Radio-Television-Film > Graduate > 2018 - Fall > 2014 - Spring

2014 - Spring

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**Production/Screenwriting Courses for Studies Students**
 

RTF 380G         ETHNOGRAPHY & QUALITATIVE INTERVIEWS • JOE STRAUBHAAR

This course will introduce students to the use of ethnographic, qualitative interview, and survey research approaches to media studies, in both theory and practice. We will cover examples of media ethnographies and other qualitative studies by both anthropologists and media scholars. We will look at how ethnographic methods and thinking have developed, as well as other approaches to qualitative interviewing. We will also exam how surveys have been used to understand audiences and new media users. We will cover some theoretical material to enable students to understand some issues about media use, the digital divide and migration to prepare for class exercises with interview fieldwork and surveys in East and South Austin.

In the course, students will learn how to observe, write fields notes on, and analyze media and new media use both face to face and online. Students will learn how to conduct family history interviews and do interviews with three generations of several families to see how their use of media and cultural resources has changed over time. They will also work with recently collected.

RTF 380J          INTRO TO THEORY AND PRINCIPLE OF DRAMATIC WRITING • BEAU THORNE

In workshop, students will discuss and evaluate each other's work on a weekly basis, developing their critical skills as screenwriters. The constructive participation of each student is required. This course continues the first year writing requirement. 

RTF 380M         *WRITING FOR FILM & ELECTRONIC MEDIA • STUART KELBAN

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-length script 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         *WRITING FOR SERIES TELEVISION • CINDY MCCREERY

This course will explore how to write for both network and cable television, with an emphasis on 30-minute sitcoms and 60-minute dramas. The dramatic elements of each genre will be analyzed, with each student completing a "spec" script for a current sit-com and drama. Additionally, we will develop an original TV pilot as a class, from the original "franchise" premise through a completed story-outline for the pilot episode.

*Open to graduate students other than Screenwriting MFA candidates, as space permits by instructor permission.

RTF 380N         ADVANCED TV WRITING: THE WRITERS ROOM • CINDY MCCREERY

The class will develop and write an entire season of a one-hour drama with a known Hollywood Showrunner and two attached Production Companies, Pillar/Segan/Shepherd and Sundance Productions. At the end of the semester, the entire show will be sent out by the producers to every major network for consideration and the students will get full writing credit for their episodes.

RTF 384            NEW MEDIA LITERACY • KATHLEEN TYNER

This course explores the expanding nature of literacy in a digital world. The goal of the course is to create understanding of the social uses of literacy and the relationship between medium and message.  Through the use of new media tools and an awareness of the historical uses of literacy, students will explore concepts of multiliteracies and the way they change social practices over time. Students will survey international theories underlying contemporary media education and apply them to the uses of media in formal and informal environments.  Relationships between the theory and practice of alphabetic, electronic, mobile, social and digital media are explored through crosscutting techniques that highlight the content and contexts of mediated communication. Students will use promising practices and new tools in the field to practice and enhance their media literacy skills and to design innovative research projects. 

RTF 385L            HISTORIOGRAPHY: THEORY/METHODS • FULLER-SEELEY

This course is a seminar for graduate students in the theories and methods of film and media history. We will be looking at theoretical aspects of "what's history, what's media history, and how do you do media history?" We'll start with some historiographic overviews, and then look at some of the many methodological frameworks through which film and media histories are being studied and interpreted. My core readings focus on American history, but I encourage students to explore international historical topics and work to help them find sources. There will be small weekly analytical assignments (one page ­ listing questions and arguments the book makes); a midterm essay assignment, and a 15 page primary source research paper; An option I used when students had few primary sources to hand and unsure of a topic was to encourage them to explore American silent film history through the extensive documents available online for the Thanhouser Company, an early Independent studio. We will each present our work in progress at the end of the term.

RTF 386              ALTERNATIVE POETICS • CHARLES RAMÍREZ BERG

This course is specifically designed for second year 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 will begin a survey (in weekly screenings) of alternatives to that narrative model. Among them will be the films of Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story), Robert Bresson (Pickpocket), Carl Th. Dreyer (Day of Wrath), Jean Vigo (L'Atalante), Andrey Tarkovsky (Andrey Rublyov), and Ousmane Sembene (Black Girl). Additional films include W.C. Field's Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, and Casablanca. In each case the central question will be, "What is the narrative's organizing principle?"

RTF 386C            COMEDY: THEORY AND ANALYSIS • KATHY FULLER-SEELEY

This course broadly examines theories of humor and comedy and applies them to variety of media and performance forms across the (predominantly American) 20th century to contemporary times. Our readings will draw from philosophy, cultural studies, cinema and TV studies, feminism, race, gender, sexuality, social class studies, political science, psychology, literature, etc. It’s a broad and fascinating topic that has not received enough scholarly attention. We are going to look at producers, texts, performers and audiences across a wide variety of media -- television and film, literature, comics, radio, Internet, live performance and other forms. We will examine leading works in the field, then individually design and research case studies that are placed within the analytical frameworks we’ll be studying across the term.  The seminar will be focused on student group discussion and presentation of theories, texts, specific examples of applications, and findings. Students will complete 4-5 short (2 page) analytical papers on various readings, a 6–7 page midterm essay, and will be working all term on a research project that will become a 15–20 page research paper by the end of the semester.

