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.

Spring 2018

FTT 10101/20101/20102: Basics of Film and Television      Christine Becker
University Fine Arts; open to non-majors

This class is designed to enhance your understanding and appreciation of film and television. 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," and ideological analysis. The class presents a range of films, from such Hollywood classics as Casablanca and The Departed, to award-winning international films and projects from our very own student film festival. Television shows we will screen include Mad Men, Grey's Anatomy, and Ugly Betty. This course is required for all majors in Film, Television, and Theatre.

FTT 10701/20701: Introduction to Theatre       Tarryn Chun/Clayton Cole
University Fine Arts; open to non-majors            

A study of theatre viewed from three perspectives: historical, literary, and contemporary production practices. Through lectures, readings, and discussion, students will study this art form and understand its relevance to their own life as well as to other art forms. A basic understanding of the history of theatre and the recognition of the duties and responsibilities of the personnel involved in producing live theatre performances will allow students to become more objective in their own theatre experiences.

FTT 13182: Fine Arts University Seminar              Olivier Morel/Marcus Stephens/Richard Donnelly
University Fine Arts; University Seminar; open to non-majors                  

This writing intensive course will be devoted to a variety of different topics in film, television, new media and theatre depending on the individual instructor's interests. Note: First Year students only.

FTT 20009: Broadway Theatre Experience         Richard Donnelly
Departmental Approval Required

This short course offers students the opportunity to experience live, professional theatre at its finest. The course will include four days and three nights in New York City where we will see four Broadway or off-Broadway professional productions. The dates for the trip to NYC are early Friday morning March 30 through late Monday evening April 2, 2018. It should be noted that this is Easter weekend so no classes will be missed. The trip costs include: round-trip bus and air transportation from Notre Dame to a hotel in Times Square, 3 nights at the hotel, and the best seats available for the four shows. The class will meet on three Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:00 (March 21, 28, April 4) to discuss the shows that will be seen, to become familiar with production practices, and to understand the structure and development of professional theatre in America. The course will culminate with a short paper discussing aspects of the plays that were seen.

FTT 20260: La Telenovela                              Kevin Barry
University Fine Arts; open to non-majors

In this course you will explore the genre of the telenovela (a major social, cultural, political, and economic force in Latin America and, more recently, in the United States) by reading about the genre (in Spanish) and watching two condensed telenovelas (also in Spanish). You will demonstrate your understanding of the telenovela and its importance in Hispanic culture through writing and discussion and through application of these ideas as you write, produce, direct, act in, record and edit a mini-telenovela as a class. During this process you will learn and apply basic production (videography) and post-production (computer based video and audio editing) techniques. Course taught in Spanish.   

FTT 20703: Theatrical Production                  Clayton Cole
University Fine Arts; for FTT majors

A practical introduction to the techniques, processes, and materials for creating scenery 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 participating on realized projects and productions.

FTT 20801: Acting for the Non-Major              Anton Juan
University Fine Arts; for non-majors

This course introduces the non-theatre major to the basic elements of the art and craft of acting. The student will explore the spaces of memory, the body in an external space, voice and diction, and the choices s/he has to make, through the observation and imagination of realities. S/he 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
University Fine Arts; for FTT majors

The purpose of this class is self-discovery and growth as an actor. You will be introduced to basic principles and techniques for preparation and performance, as well as a context for developing a working methodology for personal creative growth as an actor, the creation of a role, realization of a scene, and an introduction to the production process. You are expected, therefore, to know and apply these principles and processes. Scene work is prepared and rehearsed with a partner(s) outside of class for presentation in class. Written textual analysis (including detailed character study) is required for all scene work. A critical journal will reflect on assigned readings, responses to the work, and continuing assessment of personal growth.  

