Film and Television

Note: Course details for Summer 2019 will be available on December 15. The courses below were offered in Summer 2018 and can serve as a guide to what is typically offered.

College of Communication

Understanding Film

COM FT 250

Required of all students in the Film Program. An introduction to the art of film. How do films make meaning? How do audiences understand them? Explores some of the ways in which movies teach us new ways of knowing. Students also study a variety of historical examples of different styles that illustrate the expressive possibilities of image and sound. 4 cr.

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Understanding Television

COM FT 303

Television as an industry, a technology, and a cultural object is currently experiencing a period of accelerated change. Despite the accelerated nature of this change and its amplification through social media discussions, understanding television's history will help us to understand television's present. This is a history course with American television as its subject. By exploring the history of television, we also must study the history of radio as television's precursor medium and television through the digital transition. Thus, the course covers the late 19th century through to the present. The nature of this particular history is heavily reliant on cultural, social, industrial, and political histories, so those will be the foci through which we will study the history of each "new" media--radio and television were once new media, too--as it emerged, stabilized, interacted with other media, was regulated and deregulated, and was shaped by and shaped the culture around it. Moreover, in light of current television practices, we will be exploring television's national mass-medium foundations and how the origins of broadcasting created an environment that eventually led to today's fragmented media environment. 4 cr.

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Storytelling for Film and Television

COM FT 310

Required of all undergraduate students in Film & Television. Introduction to the art and craft of storytelling through the moving image. Particular emphasis is given to writing short scripts. Topics covered include character development and narrative structure as it applies to shorts, features, and episodic television. 4 cr.

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Production I

COM FT 353

An intensive course in all the fundamental aspects of motion picture production. Students learn to use cameras, sound recording equipment, and editing software and then apply these skills to several short productions. Emphasizes the language of visual storytelling and the creative interplay of sound and image. 4 cr.

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Writing the Television Pilot

COM FT 514

Explores the development and creation of the television series pilot. Each student pitches a concept and writes a treatment and a finished pilot script for an original series, either comedy or drama. Emphasis on premise, story structure, characterization, and originality. Lectures, screenings, script readings, written assignments, and critiques. 4 cr.

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Promoting Creative Ideas Online

COM FT 521

Teaches students how to market their creative works online. Students learn to identify targeted marketing and distribution platforms for new websites, video channels, series, and blogs, and how to use social media to find an audience, generate buzz, and identify potential funding sources. Students also learn practical entrepreneurial tools needed to organize their creative work as a business venture. 4 cr.

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Writing Situation Comedy

COM FT 522

Intense writing workshop learning how to write professional sitcom scripts. Elements of character, dramatic story structure, how comedy is created, how scenes build and progress a story, formal story outlines, dialogue, the business of sitcom writing, pitching, arc, and comedic premise are analyzed. The class becomes a sitcom writing team for a current hit series and writes an original class spec script to understand the process of group writing employed on most sitcoms. Also, students write their own personal spec scripts with individual conferences with the professor. 4 cr.

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Special Topics

COM FT 554

Topic for Summer 2018: Black & Indian British Cinemas. While British people of African and Indian descent have been represented on screen since the early days of British colonial cinema, Black British and British Indian filmmaking only started in earnest in the 1970s and 1980s. Production ramped up in the 1980s and 1990s, when Channel 4 studios sought out directors of color to fulfill its mission to serve minority interests. This course examines the history of Black British and British Indian filmmaking, from studio pictures to independent, documentary, and avant-garde films. We study how filmmakers of Black and Indian heritage carved out space for themselves within the film industry, as well as how their films engage with various intersections of identity, including race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality. 4 cr.

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Special Topics

COM FT 554

Topic for Summer 2018: Screenwriting for Fiction Writers. This course acquaints participants with the structure of the traditional three-act, feature-length, narrative screenplay for motion pictures. Through the analysis of a variety of screenplays, we will develop our own principles about the elements of screenwriting; and we will apply those principles to the writing of an outline, and then to the feature itself. Through workshops and instructor response, participants will select, develop, and write their (screen) stories. Each participant will finish the class with a full draft of a script. 4 cr.

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Special Topics

COM FT 554

Online offering. Topic for Summer 2018: Super Heroes in Film. Focusing on films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), this course explores the thematic and aesthetic aspects that have made super hero films so popular. Students learn and utilize basic film studies terminology (the close-up, the long take, cross-cutting, etc.) in order to understand how filmmakers create meaning though the use of specific cinematic techniques. In addition, the course contextualizes MCU films by explaining how each has operated within Marvel’s cinematic history and its competition with DC. Taking the films themselves and their historical context into consideration, students are introduced to a basic understanding of the field of film studies and the types of analyses those working in the field undertake. A $240 technology fee is also charged for this online course in addition to tuition. 4 cr.

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2D Animation Basics

COM FT 590

From TV shows to feature films and webisodes, 2D animation is more popular than ever, but how is it created? This fun yet intensive beginner course teaches all the fundamental skills needed to create great 2D character animation - the way it's done in the industry. Through progressive hands-on lessons you will learn basic drawing and how to use Adobe Animate CC to make characters walk, talk and come to life. We cover animation storytelling, character design, acting, timing, and facial expressions; how to animate "keys and in-betweens," compose scenes, use color, and more. Animation history and industry trends are also discussed. Students complete numerous projects including a fully produced animated short film. Many of the skills covered in this class can also be used by filmmakers, 3D animators, broadcast designers, and artists. 4 cr.

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Thesis Project

COM FT 825

Creation of an original work in any one of four areas: producing; scriptwriting; directing/production; or a research paper. One-on-one advisor supervision throughout the entire process. Variable cr.

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