Courses of Interest
The courses listed in this section have been chosen by the designated departments as having special interest for students who are not majoring in that particular subject but who might find courses in that discipline both enjoyable and beneficial. For more information, contact the department directly.
- School of Cinematic Arts (CTAN, CNTV, CTCS, CTIN, CTPR, CTWR, IML)
- Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (JOUR, PR)
- Thornton School of Music (MUCO, MUJZ, MUEN, MUIN, MTEC, MPGU, MPKS, MPPM, MPVA, MUSC)
School of Cinematic Arts
Description: An overview of the evolution of computer graphics in modern media.
Description: An introduction to the fundamentals of animation, covering such topics as timing, anticipation, reaction, overlapping action, and metamorphosis.
Description: Creating characters and environments for animation, live action, and video games.
Description: Introduction to the expanding field of visual effects; topics include integration for cinematic storytelling and the study of digital productions employing the latest visual effects.
Description: Workshop exploring concept and structure of long and short form animated films through practical writing exercises.
Description: An introduction to methods for creating analog animation through experimentation with imagery, concepts and materials. Emphasis on basic timing principles and hands-on techniques.
Description: Methods for creating animation blending traditional techniques with contemporary technologies.
Description: Lecture and laboratory in computer animation: geometric modeling, motion specification, lighting, texture mapping, rendering, compositing, production techniques, systems for computer-synthesized animation.
Description: The basics of character design for animation: anatomy, poses, facial expressions, silhouettes, and anthropomorphism. Development of a portfolio.
Description: Survey of contemporary concepts and approaches to production in the current state of film and video effects work. Digital and traditional methodologies will be covered, with a concentration on digital exercises illustrating modern techniques.
Description: All aspects of digital effects animation, including particles, dynamics, and fluids. Creating water, fire, explosions, and destruction in film. Prerequisite: CTAN 452 or CTAN 462.
Includes an introduction to the rich procedural capabilities of Houdini, the standard application used in the industry for effects animation. The course will encompass a series of hands-on exercises, so a prior basic working knowledge of Maya or other 3-D application is essential.
Description: Examination of the history, techniques, and methods of documentary animation production. Collaboration on a short film project.
Description: Experimental animation providing the opportunity to produce individual or group projects. Focus is non-conventional techniques for image creation and collaboration between composer and visual artist. Not open to freshmen and sophomores.
Description: Introduction to software packages and practices exploring current animation techniques that leverage simulation systems. Artificial intelligence as a tool for animation.
Description: An in-depth exploration of aesthetics and techniques involved in the conceptualization, design and creation of immersive media and stereoscopic imaging.
Description: Focus on film grammar, perspective, and layout, staging and acting as it relates to storyboarding for animation.
Description: A creative studio course in producing both a linear cinematic virtual reality short film and associated real-time immersive experience. Prerequisite: CTAN 502
Description: Survey of the digital techniques required to successfully marry live action shooting with CGI elements and green screen footage. Prerequisite: CTAN 462
Description: Explores the relationship of science, philosophy and art to new forms of animation and digital media practice, with a focus on dreams and consciousness.
Topics exploring the evolution of the brain, development of art, technology, science, and culture. How this correlates to the evolution of animation-digital media.
Description: Storytelling workshop for animators; application of dramatic techniques to visual concepts to derive three-dimensional stories which can serve as bases for finished films.
Description: Puppet and set design for stop motion animation while providing guidance on armature rigs that allow the character to be animated effectively.
Description: Fundamental principles of motion capture technology explored while working through a structured series of assignments based around performance, gesture and motion. Prerequisite: CTAN 452 or CTAN 462
Description: The current state of the television industry and future business paradigms.
This course will cover a comprehensive look into the television industry, including the conception, development, and selling of an idea, as well as how networks, cable companies, internet, and mobile platforms operate.
Description: Problems of studio operation, production, distribution, exhibition or legal procedures relating to the motion picture.
The theatrical motion picture and television businesses from the studio’s perspective, with an emphasis on feature films. Guest speakers will discuss creative development, production, post-production, marketing, distribution, business affairs, deal analysis, film finance, tax-based incentive deals, etc.
