Creators, it's time to play with our coolest toys! Using the most advanced animation, game design, VFX, CGI, and motion capture hardware and software available to RTF undergraduates, you will have the opportunity to either make a short film or create an interactive experience. Work individually or in teams—your choice!

Emergent Cinematic Arts thesis can support projects that incorporate motion capture, animation, VFX, virtual production, and/or game design. While the course will emphasize strong storytelling, cinematic style, and production values, you'll also get valuable hands-on experience and instructional support with some of the latest and greatest technology.

Upper-Division Standing and Consent of Instructor

By 1/9/22


Read more about RTF's Emergent Cinematic Arts area.

Contact Ben Bays at for more information.


Only offered in Spring semesters


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

Undergraduate Screenwriting Thesis Class – how decisions are made:  

Submit either a completed PILOT (half-hour or hour-long) or FEATURE SCREENPLAY.  TV specs of an existing show also will be considered, but pilots are preferred.  If you are writing this project in your current screenwriting class, you may submit the first ten pages along with the outline.

We will be contacting previous instructors. You'll need to include on your application a complete list of screenwriting classes, including final grades, and the names of your instructors and TA’s.

One-page statement as to why you want to take this class. 

Extended Deadline: APPLY by Nov 7 at 5:00 pm.

Consent decisions will be made by 5 pm on Weds, Nov 9, in order that you can register by end of day, Friday, Nov 11, which is the last day for early registration.

Questions: Email

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Only offered in Spring semesters


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

Students are welcome to visit Professor Lewis during in-person Office Hours in CMA 6.126b:  
Mondays, 1:30 - 2:30 pm; Wednesdays, 3-5

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. 

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. Directors and producers may NOT take additional major roles during the production phase of the film. For example, a director may NOT also be principal cast or the DP; however, a director MAY also be the editor during post.

IMPORTANT: The class historically takes a max of 12 projects. With a max of two projects shooting simultaneously, at least six production weeks are required to get everyone shot out. With April reserved mostly for post, some projects will have to shoot in late February.


Must be a currently-enrolled RTF major with a University GPA of at least 2.25 and have upper-division standing.

Narrative Directors:

Have completed at least one of the following course before applying:

  • RTF 343 – Advanced Narrative Production
  • RTF 340M – Music Video/Film Production

Documentary Directors:

Have completed the following course before applying:

  • RTF 343 – Advanced Documentary Production

Producers (narrative or documentary):

Have completed OR be concurrently enrolled in:

  • RTF 367K – Producing Film and Television
  • RTF 368P – Producing Short Films
  • There should be ONE application per TEAM.
  • If you are not yet in a director/producer team, please use this same form to apply individually.
  • If you are applying as other than a director or producer, please do NOT use this form; instead, email Prof. Lewis separately.
  • You MAY edit the application form after you submit it (up until the deadline).
  • Submit your application no later than 5 pm on Monday, October 31.

Apply here by 5 pm, Oct. 31

Consent decisions will be made by 5 pm on Wed., Nov 9th, in order that you can register by Nov 11th, which is the last day for early registration.  You will be notified via the email address you provide with your application.  IMPORTANT CHANGE to how things were done previously: Applications will be reviewed by and consent decisions made by a panel of faculty, not solely the faculty member teaching the course.

Consent will be based on:

  • Whether you have the proper pre-reqs
  • Your experience level and the quality of your previous work 
  • Whether you are in a producer/director team [See Exceptions below.]
    IMPORTANT NOTE: If the # of applicants exceeds the # of spots available in the class, those already in a director/producer team will be in better shape with regard to their application.
  • The quality of your thesis project logline (and synopsis, if you provide it)
  • The faculty panel's perception of your ability to complete the project (through final sound mix) by semester's end. Note that your prior instructors and TAs will be contacted and asked about your timeliness, work ethic, attendance, ability to take and give notes, ability to work well with others, ability to meet deadlines, etc.
  • Your flexibility on shoot dates
  • Your seniority (seniors are given preference over juniors)

Story ideas that we see a lot that we recommend you avoid:

  • Post-apocalyptic stories (unless you have something new to say)
  • Suicide stories where your protagonist kills him/herself at the end of the film
  • Stories that take place in large part in the dreams of our main character(s)

NOTE #1:  If you are a director or a producer but do not yet have a collaborator, go ahead and apply, and Prof. Lewis will do his best to match you up. You will have the final say with regard to who your collaborator is (i.e., no forced collaborations), but you must be in a director/producer team to be in the class [See exceptions below]. Know that director/producer teams are like marriages – choose your partner very carefully.

NOTE #2:  While directors are only allowed to direct one film, producers may produce two. If you are a producer producing two films, every attempt will be made to put some space on the calendar between your two productions.

NOTE #3: You CAN take undergrad thesis twice for credit as long as your role changes:  i.e., once as a director and once as a producer.

Exceptions to the “Directors and Producers only” rule will be considered for non-director/producers, but you must make a case as to how your work in this class will truly equal a semester’s worth of work. For example, DP’ing one film is not a semester’s worth of work.

Previously granted exceptions typically fall into one of two categories:

  1. Multiple roles on one project.  E.g., one student was part of a project team where he did locations in pre-production, DP’d during production, and edited in post. That’s definitely a semester’s worth of work.
  2. One role on multiple projects.  E.g., one student did location sound on five different projects. That’s definitely a semester’s worth of work. Note that if this is the route you want to take, you’ll have to wait until after the consent period to see which projects get selected, then make your case to those directors and producers, then present your proposal to me for approval. I.e., you likely wouldn’t be able to register until January. This is not a problem, and you shouldn’t worry about space not being available in the class.

Students must attend the first class day or make prior arrangements with the instructor. Students who do not attend the first class meeting may be dropped from the class.

Contact Professor Lewis via e-mail:

Attend a VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSION - TUES, 10/11 at 6 pm CT via Zoom
Zoom Link for Virtual Info Session
Professor Lewis will host a virtual information session at 6 pm CT on Tuesday, Oct 11. Please join if you're interested in learning more, as well as for an opportunity to meet other producers and directors!

Students are welcome to visit Professor Lewis during in-person Office Hours in CMA 6.126b:  
Mondays, 1:30 - 2:30 pm; Wednesdays, 3-5


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 the faculty thesis supervisor.

PREREQUISTES (in addition to instructor consent)
Must have before applying: Upper-Division Standing

All applications should be submitted by Monday, January 9 (First Class Day) at the latest.

Fill out Media Studies thesis application. Contact Teresa Valente, for questions.

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