FTT 21006: Playwriting                     Anne García-Romero

This course is designed to introduce students to creating original work for the theater. The course will explore the writing process as well as models from contemporary U.S. theater with the aim to present a variety of paths toward creating new, vibrant plays. This is primarily a writing course. In addition, by reading and discussing ten separate dynamic play texts, we will analyze dramatic writing. Weekly writing exercises, movement work, visual arts approaches, improvisation techniques and collaborative discussions will create resources for rich play material, which each student will eventually use in a final scene, presented in a public reading at the end of the semester.

FTT 30020: Stage Combat    Matt Hawkins
Open to non-majors

This course will expose you to basic stage combat while exploring physical risk and maintaining safety measures. We will engage in unarmed fight choreography, as well as practicing sword technique.  

FTT 30021: Voice and Dialect    Siiri Scott
For FTT majors

In this course students will learn the principles of vocal production for acting in any medium. The class will use physical and vocal exercises to explore the relationship between alignment, respiration, and relaxation. Articulation and phonetics will be emphasized throughout the coursework. In addition to learning the standard dialect rules of American English, students will research and analyze the sounds and ethnographic influences of several dialects, as well as perform short monologues and/or scenes in those dialects. Students can expect to work on three to five dialects throughout the semester.

FTT 30129: The Digital Newsroom    Victoria St. Martin and Richard Jones
Open to non-majors

Building on the skills acquired in Fundamentals of Journalism, this practicum course is centered around students preparing stories, photos and videos for The Observer, the university's independent, student-run newspaper. Students will acquire real-world experience in reporting, writing, and using their digital journalism skills by covering live news events on campus and in the surrounding community. Pre-requisite: Fundamentals of Journalism.

FTT 30130: Covering America    Richard Jones

The course is a practical and conceptual exploration of the journalistic issues involved in reporting on topics of national interest. This is an advanced reporting course in which students will build on their digital and multi-platform journalism skills and learn to produce stories for audiences nationwide. The capstone assignment requires traveling to the site of an ongoing national story during Spring Break; the resulting stories, photos and videos will be published on a student-produced website. Please note: There are no additional costs for students in this course; all travel costs will be covered for any student who is admitted to the course. Admission to the course by permission only.

FTT 30202: Global Cinema II     Edward Barron

This course traces the major developments in world cinema from the post-WWII era to the present. The course will examine the shifting social, economic, technological, and aesthetic conditions of this period, especially the demise of the Hollywood studio system, the rise of new technologies and auxiliary marketing outlets, and the increasing globalization of cinema. The course will not be limited to Hollywood filmmaking, but will also look at various international movements, including Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and recent Asian cinemas.  

FTT 30330: Ireland on Screen    Briona Nic Dhiarmada
Open to non-majors

This course will examine and analyze representations of Ireland in film from the Silent era through Hollywood film to the contemporary independent indigenous cinema of today. It will trace the representation of the rural and the urban through the varying utopian/dystopian lenses of filmmakers from the Kaleb Brothers to John Ford to Jim Sheridan to Lenny Abramson. Films discussed will range from early 20th century silent films to The Quiet Man, Ryan's Daughter, The Commitments, Poitin, The Field, Kings, My Left Foot, Once, Garage, Goldfish Memory and The Guard.

FTT 30341: The Culture of Italian Emigration     Michela Valmori
Open to non-majors

Focusing on the Italian American experience, this interdisciplinary course addresses issues of migration and its related themes of cultural conflict/crossings and ethnic identity formation. The course engages fictional, non- fictional, musical, and visual texts that recount the experience of migration as seen through the eyes of Italian American as well as Italian authors. The general goal will be to critically evaluate the popular images of Italian emigrants in light of their important contribution to hostile societies, and the texts under analysis will shed new light on the perception/construction of Italian national identity. Taught in English.

FTT 30407: Internet Television Production   Theodore Mandell
Open to non-majors

Working in conjunction with Fighting Irish Digital Media and the website, students will learn the many aspects of producing content for an internet based television network. From the beginning idea to the final upload, this is a creative hands-on production course with students writing, shooting, and editing digital media pieces for an online audience. In addition, as part of a live broadcast production team during numerous Notre Dame sporting events throughout the semester, students will also learn the many techniques used in multi- camera television production.