Professor: Robert M. Osher
Description: Various roles an agent, manager, attorney and publicist play in representing talent, producers and writers. Taught by professionals who are at the forefront of the entertainment industry.
Professor: Daniel A. Sussman
CINEMA AND MEDIA STUDIES
Description: Gateway to majors and minors in cinematic arts. Technique, aesthetics, criticism, and social implications of cinema. Lectures accompanied by screenings of appropriate films.
Rated one of the top six USC classes you cannot afford to miss, and now fulfilling the General Education requirement, this course explores the formal properties of movies: literary design, performance, visual design, composition (framing/staging/ photographing), editing, sound design, genre, style and the production process.
Professor: George Carstocea
Description: Exploration of the economic, technological, aesthetic, and ideological characteristics of the televisual medium; study of historical development of television and video including analysis of key works; introduction to TV/Video theory and criticism.
Professor: Nitin P. Govil
Description: Analyzes issues of race, class and gender in contemporary American culture as represented in the cinema. Focusing on historical representation as well as contemporary images, the course looks to explain the role of cinema in creating and influencing perceptions around issues of American identity. This course satisfies USC’s General education requirement.
Professor: Todd E. Boyd
Description: Detailed examination of film/television from the perspectives and insights of Cultural Studies; focus on the production and reception of cultural texts, practices, and communities.
This seminar/workshop explores the connection between photography and filmmaking. Innovation and disruption will be key themes of this course. Film screenings will include documentaries, feature films and television programs featuring the work of artists such as Annie Leibovitz, David Hockney, and Robert Mapplethorpe among others.
Professor: Bill Whittington
Description: Rigorous examination of film genres: history, aesthetics, cultural context, social significance, and critical methodologies.
Description: Lectures and readings on creative problems in the motion picture industry; current films; interviews with visiting producers, directors, writers, performers.
Taught by world-renowned film critic Leonard Maltin, Theatrical Film Symposium brings you face-to-face with leading film directors, writers, producers, and actors working today. Each week, students watch sneak previews of upcoming movies, followed by exclusive Q & As with the creative teams behind the films.
Professor: Leonard Maltin
Description: Lectures and readings on creative problems in the motion picture industry; current films; interviews with visiting producers, directors, writers and performers.
Modeled after the popular Leonard Maltin course CTCS 466, CTCS 467 offers an exciting counterpart focusing on the television industry, taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic Mary McNamara. Each week, students are shown selected TV programming, followed by a Q & A with guests from the show.
Professor: Mary McNamara
Description: Intensive study of the style of an auteur, studio, film or television making mode in terms of thematic and formal properties and their influences upon the art of film.
Professor: Nitin Govil
Description: Rotating topics involving detailed study of the historical, cultural and aesthetic analysis of film, television, and new media technologies.
Professor: Eszter Zimanyi
Description: Best practices and strategies for streaming. Students build a personality and audience through the course, receiving advice and feedback from emerging leaders in the field.
A cavalcade of amazing guests from your favorite streaming platforms illuminate the world of streaming content, including a look at personal streamers, esports, live plays, and more. Includes education in the successful management of streaming platforms, as well as producing content and business aspects.
Description: An introduction to making games. Students will explore the principles of game design through the entirely analog creation of card, board and tabletop games.
In this project-driven course, students learn the entire interactive design process through the lens of board games they have crafted themselves. Called “the most intense arts and crafts class at USC,” students will exit with a professionally printed product. CTIN 488 is the prerequisite for all advanced design classes.
Description: Description: Pitching, production planning, forming a company and seeking funding for your creative media idea. Duplicates credit in former CTIN 497ab.
MEDIA ARTS AND PRACTICE
Description: An introduction to the expressive range of screen languages in their cultural, historical, and technological contexts.
Students will study the history and theory of digital media and also gain hands-on media authoring skills. Counts as a requirement for the minor in Digital Studies.
Description: An in-depth investigation of the close interrelationships among technology, culture and communication to form a solid foundation for digital authoring. Duplicates credit in former IML 101.
Description: Critical analysis of the categories of race, class and gender within the diverse digital spaces of contemporary culture, from video games to the digital divide.
