2020 - Spring

Undergraduate Courses – Spring 2020

FOR CLASS DETAILS, INCLUDING TIMES, CLICK ON "FIND COURSES NOW" ON THE REGISTRAR'S PAGE.

NON MAJOR COURSES
LOWER DIVISION COURSES
UPPER DIVISION - MEDIA STUDIES COURSES
UPPER DIVISION - PRODUCTION & SCREENWRITING COURSES

UTLA - WOFFORD DENIUS UTLA CENTER FOR ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA STUDIES (listed on separate site)
INTERNSHIPS & SPECIAL PROJECTS

NON-MAJOR COURSES

RTF 303C         INTRO TO MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES – WEB-BASED • MARIA SKOURAS

Drawing on literatures from media studies, management, sociology, and communication, this course helps students to develop a social science understanding of media industries and entrepreneurship. We start with a survey of key social science theories and concepts in the media landscape. We examine the social, political, and economic contexts in which media are produced, distributed, and monetized. Special attention is paid to new media and communication technologies such as Web 2.0, social media, gaming, and mobile media and the implications of these disruptive innovations for media organizations and professionals. Cases in old and new media industries from different countries will be analyzed. It is designed to help students achieve the following goals upon successful course completion:

  • Understand key social science theories, concepts, and methods on the complicated interaction between media and society.
  • Recognize various opportunities, challenges, and responses media industries have to address due to globalization and technological advancements.
  • Understand government policies and industry practices that affect the formation and function of media organizations.
  • Understand the trajectory and development of various legacy and new media industry sectors.
  • Evaluate entrepreneurial opportunities, challenges, and process in the media industries facilitated and constrained by institution and culture.

OPEN ONLY TO NON-RTF MAJORS. Fulfills the social & behavioral sciences core curriculum requirement for the 2018–2019 academic year.

RTF 306           INTRO TO WORLD CINEMA HISTORY WEB-BASED • KATE CRONIN

Love the movies? Join us and explore how the movies developed from a circus amusement to multinational industry as well as how film can be understood as socio-cultural, technological, aesthetic and economic artifact. Global in scope, this course will sample a variety of “national cinemas” in order to compare and contrast how moviemaking developed uniquely in different parts of the world. We will also address how decades of popular and critical attention to the glamour and gossip surrounding Hollywood movies have affected our understanding of “American” cinema. The course fulfills VAPA requirements and is designed for non-RTF majors who have not taken previous coursework in film or media studies. OPEN ONLY TO NON-RTF MAJORS.

RTF 329C         DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION - WEB-BASED • BEN BAYS

Animation, Visual Effects, Digital Painting and CGI are used to produce digital content for a variety of media including films, animation and interactive formats like video games and VR/AR.  This course is an interactive, online experience designed to teach you the foundational Digital Media Production tools: Photoshop, After Effects, Adobe Animate (Flash) and Maya. Through creative hands-on challenges, you will apply digital media tools and techniques to a variety of tasks in the pipeline of production from concept, storyboard, layout to compositor, VFX, CG and interactive design.  In the end, you must choose:  Will you become a generalist across all digital media production, will you specialize in one discipline or will you define a new role in digital media production? OPEN TO BOTH RTF MAJORS & NON-RTF MAJORS.

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LOWER DIVISION COURSES

RTF 307           MEDIA AND SOCIETY • JENNIFER MCCLEAREN

This course surveys the role of media in our society through understanding economic, social, political, organizational, ideological, and global contexts. We will discuss themes relevant to media representation, audience interpretation, and social consequences.

RTF 308           DEVELOPMENT OF FILM AND MEDIA • KATHARINE CACACE; NATHAN ROSSI; MARGARET STEINHAUER

This course examines the historical development of media industries—film, radio, television and digital. Through lecture, section discussions, readings, and screenings, we will investigate historical contexts (cultural, industrial, technological) in which media have been produced and consumed in the US and globally.

RTF 317           NARRATIVE STRATEGIES & MEDIA DESIGN • SUZANNE SCOTT

This class focuses on the style, structure and storytelling strategies in a wide range of media forms, from narrative films and television series to documentaries and videogames.

RTF 318           INTRO TO IMAGE AND SOUND • DEB LEWIS

This course is designed to introduce fundamental production concepts and techniques through lectures, projects, and lab experiences. Emphasis will be placed on developing a storyteller's point of view, strengthening each student’s ability to create works characterized by simple yet effective visual, aural and narrative structures. The acquisition of technical skills will be a priority, as RTF 318 is a prerequisite to upper-division production classes. Students will be required to attend two lectures per week, plus their hands-on Friday lab section. Assignments include one still photography project, one sound-designed documentary project and one sync-sound narrative short.


UPPER DIVISION - MEDIA STUDIES COURSES

RTF 321C        HISTORY OF AMERICAN TELEVISION • ALISA PERREN

This course surveys the history of American network television during the 20th century. We will explore the complex ways that technological, social, political, industrial, and cultural factors have interacted to shape the form and content of broadcast, cable, and satellite television. Our discussion of industrial practices and regulatory decisions will be balanced with an analysis of representational and formal-aesthetic practices. The semester will briefly conclude with a consideration of the meaning and implications of digital convergence on contemporary American – and global – media culture.