FTT 30410: Introduction to Film and Television Production    Theodore Mandell
Open to non-majors

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. Cannot have taken FTT 30405 or FTT 50505.

FTT 30455: Critical Approaches to Television                         Matthew Payne
Satisfies Theory requirement for FTT majors

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
Satisfies Theory requirement for FTT majors

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 40030: Performing Blackness: From Othello to Jay-Z    La Donna Forsgren
University Fine Arts; open to non-majors

This interdisciplinary course utilizes performance studies, queer, and black feminist theories to investigate the performance of blackness in film, television, and theatre. We will interrogate blackness as a complex racial signifier that has been constructed and appropriated for a variety of reasons, including political galvanization. Although our case study begins with early European blackface performative practices, the bulk of our exploration focuses on contemporary performances of blackness in the United States. We will view a variety of performances, ranging from Jay-Z's The Story of O.J. to NBC's The Wiz Live!, in order to better understand why blackness, as a performative gesture, continues to matter. Assignments include: discussion prompts, a presentation, and final creative research project.

FTT 40301/40302: 1968: Revolution Then and Now      Susan Ohmer
For FTT majors

The year 1968 stands as one of the most tumultuous in modern history, a year marked in the U.S. by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, by the escalation of the war in Vietnam and protests in the streets and at national political conventions, and by an election that carried Richard Nixon back into power. Globally, civic protests in Paris nearly brought down the government, and the push against Soviet power created a Prague spring that was eventually crushed. Media were intertwined with these events. Television news in the U.S. expanded to 30 minutes and added color, and prime-time programs dramatized narratives that incorporated the civil rights movement and other social changes. The studio system and the Production Code that had dominated Hollywood since the 1930s dissolved as independent producers and documentarians pioneered new forms of storytelling and visual representation. This class poses a central question: what do the revolutions of 1968 mean to students today? How do the films, television programs, and print media of that time speak to your current moment? The class will read widely from documentary materials and retrospective considerations of this period. A weekly screening in the Browning Cinema that is open to the public will create opportunities for inter-generational dialogue. For our capstone project, we will research and develop a project on Notre Dame in 1968 that uses materials from the University Archives and that will be exhibited on campus.  Programs from this year that form the pool for our screenings include the following. On television: Laugh-In, The Smothers Brothers, Star Trek, Sixty Minutes, I Spy, and Mission: Impossible. On film: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barbarella, Dialogue with Che, Faces, High School, Memories of Underdevelopment, Once Upon a Time in the West, Monterey Pop, Performance, Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, The Fireman's Ball, and Yellow Submarine.

FTT 40017: Spectacular Asia   Tarryn Chun
University Fine Arts; open to non-majors
Satisfies International Film requirement for FTT majors

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 40018: Devised Performance: Transferring Memory, History, and Document into Theatrical Expression    Anton Juan & Anne García-Romero
Open to non-majors; graduate students can register through FTT 60018

This course will explore the creation of original theatre works that document historical events, contemporary community-based issues, and social justice concerns. This course will delve into the analysis of documentary theatre texts and performance, engagement with archival research and interview methodologies, recuperation of personal narratives, and movement from memory to history (evoked through music, objects, and the five senses), with the aim of providing multiple paths toward creating vibrant new devised theatre pieces. Students will collaborate to generate original works that culminate in a public performance. The course will also be interdisciplinary with intertextual elaborations through theatre, music, film, dance and movement, visual and performance art. This course will be ideal for any student who desires to explore playwriting and performance as tools to devise and stage compelling national and global issues.

