Studio descriptions for semester 2, 2024

We are pleased to announce the Media 2 and Media 4 studios for semester 2, 2024. Please read the following information completely and carefully, including the Studio Descriptions booklet, BEFORE preferencing studios in myTimetable.

  1. Studio descriptions are provided in this STUDIO-DESCRIPTIONS-BOOKLET-S2-2024_v3. Please read each description carefully
  2. Studios allocations are sorted by a preferencing system run through myTimetable, where the preferencing period opens at 10am Tuesday 11 June and closes 5pm Sunday 23 June 2024. During this period we advise you to nominate (at least) your top three preferences, but encourage you to nominate further preferences. Remember that preferencing does not operate on a first in first served basis and preferencing is not “selecting” – there is no guarantee that you will be given your top preference.
  3. Studio times are listed below and in myTimetable. Check the studio times against your other classes and commitments, where you need to be able to attend both pracs every week – do NOT preference a studio you cannot attend
  4. Other timetabling information can be found here
  5. If there are any studio-specific issues, please use this form and we will get back to you within 48 hours.

To assist you with your preferences and scheduling, please see below for studio class times.

Studio Name Leader Prac 1 Prac 2
AUGMENTING CREATIVITY Daniel Binns Monday 2:30-5:30pm (012.02.104) Wednesday 8:30-10:30am (012.02.104)
DECODING AI, AUTOMATING SOCIETIES Ruth Richards Tuesday 3:30-5:30pm (10.02.062) Friday 9:30am-12:30pm (12.02.104)
DIRECTING PERFORMANCE Sebastian Bertoli Monday 12:30-3:30pm (10.02.062) Thursday 11:30am-1:30pm (12.02.104)
DOCUMENTARY PATHWAYS Lucie McMahon Tuesday 11:30am-1:30pm (012.02.104) Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm (10.02.062)
INVISIBLE ENVIRONMENTS Hannah Brasier Wednesday 3:30-5:30pm (012.02.104) Friday 12:30-3:30pm (10.02.062)
MEMORY SCREEN Emile Zile Wednesday 1:30-3:30pm (012.02.104) Friday 12:30-3:30pm (012.02.104)
PERFORMING FUTURES Alan Nguyen /w Sam McGilp Monday 9:30am-12:30pm (010.02.062) Wednesday 12:30-2:30pm (010.02.062)


Rohan Spong Tuesday 12:30-3:30pm (010.02.062)

Monday 12:30-2:30pm (012.02.104)

Thursday 9:30-11:30am (012.02.104)

Wednesday 10:30am-1:30pm (012.02.104)

ZEPHYR Seth Keen Tuesday 2:30-4:30pm (012.02.104) Thursday 12:30-3:30pm (010.02.062)
SHOCK! A NEW HORROR! Tim Marshall Monday 3:30-6:30pm (010.02.062) Wednesday 3:30-5:30pm (008.09.004)
THINKING WITH PICTURES Liz Burke Wednesday 3:30-5:30pm (013.04.008) Friday 8:30am-11:30am (010.02.062)
WEIRD FEELINGS Stephanie Milsom Monday 10:30am-12:30pm (012.02.104) Wednesday 2:30-5:30pm (010.02.62)
PHANTOM CINEMA Adrian Danks Tuesday 9:30-11:30am (012.02.104) Thursday 1:30-4:30pm (012.02.104)


Hannah & Alan
Media Studio Coordinators

Studio Descriptions for semester 1, 2024

Please read the instructions below CAREFULLY before entering your preferences.

  1. Studio descriptions are provided in this Studio Descriptions, Sem 1 2024 booklet. Please read each description carefully.
  2. Studio times are listed in MyTimetable. Check the studio times against your other classes and commitments: do NOT preference a studio if you cannot attend.
  3. You can preference more than 3 studios in MyTimetable, and you will be automatically allocated once the preferencing period from 10am Thursday 25 January 2024 – 5pm Sunday 11 February 2024 has ended. Whilst preferencing opens on the 25th of January there is no rush to preference your studios, just remember to do so in this period.
  4. Other timetabling information can be found here.
  5. If there are any studio-specific issues, please use this form and we will get back to you within 48 hours.