RTF 322D        FILM HISTORY 1960 TO PRESENT • CHARLES RAMÍREZ BERG

This course is a survey of international film history for undergraduate students who seek an understanding of the history and aesthetics of the motion picture.  On a weekly basis, it consists of two 75-minute lectures and a screening of a feature-length film.  All RTF majors interested in learning more about the development of the motion picture are welcome, regardless of concentration. The course will cover the history of the medium from the beginning of the New American Cinema in the 1960s (including figures like Stanley Kubrick, Mike Nichols, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese) to the present.  Among the topics and filmmakers covered are the cinemas of Japan (Kurosawa and Ozu), Latin America (the New Latin American Cinema and contemporary Argentinian cinema), Europe (Bergman and Kieslowski), Iran (Kiarostami) and Bollywood cinema, as well as recent developments in US cinema such as directors like the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, the “Mumblecore” movement, and the rise of Austin as a filmmaking hub (Rick Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Terrence Malick, Andrew Bujalski, and others).

While the history of cinema will be looked at 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 and development of film’s formal elements. This class follows RTF 322C-History of Film to 1960; however, that class is not a pre-requisite. Ideally, students would take both courses in their chronological order, but students are free to take only one of the courses, and they may be taken and out of order. Three written assignments are designed to acquaint students with how research in film history is conducted; in addition, three exams are also required.

RTF 324C         INTRODUCTION TO GLOBAL MEDIA • JINSOOK KIM

In this course, we will examine critically the roles of film, television, video games, and digital media in shaping our sense of global, national, and local cultures. Students will be introduced to key concepts in the study of global media cultures and apply them to everyday media practices. The broad range of issues in the field of global media studies covered will include cultural globalization, nationalism, global game culture, and global youth culture and activism.

RTF 326C         TECHNOLOGICAL CULTURE • SHARON STROVER

This course asks big questions about the relationship between technology and culture, including how technology influences and is influenced by social factors and forces, and how US culture has framed technology through ideas about progress, convenience, determinism, and control.  The course will examine the design, development and use of several communication technologies through a technology studies framework, and consider contemporary problems and conflicts at the intersection of technology and culture.

RTF 328C         GENDER AND MEDIA CULTURE • CURRAN NAULT

This course provides an introduction to the critical and theoretical analysis of gender (femininities and masculinities) in media (film, television, new and emerging media). Students will engage dominant and oppositional practices of media production, representation and reception to investigate the sociocultural mechanisms that shape individual and collective notions of gender in our media-saturated environment. Paying particular attention to wider questions of power, politics and identity, students will read key texts in cultural, media and communication studies, as well as influential theories of gender, feminism and transgenderism. Although primarily focused on the mediated construction of gender, this course insists on an intersectional approach that examines gender in conjunction with race, class, sexuality, nation and generation.

RTF 331K         ANIMATION STUDIES • LALITHA GOPALAN

In media res. Animation offers an abbreviated story of the trajectory from cave paintings to digital pixels. As exaggerated as this claim may seem, it reverberates in a range of moving image practices that surround us and thus worthy of further exploration. This course explores the distinctiveness of animation in the age of the moving image. With this brief in the works, we will see how scholars deem animation proto-cinematic since it precedes film and anticipates digital. It’s a zigzag route from drawings and optical toys to pixels and codes with no straight story in place about the rise and persistence of animation, approaches that will dominate our seminar. That filmmakers have been enthralled with animation even while facing the dominance of narrative cinema inspires the theoretical questions in this course. The rich variation of animation practices, varied in both size and scope, allows for no settled definition except to direct us to look closer at the variedness in which time and space move and bend in the arts of animation.

RTF 331K         STARDOM AND CELEBRITY CULTURE • MARY BELTRAN

Stardom is a central phenomenon of popular culture, driving media production and a constellation of ancillary industries, in addition to having an impact on American and global life in a variety of ways. Yet it seldom is the object of critical study. What is stardom, and what can stars and celebrities teach us about the entertainment media industries, social history, and contemporary concerns? And how has the construction and meaning of stardom evolved since the days of the Hollywood studio system? This course foregrounds these questions in its exploration of the cultural phenomenon of mediated stardom and of film and media studies scholarship beginning to document and make sense of it. Among other topics, we will explore the construction of stardom in the entertainment media industries, the reading of star images as cultural texts, the evolution of popular stars in relation to shifting ideals of race, class, gender, and sexuality, the cultural and theoretical issues that stars raise, and new permutations of stardom and celebrity culture in the contemporary media environment.