Students will produce media projects that analyze their own attitudes about diversity and inclusion and argue that living in a diverse society can function as a form of social and cultural enrichment. Counts as a requirement for the minor in Media and Social Change.
Description: The history, theory and methods of design fiction, focusing on design videos and physical prototypes as tools for exploring contemporary social, political and ethical life.
Students will engage in collaboration, video capture, video editing, basic sound design, 3-D printing, and object design. Counts as a requirement for the minors in Digital Studies, Media and Social Change and Future Cinema.
Description: Project-based course examining emotion in relation to technology, digital culture and the human experience.
Students will explore tracking emotional well-being with apps and wearables to experience developments in body-borne computing and issues in the quantified self movement. Counts as a requirement for the minors in Digital Studies and Media and Social Change.
Description: Description: Investigation of the impact of natural patterns on digital media design. Explores the relationships among chaos, harmony, beauty, proportion, spirituality, holistic systems and shaped experience.
Counts as a requirement for the minors in Digital Studies and Future Cinema.
Description: A hands-on mentored research lab experience within the context of media art and in association with a real-world project.
The goal of IML 475 is to give students exposure to the innovative work being done at SCA. Participating labs include the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab, the Mixed Reality Lab and the World Building Media Lab. Counts as a requirement for the minors in Digital Studies and Future Cinema.
Description: Examination of art, media, and theatre, to create an immersive, installation-based intervention utilizing the embodied 360-degree docu-narrative form.
This course counts as an elective for the Digital Studies, Future Cinema and Media and Social Change minors, and for the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program.
Description: Exercises in observation, imaginative association, visualization, etc., that deepen the creative process, leading to ideas, stories, characters, and images for narrative, documentary, and experimental films.
Description: Use of high definition motion picture equipment to explore the fundamentals of shot design, movement and lighting. In class group projects.
The magic of creating images on film, from using cameras, lenses, and filters to photographic processes and the role of cinematography in interpreting story. Hands-on projects put theory into practice.
Description: Theory, techniques, and practices in picture editing; use of standard editing equipment; individual projects.
Description: Techniques and aesthetics for recording production sound, editing dialogue, sound effects, music, Foley and preparing for the mix. For film, television, and other media.
Description: Preparation of director’s preproduction blockout; study of direction for live, tape, and film production, for both dramatic and informational television.
Students will work in teams creating short scenes in various formats, including traditional episodic and situational comedy. The directorial role as production leader and visionary is emphasized.
Description: Basic procedures and techniques applicable to production of all types of films; demonstration by production of a short film from conception to completion.
Includes writing of the script to planning, shooting, and editing.
Description: Detailed analysis of one theatrical film from conception through critical reception to develop an understanding of motion pictures as art, craft, and industry.
The course studies the anatomy of a film by examining a major current release with guest speakers involved in the making of a production. Films previously studied include The Avengers and The Sessions.
Description: The basics of podcast production, including creating an idea, researching and writing the script, hosting, casting, recording and promoting a podcast episode.
Description: How visuals communicate emotions and ideas in streaming media, advertising, digital games, business and legal presentations and documentary and scripted filmmaking.
Description: Television production: laboratory course covers operating cameras, creating graphics, technical operations, controlling audio and floor-managing live productions. Students plan and produce actual Trojan Vision programs.
Description: Examination of the industry from story ideas, through script development, production and exhibition; evaluation of roles played by writers, agents, studio executives, marketing and publicity.
Guest speakers and lectures discuss and cover the role of the writer, agent, studio executive, producer, director, as well as address the topics of marketing, publicity, and distribution.
Description: Lecture-laboratory in makeup relating it to mood of the story and emulsion of the camera stock.
An introduction to the craft of makeup for film, TV, and other media. Students learn through lectures, demos, and hands-on workshops the different kinds of makeup styles and procedures, including the study of glamour, old age, gore, fantasy, and prosthetic techniques.
Description: Introductory workshop in the aesthetics and practices of special effects, embracing both the classical and contemporary modes.
The class focuses on techniques, cost, and operational characteristics. For aspiring production managers, directors, and camera and effects specialists. Conducted in a workshop environment where students experience the complexities involved with techniques in use industry-wide.
