Study Away

LA Coursework

LA Study Away Courses Offered Online This Fall

Fall 2020 classes will be held online this fall, and open to all students without application.
Register online or for more information contact

Online course schedule Fall 2020

Entertainment Industry Perspectives:  Mondays 6-9pm (EST) - Lou Pepe

Acting and Directing Workshop: Tuesdays 6-9pm (EST) - Lou Pepe

Internship:  6-9pm (EST) - Amy Olk

LA Culture (WI):   5-8pm (EST) -- Anthony Carfello
(New course description. Please contact Program Director)

*See course descriptions below.

**The courses below are cross-listed with Film and Media Arts and Media Studies and Production.

Internship: FMA 3085 (4 s.h.), MSP 4785 (4 s.h.), ADV 3185 (3 s.h.), JRN 3885 (3 s.h.), PR 4285 (3 s.h.), CSI 3085 (3 s.h.)

-Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

The internship course will meet regularly. Group discussion and class sessions are important components along with individual appointments. Internships are supervised by the Internship Director who is in regular contact with the placement site, site supervisor, and students. The Internship Director is available for resume and cover letter review, placement advising, and contact information. Students are encouraged to arrange a number of interviews as part of their search. REQUIRED DURING THE SUMMER PROGRAM

Entertainment Industry Perspectives: FMA 3770 (4 s.h.)/MSP 4890 (4 s.h.)

- Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

Hollywood Game Plan text bookThis course explores career paths and current trends in the entertainment industry through visiting guest lecturers who are working professionals in various fields such as: producers, agents, actors in TV and film, script writers, production designers, directors, editors, PR specialists, as well as advertisers and distributors, from entry level to executive, in all domains, including intellectual property lawyers (film, TV, new media).  Weekly guest visits offer students a chance to learn from and converse with established professionals.  In addition, students will write weekly journal assignments reflecting upon their own personal experiences of the entertainment industry throughout the semester and will complete a final research paper in their area of interest.  Course-related field trips may be scheduled for weekends or daytime business hours.

Distinguished guest visitors on a weekly basis such as: Ross Katz (Lost in Translation & In the Bedroom, co-producer, and Taking Chance, writer/director); Chris Manley, (ASC, Mad Men);  Tim and Eric (Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, writers/producers/directors/performers); Michael MaGahey (V.P. Disney TV animation, & developer of Little Miss Sunshine); Deborah Offner (SAG, Black Swan, Law & Order, CSI, Cruel Intentions: Holly Kaplan, Parenthood, Miami Medical, Days of Our Lives); Palek Patel (company produced Alice in Wonderland); Julia Wong (X-Men: Last Stand, Red Riding Hood, editor;) and many others will offer students a chance to learn and converse with industry professionals who are established in the business.

Los Angeles Culture as Studio: Writing Intensive FMA 3696 (4 s.h.), MSP 3196 (3 s.h.)

- Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

This writing intensive course is based on the premise that the city itself can be a classroom or studio. This course depends heavily on engaged discussion as a form of intellectual production. Discussion is augmented by weekly readings, as well as on the ground experiences and observations made throughout the day. One can read about Bunker Hill for example, but one can also learn about it through an excursion up and down and across the hill itself. Similarly we will take field trips distinct neighborhoods in LA such as Chinatown, SIlver Lake and Malibu. We will visit factories, studios, and galleries. In short, this class will uncover a part of LA not normally experienced by tourists or short-time visitors, but a side that constitutes the lived reality of the majority of LA residents.

Los Angeles Acting and Directing Workshop: FMA 4240

-Offered fall/spring semesters

This course is designed to develop performance skills in front of, and directing techniques behind, the camera. An emphasis will be placed on the collaboration and exchange of techniques between actors and directors. Directors have the opportunity to learn what works from the actors’ perspective during acting exercises. Likewise, actors will learn about the directors’ perspective during directing technique exercises. This class will help both actors and directors work more efficiently with each other in their respective disciplines.