RTF 331P         VIDEO GAME CULTURE & CRITICISM • SUZANNE SCOTT

Games have always been an integral part of our culture, and studies of culture have long been fascinated by our propensity for play.  Beginning with a brief historical overview of the inception of the video game industry and arcade culture, this course is centrally concerned with identifying the pleasures of play and engaging with the cultural and academic discourses and debates that surround video games and game culture.  While video games have proven themselves as a dominant industrial force within over the past decade, the stigmas and social anxieties that circulate around video games persist. Consequently, one of the primary goals of this course is for students to both become conversant in these critiques and proficient in speaking back to them, acquiring the vocabulary to discuss and analyze the rules that govern our engagement with video games, and our experiences playing them.  To this end, in addition to discussing video game aesthetics and mechanics, we will have themed weeks on war and gaming, gender and gaming, and game-based learning.  In addition to course assignments analyzing gameplay and considering the representation of video games in film and television, students will be required to collaboratively design and theorize a game as their final project.  No player or programming skill set is required, just a willingness to learn through (and about) video games.

RTF 335           RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER IN TELEVISION • ADRIEN SEBRO

Surveys history and contemporary debates regarding the construction of race, class, gender and sexual orientation in U.S. television from the late 1940s through the present day and related issues of television aesthetics, production practices, audiences, and advocacy.

RTF 345C          EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA & THE ART OF DISRUPTION • PHIL FAGAN

This course explores experimental and avant-garde media with a particular focus on North American artists.   Through the intentional disruption of mainstream media aesthetics and conventions, experimental media artists confront, question, and recontextualize the traditional narratives and conventions of commercial media.  In the process, they create dynamic tensions between artists and audiences that transform the reception of both mainstream and innovative media content. The course examines a portfolio of experimental work across genre, including narrative and non-narrative film, title sequences, the use of media performance and gallery installations, public art, online interactive formats, and experimental video games. Through active viewing of experimental and non-narrative media, students gain familiarity with seminal avant-garde media artists within the contexts of artistic movements in the fine arts and popular culture.  The course includes opportunities for the production of simple, individual and collaborative projects that explore the uses of experimental form, aesthetics, and content for creative disruption and social expression.

RTF 347C        INTRODUCTION TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS • SASCHA STONE GUTTFREUND

How did Fyre Fest happen? What does streaming mean for record labels? Why are concert tickets so expensive? What determines the order of artist names on the festival poster? What is the difference between a manager, agent, publicist, promoter or A&R? We are in the era of the young entrepreneur. People in their 20's are able to start a business, and then sell it without acquiring a degree in business or finance. Students in this course will learn how to plan, orchestrate, and oversee their own small music business in the avenue of their choice. We will discuss artist management and representation through the development of recorded music as well as the importance of the touring business for artists today.  We will also cover the business of concerts and music festivals; students will learn not only how to book and market shows but also how to produce them. Each class will address a different element of the business and will feature a guest lecturer that will share their story of success and entrepreneurship, followed by an open Q&A with the students.

RTF 347D        MEDIA FRANCHISING: POKEMON • NICK BESTOR

 Pokémon is the world’s most valuable media franchise. Since the release of the first games in 1996, the property has generated billions of dollars in revenue, with Pokémon’s transmedia reach extending across video games, television, film, trading cards, comics, and an ever-growing range of licensed merchandise. This course will use the industrial and economic history of Pokémon as its primary test case to explore and analyze media franchising in the early 21st century. With the increasing consolidation of the major media conglomerates, understanding who owns, manages, and produces media content based on the most valuable properties is vitally important. By studying both Pokémon and other popular media properties, students will examine the history of the industrial practices of franchising and licensing, global media flows, and the central role of intellectual property rights in the contemporary media industries.

RTF 352           GERMAN MEDIA: PRINT TO TV • HANNES MANDEL

You likely have heard of Johannes Gutenberg and Martin Luther before, but they are not the only influential media entrepreneurs in the history of what today we have come to call Germany. In this course, we will investigate a whole range of once revolutionary, sometimes forgotten, always fascinating media technologies that have shaped the ways in which people perceive, know about, make sense of, and interact with the world. Some of these old media, it turns out, aren't quite as obsolete as we may think, and there is a lot to be learned from them about the media-saturated environment we are living in today, on either side of the Atlantic.

RTF 359           CHICANA/O FILM • MIRASOL ENRIQUEZ

This course will investigate representations of Chicanos/as, both on-screen and behind the scenes of U.S. films. We will begin with a brief overview of representations of Mexicans/Mexican-Americans in U.S. film from the silent era through the 1960s. The remainder of the class will focus on films made by, for, and about Chicanos/as and Mexican-Americans from the Chicano Movement of the 1960s/70s to the present day. Feature-length, short, experimental, narrative, and documentary films from the first, second, and third waves of Chicano cinema will be examined. While the majority of the texts we will be looking at were made by Chicano/a filmmakers, we will also examine key works by non-Chicano filmmakers who have made significant contributions to the representation of Chicanos/as on film. We will consider historical, economic, industrial, social, and political factors affecting Chicanos/as access to and participation in the film industry, as well as their representation on-screen. Manifestations of gender bias in the Chicano movement, film industry, and writing of film history will be of particular interest, as will the following themes: film as a tool for social change; the construction of individual, ethnic, and national identity; the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality; the politics of representation; the commodification of Latinidad; cultures of production; and issues of authorship and creative control.