RTF 386C           LATINA FEMINISMS AND MEDIA • MARY BELTRÁN

This graduate seminar surveys Chicana and Latina feminist scholarship, activism, and creative expression, with an emphasis on media production. 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 in relation to historical and social contexts for women and girls of Mexican American and other U.S. Latina heritage. The last half of the course will survey scholarship on Latina participation and representation in mediated popular culture and strategies of resistance enacted through Latina film and media production.

RTF 386C           TELEVISION AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES • ALISA PERREN

This course explores the relationship between television and new technologies, past and present. Throughout the semester, we will assess how different stakeholders in TV (e.g., writers, advertisers, industry executives, regulators) have imagined and responded to technological change, particularly within the American system. In the process, we will analyze how both television and new media scholars have conceptualized both "television" and "new media."

There will be three main parts to the course: First, we will examine television's role as a new medium in the 1940s and 1950s, studying its impact on existing media forms such as film and radio. Second, we will survey how television has engaged with ­and been altered by ­different technologies (e.g., cable, the VCR) at key moments in time. Third, we will turn to contemporary examinations of television in the post-network or convergence era, considering how the medium is being reimagined industrially, culturally, and socially with the ascendance of various digital technologies.

RTF 386C           YOUTH AND SOCIAL MEDIA • CRAIG WATKINS

Nine out of ten American teenagers are online and more than 70% use social network sites as a daily routine.  From social gaming to social networking young people are leading the transition to the social and mobile media lifestyle.  In this class we explore the growing role and social consequences of social media in the lives of young people. Drawing from both critical studies perspectives and empirical-based examinations of specific communication technologies the course seeks to illuminate some of the theoretical, methodological, and critical analytical issues central in the study of teens and young adults social media behaviors.  Some of the issues we address include the shifting norms of privacy in the digital age; the building and maintenance of friendships and social ties; the negotiation of identity; cyberbullying; the appeal of mobile technologies in youth culture; gaming; addiction and distraction; peer-based modes of learning; and the role of race, gender, and class in the formation of the digital world. This course is for students who are interested in exploring the social aspects of social media.

RTF 387C           MEDIA AND DIASPORA • MADHAVI MALLAPRAGADA

This course will introduce you to the key conceptual and theoretical issues relating to media, migration and diaspora. We will focus on the relationship between race, ethnicity, class and nationalism in the formation of immigrant identities and diasporic communities; varied histories and contexts of migration including exile, voluntary emigration, forced migration; the response of nation-states to transnational mobility and the particular cultural struggles and political commitments of migrant subjects. We will interrogate such issues by examining how the media represent the identity, difference and hybridity of diasporic communities in specific socio-historical and cultural contexts. We will also discuss the politics of media technologies, texts, institutions and audiences in reshaping conventional understandings of media and diaspora. Readings for the course will draw from postcolonial theory, critical race and ethnic studies, diaspora studies and media and cultural studies. The examination of media in a diasporic context will offer us a rich site to explore issues relating to hybrid identities, border crossings, transnational politics, racial and ethnic minorities, strategic nation-states and flexible citizenships.

RTF 387D           COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL CHANGE • KARIN WILKINS

FIRST CLASS DAY POLICY: Students must attend the first class day or make prior arrangements with the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Development communication refers to the strategic use of communication to alleviate social problems in developing countries. In the first section, we review and critique historical conceptions of media and modernity. In the second section, we explore the theory and practice of participatory communication, as well as consider recent case studies of development communication projects. In the last part of this course, we discuss the role of new communication technologies in the process of development.

RTF 388P           ACTING FOR FILMMAKERS • ANDREW SHEA

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           ADVANCED DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION • SCOTT RICE

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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This class is designed for RTF graduate students in the PhD or MA programs. No prior production experience is necessary.
 

RTF 388P           CINEMA LAB • DEB 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@austin.utexas.edu

RTF 388P           CINEMATOGRAPHY • PJ RAVAL; DEB LEWIS

The class is experimental in nature with an emphasis on sharpening visual awareness through practice. We will explore the potential for visual expression in both film and digital imaging. Using a variety of film emulsions, lenses, lights, DV and film cameras, students are encouraged to think cinematically in both documentary and dramatic forms. A number of readings and exercises are assigned to increase a student's technical knowledge leading to greater creative and personal expression. The semester will begin with assignments in documentary videography and move onto narrative and experimental cinematography projects.
 

RTF 388P           YOUR FILM: FUNDING TO FESTIVALS • MARSLETT

If a film gets made in film school but nobody sees it, did it really get made? This is a dilemma that aspiring film students and independent film directors and producers face everyday. Working tirelessly to complete a high quality film is only half the battle. You still need to figure out how, where, and when to present it. This class is designed to help students navigate the difficult, mysterious, and ever-changing process of getting an independent film seen and programmed. This is a process that begins before they shoot their first frame and often goes on for a year or two after they premiere.