To assist you with your preferences and scheduling, please see below for studio class times. Please note that ‘Prac 2’ may, in some instances, occur earlier in the week than ‘Prac 1’.

Studio Name Leader Prac 1 Prac 2
INSTINCT AND INTENTION Sebastian Bertoli Wednesday 2:30-4:30pm (010.02.062) Friday 1:30-4:30pm (012.02.104)
THE SCENE IN CINEMA Robin Plunkett Friday 2:30-4:30 (10.02.06) Tuesday 9:30am-12:30pm (10.02.062)
BEYOND A JOKE, BEYOND A GENRE Bradley Dixon Wednesday 11:30am-1:30pm (12.02.104) Monday 10:30am-1:30pm (12.02.104)
VISUAL BLUEPRINT Cat Lew Monday 12:30-2:30pm (010.02.62) Wednesday 8:30-11:30am (12.02.104)
READY CAMERA ONE Ruth Richards Tuesday 2:30-4:30pm (012.02.104) Friday 2:30-5:30pm (10.02.068-069, TV studio)
SOCIAL VIDEO ENSHITTIFICATION Seth Keen Tuesday 12:30-2:30pm (010.02.062) Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm (010.02.062)
ROOM WITH A VIEW Heather Jarvis Thursday 11:30am-1:30pm (012.02.104) Monday 9:30am-12:30pm (10.02.062)
TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS Alan Nguyen /w Joel Stern Wednesday 12:30-2:30pm (010.02.062) Monday 1:30-4:30pm (12.02.104)
THE MEDIA STUDIOS FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE Cerise Howard Monday 8:30-10:30am (12.02.104) Friday 10:30am-1:30pm (12.02.104)
THE PLOT THICKENS Stayci Taylor Tuesday 2:30-4:30pm (010.02.062) Wednesday 3:30-6:30pm (012.02.104)
REIMAGINING CLIME CLUB Hannah Brasier Wednesday 4:30-6:30pm (010.02.062) Friday 9:30am-12:30pm (010.02.062)
TRUTH BE TOLD Rohan Spong Tuesday 12:30-2:30pm (012.02.104) Thursday 2:30-5:30pm (10.02.62)
ART AND IMPACT Lucie McMahon Thursday 4:30-6:30pm (012.02.104) Monday 9:30am-12:30pm (80.02.16)

Flex Semester Media Studios 2023

Please read this entire post from start until end including all linked content.


Flex Studios are Media Studios that run in November/December, in an intensive, 6-week mode. This year, Flex Studios will run from Monday 23 October to Friday 1 December, with final assessments due by Friday 8 December.


Check with your academic advisor.


Please note this is a different process to allocating studios in the past, so read carefully!

  1. There are 4 x studios on offer for the flex semester, where you only allocate one
  2. Please read the descriptions in the Media Studios description book and times for each studio carefully below to decide on which studio you’re a) most interested in and b) can attend consistently for the 6-weeks
  3. Timetable allocation opens for studios this Thursday October 12 at 9am via myTimetable on a first-come-first-served basis, so please have a backup in case your chosen studio is completely allocated. Remember all of the studios are fantastic!


Here is the Media Studios description book: STUDIO DESCRIPTIONS FLEX 2023


In an intensive flex semester, you have 10 hours of classes per week, where the flex studios are timetabled at these times:

Studio  day  times  room  day   times  room  day  time  room 
DIRECTING PERFORMANCE  Wed  9:30-11:30am & 12:30-3:30pm  10.2.62  Thu  9:30-11:30am & 12:30-3:30pm  12.2.104       
HEADS WON’T ROLL  Mon  10:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm  12.2.104  Tue  10:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm  10.2.62       
SOCIAL VIDEO ENSHITTIFICATION  Mon  10:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm  10.2.62  Wed  10:30-1.30  Online  Thu  10:30-12:30  Online 
THE NEW SURREAL  Tue  10:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm  12.2.104  Thu  10:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm  10.2.62       


To prepare for your flex studio, sign up for a Mediafactory blog here: BLOGS

If any queries please use this Media Queries Form to contact Hannah and Alan (studio coordinators) who will get back to you within 48 hours.

