Courses

 

Program of Study

The M.F.A. program is highly structured and generally requires students to take courses in a set order.  Students complete two years of full time course work before they begin the thesis project in the third year, which consists of 9 hours per semester.

Program of study for students starting in Fall of an even year (2012, 2014, etc.):

Fall 1 Spring 1 Fall 2 Spring 2
History of American Cinema History of International Cinema Psychoanalytic and Marxist Film Theory Cognitive and Ecological Film Theory
Editing Audio Cinematography Visual Effects
Pre-Visualization and Digital Workflow Screenwriting Writing the Short Film Directing Actors
Producing Directing the Motion Picture

Program of study for students starting in Fall of an odd year (2013, 2015, etc.):

Fall 1 Spring 1 Fall 2 Spring 2
Psychoanalytic and Marxist Film Theory Cognitive and Ecological Film Theory History of American Cinema History of International Cinema
Cinematography Visual Effects Editing Audio
Pre-Visualization and Digital Workflow Screenwriting Writing the Short Film Directing Actors
Producing Directing the Motion Picture

Course Descriptions

FILM 5310 Previsualization and Digital Workflow

Graduate level course required for MFA students in digital filmmaking. This course covers the fundamentals of working in a primarily digital environment applied to filmmaking.  Students will learn contemporary practices and technologies used in the pre-production process of filmmaking as well as focusing on the “digital pipeline” from story development to production, to post production, to multi-venue delivery methods. Lecture/Production.

MCOM 5392 Topics in Digital Production

Special topics in advanced issues of digital production, including but not limited to pre-production, digital cinematography, directing and editing.  May be repeated for credit.

FILM 6316 Psychoanalytic/Marxist Theories of Cinema

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  An historical account of theoretical writings about cinema deriving from a psychoanalytic/Marxist base, including apparatus theories, feminist theories,  post-structuralism, identity politics and postmodernist theories of cinema.  Lecture.

FILM 6317 Cognitive/Ecological Theories of Cinema

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  This course sets as its task the laying of a foundation for a theory of moving images which goes beyond traditional film theory and encompasses images that are currently being produced in the convergence of film, video and computer technologies, taking into account the development of human capacities for perceiving mediated images and sounds.

FILM 6320 Production Seminar: Audio

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  This course is designed to develop skills in audio production for film and video.  Production.

FILM 6321 Production Seminar: Cinematography

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  An exploration of cinematography concentrating on composition and lighting.  The student will get hands on experience with camera and lighting equipment used to light and shoot a scene.  Production.

FILM 6322 Production Seminar: Editing

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  An advanced course on editing.  Basic editing knowledge is required.  The class will focus on use of the Avid and Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems. Technical issues concerning non-linear editing will be covered. In addition, the general mechanics of editing as well as the history and aesthetics of editing will be discussed.

FILM 6323 Production Seminar: Visual Effects

Graduate level course required for MFA in Digital Filmmaking.  This is a course in the theory and practice of contemporary digital visual effects using a production-centric approach. The focus is on-set production practices, post-production techniques and use of digital technology.  Production.

FILM 6324 Production Seminar: Producing the Motion Picture

Graduate level course required for the MFA program in digital filmmaking.  The course covers the role of the independent producer through the life cycle of a project, from development, financing, and pre-production, through production, marketing, distribution and exhibition.  Students will develop their own business plans/prospectuses for original film projects of their own choosing.

FILM 6325 Production Seminar: Directing Actors

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking. This is a course in the principles and practices of directing.  The course will focus on two primary areas.  Students will learn script analysis, rehearsal technique, and working with actors.  Students will also focus on shot composition and visual design through the creation of shot lists and storyboards.

FILM 6326 Production Seminar: Directing the Motion Picture

Graduate level course required for the MFA program in digital filmmaking. Course will cover all aspects of directing except working with actors. This includes blocking and staging, shot creation and composition, visual design, and working with a production crew. Prerequisite: Graduate status. Spring.

FILM 6340 History of American Cinema

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  History of cinema in the United States from its beginnings around 1895 until present day.  Relevant events are considered in chronological order with screenings of representative films from each decade.  Topics discussed include changes in the national studio systems and the role of independent producers, as well as trends, movements, and influences.  Cinema as a commercial enterprise as well as an artistic enterprise will be considered.  The class will also address historiography—the way that historical information is gathered and organized.

FILM 6341 History of International Cinema

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  History of international cinema from its beginnings around 1895 until present day.  Relevant events are considered in chronological order with screenings of representative films from each decade.  Topics discussed include establishment and evolution of influential national cinemas as well as trends, movements, and influences. The class will also address historiography—the way that historical information is gathered and organized.

FILM 6360 Screenwriting

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  Students will write a feature-length screenplay, reinforcing skills in scene structure, act structure, character, conflict and other aspects of writing for the screen.  Creative writing theory will also be discussed.

FILM 6362 Writing the Short Film

Graduate level course required for MFA program in digital filmmaking.  Addresses the unique structural and character demands of writing the short script (less than 60 pages).

FILM 6390 Directed Study in Digital Filmmaking

Graduate-level course. Involves in-depth study of a topic or topics to be determined by individual student need. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

FILM 7980 Thesis Project

An advanced culminating course in the MFA program in Digital Filmmaking.  Each student will be responsible for producing, directing  and editing a complex sync sound film (or video)  production to completion. Because there are no scheduled class meetings, students will work independently while periodically seeking the assistance and approval of his or her thesis committee. The committee must approve the script, and breakdown and budget. The committee must approve the picture cut and sound cut as the student progresses through the project. Failure to seek the approval of the committee may result in a no-pass mark.  Enrollment contingent upon the successful completion of 36 credits of course work, and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. (1-9 hrs)   May be repeated for credit.