Attention: Please refer to the PDF version of the Bulletin for most accurate information and definitions.

FMS (Film and Media Studies

FMS 125 History of the Motion Pictures (4 hours)
This course provides a broad historical perspective on some of the aesthetic, cultural, economic, political, ideological, and technological trends impacting motion pictures from their origins in the late 19th century through the present. In this course, students will examine the social consequences and political implications of mass-mediated entertainment. Our goal is to develop the theoretical tools and critical perspective to interrogate the films that saturate our lives. Films play a significant role in the social construction of identity (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) and the creation of culture at large. Ultimately, this course is designed to teach you the history of the medium and to encourage you to think critically about the media texts you consume while simultaneously recognizing the ideological structures that attempt to shape our experiences of these texts. Prerequisites: None. Offered every fall semester. Cross-listed as COM 125. 

FMS 135 Aesthetics and Analysis (4 hours)
This course lays a foundation for the study of motion pictures/media and their important contributions to cultural and social discourse. This course is designed to complement the historical information you gain in “History of the Motion Pictures” by increasing attention paid to film terms and their use in filmmaking and criticism. Assigned readings, movie screenings and class discussions will introduce students to vocabulary, concepts, and perspectives helpful in the critical study of motion pictures. Our aim is to examine the various ways meanings are generated by the viewing experience. The course also is designed to develop critical thinking and writing tools, with particular emphasis given to thinking and writing about the cinema. Prerequisites: None. Offered every spring semester.

FMS 150 Introduction to Multimedia Production (4 hours)
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the basic tools, language, resources, and techniques associated with multimedia production. Students will develop basic skillsets in production techniques including cinematography, lighting, and audio recording, and postproduction techniques including digital audio and video editing, graphics, and special effects. To accomplish this, students will be required to participate in a series of assignments that will focus on utilizing skills and techniques studied in class to create multimedia content. Prerequisites: None. Offered every semester.

FMS 200 Independent Study in Film and Media Studies (1-4 hours)
This course provides the opportunity for an intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy. (Sec. 6.15.)

FMS 275 Experimental Video for Artists (4 hours)
The presence of video is ubiquitous in everyday life. We experience it through broadcast television and online media, with home movies of family/friends or vacation mementos, and we encounter it in public spaces through systems of observation and surveillance, etc. As a medium for artistic expression, video presents unique opportunities for creative exploration that encompass a broad range of uncommon possibilities in the realm of abstraction, documentary, and conceptual inquiry. The aim of this class is to provide a foundation to understand the technology of digital video and the application of those means to artistic endeavors, in conjunction with the history of video as an art form. Prerequisite: FMS 150. Offered every fall semester. Cross-listed as ART 275.

FMS 290 Special Topics in Film and Media Studies (1-4 hours)
Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

FMS 305 Sound Design (4 hours)
The object of the sound design course is to provide a basic understanding of the technical skills necessary to appreciate and possibly pursue a career in sound arts. It provides core coursework that covers the science of audio, basic and advanced recording, editing and processing, and studio recording and post-production techniques common to all audio production fields. The goal is to provide a foundational understanding of audio theory and production fundamentals. The class will introduce a variety of historical and contemporary sound artists and designers as well as issues and theories within the current and historical film/arts world. Students will be evaluated upon achievement of technical and aesthetic excellence rather than excessive quantity or software knowledge. Individual creativity, visual problem solving and precise craftsmanship will be stressed. Students should be prepared to devote a significant amount of time outside of class to complete assignments. Prerequisite: FMS 150. Offered alternate spring semesters.

FMS 315 Lighting Design (4 hours)
The goal of this course is to build upon students’ understanding of lighting for the multimedia environment by exploring how to best achieve a desired look both on set and via post-production practices/procedures. By learning more about the various properties of light, such as brightness, size of source, color, angle of throw, and the directional movement of its rays, students will extend their technical skills in order to better prepare for work in the field. Through hands-on studio lighting projects, students will learn how to manipulate light and the camera to achieve the desired aesthetic. Prerequisite: FMS 150. Offered alternate spring semesters.

FMS 325 Television Analysis (4 hours)
This course is an overview and analysis of contemporary television structures, meaning systems, genres, and modes of production. Many media scholars and cultural critics have labeled television as the most powerful and important form of communication of the last 70 years, shaping our opinions and outlook on the world while also bringing us together with shared knowledge and experiences. This course explores the medium of television, including what makes it distinct from other media, its role in American democracy, and its role in our everyday lives. We will look at how the structure of the industry dictates what programs are produced, who produces them, and how they relate to and illustrate current tensions within culture and society. Through the exploration of the critical perspectives of television studies, this course will prepare students for further studies in media criticism and aid in students’ development as sophisticated and critical media consumers and producers. The overarching goal of the class is to enable students to think critically about how they watch television, how what they watch affects their lives, and why certain characters/messages are created and become popular in our culture. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate fall semesters. Cross-listed as COM 325.

