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Non-Major Course Offerings

Spring 2021 Cinematic Arts Non-Major Courses

Every semester, the School of Cinematic Arts offers a selection of courses available to all students at the University of Southern California. Any USC student with an interest in film, animation, screenwriting, game development, or digital art can explore how cinematic art is made in one of these courses. Courses in Spring 2021 include:

CTAN 200g The Rise of Digital Hollywood (4 units)
Taught by Prof. Tom Sito, classical Disney animator and animation historian this GE course gives students an exciting overview of the evolution of computer graphics in modern media.

CTCS-466: Theatrical Film Symposium (4 units)
Section: 18125R - Does not require D-Clearance

Theatrical Film Symposium, taught by world renown film critic Leonard Maltin, 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. 2019/2020 screenings included Project Power, Residue, Charm City Kings, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Boys State, The Devil All the Time, The Half of It, Sergio, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Frozen II, Queen & Slim, Little Women, Dolemite is My Name, Gemini Man, Ad Astra, Birds of Prey, and Onward. Guests in recent years include Auli'i Cravalho, Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, Barry Jenkins, Isabel Sandoval, Antonio Campos, Merawi Gerima, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melina Matsoukas, Joe & Anthony Russo, Guillermo del Toro, Benedict Wong, Zazie Beetz, Errol Morris, James Gray, Rian Johnson, Damien Chazelle, Taika Waititi, Lee Unkrich, JJ Abrams, Ryan Coogler, Sylvester Stallone, Patricia Riggen, Kevin Feige, and Judd Apatow.

CTCS-467: Television Symposium (4 units)
Section: 18126R - Does not require D-Clearance

Taught by Mary McNamara, Pulitzer-prize winning TV Critic and Cultural Editor for the LA Times. Each week, students meet with current TV Creators and Showrunners for Q&As about writing and producing their shows. Recent guests include: Susan Downey & Tim Van Patten (Perry Mason), Raamla Mohamed (Little Fires Everywhere), Jon Mantello (The Boys in the Band), Eric Kripke (The Boys), Jay Roach & Sarah Paulson (Coastal Elites), Prentice Penny (Insecure), Kerry Ehrin (The Morning Show), Jon Favreau (The Mandalorian), Adam McKay (Succession), Alena Smith (Dickinson), Stephen Williams (Watchmen), Chris Mundy (Ozark), Susannah Grant (Unbelievable), David Mandel (Veep), Steven Canals (Pose), Sam Levinson (Euphoria), Raphael Bob-Waksberg & Kate Purdy (Undone), Marti Noxon (Sharp Objects), David Kajganich (The Terror), Tanya Saracho (Vida), Matt Duffer & Ross Duffer (Stranger Things), Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch (Glow), Hiro Murai (Atlanta), Noah Hawley (Fargo), Ron Moore (Outlander), and Kenya Barris (black-ish). 

CTIN 499 Worldbuilding for Augmented Reality (2 units)
Description: An exploration of AR, taught alongside Niantic Labs, creators of Pokemon Go
Open to creators from all disciplines, this class will focus on the creation of content for the Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality spaces. With guidance from Niantic Labs, this is the perfect class for students interested in exploring the field. No technical experience needed - bring your unique skills to make new worlds! 

CTPR 499 Internet Famous: How to Jumpstart Your Career using YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok (3 units)
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.

CTWR-430 More Than A Happy Ending: Shattering Romantic Comedy Tropes (2 units)
Section: 19409R - Does not require D-Clearance

Is love real?  Do soulmates exist?  Can you really just ‘be friends?’  Thank God we’ve invented an entire genre of film to attempt to find the answer to the ultimate question: Why are we addicted to watching people fall head-over-heels in love?  In CTWR 430 “More Than A Happy Ending: Shattering Romantic Comedy Tropes,” we'll examine the rebirth of the RomCom and its path to agency and self-realization. From Harry Met Sally’s tenuous friendship to Love, Simon's journey to Blue, to Lara Jean’s Boys She’s Loved Before-- rom-coms give us hope, promise, optimism, and the best storytelling antidote of all-- love in the face of impossible circumstances.  We will examine when tropes help and hurt the characters we love to love and why we are all rooting for them to have more than a happy ending.

CNTV 562 Seminar in Motion Picture Business (4 units)
This class will examine the problems of studio operation, production, distribution, exhibition of legal procedures relating to the motion picture. It will look at 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.

IML 420 New Media for Social Change (4 units)
Description: Creating real social change through multimedia, working in collaboration with a local nonprofit organization. Students explore the nature of civic engagement and strengthen their digital media skills in the pursuit of real world change. Counts as an elective for the Digital Studies and Media and Social Change minors.

Additional Spring 2021 courses can be found by clicking on the departmental links below:


For schedule information, please see the "Courses of Interest" section in the the Spring 2021 USC Schedule of Classes and click on the course title.

Please note that some of these courses will require D-Clearance. To learn more see

View our Non-Major Frequently Asked Questions.