FTT 40108: Interactive Storytelling                                                    Matthew Payne
For FTT majors

This course is an introduction to the history and examination of interactive entertainment, media theory, and the global games industry. The course is intended for advanced students who are conversant with the techniques and concerns of media criticism. The class will also give students the opportunity to try their hand at designing their own interactive stories. Accordingly, the class has two major components: one dedicated to the critical analysis of games, and the other to the creative choices that go into successful game design. The former is organized along historic and thematic lines; the latter is organized procedurally so students can work together on their projects. By understanding the technological and cultural history of games and by working together to create our own interactive rule systems and stories, students will gain an appreciation for how games function as popular cultural texts and as storytelling vehicles.

FTT 40249: Italian Cinemas: Realities of History          Zygmunt Baranski
Open to all majors

This course explores the construction and development of the Italian cinematic realist tradition from the silent era to the early 1970s, although its primary focus is on the period 1934-1966, which stretches from the appearance of Blasetti's openly fascist "historical" reconstruction, La vecchia guardia, to Pasolini's "eccentric" exercise in Left-wing commitment, Uccellacci e uccellini, with its mix of expressionist and hyper-realist techniques. At the centre of this period are found some of Italy's most highly regarded films made by directors, such as Vittorio DeSica, Roberto Rossellini, and Luchino Visconti, who belonged to the neo-realist movement (1945-53). These filmmakers rejected escapist cinema and tried to make films that examined the contemporary experiences of ordinary Italians. As well as analyzing the films in themselves, the course examines the formal and ideological continuities and differences between neo-realist films and their silent and fascist predecessors. In a similar way, it analyses neo-realism's impact on later filmmakers, such as Federico Fellini, Pietro Germi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo, Dino Risi, and Francesco Rosi, who attempted to develop new versions of cinematic realism. Finally, the course aims to locate the films in their historical and cultural contexts and to address theoretical issues arising from the concept of realism.

FTT 40401: Digital Cinema Production I                                          William Donaruma

Through hands-on field experience, you will develop, write, produce, direct and edit one short narrative film using RED Digital Cinema cameras in a 4K workflow in groups of two. This will be a non-dialogue driven film with a post-produced soundtrack. We will explore the use of composition, cinematography, camera movement, and editing to create a narrative structure. This class will also provide you with a technical knowledge of the tools required in professional filmmaking including various lighting and grip equipment, etc. We will discuss various filmmaking techniques and current industry topics, including film in relation to digital cinema and current workflows. Editing will be done on Adobe Premiere Pro. This is an advanced digital video production course, which requires significant amounts of shooting, editing, sound design, and post-production work outside of class. All students are expected to assist their classmates as crew members on their shoots.

FTT 40402: Advanced Digital Cinema Production                              John Klein

This is an advanced production course for those students who have taken Digital Cinema Production I and want to continue working in narrative storytelling. There will be an emphasis on writing dialogue, sound recording, advanced shooting, directing and editing techniques with a more critical attention to detail when producing your films. Working in teams, students will co-produce a short film using RED Digital Cinema cameras and the latest in lighting and audio technology, while also being assigned crew positions on the other films in the class. Department approval is required. Email Prof. Bill Donaruma at to be added to the class list by the start of registration and you will then be notified how to add the class through NOVO.

FTT 40433: The Politics of Style: 1980s Film and TV Culture      Michael Kackman
For FTT majors

This course explores the media culture of 1980s America. We will explore such topics as the rise of "high concept" blockbuster Hollywood, prime-time television at the peak of the broadcast network era, the emergence of Fox, the widespread adoption of cable television service, the development of the 24 hour news cycle, and media industry consolidation. In addition to studying these dominant industry practices and media forms, we will also explore such secondary and alternative media cultures as independent cinema, music subcultures, and video games. Our emphasis throughout will be on the interplay between shifting technologies, industrial modes of production and distribution, and cultural practices.

