The Art of Storytelling

A lecture and discussion course on the basics of storytelling.   Using written texts and films screened in class, the course explores the nature of storytelling for film, television and new media. The foundation of the FTMA program, this course guides students in developing a treatment for their own screenplay by exploring plot, characters, conflict and themes. The Art of Storytelling will teach students the fundamentals of building compelling and organized stories that can be produced across mediums.

Writing for Film and Television I

In this introductory workshop on screenwriting, students write several short screenplays over the course of the semester and learn the basics of the craft.

Character, action, conflict, story construction, the importance of showing instead of telling, and other essential components are explored. Each student will have one of his or her screenplays produced by a director in the following session as part of the Directing I workshop.

Directing for Film and Television I

In Directing I, students explore the grammatical rules, stylistic techniques, and narrative elements of cinematic storytelling. By completing a series of directing exercises, each student will start to develop their portfolio.

With additional workshops in lighting, editing, staging and blocking, each student will be equipped to direct a completed 5-10 minute scripted short film at the end of the session.

Producing for Film and Television I

In Producing I, students learn all major aspects of line producing for film, television and new media– the nuts and bolts of production.  Each student will be responsible for producing a short project, gaining hands-on experience with the producing process: script breakdowns, budget creation, production agreements, crew hiring, casting, locations, paperwork and permits, set protocols, shot lists and scheduling. This class will include guest lectures from top independent film and television producers.

Writing for Film and Television II

Through guided and collaborative workshops, students will learn how to brainstorm story ideas, create outlines and structure a feature-length screenplay based on the treatment they developed in the “Art of Storytelling” class, or on an approved television pilot/spec. The goal in this class is for each student to write a completed first draft.

Commercial and Promotional Production

This course will explore production methods and how storytelling and creative content is applied to new media formats. We will look at the basic infrastructure of the branding industry and how creative content can serve clients. By working with real clients and marketing teams, students will be assigned to think creatively about products and organizations and create a series of commercials/promos continuing to develop their portfolios.

Directing for Film and Television II

With advanced directing exercises, students will develop a more comprehensive understanding of the art of visual storytelling– orchestrating the shape, tone and experience of a piece.  Students will gain a firm understanding of “the director’s work” on the script, floor plans, staging, camera, and storyboards.  These elements are completed during the semester as students’ develop and prepare to shoot a 10-15 minute short film, or an original webisode.

Short Documentary Production

This class explores the short documentary form and tradition and applies it to film, television and new media formats.  Students will work in small groups to develop a fully fleshed out idea that they will produce and shoot.  Working with the Advanced Editing class, groups will be assigned editors that will edit their final documentary.  These projects will be serve as a significant touchstone for students’ professional portfolio/reel.

Internship I-II

With over 2,000 media firms in the surrounding area, students are placed in a professional media, film, or television company to gain professional experience and exposure to the marketplace. By working closely with the professors, each student will find a unique opportunity that fits their desired area of interest.

Advanced Editing for Story

Focusing on style, narrative elements and all aspects of the post-production process, the goal of this course is to recognize editing technique as a crucial and completely unique aspect of cinematic storytelling (applicable and relevant to tv/new media).  For the first four weeks students workshop various exercises and narrative projects, including their own short films.  In the second half of the module they will collaborate with students from the “short doc” class and fill the essential storytelling role of editor on a short documentary production.

Special Course Topics

  • Auetuer Theory
  • Asian Cinema
  • Documentary Tradition
  • Advanced Editing Techniques
  • News Media Landscape
  • Dramatic Television Traditions