The Department of Art and Art History at UTA has an excellent reputation for grooming young filmmakers, preparing them for the creative challenges and emotional rigors of the motion picture industry. Success by graduates has not come by luck or chance, but is the result of the deliberate execution of a well-designed, three-tiered program consisting of an introductory level of foundations, an intermediate level to hone technical skills, and an advanced level to produce high quality portfolio work.
The inclusion of Film/Video within UTA’s Department of Art and Art History says much about our approach. In many university film programs, including those at the prestigious “film schools,” students receive heavy doses of theory, history, and analysis, but very little hands on training. In fact, it is common for students to graduate from these programs with a degree in film, never having made a single movie. At UTA, our program is designed around a simple premise: the best way to learn how to make movies is to make movies. Treating film and video as a studio art program ensures that students will receive a balanced dose of practical application with theoretical appreciation.
This process begins in Introduction to Film/Video, where students develop basic skill sets by planning, shooting, and editing their own short digital video works. They are exposed to the craft and technology of filmmaking in an environment that takes theory, history, and analysis and makes it real.
At this fundamental level, students also study Introduction to Screenwriting, where they develop an appreciation for, and proficiency in, the art of film and video storytelling. Students learn to effectively express their ideas through industry standard script formats using descriptive action and dialog to convey complex, multi-layered themes and storylines while permeating their work with conflict, the very life-blood of story. Advanced Screenwriting continues this study in longer, more sophisticated work.
At the intermediate level, the student/filmmakers are put through an accelerated program of technical and aesthetic exercises that explore and develop specific skill sets and sensibilities that they will use throughout their work. The critical role that editing and sound play in the filmmaking process is examined in Sound and Post-Production. Here students expand upon earlier basic exposure to the worlds of picture and sound editing by exploring more sophisticated applications, techniques, and professional practices. In Cinematography, students are introduced to higher levels of image capture through the control and manipulation of light, camera, and film exposure. The Directing Workshop investigates processes of interpreting screenplays through camera and performance, with a special focus on working with actors. With the skills developed at this level, the students are prepared to express their thoughts and feelings in profound, powerful, provocative, personal, and polished film and video pieces.
In Advanced Film/Video, and the other courses that comprise the advanced level of study, students work toward generating one complete portfolio piece per semester while further refining their skills and expressing their personal vision. In addition to the advanced Film/Video class, which is a general studies class that allows student to pursue their individual interests, our program includes areas of more specific genre study. These genre classes make detailed investigations of skills and ideas particular to specialized areas in film and video production. They explore the fields of Video Art, Commercial Video, Documentary Video, 3D Animation, and Narrative Filmmaking. Students are allowed, and encouraged, to follow their passions and interests into the areas most suited to their individual career aspirations. Special topics courses supplement the regular curriculum to fill specific niche areas. Cinematography and 16mm Film Techniques are two such classes.
LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION, UTA STYLE
For students who are interested in fictional movie making, the Narrative Filmmaking class is the pinnacle of our program. In this class students are submerged in an intensive “real world” motion picture production experience. They create a production company, compile an investment proposal, develop a script, and produce a fifteen-minute film. This film is premiered at the spring student video festival and then travels to venues in Hollywood and throughout the world. Along the way they learn how to form a business, read and understand contracts, budget expenses, schedule a myriad of details, and everything else that goes into the making of a full length independent feature film.
Everything in this class—to the degree possible in a university setting—is geared toward providing an environment that would be found on a typical film shoot. Each student (thirty of them in all) must apply for a position on the crew, sign an agreement detailing their responsibilities, and submit weekly time cards. Even the classes themselves are structured as production meetings, all to establish the feel of a real working production.
One of the more exciting aspects of this class is the numerous guest lecturers recruited from the motion picture industry, who guide our student/crew through each phase of the movie making process. Their mentorship, and the relationships that form, yield additional benefits. Not only do the students profit from the knowledge shared through this exposure, but this interaction also helps them network with the film community, often leading to their first film jobs, and sometimes, their first big break.