FMS 335 Directing for the Camera (4 hours)
The purpose of this class is to develop the student’s ability to analyze a scripted scene or sequence, form a unique vision derived from thorough textual analysis, then communicate that vision effectively to an audience through carefully designed camera movement and choreographed actor staging. Throughout the course of the semester, students will gain practical experience in planning and choreographing camera and actor movement in both single, ‘long take’ scenes, and edited moving camera ‘sequence’ scenes or ‘long take master scenes’ with necessary edited coverage. Beginning with textual analysis, students will investigate the subtext of their chosen scene and integrate actor staging with camera movement to produce work that clearly articulates the director’s unique vision of the text. Students will then learn the process of editing multiple camera movement shots into one coherent scene or sequence that furthers the director’s visual design. The course will also examine the history of camera movement, beginning with The Silent Era and ‘Golden Age’ of the Hollywood Studio System and trace how camera movement evolved with technology and progressed through the various movements in world cinema. In addition, students will choose a director and do an in-class visual presentation on the evolution and technique of their chosen director’s style of camera movement throughout their career. Prerequisite: FMS 150. Offered alternate spring semesters.

FMS 400 Advanced Independent Study in Film and Media Studies (1-4 hours)
This course provides the opportunity for an advanced, intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy. (Sec. 6.15.)

FMS 405 Advanced Digital Cinematography (4 hours)
This is an intensive hands-on course designed to familiarize students with cinematic language and filmmaking techniques in preparation for more advanced work in the field. Through a series of collaborative assignments and exercises, students will employ a wide variety of techniques in order to enhance their skills and further their experience in the following areas: lighting, shot composition, camera movement and special effects. These assignments will stress collaboration, pre-production planning, exploiting limited resources, mise-en-scene, and the application of post-production techniques to create an aesthetic that serves the story and artistic intent. Prerequisite: FMS 150. Offered alternate spring semesters.

FMS 425 Critical History of Radio, TV, and New Media (4 hours)
This course introduces students to the study of the history of radio, television, and new media. Throughout the course of the semester, students will examine the development of electronic media from the invention of radio through the height of the network era up to the contemporary multi-channel media environment. Although we will touch on media throughout the world, our primary emphasis will be on the evolution of broadcasting and cable in the United States. We will explore the complex ways in which technological, social, political, industrial and cultural factors have interacted to shape the form and content of electronic media from the early 20th century to the present. The course will conclude with a consideration of the potential implications of convergence on contemporary American—and global—media culture. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate fall semesters. Cross-listed as COM 425.

FMS 435 Media Industries (4 hours)
Three main objectives will guide us throughout the semester: First, we will survey the history of the media industries and of media industries-related scholarship. Using Hollywood’s film and television operations as our primary objects of analysis, but referring to other contexts throughout, we will consider key ways that regulatory and technological shifts, along with growing impulses toward globalization, have intersected with industrial changes. Second, we will look at the range of qualitative methods that have been employed to research the media industries. In the process, we will read several case studies that provide applications of each of these approaches. Third, we will explore the evolving field of media industry studies. This field, which incorporates work in film, media, communication, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, argues for the importance of integrating analysis of media structures with consideration of cultural and textual matters. Although our readings will focus most heavily on filmed entertainment from Hollywood, students are encouraged to research such areas as video games, music, comic books, publishing, and radio in their final projects. Further, students are encouraged to apply the theoretical and methodological frameworks surveyed in class to other local, regional, and national contexts. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate spring semesters. Cross-listed as COM 435.

FMS 445 Film Theory and Criticism (4 hours)
This course provides an introductory overview to film theories and methods of film analysis. Film theory describes how cinema functions as a medium, art form, practice, institution, etc., and how cinema signifies (i.e., communicates, produces meanings, and constructs itself as a language). Film criticism describes an applied form of film analysis. These two concerns intertwine within the structure of the class much like they remain closely related within practice (i.e., a lot of film theory stems from close analysis and film criticism can advance theoretical claims about the nature of cinema). This course will examine the relationship between the cinema and society through collective and individual analyses of films. We will continue to explore this from different angles each week while we shift between different types of film theory and criticism. The class has two main objectives: to develop the ability to comprehend and critically engage with scholarly literature about film and to develop the ability to conduct close textual analysis with theoretically informed language. The aim of this course is to ensure that students understand what film theory is and what it is for, rather than see it as an end in and of itself, and then, rather than simply “apply it” to films, use it as a tool to develop and express their own personal and sophisticated language of analysis. Prerequisite: FMS 125. Offered alternate spring semesters.

FMS 490 Advanced Special Topics in Film and Media Studies (1-4 hours)
Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

FMS 495 Internship in Film and Media Studies (1-12 hours)
An internship is designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to have an application (which satisfies all internship requirements developed by the academic program that oversees the internship) and to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study. All internships are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites are determined by the academic program overseeing the internship course.