RTF 359           SOCIAL MEDIA: GROWTH, USES, AND IMPACTS • S. CRAIG WATKINS

The rise of social media is one of the defining aspects of life in today's digital age. In this class, we will consider a range of issues related to young people's use of social media. We begin by exploring the questions: what is social media and how does it differ from more traditional media platforms like television and print?  In addition, the class will examine how expressions of human social behavior are evolving with the increasing use of social media. The bulk of the work for the class will be hands-on field experiments related to platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  For example, students will conduct creative fieldwork (i.e., observations of your peers' use of social media, interviews) that explores current uses of platforms like Instagram. More precisely, how are we using social media to navigate our relationships, mental health, and participation in civic life? How has the use of social media evolved and what do the shifts reveal about young people's engagement with social media? We will use a number of studies regarding the social, behavioral, psychological, and political aspects of social media to inform our approach. In addition to collecting original data, students are expected to produce written reports and presentations based on their fieldwork.

RTF 359S         FILM AND SOCIAL CHANGE • ADRIEN SEBRO

Often viewed as a medium of “pure entertainment,” film has also had an essential relationship to evolving social conditions in the United States and the struggle for change. This course will focus those moments where cinema has commented upon, documented, and even arguably had a hand in producing social change. The course aims to acquaint students with the film movements, film authors, production conditions, and audience reception practices that have linked film to broader social movements. Given the time constraints, the course focuses on American cinema with occasional references to influential cinema movements across the globe to place this American discourse in global perspective.

RTF 359S         THE SIXTIES: GENDER & MEDIA • KATHY FULLER-SEELEY

This course looks at how gender was experienced, defined and challenged through media (TV, film, music, magazines, advertisements) by Americans in the 1960s. Readings draw broadly from US cultural history, television and film studies, cultural studies, and gender studies. We will examine texts, performers and audiences across a wide variety of media -- television and film, literature, comics, radio, internet, live performance, and other forms. The seminar will be focused on student group discussion; there will also be written tests and brief in-class writing assignments. Screenings each week will provide illustrations and primary research sources. Students will develop final research and/or creative projects that apply historical and theoretical ideas and information learned throughout the semester.

RTF 365           GENDER, ACTIVISM, AND DIGITAL MEDIA • JINSOOK KIM

From hashtags to Snapchat, new digital tools and platforms have reconfigured the ways in which people communicate, network, collaborate, and mobilize, thereby transforming contemporary social and political activism. The goal of this course is to explore the influence of digital media on the shape and reach of this activism with a particular focus on gender issues and to consider the opportunities as well as challenges that digital media create for feminists and media activists.

RTF 365           LATINX MEDIA, ARTS, AND ACTIVISM • MIRASOL ENRIQUEZ

This course will investigate the ways in which Latinx activists use mainstream, alternative, legacy and new media, as well as other visual and performing arts to effect social and political change. We will investigate where/how the creative practices of socially/politically engaged artists intersect with the strategies and tactics that social movements employ to mobilize support and achieve their goals. Historical and contemporary examples of activism from the 1960s to the present day will illustrate the ways in which collective action can be facilitated through the use of media and the arts, and we will consider the ways in which the internet has provided new opportunities for connective action via social media networks that amplify the voices of underrepresented populations. Students will engage with a variety of materials, including scholarly articles and texts by artists and activists who have effected/are effecting change “on the ground," and consider how they shape and reflect the discourse around social and political issues in the United States. Students will also participate in critiques of various social movements’ utilization of activist media and art via personal blogs and the development of group projects. Some examples of topics we will explore throughout the semester include (but are not limited to): the Nuyorican Poets cafe, El Teatro Campesino, documentary film, political posters, Las Mujeres Muralistas, Ana Mendieta, the Zapatistas, Mujeres de Maiz, DREAMers and immigrant rights, storytelling for advocacy, Ricardo Dominguez and tactical media, the poetry of raúlsalinas, neoliberalism, globalization, Latin American solidarity, community building, radio activism, protest music, DIY activism, and zines.

RTF 370           BLACK FILMMAKERS AFTER BLAXPLOITATION • ADRIEN SEBRO

In this course, we will use case studies of various contemporary Black filmmakers (1980s-Present) while working to question and complicate the ways in which they deploy images, understandings, and narratives of Blackness within American society. This course will work to answer questions such as; How have the filmmakers of the Blaxploitation Era inspired contemporary Black filmmakers? Have they? How have (or haven’t) contemporary Black filmmakers worked to resist Hollywood conventions? How has politics continued to evolve the ontological status of Blackness? How have technological advances changed the ways in which Black filmmakers contend with production, distribution, and exhibition? How is Blackness framed in these films? Through the myriad of Black filmmakers discussed, this course will build an understanding of Black film as art, resistance or compliance, and a pedagogy that is constantly evolving and taking new forms. As many of these Black filmmakers and their films have not (or have yet to be) been discussed in scholarly works, the weekly readings will be a mixture of scholarly published texts, journals, film reviews, newspaper articles, and trade press. With that in mind, course discussion will rely heavily on these various readings in conversation with the films themselves. 

