Course Descriptions

Current students, visit insideND Class Search for more detailed information about credits, class meeting times, pre- or co-requisites, and cross-listings.

For information on previous FTT course offerings, visit the Course Description Archive.

International Studies

The University of Notre Dame offers Film, Television, and Theatre classes in various countries around the world for course credit. These countries include, but are not limited to, Ireland, England, Australia, and France. For more information and updates, visit International Studies Program, online or in person at 152 Hurley Building.
 

Fall 2021

FTT 10101/20101/20102:  Basics of Film and Television                               Michael Kackman

This class is designed to enhance your understanding and appreciation of film and television. It operates on the philosophy that the better we understand how film and television texts work, the more intelligently and perceptively we will be able to consume them, which is an invaluable skill to have in our media-saturated world. You will learn about the basic elements that distinguish films and television programs from other aesthetic forms, such as editing, cinematography, sound and set design, and how these components work together to develop stories and characters. We will also work with interpretive frameworks that uncover deeper meanings and patterns in film and television, such as genre theory, the idea of authorship, political economy, and ideological analysis. Finally, you will acquire the skills and tools needed to write your own educated analyses of film and television texts. The class screenings present a range of films, from Hollywood classics to independent and international films, as well as television shows both old and new. This course is required for all concentrators in Film and Television. 

FTT 10720/20720:  Collaboration: The Art of Making Theatre              Anne García-Romero 

Collaboration: The Art of Making Theatre explores the roles of the artists who create the material world in which a performance exists, and most importantly, the collaborative nature of those relationships. Students will be challenged to understand the thinking behind the work of the designers, writers, directors, and off-stage personnel who bring stories to life on stage. Incorporating hands-on projects as well as lecture/discussion formats, students will experiment with storytelling through the visual elements of scenery, costumes, lighting, etc. Collaboration: The Art of Making Theatre is an excellent entry point to the Theatre Concentration.

FTT 13182:  Fine Arts University Seminar  01: Marcus Stephens  02: Susan Ohmer  03: Ken Cole  

University seminars will address a variety of topics in the history of art depending on the interests of the professor. These courses require several short papers as well as a final written exercise appropriate to the material.

FTT 20703: Theatrical Production Ken Cole

A practical introduction to the techniques, processes, and materials used in creating the scenery and lighting for the stage. Students will explore traditional and modern theatrical production methods: carpentry, rigging, scenic painting, stage lighting, and basic sound engineering. Students will gain practical experience by participating on realized projects and productions.

FTT 20801:  Acting for the Non-Major                                                                    Anton Juan

This course introduces the non-theatre major to the basic elements of the art and craft of acting. Students will explore the spaces of memory, the body in an external space, voice and diction, and the choices they have to make, through the observation and imagination of realities. They will explore the process of looking for the sense of truth and urgency in expressing a dramatic text and a character's will and action. This course is participatory and will involve students' scene study presentations as well as written textual analysis to introduce scene studies.

FTT 21001:  Acting: Process                                                                                  Carys Kresny

Acting: Process introduces the student to the core techniques of acting for the stage. The course engages both the analytical and the creative mind as students use research and analysis to support their physical, vocal, and imaginative approaches to creating compelling scripted and improvised scenes. Students will rehearse and prepare scenes outside of class (with a partner and solo) for in-class performance. All students must see two live theatrical performances and turn in a reflection for each. 

FTT 21005: Viewpoints for Actors/Directors Carys Kresny

This course is designed to introduce actors and directors to the fundamentals of a dynamic technique known as Viewpoints. Viewpoints allows a group of actors to function together spontaneously and intuitively and to generate bold work quickly. It develops flexibility, articulation, and strength in movement and makes ensemble playing truly possible. The Viewpoints further gives directors a vocabulary with which to create and transform their work on stage or in film.

FTT 30028: Academic Writing about Film           Pamela Wojcik

Writing papers can be stressful.  It is not always easy to know what’s expected.  The standards for writing in college are different than in high school, and the bar gets raised again as one enters upper-level courses. Sometimes it is hard to know what counts as a good paper or why one paper receives an A and another a B or C. How does one write a good paper? What is the difference between a reflection and a research paper? What is a good topic? How much plot summary is enough or too much? How should readings be incorporated? What does the teacher really want?

