Film Studies

Roll the credits. In Western's film studies program, you are part of the production. With easily accessible faculty in small classes and seminar settings, and state-of-the-art media production technology, you will be immersed in theoretical, philosophical and critical studies of media and dramatic works.

Students learn and experience crucial storytelling theory through by creating media.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

You'll gain experience and skills in the critical aspects of film:

  • Screenwriting theory and structure.
  • Producing, including media law, ethics, releases, licenses and management.
  • Production, including digital cinematography, cinema aesthetics, cinema theory, lighting and audio production.
  • Post-production, including cinema editing and web content creation.
  • Marketing, publication and distribution strategies.

Beyond the Classroom

Each semester, the program hosts popular public screenings of student work. We promote student research and internships – locally, nationally and internationally. We host visiting professionals and artists, and sponsor student trips to national conferences and film festivals, where they share their research and artistry.

After Graduation

Graduates are prepared for staff positions at television and radio stations, media outlets and communication corporations. They also are well equipped for entrepreneurial and freelance work.

Western graduates also have continued their studies in graduate schools in major media markets.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Film Studies Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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  2. Get more information about the program.
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  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 COM 119 - INTRODUCTION TO FILM (3 credits)

Students are introduced to the aesthetics of narrative and documentary motion pictures through the study of the basic elements of cinema. Topics may include story structure, cinematography, editing, sound, and lighting.

 COM 205 - COMMUNICATION ARTS I (3 credits)

This course is a study of the theory and associated terminology of visual communication including the application of concepts to film, theatre, and convergent media. Topics include aesthetics, design elements, mimesis, performance, semiotics and introduction to the primary techniques of the various communication arts. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 COM 231 - TECHNICAL PRODUCTION I (3 credits)

A study of how things are done behind the scenes in theatre and film and why they are done that way, including the basic customs and traditions of production work and the philosophy, aesthetics, and process of production. Intensive hands-on development of skills in the construction of sets, costumes, lights, sound, and props; the operation of rolling units, lights, flies, and sound; and production assistant duties.

 COM 235 - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACTING (3 credits)

An introduction to the principles, processes, and techniques of acting. The study is designed to balance theory and performance; to explore in detail the psychological, perceptual, and conceptual linkages to the strategies, techniques, and skills of the actor; and to develop a significant sense of self-discipline on the part of the actor. Topics include warm-up and awareness skills, basic body and voice integration techniques, the theories of Stanislavski, character analysis, and performance process

 COM 241 - MEDIA WRITING (3 credits)

An analysis and practice of the major forms of media writing, including print, broadcast and web-based publication, with an introduction to the ways that production varies the writing of each. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-".

 COM 261 - INTRO TO AUDIO COMMUNICATION (3 credits)

This course introduces the basic concepts, functions and technology of audio production as they relate to the elements of narrative and storytelling. Prerequisite COM 119, COM 121, or COM 151; or instructor permission.

 COM 264 - INTRODUCTION TO PRODUCTION AND THEORY (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory and practice of media production including critical and aesthetic, producing, directing, cinematography, sound recording, editing, and standards of operation for production facilities and equipment. Prerequisites: COM 205, COM 261, and sophomore standing; or instructor permission.

 COM 274 - PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMUNICATION (3 credits)

A study of the use of communication to establish credibility, trust, and confidence between and among communities, employees, public agencies, civic organizations and business institutions.

 COM 284 - SOPHOMORE PORTFOLIO (1 credits)

A course in which students familiarize themselves with the requirements for the Communication Arts program and related capstone project, formulate specific goals, and prepare strategies through which those goals can be achieved. Students will develop an awareness of field-specific expectations required of them in professional or graduate-level work, and develop a plan for creating a portfolio that reflects that awareness. A part of the course consists of formally of applying for admission to the Communication Arts program. Prerequisite or corequisite: COM 205 or instructor permission.

 COM 305 - COMMUNICATION ARTS II (3 credits)

An exploration of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of human communication, concentrating specifically on textual analysis and interpretation. Using a wide range of media, students will investigate how the particular method of communication informs, alters, and shapes the messages being consumed, and how those messages both constitute and affect self-expressive acts. PREREQUISITES: COM 205 and admission to the Communication Arts Program; or instructor permission.

 COM 306 - SCRIPTWRITING (3 credits)

An introduction to the fundamental tools and skills required to craft a script for performance on stage or in film/video. Students are expected to produce playscripts and screenplays of varying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another's writing. Some history of playwriting and study of prevailing models of script- writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 and COM 222, or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of "C."