RTF 370           FILMS OF CLINT EASTWOOD • TOM SCHATZ

This course examines the career of Clint Eastwood, from his rise to stardom in Sergio Leone's "spaghetti Westerns" in the 1960s and the iconic Dirty Harry films of the 1970s through his steady development as an important filmmaker in his own right (and a distinctive “hyphenate” producer-director-star) with films like Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and American Sniper. The structure of the course is historical (and chronological), but the main thrust is critical, combining various approaches – principally star, genre, and auteur analysis; narrative and textual analysis; and theories of gender and sexuality. We also consider how Eastwood's career as both star and filmmaker relates to the development of the Hollywood movie industry at large over the past half-century.

This is a writing-intensive course and the brunt of the work will involve critical writing, including a few short critiques, a major research paper, and in-class essay final.

RTF 377H/386C         ADVANCED UNDERGRADUATE SEMINAR: CENTRAL EUROPE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD • KATHERINE ARENS

Hollywood’s golden age, from the 1930s through the 1960s, was due in no small part to the presence of emigrants or refugees: actors, directors, writers, studio heads, and technical production people.  The films in this class come from one of Europe’s most dynamic culture industry: the filmmakers in Central Europe (= Austria, Germany, and Slavic countries) and what they brought with them that created Hollywood as we know it. 

This course will introduce you to some of their finest films, to the relationship between films and how/when they are made, and to the problems faced by artists in exile then and now (as they try to recoup careers and reputations, and deal with media, publicity, stereotyping, and language barriers).  While these examples span films from b/w times on, they represent how the commercial film industries worked before the era of streaming and niche audiences.

The class will offer case studies in various problems associated with understanding films in their own right and as part of a culture industry. Case studies here will favor especially “Austria in Hollywood” as representing a cluster of problems surrounding filmmakers’ styles, audience expectations, censorship, and commercial film genres (and how they came from the stage. The talent from Central Europe on Broadway and in Hollywood was an unparalleled source of within the culture industries, this exemplary immigrant community offered an unparalleled source of film industry talent and critical intelligence, contributing an urbane, witty tone to the Hollywood film, joining entertainment to sophisticated social criticism. 

These films will also be used to introduce how to “read” plays, films, and media and how to think critically about their content -- especially what it means to cross cultural lines, to import and export culture across political and social boundaries.  Topics to be addressed include:

  • adaptations (book to play to film to remakes)
  • conventions and stereotyping
  • censorship
  • film genres and intertextuality
  • directors, esp. Ernst Lubitsch & Billy Wilder
  • famous faces:  how celebrity works

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.



UPPER DIVISION - PRODUCTION & SCREENWRITING COURSES

RTF 329C         DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION - WEB-BASED BEN BAYS

Animation, Visual Effects, Digital Painting, and CGI are used to produce digital content for a variety of media including films, animation and interactive formats like video games and VR/AR.  This course is an interactive, online experience designed to teach you the foundational Digital Media Production tools: Photoshop, After Effects, Adobe Animate (Flash) and Maya. Through creative hands-on challenges, you will apply digital media tools and techniques to a variety of tasks in the pipeline of production from concept, storyboard, layout to compositor, VFX, CG, and interactive design.  In the end, you must choose:  Will you become a generalist across all digital media production, will you specialize in one discipline or will you define a new role in digital media production? OPEN TO BOTH RTF MAJORS & NON-RTF MAJORS.

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RTF 333           INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING • CINDY MCCREERY

RTF 333 will introduce you to screenwriting, and the primary forms which writing for the screen may take: features, shorts, television, and documentary. We will explore the basic theory and formal aspects of story, structure, and character which are essential to all forms of screenwriting. In lecture and sections, we will carefully examine each step of the screenwriting process - from the initial premise, through character exploration and treatments, to writing the first draft - then apply those steps to the development of your own scripts. The class will also focus on critically examining produced scripts and films from a screenwriter's perspective, in order to learn more about the craft.

RTF 340           MULTI-CAM TELEVISION DIRECTING • DAVID SCHNEIDER

This course will examine the techniques of multi-camera live television directing in numerous formats. It will provide an overview of the current technology and how that technology impacts directing decisions. Students will learn how directing styles shape various genres of broadcasts and how the director contributes to a successful production. The course will focus on planning and preparation and elements of production design. The demands of a controlled studio atmosphere will be compared and contrasted with those of live remote sports and entertainment programs. Exercises will acquaint the students with camera placement, shot blocking and shot selection.

RTF 341           AUDIO PRODUCTION INTO POST • TODD THOMPSON

Audio is half of your movie; arguably more than half since it exceeds the limits of the visible frame. It operates at a literal and subliminal level and gives the filmmaker access to deeper parts of the audience’s consciousness. Great audio is a combination of creativity and an understanding of both the science and the tools of the medium.  This is the first-level class for audio, a perfect starting point for people who want to know how to better use sound in their projects as well as for those who may be thinking about audio as a lifelong craft. You will learn production mixing, basic post techniques, and the ideas behind them.  This will include recording on location using both high-end and low-end recorders, especially recording dialog, set and location problems and protocol, basic sound editing, mix prep, and creating a basic mix. You will become familiar with the operation and use of the Sound Devices 633 mixer/recorder and 744T recorder, other production mixers, and microphones on location and in the studio. You will learn the science behind the tools, and cultivate an appreciation for sound as a creative element in storytelling. You will create mixes in Pro Tools for audio-only projects, as well as fully realized soundtracks synced to picture. 