This course aims to help students write better academic papers on film (and TV or other screen material). It is for students who struggle with writing; students who just want to feel more comfortable writing papers in class; students who write well, but want to improve or understand what they are doing better; students writing a thesis, or thinking of graduate school: any student who wants to focus on their writing.

This course will teach students how to write academic film papers. It is not a class in film reviewing. We will discuss how to develop a topic that is arguable and compelling; how to imagine and address your reader; how to write an introduction that makes clear why your topic matters; how to organize and structure your paper; how to make transitions (and how not to); how to find, evaluate, and engage with sources; how to cite sources; what counts as evidence; how to make your writing clear; the importance of titles; and more.

Students will use prompts and papers they are writing in other classes as material. Students will be expected to attend every session, submit writing and/or revisions every week, and review a peer’s work every week. Individual papers will not be graded: our focus is on process. Course grades will be based on improvement. This one-credit course will meet for twelve one-hour sessions. 

FTT 30125: The Animation Course   Jeffrey Spoonhower

Animation is everywhere. In feature films, video games, visual effects sequences, live-action shows, Saturday morning cartoons, documentaries, television ads, mobile phone apps, websites, movie trailers, title sequences, social media content, roadside billboards, art installations, and more - we are surrounded by animation and it permeates our visually-oriented world. Now more than ever, it is important to understand what animation is, its origins, the multitude of forms it can take, how it represents diverse cultures and ideas, and of course - how to create it. We will learn the history of the art form from the late 19th century to present; different techniques used in its creation, including hand-drawn, experimental, stop-motion, and computer-generated; and how it represents a variety of global cultural perspectives. We will approach these topics critically, and then apply what we learn toward animation production projects using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Through critical reading assignments, video essays, film screenings, and hands-on production assignments, we will gain a holistic understanding and appreciation of animation as an art form as well as practical skills that can be applied to a variety of higher level courses and creative careers. This is a hybrid critical studies and production course, and as such, we will "learn by doing" in both lecture and lab settings.

FTT 30201: Global Cinema I           Pamela Wojcik

This class traces major developments, movements, artists, and aesthetics within global film culture from the beginning of cinema in the 1890s to about 1950.  We will consider different national cinemas from Europe and Asia, as well as the rise of Hollywood and emergent African American cinema. We will consider certain prominent directors and film movements with attention to how they conceive of cinema, and will read contemporary theories and critiques of cinema.  We will consider the development of the film industry and technical developments that shift the aesthetic, and changes in modes of production and distribution, and spectatorship.  We will consider cinema in the context of modernity to consider how cinema reflects, refracts, transmutes and negotiates the effects of modernity to consider cinematic responses to urbanism, changing gender roles, mass production, race and immigration, among other topics. 

FTT 30238:  Writing the Short Film                                                                  Terrance Brown

This course is an introduction to the theory and craft of dramatic screenwriting. The class explores how a script is developed from concept to final written form. Through lectures, film viewing, and weekly exercises, emphasis is placed on plot and story structure, the adaptation of ideas into cinematic forms, how to tell a story with images, character, plot, and dialogue development.  Each student writes two short 8-12 page scripts developed within the context of the workshop. 

FTT 30302: Envision: Contemporary Europe James Collins

In this course we’ll focus on some of the central concerns in contemporary European cultures: how to construct a meaningful sense of historical memory (and post-memory), how are gender and class struggles impacting national and increasingly transnational identities, and how can artists develop new forms of representation to depict those changes. In each unit we’ll compare how films, novels, television series, and conceptual art frame these issues, zeroing in on points of both commonality and divergence. We’ll also be incorporating films from the Nanovic Film Series at the Browning Cinema.  (Some of the texts we’ll be discussing: Pawlikowski, Cold War, Tykwer, Babylon Berlin, Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend, Sorrentino,  La Grande Bellezza,  Donnersmarck, Never Look Away, Almodovar, Pain and Glory, Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book 2, Rohrwacher, Lazzardo Felice, Price, Borgen)

FTT 30408: Video Essays Matthew Payne

This upper-division course introduces students to "essayistic" approaches to media analysis and production. As the name signals, this class explores the sometimes experimental and sometimes playful "video essay" mode of expression with the goal of understanding how media makers and artists utilize sounds and images for fictional and non-fictional ends. By emphasizing the multiple points of connection that exist between media theory and praxis, this course aims to help students understand how to craft compelling arguments and evocative, impressionistic sequences using this unique form of storytelling.