Description: Theory, discussion, and practical application of production planning during preproduction and production of a film.
Description: To provide students with basic working knowledge of both the skills of the motion picture set and production operations through classroom lectures and hands-on experience.
Students learn the fundamentals of episodic TV drama and participate in the shooting of an episode written and directed by students. Positions available in producing, camera, sound, production design, or editorial.
Description: The tools and skills necessary to turn an idea into a documentary story, using sample reels, pitches, and writing to develop a professional proposal.
Course is designed to teach students the knowledge, skills, insight and judgment needed to research, develop and create pitch materials for a documentary production.
Description: Intensive examination of skills and techniques necessary for successful performances in film and television. Practical application through in-class exercises and assigned projects.
Description: Introduction to drafting, set design, set decoration and creating models for students with diverse abilities. Guest lectures, group discussions and hands-on workshop.
Description: An investigation of poetic cinema from four different perspectives: found poetry; applied poetry; poetry as image; and poetry in narrative fiction. Production of short films.
Explores the relationship between poetic cinema and artistic expression — especially the visual arts, literature and music — through the creation of short films. Approaching the poetics of cinema through: found poetry, translating written poetry, cinema AS poetry and the poetic image in narrative cinema.
Description: Analysis of the unique structures in the entertainment industry for organizing and managing creativity. Students research and chart pathways to leadership. Open only to juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
Students will learn how to face challenges and opportunities as they launch their careers in the entertainment industry. The class examines the industry’s ever-evolving creative and business
structures through lectures and dialogue with expert guest speakers.
Description: Financing, budgeting, management as applied to films; problems of distribution, including merchandising, cataloging, evaluation, and film library management.
Students are introduced to film economics, as it relates to production, distribution, and exhibition.
Description: Managing electronic media, including radio and television stations, broadcast and cable networks, and the internet.
Executives from all areas of the TV industry address class each week to provide first-hand information about a wide range or areas, including news production,
sales, marketing, and syndication.
Description: Concentration on the basic skills in working with actors from a director’s point of view.
Students learn to experiment and discuss the many choices in directing actors, including laboratory and scene analysis. The course also breaks down a script from the emotional point-of-view of the actor.
Description: Pairs produce, direct, shoot, and edit a short documentary on a subject of their choice. Finished projects will be suitable for broadcast/festivals.
Students are encouraged to form pairs before class; individual students form partnerships at the beginning of the term. Students must come prepared with two to three documentary ideas.
Finished films will be approximately fifteen minutes in length.
Description: Translating traditional storytelling tools into short form comedy that stands out online. Writing, directing and producing creative projects designed for current online platforms.
Students learn how to translate storytelling into short form comedy that will stand out online. Students explore newer avenues, such as YouTube, IGTV and TikTok as outlets for their creative voices with projects they will write, direct and perform in.
Description: Introduction to writing compelling scenes, creating authentic characters, three act structure, and feature film outlining.
Description: In-depth analysis of the craft of writing prime-time episodic television. Examination of situation comedies and dramas through weekly screenings and lectures.
Description: Examination and creation of the world, characters, and concept for an original hour-long dramatic series. Writing an outline for an original dramatic pilot.
Description: Detailed investigation of specific comedy writers, comedy genres, and the works they’ve influenced. Lectures include screenings and visiting screenwriters.
Description: Detailed investigation of various television writers’ styles, the worlds they have created, and the works they’ve influenced. Lectures include screenings and visiting television writers.
Description: Critical analysis of the structure of films from the classics to current award winners. Students will learn how to identify key story concepts and break down three act structure in finished films and scripts.
Description: Introduction to formal elements of the screenplay through lectures and the workshopping of a complete first draft of a feature-length script. Prerequisite: CTAN 536 or CTWR 505 or CTWR 518.
Recommended preparation: CTWR 516.
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Description: Explores the role of journalism and social media in society – its influence on government, technology, business, national security, sports, science and entertainment.
Description: Understanding key moments, debates and ideas that have shaped journalism in the United States from the Revolutionary War period through today. Examination of the social, cultural, political and technological aspects of journalism and its impact on the profession and public service.