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing, RTF 317 and 318 with a grade of at least B- in each, and six additional semester hours of lower-division coursework in radio-television-film.

RTF 341C         SOUND DESIGN AND MIXING • KOREY PEREIRA

Sound as a medium can create a sense of space, time, and set the mood of a film. This course will explore the post-production sound process for film, television, and immersive media.  We will develop a vocabulary for talking about sound, as well as provide practical hands-on training on each step in the post-sound process.  This includes sound editing, sound design, ADR and foley recording as well as re-recording mixing.  RTF 341C is the course for those who seek a career in post-production audio and for those who just want a thorough understanding of the post sound process.  A familiarity with Pro Tools or Non-linear editing is preferred, but not required.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing, RTF 317 and 318 with a grade of at least B- in each, and six additional semester hours of lower-division coursework in radio-television-film. (RTF 341 is NOT required as a prerequisite.)

RTF 343           ADVANCED DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION • PAUL STEKLER

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.

RTF 343           ADVANCED NARRATIVE PRODUCTION • MIGUEL ALVAREZ

From script to sound design, students spend the semester completing an advanced video production (3 - 10 minutes). Emphasis is placed on storytelling, strong cinematic style, and production values. Students will each direct a short exercise but are not required to direct a final project and may participate in the key crew positions on various projects for full credit.

RTF 343 / 388P  ADVANCED PRODUCTION DESIGN • ADRIANA SERRANO

This class teaches production design at a more advanced level. This class is an in-depth exploration off all the visual components of studio sets and design for film. Students are required to have taken Intro to Production Design or have other equivalent credits in design, art or architecture.
All the students are required to design/or crew in one narrative project with the RTF students. Instructor consent required.

RTF 343 / 388P CINEMA LABORATORY • 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.

Please contact Deb Lewis with questions regarding the Laboratory: deb.lewis@austin.utexas.edu

RTF 343C / 388P           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 343D        CINEMATOGRAPHY • HUAY BING-LAW

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 as well as time, movement and color. 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 344M       CG FOR FILM AND GAMES • BEN BAYS

This course is a production-based overview of Maya, with a focus on modeling, surfacing, lighting, and particles. Topics include interactive environments and CG compositing and lighting.

RTF 344M       INTERACTIVE MEDIA & GAME DEVELOPMENT • DEEPAK CHETTY

This course provides students with the fundamentals of interactive media through digital game creation. The course focuses on two areas: (1) general principals of game design and game development, and (2) development of simple 3D games.

RTF 344M       INTRO VFX & MOTION GRAPHICS • BEN BAYS

This is a production course designed to introduce and expand your knowledge of the world of motion graphics and special effects. Credits, transitions, greenscreen, filters, masks, mattes, all sorts of things. In contrast to the animation course, this class will focus on advanced compositing and techniques to enrich your video, stills, typography and to get exactly what you want to see onscreen. You will not be required to draw anything (complicated). Consider this more of a course in design than art. We will take the elements of design: line, shape, value, texture, color, direction, size, perspective and space and add one more thing to them: time.

RTF 344M       POST-PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES • SIMON QUIROZ

This course examines the necessary processes and best practices to finish and deliver a film or a media piece after the offline edit is done. From preparing assets for online editing and sending them to sound design, integration of VFX to color correction, grading, and mastering. While we will cover a great deal of color grading, this course will also emphasize the technical elements that allow us to deliver the best quality of images possible for different platforms with the assets given from production and preparation from editing. Ideally, the students should come with a pretty good understanding of nonlinear editing software.

RTF 344M       WRITING FOR INTERACTIVE GAMES & MEDIA • SUSAN O’CONNOR

Interactive storytelling is a form of dramatic writing, just like theater or television. What makes the medium unique is that the author does not control the story; the audience does. Creatives have only just begun to explore the storytelling possibilities of this field. In this class, you will begin to develop the skills & knowledge necessary to write for interactive mediums such as video games, digital media, VR, and augmented reality. Your final deliverable in this course - a narrative design document - will serve as a writing sample for your portfolio.

RTF 344N        IMMERSIVE FILMMAKING • SIMON QUIROZ

By relying on stereoscopic 3D production and post-production techniques as our foundation, the goal of this course is to explore different ways and techniques of what makes immersive filmmaking as it applies to 360 spherical video and/or Stereoscopic 3D. Students will complete at least one short piece to be viewed via a Head Mounted Display, a 3D monitor, or on the web.

RTF 344N        MOTION CAPTURE STUDIO • DEEPAK CHETTY

Utilizing a combination of hardware (motion capture suits and facial capture techniques) and software (Unreal Engine, Motion Builder), students will write, direct and virtually shoot and edit a completely computer-generated film within Unreal Engine using an actual human performance. The course will also cover the history of motion capture techniques and their utilization within the world of cinema, gaming and non-entertainment related fields.