FTT 30410:  Intro to Film & TV Production                                               Ted Mandell

An introductory course in the fundamentals of shooting, editing, and writing for film and video productions. This is a hands-on production course emphasizing aesthetics, creativity, and technical expertise. The course requires significant amounts of shooting and editing outside class. Students produce short video projects using digital video and DSLR cameras and edit digitally on computer workstations. The principles of three-camera studio production are also covered.  Material fees required.

FTT 30416: 3D Digital Production Jeffrey Spoonhower

Are you interested in the world of feature animation, visual effects, and video games? This course will be your first step in learning the tools and techniques of 3D digital content creation, which can be applied to a variety of professional industries, graduate school programs, and higher-level production courses at Notre Dame. You will learn the basics of modeling, texturing, animation, lighting, virtual cinematography, and rendering using the industry-standard application, Autodesk Maya. Through weekly tutorials and projects using Maya, you will receive hands-on, practical experience in the core facets of 3D digital production. Through weekly lectures, group discussions, critical studies reading assignments, and film screenings, you will learn the foundational principles of 3D computer graphics, computer animation, and visual storytelling, and gain a broader understanding and appreciation of the cultural and historical contexts that surround the creation and reception of this art form. This is a hybrid critical studies and production course, and as such, you will "learn by doing" in both lecture and lab settings.

FTT 30455:  Critical Approaches to Television                                           Matthew Payne

This course offers an introductory survey of the primary critical approaches used to analyze television, and thus serves as a foundation for other TV-specific courses within the major. Through an examination of pioneering and contemporary studies of television, we will explore how television has been analyzed as a communication medium, a technological apparatus, a commercial industry, and a cultural forum, as well as a form of recreation, education, and social bonding. We will also consider critical approaches that focus on how television shapes our personal identities and values. While examining methods developed to study TV production, reception, and texts, we will explore such concepts as publicness, liveness, quality, art, and representation. In addition to discussing how television was analyzed in the past, we will consider how both television and TV studies have changed as a result of globalization, industrial convergence, digital media, and participatory culture.

FTT 30456: Critical Approaches to Screen Cultures James Collins

In this course, students will learn different theories, methods, and approaches to understanding and writing about screen cultures. We will explore approaches that consider aesthetics/style, narrative, authorship (directors, show runners, stars), genre (e.g. the musical, horror), history (history of film/media industries, history of visual spectacle, historical context for films/media, etc.), technologies (sound, color, digital technologies, etc.), identities (considerations of gender, sexuality, race, nation, age, etc.), and audience (reception, fandom). Students will: Read theories that articulate and advocate each approach; consider the parameters, value, and appeal of that approach, as well as its limitations; practice each approach in written exercises; and research and write a final paper using one or more of these approaches. Students may also use video essays or other media as tools of analysis and critique. This is a course in academic criticism, not journalistic reviewing. Strong emphasis will be placed on argumentative writing.

FTT 30461: History of Television                                                                   Christine Becker

Television has been widely available in the United States for only half a century, yet already it has become a key means through which we understand our culture. Our course examines this vital medium from three perspectives. First, we will look at the industrial, economic, and technological forces that have shaped U.S. television since its inception. These factors help explain how U.S. television adopted the format of advertiser-supported broadcast networks and why this format is changing today. Second, we will explore television's role in American social and political life: how TV has represented cultural changes in the areas of gender, class, race, and ethnicity. Third, we will discuss specific narrative and visual strategies that characterize program formats. Throughout the semester we will demonstrate how television and U.S. culture mutually influence one another, as television both constructs our view of the world and is affected by social and cultural forces within the U.S.

FTT 30465: Sports and Television Christine Becker

Sports have played an integral role in the television industry since the medium's early days. This course will highlight the history of sports on television and focus on the nuts and bolts of how television sports programming works today. The course will also examine the impact of televised sports on our culture as well as the ethical issues raised by the media's coverage of sports. Taught in the Fall only. 