FTT 40455: The Godfather                                                                     Mary Parent

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is known as one of the greatest films of all time. Not only is this epic a brilliant cinematic masterpiece, but it also challenges and explores the competing ideas of justice and the rule of law. From Bonasera’s plea for justice, to Michael’s rise to power, students will develop an appreciation for the complexities of the film. Students will follow the challenges that plagued Coppola as he adapted Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel into a script. We will look at pre-production decisions on the direction of the film, actors’ screen tests, and the dynamics of filmmaking. By the end of this course, students will have analyzed The Godfather from many different perspectives and have a full understanding of the phrase: I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse! THIS CLASS MEETS ON 6 SPECIFIC FRIDAYS.

FTT 40494: Gender and Space                                                               Pamela Wojcik

This course will investigate the many intersections and problematics of gender, place, and space. Space, place and gender have been key topics in areas such as architecture, law, history, sociology, urban studies, area studies, literary criticism, cultural studies, film studies, and gender; and the class will draw from those various disciplines. Students will address the issue of gender, place and space through a variety of disciplinary approaches, investigating a wide range of real and imagined places and spaces, including masculine spaces, feminine spaces, queer spaces, or virtual spaces; spaces such as the home, the office, the railroad, the apartment, the skyscraper, the museum, the store, the church; the urban, the rural, the suburban; spaces as represented in various texts and discourses; uses of space; theories of space, and more. The course will pay particular attention to how space and place are produced and negotiated as spaces of fantasy in mid-20th century American films and popular literature, including the films Baby Face, How to Succeed in Business, The Boys in the Band, The Killing of Sister George, All That Heaven Allows, That Funny Feeling, The Lady Vanishes, and Rear Window; and the novels, The Girls in 3B, The Women's Room, Fear of Flying, The Fountainhead, The Best of Everything.

FTT 40507: Page, State, and Screen                                                      John Welle

Taught in Italian, this course examines the intersection of theatre, literature, and film, with an emphasis on modern comedy.

FTT 40890: Media Industries                               Christine Becker
For FTT majors

How do the contemporary film and television industries work? How can an analysis of the "business of entertainment" enable a greater understanding of contemporary media aesthetics and culture? This course will explore these questions by focusing on the structure, practices and products of America's film and television industries, and students will engage with academic readings, screenings, trade publications, current events, guest lectures, and written and oral assignments in order to understand the activities of the film and television industries. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand prominent practices employed by media conglomerates today; recognize the ways in which industrial structures and practices can shape media products; examine how television shows and movies are influenced by business strategies; and identify the potential impact that the media industries have on creativity, culture, and society. The course should be especially beneficial for students intending to pursue scholarly or professional careers related to film and television through its comprehensive overview of how these industries work, why they work as they do, and the broader practical and theoretical implications of media industry operations.

FTT 40900: Guest Lectures                                  Theodore Mandell

A unique insiders' view of the entertainment industry, this course features seven guest lecturers/industry professionals who will share the inner workings of the many aspects of the film and television world. Members of Notre Dame's iNDustry Alliance alumni group will speak on aspects of Development, Marketing, Production, Distribution, New Media and other areas. A one-of-a-kind chance for students to meet and learn from working professionals in a classroom environment. Meets every other Friday.

FTT 41005: Acting Shakespeare                             Siiri Scott

Acting Shakespeare is an active and participatory exploration of the works of the world's greatest playwright from the perspective of the actor. You will be acquainted with basic analytical, physical, and vocal techniques for unlocking the meaning and emotional content of Shakespeare's texts. The structure of this course allows you the opportunity to create and present multiple roles through performance of both scenes and monologues.

FTT 46000: Acting Pedagogy and 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 46001: Directed Readings

This course provides students with an opportunity to explore readings and research as directed by an assigned faculty member in the department. It is offered by arrangement with individual instructors.

FTT 47600: Notre Dame Film Society                                   Christine Becker

The Film Society is a film screening-and-discussion group that meets once a week in the Browning Cinema to watch an independent, foreign, or classic film. Students can take the course for either zero credit or one credit. Those taking it for one credit will have a minimum attendance and writing requirement. The meeting times and requirements may vary from semester to semester. Contact the sponsoring professor for more information. NOTE: This course does not count as an upper level course toward the FTT major.