As a Radio-Television-Film (RTF) major, I am asked a lot of questions about the program and what exactly “film majors” do all day. So, I have created a handy 8-question FAQ about the RTF Program in hopes that it may answer some burning questions for you all. Enjoy!
1. Do you just watch movies in all of your classes?
No. I have watched movies in many of my undergraduate RTF classes, but probably not how most people would “watch” a movie. A lot of the lower division classes have screenings each week where you will watch 1-2 films. Most of these are classic films, and you watch them in order to get a sense of a certain director’s style, film style of that era, or style of a genre, etc. I have had tests, had to write papers, had quizzes, and so forth over the films I’ve watched. So no, RTF majors do not just watch movies all day long.
2. What kind of professors teach in the RTF program?
The professors are amazing. I took an advanced upper division class with the director of The Slaughterhouse Rule, two classes with a
professor who has had films at Cannes and Sundance, and a class with a producer for numerous films on National Geographic/A&E/PBS – that’s
just the tip of the iceberg! The professors are awesome because they are always more than happy to meet with you. They really love to see the students succeed and will help you out as much as they can. There is a list of the RTF faculty here: http://rtf.utexas.edu/faculty/
3. What kind of classes can you take in RTF?
There are so many! Of course, you need to get the RTF prerequisites out of the way in order to take many of the upper-division classes. When I went through, I took RTF 305, RTF 314 (Development of Film), RTF 317 (media studies course), and RTF 318 (basic production course) as my lower division classes. If you are interested in production work, you should look at RTF 317 and 318 as these are often required for the upper division production classes. Beyond that, the RTF program offers a wide variety of classes. I have taken a classes on directing actors, producing independent films, using 16mm black and white cameras, and more.
4. I’m thinking about transferring into RTF from another major. Any advice?
I was actually a transfer into RTF, so I can tell you what I did to get into the program. The program itself is very small and very competitive to get into. My first semester I took the basic prerequisite for all RTF classes – RTF 305. During that semester, I worked very hard in all of my classes so I would have a strong GPA. I also put together a sample of my work to include with my transfer application. I think submitting a piece of your work along with your application really shows the department that you are serious about transferring in. I was accepted into the program during my second semester at UT.
5. Can you become involved with University of Texas Film Institute (UTFI) or Burnt Orange Productions while you are an undergrad in RTF?
Absolutely. You can intern for UTFI or Burnt Orange and obtain credit at UT for it. There is also an upper division portfolio class offered that works directly with UTFI. I took this class and it was pretty intense, but definitely a great experience. The class requires consent, though, and you need to apply to be accepted into it. I have not interned for UTFI or Burnt Orange, but I think you also need to apply and be accepted into their internship program.
6. Does UT help you find a job in radio, television, or film after you graduate?
Yes. In addition to the fabulous career services that the College of Communications has, RTF also has the “UTLA” program. The program allows students to spend a semester in Los Angeles, take classes at the UTLA campus, and intern for an entertainment company. You can check out the program at http://www.utla.utexas.edu/
7. Do you get to work on film sets?
Yes. Working on a film set is not a glamorous job. It is a lot of manual labor and long hours. For one of my undergraduate film classes, I was out on location for almost 15 hours. That, of course, is pretty long, but I would say that you can expect a weekend shoot to take around 8 hours/day of your time. No joke. I will never forget the shoot where, at 3 am, we were finally wrapping everything up and discovered that one of the dollies wouldn’t fit in the truck we had brought to take all of the equipment back. Needless to say, I ended up pushing the thing all the way back to my apartment!
I encourage anyone interested in the RTF program at UT to check out their website to learn more: http://rtf.utexas.edu/ And, of course, feel free to email me if you have any questions!