FTT: 30491: Debate Susan Ohmer

Public Speaking and Debate is a skills-based course designed to prepare students for the real world necessity of public speaking, while also cultivating the skills necessary to be competitive on the college speech and debate circuit if they so desire. Students will have the opportunity to join our Speech and Debate Travel Team and compete across the country in various events if they wish. The events range from 2 person team debate to individual persuasive speeches, to mock congresses, and even dramatic monologues! Team members are also eligible for scholarships for their participation. Day one of the course will be lectures and activities to allow students to become familiar with all competitive events as well as traditional public speaking for those students who do not wish to compete. We will dedicate day two to practicing the skills we learned the day before! Students will leave the course with an increased comfort with public speaking, extensive knowledge of persuasive speech, expanded analytical and critical thinking skills, and familiarity with the art of argumentation.

FTT: 30531: Avant-Garde Art and Film Edward Barron

This survey course will take a critical studies approach to the aesthetic, historical and ideological issues in avant-garde art, film, and media. This course will be structured around major phases of experimental, independent and radical non-narrative/non-commercial cinema from the 1920s to the present. In addition to considering new modes of production, we will address alternative forms of distribution and exhibition.  We will also examine how these historical moments speak to contemporary calls to provide more diverse and inclusive modes of representation.  Students will be required to attend weekly class lectures and discussions as well as weekly lab screenings.  

FTT 30706: Musical Theatre History Stacey Stewart

The American musical, with its roots in the minstrel show, is America’s one truly indigenous dramatic genre. Often considered merely frivolous entertainment, the musical has nevertheless always served a critical social function. This course examines the musical theatre both as an industry and as a site of aesthetic debate and political and social change. Students will acquire historical, theoretical, and critical knowledge both to inform and to support their choices as artists. 

FTT 30708:  Performance Techniques                                                     Matt Hawkins

The intention of this course is to provide you with a context within which to understand the techniques of musical theatre performance and the foundational skills needed to personally inhabit these techniques. This course will give you the tools to "act a song." You will work on analysis and performance of five songs from the following categories: Golden Age, Modern, Rock, Pop and any other kind of song you love. These songs are assigned by era sequentially so that we may simultaneously introduce the context of this material within the genre-at-large. You will also apply your growing knowledge of technique and context to intelligently observe and comment on the work of your peers within a structured setting. Throughout the course we will incorporate short group exercises to better explore performance technique and promote a deeper understanding of the differences between traditional script/text analysis and score/lyric analysis. There will be reflection papers due after the exploration of your songs. 

FTT 30714:  World Theatre I                                                  Tarryn Chun

This course examines world theatre history from the origins of performance to the present. Students learn techniques of script analysis, performance analysis, and independent research as tools for analyzing theatre from the literary, aesthetic, and historical perspectives. Throughout, the course emphasizes the importance of cultural context and historiography to understanding the creation and transformation of theatre as an art form. Each semester will be a stand-alone course and can be taken in any order. 

FTT 30800: Scenic Painting Marcus Stephens

An introduction to the tools and techniques used in painted and textured scenery for the stage and screen. Students will learn and apply the variety of methods used in creating a wide range of painted effects; from the basic wood treatments to the advanced marbling and faux finishes. Outside of class painting time will be required.

FTT 30802: Lighting Design Kevin Dreyer

This class will teach you what is involved in creating and executing a lighting design. We will cover lighting equipment and safety. You will design and draft a light plot, and you will learn how to write and use paperwork. Most importantly, the goal of this class will be to teach you how to see light. There will be lectures, videos, projects (take-home and in-class), hands-on training, and required attendance at TWO performances. The semester culminates with a final design project, as well as written components.

FTT 30809: Story Structure Anne García-Romero

Story Structure is designed to engage students in exploring a variety of approaches to playwriting and screenwriting structure. The course will delve into structural analysis utilizing models from contemporary world theatre and film with the aim to present a variety of paths toward creating new, vibrant plays and screenplays. Students will write one act plays and short screenplays throughout this course, which culminates in a public reading of their work. This course is ideal for any student interested in writing for theatre and film.

