Film and Television

Note: Course details for Summer 2018 will be available on December 15. The courses below were offered in Summer 2017 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

Examines the ways in which industrial factors and communication policies have shaped the medium that sits in 99% of U.S. homes. We begin by examining television's roots in radio. The remainder of the course is broken down into three stages of television history advanced by Rogers, Epstein, and Reeves (2002). The first category is TVI--the period of three-network dominance. The next stage, TVII, is characterized by the rise of cable television and the decentering of the three networks. We conclude the course by considering the current stage of television--TV III--in which the era of "on demand" has further destabilized traditional notions of content, audiences, producers, scheduling, and technologies. In addition to tracing this development historically and thematically, we confront it critically, analyzing the connections between power and money in the medium of television. 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, etc., 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 2017: Gangster Film. Studies the rise of the gangster film in America and its growth as a genre. Examines the conventions of the genre, drawing on early classic gangster films, and then discusses how later gangster films complicated those conventions. The course looks at gangster films in pairs, to see how similar material and themes have been handled at different points in film history. For example, students study both versions of Scarface (1932 and 1983) to see how the Al Capone figure in each film reflected the social and political context of each film’s era (as well as the stylistic inclinations of the directors, Howard Hawks and Brian DePalma). As a film studies elective, this course emphasizes gangster films’ historical, sociological, and stylistic importance. It looks at the role of particular directors, actors, writers, and producers (and real gangsters) in the genre’s rich history. While not required, a background in film analysis, as taught in Understanding Film (FT250) and in other film studies-oriented courses, is helpful. 4 cr.

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Special Topics

COM FT 554

Topic for Summer 2017: 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. For information about technology requirements for online courses at Boston University, see bu.edu/online/online-learning/technology. The Distance Education office can be reached at 617-358-1960 for additional information. 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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