Graduate Courses – Fall 2019
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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 • BEAU THORNE
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 385L FILMS OF BILLY WILDER • NOAH ISENBERG
This course explores the films of Billy Wilder, from his earliest efforts as a screenwriter in Weimar Germany to the more famous, award-winning work he undertook as a writer-director in Hollywood. We will examine his multi-year partnerships with American writers Charles Brackett (The Major and the Minor, The Lost Weekend, A Foreign Affair, Sunset Boulevard) and I.A.L. Diamond (Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Buddy Buddy), and his independent work (Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch). We also look at the mentorship he received from other directors, notably Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka) and Howard Hawks (Ball of Fire). Among the chief focal points are: the question of authorship, personal style, and film aesthetics; the strictures of genre; working within and outside the studio system; casting, character, and recurrent players. Open to MFA screenwriting and production students as well as studies students interested in the life and career of Wilder.
RTF 386 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 386C SOCIAL MEDIA & SOCIETY • CRAIG WATKINS
The rise of social media in society is clearly evident in the growth of platform users and their complex modes of adoption and use. Social media analysis is a crucial skill in today's media and tech-driven economy. The class will be a hands-on laboratory conducting analysis of social media trends in pop culture and politics. Social media has become the new town square for discourse in media, pop culture, and civic life. Using a current data base generated from machine learning technqiues, seminar participants will produce data-driven analysis and reports that probe the complex dimensions of social media practices. Along the way, seminar participants will have access to unique social media data sets, an inquisitive environment for learning, and a studio-style setting to produce analysis of current social media influenced trends. This class is primarily for students who are prepared to engage in critical thinking, research, writing, and presentations.
RTF 386C LATINX FILM & MEDIA STUDIES • MARY BELTRAN
This graduate seminar offers a deep dive into the history and seminal texts of Chicana/o and U.S. Latina/o/x film and media studies and the films and television series that have been the focus of this scholarship. Topics will include activism-inspired film and media production; Latinx cultural citizenship and the U.S. film and television industries; stereotyping and self-representation; intersections with Chicana and Latina feminist studies; negotiations of race, gender, sexuality, language, citizenship, and generation; and the marketing of Latinx identity.
RTF 387 GLOBAL MEDIA • JOE STRAUBHAAR
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.
RTF 388P / 343C 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 / 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 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 / 343 ART DIRECTION FOR INDIE FILM • ADRIANA SERRANO
This class will explore the roles of an art director on low-budget films and the particular challenges posed by independent filmmaking including: supporting the creative vision of the production designer, budgeting, breakdowns, creating specific graphics, drafting, managing and hiring crew and clearances. Students will collaborate as a class in the execution of the production design of a short narrative project.
RTF 388P / 343 PRODUCTION DESIGN • ADRIANA SERRANO
The primary concern of this class is the role of production design and how the creation and selection of sets, locations, and environments enhances and enriches this visual language. Students will be instructed in the fundamentals of story, production, critical analysis, and collaborative processes. Students will be exposed to basic stagecraft techniques such as set construction, set decoration, props and will be required to design, draw, and dress a standing set.
RTF 390C INTRO TO EDITING • 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 393Q VIDEO GAME STUDIES • SUZANNE SCOTT
Games are an integral part of our culture, and studies of culture have long been fascinated by our propensity for play. From early arcade games to emergent VR technologies, this course will survey the evolving field of video game studies. Though still a comparatively “young” field within media studies, video game studies has experienced exponential growth over the past several years. This course will offer a comprehensive overview of foundational works focused on rules and mechanics, interactive narratives, aesthetics, representation, and industry, from scholars such as Johan Huizinga, T.L. Taylor, Mia Consalvo, James Paul Gee, Jesper Juul, Carly Kocurek, Ian Bogost, and Alexander Galloway. We will also devote a unit to exploring emergent theoretical frameworks for examining contemporary game culture. Students are required to play games for course assignments, but no prior gaming experience or access to particular consoles is required.
RTF 395 THEORY & LITERATURE – MA • TOM SCHATZ
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 – PHD (SOCIAL SCIENCE) • SHARON STROVER
Theory is the foundation of knowledge production. Drawing on literature from the fields of media studies, communication and sociology, this course aims to help new PhD students understand, critique, use, and develop media theories. The course has three major goals: First, we start with the foundational theorists and theories broadly in social science and specifically in media and communication studies. We will examine whether and how these theorists and theories remain relevant in the digital age and address how digital media have challenged conventional modes of theorizing. Second, we will draw on milestone studies to showcase how theories are applied, criticized, appropriated, revised, and reclaimed, crossing disciplinary and national boundaries. Third, students will be encouraged to engage with media theories through review and research and will be guided to demonstrate a solid understanding of major theoretical approaches and their confluence in different aspects of media studies, especially as applicable to recent digital media domains.
RTF 398T PEDAGOGY • 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 488M THESIS POST-PRODUCTION - INDEPENDENT STUDY
RTF 881KA 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.