FTT 31001:  Acting Character                                                                Siiri Scott

The second course in the acting progression, this course expands on basic methodology and incorporates physical techniques for building a character. Students explore psychological gestures, Laban effort shapes, and improvisation as they develop a personal approach to creating a role.

FTT 31005: Theatre Production Workshop Kevin Dreyer

A workshop course in the process of theatre production in which students assume a major nonperformance production responsibility including, but not limited to: stage manager, assistant stage manager, prop master, costumer, technical director or assistant director. This course can be repeated for up to four hours credit. Requires Instructor's permission.

FTT 35501:  FTT Remote Internship                                                                 Christine Becker

Students who successfully complete FTT 10101/20101 may be eligible for an internship at a television station or network, radio station, video production company, film production company or similar media outlet. Interns must work 10-15 hours per week and compile 150 work hours by the end of the semester (120 hours for the summer session) to obtain three credits. Interns will complete a project, mid-semester progress report, and a final evaluation paper. The course can be taken for 3 credits only once; subsequent internships can count for 1 credit.

FTT 35502:  Supplementary Internship                                                           Christine Becker

This course is for students who have been approved to take a one-credit internship graded in the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory mode, including those students undertaking a remote coverage internship. Note: This course does not count toward elective credit for the FTT major. 

FTT 37600:  Notre Dame Film Society                                                               Christine Becker

The Film Society is a film screening group that meets on Sunday nights in the Browning Cinema to watch an independent, international, or classic film. Students can take the course for either zero credit or one credit S/U. Those taking it for one credit will have a minimum attendance and writing requirement. Contact the sponsoring professor for more information. 

FTT 40017: Spectacular Asia Tarryn Chun

From martial arts blockbusters to extravagant expos to space-age cityscapes, countries in East and Southeast Asia have achieved worldwide renown both for their affinity for mega-events and as spectacular backdrops for filmed narratives, multinational gatherings, and global tourism. But what forces are at work in the creation and dissemination of such spectacle? To what ends and for whom are these spectacles designed? How do different spectators interact with and interpret them? And what resistance, if any, has there been to the seeming excess and superficiality of extravaganza and its attendant mass-mediated images? This course examines recent works of performance, visual art, and film from China, Taiwan, Japan, the Koreas, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines in relation to the politics of spectatorship and theories of spectacle. Covering a period roughly from the mid-20th century rise of the "society of the spectacle" to the present, we will ask how different forms of spectacle--still and moving, mediated and live--come to represent Asian nations and shape viewers' experiences of Asian cultures. Doing so will enable us to better understand the dynamics of seeing and being seen on a global scale, as well as to explore how alternative modes of performance, visual culture, and viewership engendered by Asian contexts challenge established power hierarchies and modes of audience engagement.

FTT 40020: Musical Theatre Laboratory  Matt Hawkins

The intention of this course is to provide a collaborative space for students to create, develop and/or workshop a new musical. Throughout the process of creation we will explore how to collaborate as a creative team, including directors, writers, music directors, choreographers, actors, and stage managers. This is an effort to allow class time to be rehearsal and development time for new artistic work. The hope of this class is to support the innovation of new work and prepare it for the possibility of heading toward production.  Please contact the instructor directly for approval to take the course.

FTT 40023:  Musical Theatre Minor Capstone                Matt Hawkins 

A capstone of the Musical Theatre Minor is a 3-credit course. The capstone will be project based and individually designed toward the student's interest. The specifics of the capstone will be agreed upon between the student and the instructor and ultimately approved by the instructor. The chosen topic for the capstone project is intended to reflect the student's interest in Musical Theatre and how it relates to their studies in the Minor. See instructor for details. Departmental Approval is needed to register for this course.

FTT 40046: Writing the TV Drama                                                      Terrance Brown

This course is an introduction to the theory and craft of writing a dramatic one-hour television series. The class explores how a one-hour series script is developed and written. Through lectures, show viewings, weekly analysis and script/show bible readings, students will learn the process of taking an original idea and growing it into a dramatic series concept, a script, and a show bible. Students will engage in class discussions on the merits and deficiencies of existing dramatic series scripts and corresponding viewings. Weekly written analyses will inform the production of students’ final 60-70 page original screenplays.