Description: Introduction to television, radio, and/or digital news production. Examination of issues in journalism. Graded CR/NC.
Description: Emphasis on fundamental skills necessary for photojournalism including camera techniques, story ideas and digital darkroom.
Description: An inside look at the important stories, topical issues, trends and historical developments related to the growing influence of business and media on college and professional sports; identifying the key components and meeting the influencers in class that help shape the business side of sports, while recognizing the role the media plays in providing daily coverage across multiple platforms.
Description: An examination of the symbiotic relationship of the entertainment business and the media; press coverage of the entertainment industry; Hollywood’s relationship with news media.
Description: Interview, present and design sports segments for television/video in Studio A.
Description: A foundational understanding of the historic, cultural and theoretical underpinning of the podcast medium with an emphasis on critical listening.
Description: Techniques of writing the film review; preparation and treatment of form and content; problems, responsibilities and ethics of film reviewing.
Description: Techniques of writing newspaper feature stories, including the profile, the light feature, the news feature, the in-depth story; the art of narrative writing.
Description: Techniques of reporting and writing sports columns and commentary for print, video, radio and Web-based media.
Description: Techniques of reporting and writing about the entertainment business, economics and finances. Analysis of the skills and background needed for reporters specializing in this area of the news.
Description: Examine and analyze the ever-changing technology sector of the sports business and sports media worlds. Identify emerging technologies being developed in the sports industry and how they are being utilized to enhance the fan experience.
Description: Analysis of the images of the athlete and sports media helps us understand how sports dramatically affects such social issues as race, class and gender.
Description: Python coding language to gather, parse and analyze data for investigative news reporting.
Description: Selected topics in journalism.
Description: History and development of advertising; basic advertising campaigns showing relationships of marketing, creative, print and electronic media.
Description: Production of advertising materials; emphasis on the creation and design of advertising elements.
Description: Public relations in the design, promotion, and presentation of popular entertainment, including films, broadcasting, music, expositions, amusement parks, resorts and arenas.
Description: Introduction to the field of sports information and promotion, including lectures, media assignments, role-playing, and presentations by sports professionals.
Description: Application of monitoring tools to become social media analysts and real-time content creators; interpretation of large data sets drawn from the social web; understanding of how to present data visually for optimal impact.
Description: Hands-on lab; producing multimedia content; basic principles of design; tools and techniques to create digital images and layouts.
Description: Hands-on lab; audio/video tools for conceiving, shooting, editing, delivering and archiving compelling stories for online audiences; personal brand building; digital storytelling trends and applications.
Thornton School of Music
Description: An introductory course in music theory required for those majors in need of remedial training, and available to the general student who wishes to develop music writing skills. Not available for credit to B.M. and B.A. music majors. Recommended preparation: ability to read music.
Description: Development of beginning improvisational skills including underlying principles of theory, harmony, jazz ear training, and jazz style.
Description: Instruction in the performance of percussion instruments associated with African, South American, and Caribbean music traditions, with special emphasis on adaptation to jazz music.
Description: Instruction in the performance of percussion instruments associated with African, South American, and Caribbean music traditions, with special emphasis on adaptation to jazz music. Prerequisite: MUJZ 218a
Description: Development of intermediate improvisational skills including underlying principles of theory, harmony, jazz ear training, and jazz style. Recommended preparation: MUJZ 150.
Description: Rehearsal and participation in performances for athletic and other university functions. Open to all students by audition. Graded CR/NC.
Description: Study and performance of vocal ensemble literature from the Jazz idiom, with emphasis on improvisational techniques. Open to all students by audition. Graded CR/NC.
Description: Rehearsal and performance of choral literature from all periods of music history. Open to all students. Graded CR/NC.
Description: The USC Apollo Chorus, a choir open to all students, faculty, and staff of any gender, performs tenor/bass repertoire.
Description: The USC Oriana Choir, a choir open to all students, faculty, and staff of any gender, performs treble repertoire.
Description: Continuation of MUEN 222. Graded CR/NC.
Description: Rehearsal and performance of standard repertoire. Open to all students by audition. Graded CR/NC.
