of each of these approaches. Third, we will explore the emerging field of “media industry studies.” This field, which incorporates work in film, media, communication, 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 encouraged to explore 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 to other local, regional, and national contexts.
RTF 385L SEMINAR IN FILM HISTORY - TOPIC: CONGLOMERATE HOLLYWOOD • TOM SCHATZ
This course will examine the contemporary media and entertainment landscape – and particularly the American film industry – during the age of global media conglomerates, from the Time-Warner and Sony-Columbia mergers in 1989 to the recent spate of mergers (notably AT&T-Time Warner and Disney-Fox) that signal another M&A wave and the further transformation of the US media. We will examine the economics and aesthetics of the film industry at large, from the resurgent major studios to the rapidly growing “indie film movement” that both countered and helped fuel Hollywood’s phenomenal resurgence since the 1990s. We also will chart important ancillary developments and adjacent industries – the dynamic interplay of the US film and television industries, for instance, and the growing impact of digital media and digital powers like Netflix and Amazon on the conglomerate-owned studios and TV networks.
We will trace these developments from multiple perspectives, utilizing an industry studies approach that focuses primarily on the structure and economics of the industry, and on issues of authorship, film style, and modes of production, distribution, and reception. The course also will address questions of historiography, considering how contemporary American cinema has been conceptualized, researched, and written.
RTF 386C RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER IN AMERICAN TV • MARY BELTRAN
Television is one of the primary popular culture forums through which notions of race, ethnicity, citizenship, class, gender, and sexuality have been presented, validated, and challenged in the United States; this seminar explores the poetics and politics of that evolution. In addition to study of how racial and ethnic groups, and also of how gender, sexual orientation and class have been constructed in U.S. narrative television since its inception and how various groups have participated in the production of television texts throughout these decades, we will survey the seminal scholarship on these topics and areas of theoretical and popular contention. Key areas of focus will include the evolution of popular genres such as sitcoms, debates over equitable representation and over the possibilities for television to serve as a public forum for all, negotiations over self-representation and television authorship, feminist and other progressive content, and televisual representation in the recent era of “Peak TV”. Although a variety of media studies approaches are taken up in the readings, critical and cultural studies scholarship will be emphasized. A weekly screening will provide key texts that we will analyze in our discussions.
RTF 387C MEDIA AND DIASPORA • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA
This course, Media and Diaspora, is a cultural studies, qualitative research-focused, interdisciplinary seminar that will examine the function and politics of media in the context of diasporic cultures, immigration, exile, refugee culture, border zones and varied forms of temporary and multi-sited forced and voluntary migration. Thus, the frame of “diaspora” as indicated in the title of this course is only a conceptual portal to examine a very diverse range of issues relating to border crossings in historical and contemporary contexts.
Over the past few decades, scholarship in the field of media and diaspora studies has contested and interrogated a number of assumptions the migrant condition and the transnational subject. We will be starting our course at that point of contestation and working our way to ongoing research in this area. While many case studies will include the US, this course considers the question of migration in a global frame. The media examples discussed in this course include radio, film, television, the web, social media and popular music and performance. We will be reading scholarship from the fields of media and cultural studies that intersect with postcolonial studies, race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, immigration and border studies and transnational and global studies.
Questions relating to the politics of the nation-state, race, cultural hybridity, transnational subjectivity and citizenship will be front and center in this course. We will examine media in terms of media technologies and institutions, media texts and representations, media regulation and policies, the distribution and circulation of texts, discourses and capital, media audiences and their reception strategies and finally how media discourses produce, shape, regulate, contain and disrupt narratives relating to migration and borders in our interconnected world.
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/343 ADVANCED PRODUCTION DESIGN • ADRIANA SERRANO
If you are passionate about design and have experience in any of these fields: art, graphics, set design, construction, or painting—or if you have production designed at least one film—this class might be for you. An in-depth exploration of all the visual components of studio sets and production design for film, this class covers production design at an advanced level, providing the core principles to translate your visual vision into a successful film set. All students will design or crew one narrative project with the Radio-Television-Film students.
Students are required to have taken Intro to Production Design or have other equivalent credits in design, art or architecture. Instructor consent required; form available through RTF Student Advising.
RTF 388P CINEMATOGRAPHY • DEB 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 • ANDREW GARRISON
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) • 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.
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 386C GENDER AND FAN CULTURE • 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 our 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 also consider what forms of identity work have been elided or marginalized as a result of the field’s focus on gender as its core critical axis, in an effort to move towards a more intersectional conception of fan identity and fan studies.
RTF 395 THEORY & LITERATURE – PHD • 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 395 THEORY & LITERATURE – MA • 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 398T SUPERVISED TEACHING IN RTF • 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.
RTF 488M PRE-THESIS PRODUCTION • MIGUEL ALVAREZ
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 • 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 • 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.