The Film BFA Program: Courses

Note: Courses are open only to film majors, unless noted otherwise. In the two-semester course sequences offered every year, successful completion of the fall course is a prerequisite for the spring course. For example, TFI 1090/Exercises in Storytelling (part one, fall) is a prerequisite for TFI 1100/Exercises in Storytelling (part two, spring).

Anatomy of an Indie
TFI 1770
Refer to SOA 1770 in Film SOA Courses for description.

Exercises in Storytelling
TFI 1090
and 1100 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
A series of weekly exercises to develop the student’s ability to write scenes in screenplay format. The problems of exposition, characterization, conflict, and action are discussed and studied. Limited to freshman film majors.

Film Workshop
TFI 1160
and 1170 / 5 credits (per semester) / Every year
Introduces the possibilities of film technique. Short projects in motion picture cinematography, lighting, sound recording, and continuity editing, augmented by lectures, demonstrations, film analysis, and readings. In the spring, systems of cinematic structure and form are emphasized.

Introduction to Documentary: Nonfiction Film
TFI 2000
and 2050 / 5 credits (per semester) / Every year
Practical aspects of documentary filmmaking. Students produce four to five short films each term (including describing a process, a place, an interview, and a film portrait). Production is complemented by screenings, class discussions, and demonstrations.

Film Editing I and II
TFI 2010
and 2020 / 3 credits (per semester)
I: Spring; II: Fall
Students learn the fundamentals of film language through editing and are provided with professionally produced picture and sound rushes that they sync-up, structure, and edit into a complete film. Additional individual and group projects are assigned.

Cinematography I
TFI 2090
/ 2 credits / Fall
Basics of photography, camera operation, crew organization, picture composition, and lighting.

Cinematography II
TFI 2100
/ 2 credits / Spring
Camera movement, angles and blocking, studio lighting procedures, and introduction to gaffing and electrics.
Prerequisite: TFI 2090

Directors’ Scene Workshop
TFI 2310
and 2320 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
In this introduction to directing narrative film, students produce scenes from their own original and previously produced scripts. They chose materials and cast, direct, and edit four to five short narrative films each term.

Writing for Film I
TFI 2810
/ 2 credits / Spring
The techniques of writing for the screen in both the narrative and documentary forms. Emphasis on the construction of dramatic material without the use of spoken dialogue leads to a better understanding of the power and importance of visual imagery as a prime component in storytelling, and to a heightened awareness of the camera’s role in the writing process.

Cross-Cultural Video Production
TFI 3010
Refer to NME 3010 in New Media Courses for description.

Cinematography III
TFI 3090
/ 2 credits / Fall
Individual projects in advanced cinematography.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Cinematography IV
TFI 3110
/ 3 credits / Spring
Advanced techniques in cinematography and lighting, with group and individual projects.
Prerequisite: TFI 3090

Film Directors’ Workshop
TFI 3200
and 3210 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
An advanced two-semester course designed to explore the technique, practice, and theory of motion picture directing. Exercises in mise-en-scène, screenwriting, and fiction filmmaking. Students must write, cast, and direct a complete narrative short film for presentation at the end of the spring term.

Screenwriting I
TFI 3320
/ 2 credits / Spring
A practical course in the writing of screenplays. A preliminary screenplay for the senior thesis film must be completed by the end of the semester.

Documentary Workshop I and II
TFI 3460
and 3470 / 4 credits (per semester)
I: Fall; II: Spring
An intermediate-level course in the practice of documentary filmmaking. A series of exercises in 16mm and video documentary production are complemented by screenings, class discussions, group projects, and demonstrations. Students research, design, and complete a documentary film.

Experimental Workshop
TFI 3610
and 3620 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Students conceptualize and produce experimental media projects using techniques and concepts of avant-garde filmmaking, video art, and performance art. Nontraditional and personal forms are emphasized in a course that pairs production with screenings, group critique, and discussion. Several short-form production assignments prepare students for a significant final production due at the end of the semester. Off-campus excursions are also required. Both TFI 3610 (fall) and 3620 (spring) are required for film students planning an experimental thesis project for junior review. Offered as NME 3611 and 3621 for new media majors with advanced standing.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Advanced Editing: Sound on Film
TFI 3650
/ 3 credits / Fall
Committed to using sound tracks as fully as the image track, this course implements theory by teaching choice and placement of microphones, dialogue track prep, music editing, use of sound FX and tone, and prepping for a professional sound mix. Students visit with a professional sound editor and attend foley, dubbing, and mix studio demonstrations.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Advanced Picture Editing
TFI 3655
/ 3 credits / Spring
Strategies for the structuring and pacing of films, taught through the editing of specific film projects.

The Business of Film
TFI 3725
/ 2 credits / Spring
Prepares students for entry into the film industry. Covers basic techniques used to raise money for, produce, and distribute films.

Writing for Film II
TFI 3810
/ 2 credits / Fall
Construction and writing of screenplays, with exercises in characterization, plotting, etc. Story treatments for both fiction and documentary films are stressed.

Film Industry Internship and Seminar
TFI 3970
/ 3 credits / Spring
Students’ leadership and production skills are developed through the production, promotion, and administrative support of film events hosted on and off campus. In addition to the hours required for the internship, students attend monthly seminars exploring innovative solutions to common challenges facing today’s film programmers and producers. Limited to students in the School of Film and Media Studies. To register for this course, students must obtain an Internship Program Learning Contract from the Career Development Center.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Senior Production: Filmmaking
TFI 4180
and 4190 / 8 credits (per semester) / Every year
An intensive, two-semester workshop course in which students prepare and produce their thesis film. Production can proceed only after faculty approval of the screenplay, casting, and production schedules.

Advanced Screenwriting
TFI 4310
/ 2 credits / Fall
Completion of senior thesis screenplay.

Advanced Projects in Documentary
TFI 4460
/ 2 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students work under faculty supervision in the field on student-generated documentary productions.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing; at least four TFI production courses or equivalent, as determined by the film program coordinator and/or instructor; and permission of instructor

For updates during 2013–2015, please visit

Arrow up icon | << School of Film & Media Studies home