Description: Study and performance of vocal ensemble literature from the Jazz idiom, with emphasis on improvisational techniques. Open to all graduate students by audition. (Duplicates credit in MUEN 405.)
Description: Rehearsal and performance of choral literature from all periods of music history. Open to all graduate students.
Description: The USC Apollo Chorus, a choir open to all students, faculty, and staff of any gender, performs tenor/bass repertoire.
Description: The USC Oriana Choir, a choir open to all students, faculty, and staff of any gender, performs treble repertoire.
Description: Introductory survey of the music business. Topics include: copyright, record companies, contracts, music publishing, performance rights societies, managers, agents, and other artist team/income considerations. Not for major credit for music industry majors. (Duplicates credit in former MUIN 372ax.)
Description: A survey of the technology used to create, prepare, perform, and distribute music, with an emphasis on recording, MIDI, music production, mastering and Internet technologies. Not available for major credit to B.M. and B.S., Music Industry majors. (Duplicates credit in former MUIN 277.)
Description: Introduction to the performance technique of pop/rock guitar as well as music theory fundamentals, exploring repertoire by artists such as The Beatles and Dave Matthews.
Description: Introduction to the performance technique of pop/rock guitar as well as music theory fundamentals, exploring repertoire by artists such as The Beatles and Dave Matthews. Prerequisite: MPGU 120a and MUPF 120a
Description: Introduction to the performance technique of pop/rock guitar as well as music theory fundamentals, exploring repertoire by artists such as The Beatles and Dave Matthews. (Duplicates credit in MPGU 120abcd.)
Description: Basic fingerstyle guitar, learned through the study of such pieces as “Greensleeves,” “Malaguena,” and “Minuet” (Bach); song accompaniment patterns and music notation for the beginner.
Description: Techniques of classical guitar applied to the study of five to eight Beatles songs, from “Hey Jude” to “Blackbird.” No guitar or music background required.
PERFORMANCE (KEYBOARD STUDIES)
Description: Techniques of performance, note reading, and basic musicianship. Not open to music majors.
Description: Techniques of performance, note reading, and basic musicianship. Not open to music majors. Prerequisite: MPKS 150a
Description: Techniques of performance, note reading, and basic musicianship. Not open to music majors. Prerequisite: MPKS 150b or MUPF 150b
PERFORMANCE (POPULAR MUSIC)
Description: Study of musical elements appropriate to the performance of popular music in a collaborative, interactive environment.
Description: Beginning and elementary instruction in drum set techniques.
Description: Intermediate level instruction in drum set performance including accompaniment techniques, fills, beat and brush patterns in jazz, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles, interpreting drum charts. Recommended preparation: MPPM 240.
PERFORMANCE (VOCAL ARTS)
Description: Introduction to the fundamental principles of singing: breath control, tone production, diction, and the use of appropriate song material.
Description: Stylistic and technical features of dramatic and musical elements involved in performance of American musical and standard operetta repertory; staging of scenes. Prerequisite: MPVA 402
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Description: Exploration of music and cultures of the world. Engagement with international musicians, global issues, field work and musical diasporas in Los Angeles.
Description: An introduction to Western art music and culture from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras through reading, listening, analyzing and writing about music.
Description: A uniquely American genre, the Broadway musical serves as a catalyst for inquiry into human diversity, cross-culturalism, and significant social and political issues.
Description: The origins and development of EDM and its relatives such as disco, house, techno, rave and electronica, focusing on cultural and technological influences.
Description: A chronicle of the musical contribution of Africans and African Americans to American society and to the foundations of musical genres and styles throughout the world.
Description: A history of hip-hop music from its inception to the present: its musical processes and styles, as well as attendant social, political and cultural issues.
Description: An exploration of musical practices and styles which reflect and shape national identities and which focus on those created in response to political turmoil in many forms.
Description: Music, lyrics, recordings, production techniques, career strategy, social ramifications, and especially the technological impact of the musical group known as The Beatles.
Description: Critical examination of the lyrics, structure, associated mythology, technology, and evolving styles of popular music reflecting the turbulent societal changes during the Sixties and Seventies.
Description: Music, life, recordings, and attendant musical, cultural and political influences of a seminal musician or group in 20th or 21st century popular music.