Film Studies

Faculty & Staff


Jack Lucido, MFA headshot
Professor of Communication Arts, Director of Film Studies
Phone: 970.943.3052
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
Melissa Myser, MFA headshot
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts
Phone: 970.943.2581
Office Location: Taylor Hall 220B


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 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 231 - Technical Production I (4 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 ÒC-.Ó

 COM 261 - Introduction 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 theories. Topics may include script writing, 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 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 play scripts and screenplays of varying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another's writing. Some history of play writing and study of prevailing models of script writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of "C", or instructor permission.

 COM 310 - Introduction 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 or instructor permission.

 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 423 - Directing (3 credits)

A comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of directing for the stage. Includes an exploration of play selection, character and script analysis, conceptualization of production, actor coaching approaches, staging techniques; as well as the actual direction and presentation of scenes and plays. Prerequisites COM 231, COM 235, COM 310 and junior standing; or instructor permission.

 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 361, COM 389 or COM 390 with a minimum grade of ÒC.Ó

  • Bachelor of Arts
    • Emphasis
    • Minor

    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 also learn and experience storytelling theory by creating media.

    What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

    You will 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.

    In addition, Western graduates have continued their studies in graduate schools in major media markets.