Course Lists

Film and Video Course List

FILM 200 Moving Image I

This course explores the tools, concepts and methods of moving image production with an emphasis on digital production and post-production using Adobe editing software. Students are introduced to a full array of technical competencies to film, edit and exhibit their projects. This course also explores the relationships between narrative, documentary, portraiture, experimental, and video art genres. Through screenings, technical workshops, readings, and discussions, students develop a time-based language along with the skillset to craft distinguished short films.

FILM 210 Film

Students make films that deal with composition, camera movement, editing and time/space manipulation. Topics covered include the use of 16mm cameras and film editing. The development of a visual language of film and creative uses of the medium are stressed. Students produce two short film projects and one longer final project. Students are responsible for the purchase of two materials packages from the MICA Bookstore.

FILM 230 Writing for Moving Image

This course focuses on the art of storytelling, exploring the building blocks that make a strong and compelling story. Students study examples from film, literature, art and graphic novels, radio programs, television, advertising and public speaking; participate in writing exercises, complete a number of short written assignments to present their work in class. The final project, prepared over the course of the semester, is a story in a medium of the students choosing with accompanying milestones (treatments, beat-sheets, and log lines) throughout the course.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 250 Sound Design for Moving Image

Explores the significant role sound can play in shaping, placing and defining our connection to film & video, animation, and other moving-image based works. Through the use of practical hands-on activities students are introduced to sound recording techniques, tools, track mixing and sound composition. Technical and creative sound design applications are used for story development and immersive sound construction. In-class workshops include: field and studio recording, Foley and sound effects, automatic dialogue replacement (ADR), and score composition.

FILM 275 Interdisciplinary Media Arts

This course offers an introduction to digital media's aesthetic presentation and expansion as an art form. We will be working with a wide array of audiovisual elements and technical tools to create spatial experiences and immersive environments. Hands-on workshops will cover photo, video and audio editing software. Equipment including video projectors, audio speakers and sensors will be used with techniques such as video mapping, channel mixing and green screen special effects. Guided by the theoretical and critical understanding of the history of installation, performance and interactive arts, we will engage in creative experimentation with various technologies to create new works of expression. Geared toward all students interested in sound, video, animation, photo, new media, installation and performance. Classes will consist of lectures, screenings and workshop demonstrations, along with the presentation and review of student projects.

FILM 300 Moving Image II

Students learn professional high definition cameras and advanced production techniques while working both individually and in groups. Readings and screenings explore artistic uses of moving images and continues to develop a sophisticated understanding of the language of the cinema. Each student creates a final project that involves shooting with a crew.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 307 Video Art

This course presents students with an investigation into the various origins and forms of moving image art; spanning the history of the video medium to more contemporary approaches and presentation formats. Structured to create a focused environment for individual experiments, students present and discuss their work in a series of group critiques. Assignments address both technical and thematic topics including: portraiture, the studio as space/place, the screen & counterculture, installation & performance and the realm of the cinematic.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 317 Documentary Production

This course explores a wide variety of documentary styles and genres with an overview of the history of documentary filmmaking. Topics covered include: pre-production planning, shooting interviews and verité material, recording sound in the field and editing in post-production. Students produce short projects throughout the semester in addition to a longer final project, individually or in teams.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 320 Special Effects

Personal computers have provided a low-cost method for previously high-cost video post-production. Through invention and with patience one can develop unique visual effects. This course explores 2-D animation, matting, keying and visual effects utilizing Adobe AfterEffects.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 322 Alt Processes + Narratives

This course challenges how video pieces are considered, developed, and viewed. Students are asked to abandon preconceived notions of movie-viewing environments and build visually exciting and engaging pieces that can occupy a number of different contexts: projections for live performance, animations that function as moving paintings or sculptures, and more. The practices of contemporary moving-image artists that create innovative bodies of multimedia work for galleries, concerts, and/or for online audiences is examined. Topics address how media has been incorporated into the Internet age, and consider how artists deal with society’s shortened attention span. Through a rigorous schedule of lectures, workshops, and projects, video is taken out of its comfort zone.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 327 Narrative Filmmaking I

This pre-production course brings together student filmmakers from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU), providing intensive training in the crucial aspects of preparing to shoot a successful narrative film. Students work with a professional screenwriter, allowing students to hone and improve their existing screenplays, practice the elements of writing for film, and learn how to do a script breakdown. Workshops on working with actors, taught by a professional actor, students are taught the ins and outs of casting and directing. Supplemental workshops cover elements of pre-production such as budgets, production schedules, call sheets, and legal issues. Film screenings train students to see films with an eye towards what constitutes exciting, innovative filmmaking. Students who wish to enroll in this course should have a prepared treatment, outline or script for a short film that they wish to develop during the semester.

Prerequisite: FILM 300, or MFA Filmmaking student standing

FILM 328 Experimental Documentary

Introduces the different voices of documentary film and video. Through a combination of theoretical discussion, hands-on technical training, and completion of short personal works, students explore documentary modes of representation. The class investigates such subjects as ethics and objectivity, cinematic subjectivity, and the power relations of the producer and the subject. The documentary form has had trouble historically with its various claims to represent the truth. Rather than simply critiquing these forms, this class will look at ways to use them by re-representing, re-thinking, and blurring the genre of documentation. Students produce and edit projects that are screened and discussed in class, and are expected to complete assigned readings.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 337 Narrative Filmmaking II

Students participate in the production of a short narrative film and are required to present one to two short scripts at the beginning of the course. Two to three of these screenplays are selected for production. The class divides into production teams focused on one of the chosen scripts. Through a series of workshops on production design, directing, cinematography, and art direction, each group sees their project through to completion. The course includes a number of screenings and workshops with film-makers; and is a collaboration between MICA and Johns Hopkins University.

