Courses / Undergraduate
140-004 | CCN: 32298
Special Topics in Film - Outside the Box: Television and American Culture
M/W 9:30-11:00am; M 1:00-4:00pm, Dwinelle 188
What is television? What does it do? The earliest television viewers – audiences of broadcast networks’ first programs in the late 1930s and early 1950s – would not recognize the television programming or distribution formats of the early 21st century. Nor, in all likelihood, would they be inclined to embrace content which, from the gritty serial drama to the provocative “reality tv” program, we now call commonplace. This course will introduce students to the history of television and its place in American culture, from the earliest days of broadcasting to the current post-, multi-, and trans-media landscape. Beginning with the introduction of television to the public and private spheres of the earlly 20th century, we will read scholarship that investigates how television dramatized shifts in social values and mediated national and international conflicts. At the same time, we will watch television series that do the important, difficult, and occasionally contradictory cultural work of screening the products of the American unconscious. This course works chronologically, moving decade by decade toward the contemporary moment, where we will explore case studies in media convergence, reality television and the news, narrative and authorship, and the performance of masculinity.This course will cover a variety of 16mm filmmaking techniques, including hand-painted film, cinematography, and digital transfer with an emphasis on the avant-garde. Through readings, hands-on workshops, and individual projects, students will learn about exposure, the photochemical process, various film stocks, and digital editing. This course is intended to provide an historical perspective of film technology before the invention of video, a foundational understanding of cinematography as it is still used in video today, and an introduction to motion picture film as a professional medium of choice for contemporary filmmakers. Students will shoot and edit traditional 16mm film as well as digital transfers of film to video. This is a studio-based film production course that will utilize a range of equipment including: 16mm film cameras, video cameras and software, and audio and lighting instruments. The work created in class will culminate in a final screening/performance of individual and group assignments.