LA Acting and Directing Workshop can accommodate students specializing in Film & Media Arts, Media Studies & Production, and Theatre. The thrust of the course can be altered to suit the balance of enrolled students' areas of interest and would address topics that come from the following broad categories:

Acting for Directors:
Lessons designed for aspiring directors to learn directing techniques by acting themselves and experiencing direction from others.

Actor/Director workshop:
Workshop sessions for a mix of actors and directors, with a focus on acting practices, actor/director collaboration and rehearsal techniques. 

Acting for the Screen:
Lessons targeted to actors and addressing specific techniques for working the film and television.


LA Plays Itself: FMA 3680 (4 s.h.), MSP 3890 (4 s.h.)

- Offered select semesters (not offered every semester, speak to Alison Crouse)

We all know Los Angeles as a movie location. As the seat of the film industry, it has been a convenient backdrop for film productions since the early days of cinema. In this context, however, Los Angeles often ‘plays’ somewhere else. For this course, we will screen films which portray Los Angeles as a very specific character––itself––and will examine the different narratives and themes that characterize the city. We will discuss economic, social, and historical aspects of Los Angeles; perceptions of the city from within and without; and the stories and myths that the film industry spins about its hometown.

Films screened in the course will span from the Silent Era to the present, and will be augmented by readings from 20th-century popular fiction and non-fiction as a means of identifying common narratives that have grown out of various Los Angeles experiences.  The objectives of the course will be: to develop critical and analytical skills for approaching and understanding narratives; to engage students’ observational skills as relates to their own experiences in Los Angeles; and by synthesizing these two skills, to foster a deeper understanding of how cultural myths and narratives grow out of experience, speak to it, and in turn re-shape it.

Topics in Production: The Art of the Sell: FMA 4250 (4 s.h.)

- Offered select semesters (not offered every semester, speak to Alison Crouse)

This course will provide the tools that producers, writers and directors need to navigate the fine line that the film industry draws between art and commerce. Students will learn how to pitch their ideas effectively and to structure treatments for feature film and TV series according to industry standards. They will learn the craft of the “look book” and will design posters and web sites for their movies. Students will edit “sizzle reels” from clips of existing movies that help characterize their visions. They will learn the skill of casting their movie and how to draft compelling and articulate letters to actors.

The class will have periodic guest speakers, among them, producers, directors, TV writers, agents and sales agents.   This is an intensive workshop course and will require weekly creative endeavors.  A working knowledge of and access to an editing program such as Final Cut Pro, iMovie, or Avid is required. Students are also required to have a working knowledge of Photoshop and a graphic design program such as Adobe Illustrator.

Music in Film: FMA 4670; MUST 4780

The special topic in Summer 2018 will be "Music in Film". Students will explore through listening and visual analysis the many ways that music is used as a language within notable films throughout history to augment or subvert the effect and meaning of the film texts, images, and themes. Students will examine this topic from a variety of perspectives to explore the powerful relationship between music and meaning.


LA Screenwriting Workshop: FMA 4250 (4 s.h.)

- Offered select semesters (not offered every semester, speak to Alison Crouse)

“Writing is just a higher form of thinking.” – Freeman Dyson.  Superior scripts are the result of superior writing. The focus of this course will always be the ‘word on the page.’ You will examine what Frank Conroy calls the ‘microlevel’–how writing (or polishing) will clarify ideas and characters. Your script will be judged on screenwriting style as much as on the elaboration of the idea.  Students will integrate in practice everything they have learned about film, screenwriting and story by developing the first draft of a feature-length screenplay. The course will be structured as a workshop, present students with the opportunity to further hone their critical skills and introduce them to the discipline of the writer’s life.

Independent Study: FMA 4282 (or other Department Course Numbers)

The purpose of LA Study Away is to give students the opportunity to engage in coursework tailored to the program and specific to the entertainment industry. For this reason, a student wishing to do an independent study or project must provide a detailed proposal for approval at the time of registration.

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