Prerequisite: FILM 327

FILM 340 Cinema History for Filmmakers

This course examines the signs and syntax that are the backbone of great narrative films. Mise en scene- the framed image and diachronic shot, use of color and tone, montage, use of sound and iconography are examined. Students produce a cinematic sketchbook of film moments based on the signs and syntax of films screened in class. Films and readings are based on the book, “How to read a film” by James Monaco.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 364 Cinematography & Lighting

A comprehensive, hands-on studio course, exploring the technical and theoretical dimensions of motion picture cinematography and lighting, using both 16mm film and mini-DV videotape as creative formats. The course covers the practical aspects of camera and lighting techniques as applied to a variety of genres (documentary, narrative and experimental); also screen and analyze a wide range of film and video material as examples of creative cinematography.

Prerequisite: FILM 200, FILM 210, or FILM 300, or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 366 Hell on Earth–Allure of Occult

Throughout history, artists have explored and often romanticized demonized subject matter and categories that fall into the strange and inaccessible. Mysticism, magic and the occult have long been attractors to persons working creatively regardless of their spiritual beliefs. This thematic course examines various unorthodox traditions and the artists & artworks inspired by them. Lectures, screenings and readings focus on the occult and include topics such as: subliminal design, witches & spells, supernatural frequencies, and a guide to satanic verse. Although the focus of the works examined in this course are primarily time based, students may complete their projects using a variety of mixed media.

Prerequisite: FILM 200, IA 202, IA 210, MFA Filmmaking student or permission of instructor

FILM 374 Advanced Cinematography

This course is an in-depth exploration of the most advanced HD camera technology available in the industry today. Students are immersed in the highly technical levels of video camera set up and menu adjustment. Hands-on exercises with complex camera shooting situations. Assignments include working with available light and in low light, a collaborative project choreographing an extended shot where light and focal point changes. The goal of the course is to maximize the camera, light and environment to render a beautiful image.

Prerequisite: FILM 200, FILM 210, or FILM 300, or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 385 Blockbusters and Small Tales

Heroes in all forms, gendered and non-gendered, expand our sense of possibility. As a result, similar metaphorical storytelling structures show up globally in narrative, documentary, and experimental films. The protagonist, whether human, animal, or of further invention embarks on a journey to seek an answer, goal, or treasure. In this course, storytelling structures are examined via Hollywood Blockbusters and International Indie films. When truly understood, metaphor is one of the most powerful tools to connect with one’s audience. This course enables students interested in genres such as dreamlike-experimental, poetic-documentary, and science fiction to gain a deeper understanding of the universal elements that structure these types of storytelling. Additionally, students actively engage in expanding the filmic-definition of a worthwhile life and hero.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 399 Special Topics in Film

The learning objectives of this course are geared toward a specific topic of current interest generally not covered in other courses offered by the department. These courses, typically not offered continuously in the department, provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore new content and course formats. The specific topic is announced in the course schedule.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 399F A Sense of Place

This production course will immerse students in the process of creating live action visual material in order to poetically interpret several physical locations in and around Maryland. As well as executing a variety of video assignments, students will study the work of painters, photographers, musicians, writers and filmmakers who have dealt with the subject of “place”. Students will be immersed in the process of observing light and listening to sound in historical, physical and spiritual contexts. Students will pursue a variety of exercises experimenting with all the dimensions of video and sound, as they learn to better see and hear in the exterior world around them.

Prerequisite: FILM 200 or MFA Filmmaking student

FILM 455 Directing Workshop

The course covers working with actors and understanding the filmmaking process from the actor's point of view. Students will learn to analyze a script with the goal of planning shots and directing actors. The analysis will help students determine the needs of each scene and discover the characters' actions. They will learn blocking and staging, with emphasis on communicating the director's vision with each scene. This is a participatory workshop where students will direct their classmates and be directed by them.

FILM 498 Film & Video Senior Thesis I

Geared as a course to help guide and moderate seniors while they produce their senior thesis projects. Students are expected to focus and cultivate an in-depth final project from beginning to end, beginning with proposal development and ending with a final public exhibition and screening event. Meetings are structured to highlight the benefits of feedback from within a group environment. The groups respond to project proposals and work in progress with a focus on strengthening individual artistic practices and work methods. Various aspects of production, post-production, and professional development are addressed including the packaging, marketing, and screening of their work. Professional development skills and explores various options for artists within the film industry, non-profit organizations, and the fine arts market are emphasized. Lectures, screenings, readings, speakers, trips and other related events address issues pertaining to lecture topics and student inquiry.

Senior Film & Video majors only

FILM 499 Film & Video Senior Thesis II

This course is a continuation of Film & Video Senior Thesis I with the completion of the course resulting in a finished thesis project and a professional portfolio package. While the focus of Film & Video Senior Thesis I tends to address the needs of research, development and pre-production; Film & Video Senior Thesis II addresses topics and student needs as related to production, post-production, and final presentation formats.

Senior Film & Video majors only