 COM 310 - INTRO TO PERFORMANCE STUDIES (3 credits)

An interdisciplinary course exploring the human desire to perform in both aesthetic and everyday settings. It explores the links between the arts and literature, anthropology, communication, sociology, and philosophy. Critical reading, written analysis, and performance of literary texts are essential elements of the course.

 COM 323 - MEDIA ARTS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic principles and structure of management as it applies to Communication Arts. Particular focus is given to management of small and mid-size nonprofit media and arts organizations, and to the interrelationship between those two areas. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor.

 COM 324 - ADVANCED ACTING (3 credits)

An advanced-level course that focuses on specific areas of actor training, including methods of voice and movement training; the requirements and techniques of different styles of acting including classical, Elizabethan, Restoration/18th Century, Commedia, and Advanced Contemporary acting styles; and advanced textual analysis required of actors by specific theatrical works. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas. Prerequisite: COM 235

 COM 330 - TECHNICAL PRODUCTION II (3 credits)

An intermediate-level study of lighting and sound production for theatre and film. Instruction is provided in the proper rigging of light and sound equipment, use of control consoles and software, optics, basic electrical theory, the nature of light, and acoustics. The design and aesthetic use of light and sound are also explored. Prerequisite: COM 231 or instructor permission. 

 COM 346 - MULTIMEDIA COMMUNICATION (3 credits)

An exploration of the theory and application of multimedia communication principles through projects that use common interactive multimedia, animation, non-linear editing, web authoring, and desktop-publishing programs. Prerequisites: COM 205, or instructor permission.

 COM 352 - ADVANCED CINEMA STUDIES (3 credits)

An in-depth study of the aesthetics and theory of cinema through the examination and critical analysis of the technical and creative elements of selected iconic Hollywood and international motion pictures. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

 COM 362 - ADVANCED AUDIO PRODUCTION (3 credits)

An in-depth study of audio design and production for film, radio, television and live theatre. Prerequisite COM 261.

 COM 389 - MEDIA PRODUCTION: NARRATIVE (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory and practice of the field-based production of narrative films. Topics emphasized may include fictional story, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, and production management. Prerequisite: COM 264 with a minimum grade of “C.”

 COM 390 - MEDIA PRODUCTION: DOCUMENTARY (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory and practice of producing nonfiction works, including conventional documentary forms and autobiographical or experimental works. Topics may include actual story, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, and production management. Prerequisite: COM 264 with a minimum grade of “C.” 

 COM 405 - COMMUNICATION ARTS III (3 credits)

A multi-disciplinary and multi-media course offering significant historical, theoretical, and practical content by which to explore and discuss how meaning is conveyed in communication. Special emphasis is given to the nature of oral communication in oral societies and to the nature and function of myth, symbol, sign, and inferential reasoning. Prerequisites: COM 305 or instructor permission.

 COM 406 - ADV SCREEN WRITING AND PRODUCING (3 credits)

Students are immersed in advanced screenwriting projects and pitching for independent feature film, television drama and situation comedy. Producing content may include such topics as contract law, releases, copyright, fair use, ethics, location and talent management, production management, and other administrative subject matter pertaining to film and television production. Prerequisite: COM 306 with a minimum grade of "C."

 COM 423 - PRESENTATIONAL ASTHETICS (3 credits)

An examination of the theatrical performance convention from the perspective of the adaptor, director, and performer. This course offers invigorating challenges for the director, dramaturg, actor, and designer who will work collaboratively to explore presentational mode, theatrical convention, and conscious artifice in the performance of dramatic literature, poetry, nonfiction, and prose fiction. Prerequisites: COM 231, COM 235, COM 310 and minimum junior standing; or instructor permission.

 COM 484 - COMMUNICATION ARTS SEMINAR (2 credits)

A capstone course in which students complete their individual Communication Arts portfolios, based upon their cumulative work through the COM program and guided by their specific career or graduate school goals. The seminar provides an opportunity for students to work individually, in small groups, and with the instructor to evaluate the overall effectiveness of their finished portfolios, and revise accordingly, utilizing the critical techniques, cultural awareness, and technical skills students have developed throughout the COM program. Prerequisite: COM 305

 COM 490 - ADVANCED MEDIA PRODUCTION (3 credits)

Students are immersed in advanced project work. Topics may include cinematography, lighting, grip, electrical, special effects, visual effects, sound effects recording, sound design, and animation. Prerequisite: COM 389 or COM 390 with a minimum grade of C

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Associate Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., Humboldt State University; , M.F.A., University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Phone: (970) 943-3052
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
Technical Director of Media
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, Studio Arts, B.F.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, Film Studies (cum laude), M.F.A., University of Illinois at Chicago, Moving Image
Phone: (970) 943-2581
Office Location: Taylor 212C