Spring 2017: Breakdown of My Classes at USC

Back at it again with the class schedule, isn’t that right? I know, me posting one of these is the only thing consistent about this blog. But according to my blog statistics, class descriptions are some of my most popular posts, so there you have it! So, if you’re still interested in what classes I took this spring for my fake film major at USC, keep reading.

When you have that one 50 minute class on a Friday.

CHEM 205 | Chemical Forensics

This was my Physical Sciences GE and the last GE I’ll ever take in my life, taken Pass/No Pass. It was a pretty simple yet interesting class, in which we talked about blood forensics, ballistics, fibers, time of death, toxicology and the different types of evidence, amongst other things. There was a lab each week and three midterms, and I did really well on all of them without studying too much, which pretty much proves how easy this class really was. Apparently the professor is one of the toughest ones in the Chemistry department and is known for his impossible tests, but he just asked us stuff like “Do you like turtles?” and curved the class to a B+ so he probably didn’t take the whole thing too seriously either.

Grade Received: Pass

CORE 104 | Thematic Option Honors Program | Change and the Future: Church, Sex and State

Let me just put this out there: I loved my professor, and the subject material we covered is so important in today’s society. That said, I don’t think I learned as much in this class as I could have. We discussed the relationship between marriage and private property, marriage and religion, and non-normative marriage, to name a few things, and watched films such Carol, American Beauty and Brokeback Mountain. I also got to listen to some pretty interesting presentations and write a bunch of controversial papers (always loved those). So no, this was not a bad class at all. But, and I’m sure this is my fault as well for not doing the majority of the readings, although it was fun and easy, I feel like this class had very little substance. It had a lot of potential, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like it was a little too broad and informal. Though at this point I’m not sure if it’s even the class itself that didn’t work, or it’s all on me. So I’ll keep thinking about that.

Grade Received: A

CTCS 192 | Race, Class and Gender in American Film

This has probably been the best film class I’ve ever taken at USC. Super short lectures with the Notorious PhD, very interesting readings, great screenings, and a TA who was just cooler and smarter than I or anyone else will ever be. I mean, first of all, she had blue hair. In class, we watched classics like The Godfather Parts I & II (The Godfather III doesn’t exist, I hear), Do the Right Thing and Rocky, as well as films such as Boogie Nights (10/10 would recommend), Django Unchained and The Virgin Suicides. We talked a ton about the American Dream and the male gaze and read an article about the Oedipal complex and phallocentrism, so I definitely learned some things in there that I’ll never forget. I also wrote a paper on Brooklyn (2015), liminality and the American Dream, so I got to do research on all the things I’m passionate about, which is always a plus.

Grade Received: A

CTPR 290 | Cinematic Communication

I made a bunch of terrible films that no one liked. Okay, that’s a lie, my documentary turned out pretty good. I also spent an entire week trying to get location permits to film at a park downtown, which was an absolute disaster and I realized that hate paperwork, so I never want to be a location manager, that’s for sure. That film was also supposed to be my masterpiece and my mom spent a fortune shipping me a wedding dress from Europe, I spent forever writing and rewriting and gathering props, and I even cast professional SAG actors in it. Needless to say, it all went wrong, our camera malfunctioned earlier that week, my crew wasn’t confirmed until almost the day of, they tried to steal our equipment in Echo Park, and I’m still too embarrassed to show my actors the finished film. It didn’t help that my entire class hated it. Apparently the rubber band on the wedding bouquet gave away how the whole thing was fake. Sure. Our last project turned out pretty good, though, so let me know if you want to see it.

ALSO: Please don’t share the links to the films. There are copyright and other legal reasons.

Grade Received: A

CTWR 321 | Intro to Hour-Long TV Writing

I was going to say that this was my favorite class of the semester and that loved my professor, but she gave me an A- after promising us that we would all get As, so I’m little conflicted right now. We basically had to watch a lot of TV pilots (Breaking Bad, The Handmaid’s Tale, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, UnReal (which I hated), This is Us, to name a few) and then talk about them. Yes, that’s right, our homework was literally watching Netflix and Hulu. Our main goal of the semester, though, was to write a spec script (so an original episode for an existing show) for Stranger Things as a class. We each had a writing partner and were given scenes to write and rewrite over the weekend, and then in the end we put it all together into one big script. It was a really fun process and working with a partner is definitely something I’d do again. But then I got an A- so I’m not sure what to think anymore.

Grade Received: A- (sadness, utter disappointment, and feelings of betrayal #drama)

What the future holds: 

CTCS 403 | Studies in National and Regional Media: Refugee and Migrant Cinemas (taking it with the professor I had for ‘Shot on Location,’ 100% a topic I’m interested in, very excited)

CTCS 473 | Film and Media Theory (a dreaded Critical Studies class, a lot of work apparently, major requirement)

CTWR 415A | Advanced Writing (taking it with my CTWR 321 professor, supposed to be a continuation of Intro to Screenwriting, will probably get an A-)

CTWR 416 | Motion Picture Script Analysis (watching films and analyzing scripts, apparently a lot of fun)

LAW 402 | Psychology and Law (for my Forensics minor, deals with stuff like witness credibility, false confessions and cults, seems interesting yet intimidating)

SOWK 350 | Adolescent Gang Intervention (for Forensics, the only Social Work class for undergrads, apparently a popular class, very hands-on)



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