FTT 40410: Intermediate Filmmaking Bill Donaruma

In this course, formerly known as Digital Cinema Production, you will take a deeper dive into the professional skills of production learning the craft and applied aesthetics of camera, lighting and composition.  We will look at many camera systems and formats, but focus on using RED Digital Cinema cameras along with state of the art lighting and support equipment.  In this new version of the class, there will not be an additional “lab” period.  We will focus on making great images and how that applies to various forms of media, including narrative and documentary filmmaking.  We will spend much of our time on the soundstage classroom practicing scene work, and you will then go out and do location work filming various 'film challenges.'  The goal of this course is to provide you with an advanced skill set and understanding of film production to apply to your next steps in filmmaking.  

FTT 40411:  Documentary Video Production Ted Mandell

A hands-on creative course for the advanced production student interested in the production process and storytelling techniques of the documentarian. Emphasizing the cinema verite approach of filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, and Frederick Wiseman, students learn the importance of capturing life's moments, being faithful to a subject, and understanding the filmmaker's point of view. The goal is to produce a short documentary film over the course of the semester which honestly portrays its subject(s), while at the same time, challenges its audience. 

FTT 40460: Cold War Media Culture Michael Kackman

From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Red Dawn, this course explores the popular media of the Cold War. The course explores the interconnections between film and television, popular music, foreign and domestic policy, and U.S. social movements. Topics include anti-communism, the Red Scare, invasion films, suburbanization and domestic "containment culture," anxieties about the nuclear bomb, Beats and the counter-culture, the civil rights and women's movements, and youth culture. The course centers on the ways in which the Cold War was experienced culturally, with particular attention to its impact on everyday cultural practices and identities.

FTT 40600: Shakespeare on the Big Screen Peter Holland

This course explores the phenomenon of Shakespeare films designed for the "big screen." We shall be looking at examples of films of Shakespeare plays both early and recent, both in English and in other languages, and both ones that stick close to conventional concepts of how to film Shakespeare and ones that adapt at and to varying degrees of distance from his language, time and plot, reaching a limit in versions that erase Shakespeare from the film. We shall also be considering the recent phenomenon of "Live from" screenings of theatre productions. The transposition of different forms of Shakespearean texts (printed, theatrical, filmic) and the confrontation with the specificities of film production have produced and will continue to produce a phenomenon whose cultural meanings will be the subject of our investigations. There will be required screenings of films each week in the Lab.

FTT 40621: King Lear Peter Holland

Wherever we place it in the pantheon of great plays – and in spite of Tolstoy’s loathing of it –  King Lear is a very extraordinary play. This course will explore its extraordinariness by concentrating on it unremittingly. It will do so in two steps. For the first half of the semester we will slow-read the play together, thinking about anything and, insofar as we can, everything that it provokes us to investigate – from Shakespeare’s sources to early stagings and revisions, from its views on power, gender, and the spiritual to its verse and vocabulary, and so on and on. In the second half of the semester we will engage with the play in performance and reimaginings through film versions and a variety of adaptations from Nahum Tate to Jane Smiley and beyond.

FTT 40702: Audition Seminar Siiri Scott

Preparation for acting professionally and/or the advanced study of acting, directing, and performance. A course of study is developed between the student and the faculty advisor(s) at the beginning of the semester. Students who are interested in taking this course but are not FTT majors should consult the instructor. Senior Acting majors only. Offered in fall only.

FTT 41702: Audition Seminar Lab Siiri Scott

Preparation for advanced study of acting. A course of study for the semester is developed between the student and a faculty advisor or advisors (selected on the basis of goals established at the beginning of the course). Students who will be taking this course should consult with the instructor during the spring pre-registration period in order to preliminary discuss future goals.

FTT 43610: Senior Thesis Workshop Christine Becker

A writing workshop for those students approved for a senior thesis.

FTT 46000: Acting Pedagogy & Practice Siiri Scott

This course introduces the advanced Acting student to various methods of Acting training. In addition to directed readings, the student serves as the teaching assistant for Acting: Process or Acting: Character under the supervision of the instructor. The student is expected to attend all class meetings and supervise weekly rehearsals outside of class.

FTT 48000: Thesis & Undergrad Research Christine Becker

Research and/or thesis development for the advanced student.