RTF 344T    GAME DEVELOPMENT CAPSTONE: 3D GAMES • PAUL TOPRAC

The Capstone Game Development course brings together students from Computer Science, College of Fine Arts, and Radio-TV-Film to form small teams in which each student will contribute specialized knowledge to the group creation of 3D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the 3D game development process, through modeling of the environment and practices that are used in game studios.
*If interested, please read instructions to apply.

RTF 346           INTRODUCTION TO EDITING • DON HOWARD; KAREN KOCHER; ANDREW IRVINE

Whether you want to be an editor, director or producer, Introduction to Editing is an essential, hands-on course for any production student. By completing a series of narrative and nonfiction assignments, you will finish this course with increased confidence in, and understanding of, the seamless editing technique and the AVID software. We will also view and analyze film scenes to understand how editing contributes to meaning.

RTF 347E         ADVANCED EDITING • ANNE LEWIS

This course is a further elaboration of the principles and techniques of editing that students will have encountered in RTF 346, building a broader background for professional development. We will discuss aesthetic, technical, and practical approaches to editing a variety of media and consider how they might best apply to some (provided) editing challenges. In particular, we'll concentrate on the development of modern editing styles. The class will use AVID software only.

RTF 351D        ADVANCED 2D ANIMATION • LANCE MYERS

Students will use the basic 2D animation skills learned in the 351C Intro to 2D Animation class to focus on the production of longer animated projects. Additional techniques including some motion graphics, stop motion, and advanced 2D will also be covered in class.

RTF 366K        CREATING A WEB SERIES • MIKE AKEL

This is a hands-on production course designed to create an original web series. Throughout the semester students will write, shoot and edit 3 episodes for season 1 of their show. The production teams will consist of three students and each person will get to direct at least one episode. The class will conclude with a professional feedback screening from Austin’s own ROOSTER TEETH producers!

RTF 366K        DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION • NANCY SCHIESARI

This class introduces students to single-camera field documentary video production. Basic instruction will be provided on digital cameras and digital off-line editing. Individual exercises and group projects will be assigned throughout the semester.

RTF 366K        DRAWING THE STORYBOARD • JASON BUCHANAN

A storyboard is a set of sequential drawings used to tell a story—a graphic organizer that helps to illustrate a narrative.  Used often in entertainment applications like film, TV, theatre, gaming, and immersive experiences, storyboards are also valuable in the development of advertising videos or demonstrating a production process.

RTF 366K        DEATH AND DOCUMENTARYANDREW GARRISON

Is Death the reason for all creativity or simply the end of it? This class is an introduction to documentary production class that will take on subjects related to death and dying (which also means living) in any way you can imagine.  It begins with a live conversation between a medical ethicist, a legal ethicist and a spiritual practitioner/researcher on evolving ideas of death. Students will select their own documentary projects to be done in teams of two or three, subject to the approval of the instructor. The class will also be taught simultaneously with a documentary class in Porto, Portugal, and we will exchange projects and readings with them.

RTF 366K/388P      INTRODUCTION 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 the 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 366K        MUSIC FILM PRODUCTION • PJ RAVAL

Students in this course will create music videos, short-form music documentaries and a live music/film performance. This is an intensive production course that will require ongoing creative work. Film students without music experience and music students without film experience are welcome in the class. We will work with original music, local musicians and/or creative commons copyright-free music to create innovative music videos. We will discover local subjects for music documentaries. We will screen and analyze music videos and films by directors who are also established feature directors, including Mark Romanek, Martin Scorcese, Ondi Timoner, Michael Apted and Michel Gondry featuring artists such as R.E.M., Laurie Anderson, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Bjork, OK GO, Pearl Jam and others. We will have in-class visits from local music video and music documentary directors and producers including Bradley Beasley (Flaming Lips) and Karen Bernstein (Lou Reed, Ella Fitzgerald).

RTF 366K        NARRATIVE PRODUCTION • STEVE MIMS; DEB LEWIS; NANCY SCHIESARI

The class explores the expressive potential of sound and image through the production of digital video and 16mm exercises and short films. It is an intensive workshop in visual storytelling and non-dialogue filmmaking. It is designed to build upon the fundamental production concepts and techniques that were introduced in RTF 318 and to prepare students for the advanced narrative classes.

RTF 367D        DIRECTING WORKSHOP • ANDREW SHEA; YA’KE SMITH

This workshop explores the role of the director in the process of translation from page to screen, focusing on the director/actor relationship, narrative structure, and visual language. Assignments will include the casting, mounting, and realization of dramatic narrative scenes. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of the skills necessary to communicate effectively with actors to achieve authentic and vivid performances.

RTF 367K        PRODUCING FILM AND TELEVISION • MICAH BARBER

RTF 367K 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.