In this production course, all students will use their own projects (at various stages of production) to complete the various stages of promoting their work from fundraising through presenting the film.

In order to engage your intended audience, it helps to have a general idea who you are making the film for when you start making it. Making realistic goals, assumptions and plans for the film will allow the filmmakers to budget their time and resources appropriately. It will also help them determine how much money they could potentially raise and how to actually raise that money once they are ready to make the film. At this stage of the class we will explore different crowdfunding platforms and techniques to make the campaign successful. We will also cover all the technical aspects of setting one up. Concurrently we will cover many of the grant options available to both students and to independent filmmakers.

In addition to raising money you must build a fanbase. All students will learn how to set up a social media presence using Twitter, Facebook, websites, press coverage, blogs, etc. How big of a presence should my film have? How much will it cost? What can I do on my own? You will need a print campaign once you reach the exhibition stage of your project. Students will also learn what types of print materials they will need for festival runs and how to make these on a budget.

Where is that fanbase? Once you are ready where do you show your film? You need to learn which festivals are showing the type of film you just made. Target the correct festivals so you will get accepted and appreciated once you are there. We will also go over the application process, festival calendar, premiere status, costs, etc.

Finally, you show your film. How do you decide whether to attend or not? We will also focus on choosing which festivals to attend, how many representatives from the film should attend, and how to make the most of your experience once you are there. The festival experience can be both enjoyable and a good platform to launch or further your career.

RTF 388T           PRODUCING FOR FILM AND TELEVISION • RICHARD LEWIS 

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. 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.

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 AND POST-PRODUCTION • ANDREW GARRISON   

Required for first year MFA production students.
An intensive introduction to Production and Post Production Audio. The course is designed to prepare first-year MFA students to make good decisions about audio with a base of knowledge in ideas about audio and their practical application. By the end of the course you will demonstrate basic knowledge of various microphones, recording devices common to sound for picture, techniques of location recording, use of Pro Tools for editing and recording Foley and ADR, and an understanding of audio as a primary medium and as supporting medium by creating different sound track projects of increasing complexity from start to finish.

RTF 393N            COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION POLICY  • SHARON STROVER

This course examines the U.S. communication policy in light of domestic and international structural, economic and technological changes.  We will investigate how notions of control, access and expression have changed during the 20th and into the 21st centuries, examining communication policies and regulation against a backdrop of technological innovation.  Our point of departure is that definitions of and debates on what constitutes the public interest intersect with policies for broadcasting, cable TV, computer networks and the Internet, and various other telecommunications systems.  The course begins by examining some of the framing documents and events that established expectations about how communications and telecommunications systems should function for society; the course pursues the events and shifts in broadcasting, cable, telephony, and network communication  - particularly the Internet -  history in order to discover how original conceptualizations have been reshaped.

RTF 393P            INTERNET AND POLITICS • JENNIFER BRUNDIDGE

The focus of this course lies at the intersection of Internet use and democratic/political life. Here, we will investigate connections between the Internet, traditional media environments, and various forms of political engagement. What is the impact of an increasingly rich online information environment on political knowledge levels among the public? How do different types of Internet use affect people's willingness and ability to meaningfully participate in democratic processes? How important are emergent media technologies, such as social media in connecting us as a society or in setting the public agenda? With reference to these and many other questions, we will of course have the timely opportunity to explore the impact of Internet use on the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaigns.

RTF 395              THEORY AND LITERATURE  • SHANTI KUMAR   

This course provides an introduction to the broad range of theories of society and media communication from the perspective of social scientists. The companion course, offered in the Spring, introduces theories of media communication from the perspective of the humanities. It is required for all new Ph.D. students in the 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. The fall term will include discussion of theoretical bases in psychology, anthropology and sociology, and specific theories including the public sphere and public opinion, diffusion, media effects, internationalization/globalization and media, propaganda theories, various social change theories, and political economy and media, among others. The course will be conducted as a seminar, with in depth discussions of the books, articles and authors we encounter.

RTF 398R             MASTER'S REPORT                  

RTF 488M            MFA PRACTICUM IN FILM & TV PRODUCTION -- YEAR 2 • DON HOWARD

You will sign up for this final 488M as an independent study with your Thesis Committee Chair. Or, with your Thesis Committee Chair's approval, you may take this required independent study in a subsequent semester.  

RTF 881KB           DIRECTING NARRATIVE • SCOTT RICE

This course is an intensive workshop in narrative directing and film production. It is the directing/production component of an integrated curriculum for first-year MFA students that also includes an Audio class and a Cinematography class. The goal of this course is to develop the ability and self-confidence to articulate and translate from the page to the screen the narrative and the corresponding visual/aural structures of a scene or short film. The investigation of the director/actor relationship will be a priority and the course's primary area of focus in the early weeks of the semester. Casting, rehearsal technique, acting theory and process, and staging issues will be explored in depth. In the second half of the semester students will direct and edit 16mm short films.