Introduction to Film/Video
|Introduction to the video and filmmaking production process, techniques, history and aesthetics through the use of digital video, basic film, and basic digital (computer) video and audio editing. Students will write, produce, and edit a number of short original works.|
|ART 3111, 3112, 3113
|A survey of screening of significant films. The course will examine the emergence of the film form, the elements of film language, the significance of film form and style, the dynamics of new technology and the workings of motion pictures as a means of narrative expression. Significant motion pictures will be screened weekly with commentary or discussion by film faculty in class. All film/video/screenwriting majors must take at least three sections (3 credit hours) of the class. Content (films screened) will vary in a three-semester rotation.|
Film as Art
Introduction to Narrative Screenwriting
|Basic format styles, structures, and requisites of writing narrative film. Students will be required to study scripts, view films, conduct actor readings, produce original works, and complete other assignments. Prerequisite: ENGL 1301 and 1302.|
|Continuation of 2358 with emphasis on more advanced concepts, production techniques, film/video history, aesthetics, basic 16mm film production, digital video post-production and studio editing. Students will propose, write, produce and edit a number of short, original works.|
|An intense study of the visual language/style of film imagery through cinematography, lighting, gaffing, gripping, and extensive camerawork. Students will use digital equipment to shoot exercises, light sets and locations, and learn to accurately expose, color correct, and manipulate motion picture film. Students will also learn the proper use of advanced lighting equipment, professional production standards, camera crew responsibilities, and how to interpret a scene through visuals. Students will work in digital video, Super 16mm, or standard 16 mm film, and in 35 mm stills. Prerequisite: ART 2358, 2359.|
Sound and Post
|A basic introduction to the critical role editing and sound play in the filmmaking process. It will include audio recording, recorder operations, microphones and booms, how to capture good sound on the stage, sound reports, importance of proper labeling of all film/video elements, amplitude, frequency, filtering and equalization, what the ear perceives. In postproduction it will focus on the aesthetics of film editing and how the ability to think as a filmmaker comes from personal imagination and a passionate grasp of theory and aesthetics. Prerequisite: ART 2358.|
|A survey workshop exploring the visualization of script material through the directing of scenes and exercises. Critique and analysis of the exercises. A special focus will be working with the actor along with interpreting the screenplay through the camera and performance, directing the camera and the actor, and running the set. Prerequisite: ART 2358.|
Script to Screen
|A screenwriting course for Film/Video area majors. This course is a high energy merger of a production class and a short film writing class to both write and produce a film per week during the Summer sessions. The students in this class will have a realistic view of the production consequences of writing for the screen. Prerequisite: ART 3350 and permission of instructor.|
Video Art and New Genres
|Advanced work involving production, postproduction, and distribution with a special emphasis on experimental and innovative applications. Instruction may include video integrated with performance, installation, audio/sound art, and computer graphics appropriate to the medium. Lectures, readings, and screenings will frame video art within an historical and critical survey of new genres. May be repeated for up to six hours credit. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.|
|Using film and video as a tool for creative research, students will produce, write, direct and edit original documentaries or nonfiction films/videos under supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 3385, 3386, and 3384 or permission of the instructor.|
|Commercial and corporate applications of video. Students produce original individual projects integrating concepts and technical skills under supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 4362 or permission of the instructor.|
|Narrative storytelling film/video techniques. Students write, produce, direct and edit original, short narrative film/video projects under supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for up to six hours credit. Prerequisite: ART 2358 or 3350 or permission of the instructor.|
Advanced Narrative Screenwriting
|A continuation of ART 2350 focusing on writing an original (no adaptations), narrative, full-length screenplay through all stages to final draft status primarily focusing on the development of a polished first act. Students study screenplays, view films, conduct actor readings, and complete various other assignments. May be repeated up to two times for credit. Prerequisite: ART 3350 and permission of the instructor.|
|Intensive study of digital computer animation and 3-D digital animation tools and techniques. Students will produce a number of short, original works under the supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 2304 and 2358.|
|Advanced production techniques in an all-digital environment including AVID and Final Cut post-production with special emphasis in technical aesthetics, history and presentation. Students may elect to work in a variety of media (including 16mm, S16mm, digital animation, installation, etc.) and in a variety of genres (narrative, documentary, commercial, animation) to produce original works under the supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 2350 or 3350 and permission of the instructor.|
Two Dimensional Animation
|This course introduces techniques for two-dimensional animation presented in an historical and aesthetic context. Students will produce short animated films utilizing basic animation principles and developing the conceptual skills necessary for creating motion designs. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ART 2358.|
Independent Film Production
|Students will produce a major film or video in the genre of their choosing (narrative, documentary, commercial, or animation). Students may elect to work in a variety of media (including 16 mm film, digital video or installation) to produce original works. Students will be individually mentored as their productions move through preparation, shooting and post-production. Prerequisite: ART 4362.|
Special Studies in Film/Video
|Special studies in film/video that respond to emerging technologies, immediate needs, and specialized topics. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.|
- + Film Video production Classroom/Lab/Screening
- + 1 screenwriting Classroom/Conference Room/Lab
- + Production studios
- + Digital Cinema lab with 15 stations
- + Avid Pro, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Maya, Lightwave
- + 1 sound booth for Foley, ADR & 5.1 Dolby mixing (Pro Logic)
- + Equipment checkout room
- + Final Cut Pro studio
- + 150 seat screening theatre for film study classes