RTF 367Q        ADVANCED PRODUCING: SCRIPT TO SCREEN • SCOTT RICE

Script to Screen takes students behind the scenes of Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey’s latest film. By studying script drafts, shot lists, storyboards, early edits and even exclusive behind the scenes footage, students will garner insight into the making of a major Hollywood feature. Script to Screen also gives students practical instruction on producing their own projects including web series, shorts, commercials, and indie features. From guidance on pitching to the ins and outs of founding a production company, Script to Screen is an essential “how-to” for students who are serious about producing and directing.

Prerequisites: Upper Division standing and either RTF 367K (Producing I), RTF 366D (Directing Workshop) or RTF 333 (Intro. to Screenwriting). Non-majors will not be allowed to add this course. If you do not meet the prerequisites you may seek admittance by contacting the instructor.

RTF 368D/388P          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 368S         FILM PRODUCTION THESIS • RICHARD LEWIS

This course is for filmmakers wishing to create a narrative or documentary film that demonstrates and showcases advanced filmmaking skills. 

The class accepts DIRECTORS and PRODUCERS only (exceptions to this rule noted below), and students should apply in two-person directing/producing teams with the intent of working together to shepherd the project from beginning to end.  From pre-production to sound mix, students will complete a short film (under 12 minutes in length) with the most advanced equipment available to RTF undergraduates. Emphasis will be placed on storytelling, strong cinematic style, and production values.  Teams should plan to enter the class with considerable story work already completed.  Know that the directing/producing teams are responsible for assembling their own crews and that all regular crew roles must be filled by current UT students or UT students who graduated within the last two years.

Each two-person team must apply no later than 5 pm on Friday, October 25.   See details here: https://rtf.utexas.edu/undergraduate/courses/thesis#Production

RTF 368S         SCREENWRITING THESIS • TOM WILLETT

The class is run like a graduate screenwriting class where students will develop and write either a feature-length screenplay or an original tv pilot and pilot bible. This course is an advanced class for undergraduates who have already taken a 369 Screenwriting class.   Applicants should submit a sample (a feature or pilot) and a one-page statement as to why they are interested in this class.  The instructor will also be reaching out to the applicant’s former or current instructors to find out how they performed in their workshop.  

Deadline to apply: no later than 5 pm on Friday, October 25.  For more information and how to apply, see: https://rtf.utexas.edu/undergraduate/courses/thesis#Screenwriting

RTF 368S     MEDIA STUDIES THESIS

An independent research project based on primary data, resulting in a written summary of theoretical foundations, methodological approach, results, and a discussion.  All Media Studies thesis must have a faculty thesis supervisor in RTF. Exact hour(s) to be arranged with faculty thesis supervisor.

For more details, see: https://rtf.utexas.edu/undergraduate/courses/thesis#Studies

RTF 369           ADVANCED SCREENWRITING: TV PILOTS • CINDY McCREERY; TAMAR LADDY

Each student will create a brand new 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 369           ADVANCED SCREENWRITING: TV SPECS • TAMAR LADDY

This course explores writing for series television. Over the course of the semester, students will write "spec" scripts of an existing half hour comedy and hour-long drama. The class will take an in-depth look at TV writing from the inside out, learning how to "break" an episode and how a TV writer's room works.

RTF 369           ADVANCED SCREENWRITING FOR FEATURE FILM • BEAU THORNE

In this class, students will complete a feature-length screenplay (90-120 pages) by the end of the semester. In addition, they will read and comment on their classmates' work on a weekly basis. Incompletes will not be given in this class.

RTF 369           ADVANCED SCREENWRITING FOR FILM: INDIES • MAYA PEREZ

This workshop class is focused on writing screenplays designed for micro-budget, independent production. As students write their own feature-length scripts (90-120 pages) throughout the semester, they will study and analyze completed micro-budget films and their production methods. In addition, they will read and comment on their classmates' work on a weekly basis. Incompletes will not be given in this class.


INTERNSHIPS

RTF 330L     INTERNSHIP IN FILM & ELECTRONIC MEDIA
The purpose of this course is to provide professional internship experiences with television and radio stations, film, video, and new media production companies, governmental agencies and production units, audio recording studios, and new media industries. Students are responsible for securing their own internship position. Resources and position listings are available in the College of Communication Career Services (CCS) office, CMA 3.104 / (512) 471-9421.

At the end of the semester, you will be required to submit an Internship Report consisting of:
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  • A weekly journal

  • Work samples or a portfolio
  • Your evaluation of the internship

  • Your supervisor's confidential evaluation of your performance

Register Now

RTF 178     RADIO-TV-FILM INTERNSHIP
RTF 178 is a one-hour internship course intended for students doing a second internship, i.e., those who have already taken RTF 330L. The purpose of this course is to provide professional internship experiences with television and radio stations, film, video, and new media production companies, governmental agencies and production units, audio recording studios, and new media industries. Students are responsible for securing their owfn internship position. Resources and position listings are available in the College of Communication Career Services (CCS) office, CMA 3.104 / (512) 471-9421.

At the end of the semester, you will be required to submit an Internship Report consisting of:

  • A weekly journal
  • Work samples or a portfolio
  • Your evaluation of the internship
  • Your supervisor's confidential evaluation of your performance

Register Now

RTF 336           SPECIAL PROJECTS IN RADIO-TV-FILM