Studio Descriptions – Semester 2, 2023

ATTENTION: Due to an error, studio preferencing may not be available until Wed 14 June; apologies.

The ballot process has CHANGED for this semester. Please read the instructions below CAREFULLY before entering your preferences.

  1. Studio descriptions are listed below. Please read each description carefully.
  2. Studio times are listed in MyTimetable. Check the studio times against your other classes and commitments: do NOT preference a studio if you cannot attend.
  3. You can preference up to 3 studios in MyTimetable, and you will be automatically allocated once the preferencing period (10am Fri 9 June – 5pm Fri 23 June) has ended: as this is now an automated process, studio swaps/changes are not possible.
  4. Other timetabling information can be found here.
  5. If there are any studio-specific issues, please use this form and we will get back to you within 48 hours.


Unpacking Automation in Everyday Life 

Image of person crossing the street blurring lights

“AI and ADM systems, technologies and devices do not and cannot exist independently or autonomously from human thought, embodiment and action. They are always inextricable from humans; they are entangled within social relationships, cultural contexts and human-made infrastructures and institutions”Pink (eds) (2022), Everyday Automation: Experiencing and Anticipating Emerging Technologies, Routledge, New York.  


What are some of the ways artificial intelligence tools and automated decision-making are portrayed through media; how does this affect our understanding of the uses and challenges of AI and ADM in our everyday lives? 


The word ‘automation’ conjures up images of giant machines or production lines, but automated decision-making (or ADM) informs a large part of our everyday lives in ways both subtle and profound. ADM plays a role in many aspects of society, including but not limited to health, transport, social services and news and media. One of the most discussed aspects of ADM are the artificial intelligence tools that now seem ubiquitous, with the impact on media making and media studies yet to be fully understood. 

In this partnered studio with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making + Society, you will explore the impact of ADM on the everyday. You will gain an understanding of exactly what ADM entails, the ways it intersects with the above aspects of society, its uses, and its challenges. We will ask questions such as, ‘What are the productive uses of automated decision-making and AI and what are the ethical implications of these uses?’, and ‘How has AI been previously discussed in in media and what are some of the ways we can demystify their functions?’.  

You will have the opportunity to hear from leading academics in the field as you investigate these questions. Projects include the development of short video essays that engage with an area of research of the Centre for Excellence.  


Dr Ruth Richards is a tutor and lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her thesis explored the intersections of feminist materialist philosophy and animated bodies, and her research interests include histories of women in animation, feminist film and television studies, and dis-/misinformation in contemporary media. She has previously run studios in multi-camera production, news satire, and in collaboration with RMIT ABC Fact Check. 


Experimenting with Generative AI for sounds, images and texts. 

Image: still from ‘Thank You For Not Answering’ (2023) Dir: Paul Trillo.  A short film made with Runway’s Gen-2 

“What kinds of new minds are being released into our world? The response to ChatGPT, and to the other chatbots that have followed in its wake, has often suggested that they are powerful, sophisticated, imaginative, and possibly even dangerous. But is that really true? If we treat these new artificial-intelligence tools as mysterious black boxes, it’s impossible to say. Only by taking the time to investigate how this technology actually works—from its high-level concepts down to its basic digital wiring—can we understand what we’re dealing with. We send messages into the electronic void, and receive surprising replies. But what, exactly, is writing back?”  – Cal Newport, ‘What Kind of Mind Does ChatGPT Have?’, The New Yorker, April 2023 


What is generative AI and how can it be used to co-create unique and thoughtful creative outcomes? How does it intersect with older modes of media production? What are the ethical, social, and philosophical implications of generative AI? 


This studio will journey into the speculative and experimental frontiers of generative AI, exploring the uncharted and emerging territories where these applications intersect with new forms of media, writing, music, art and culture. 

Using publicly accessible tools and interfaces— such as Chat GPT (text), MusicLM (audio), Runway (video), Midjourney (images), and others — we will navigate this emerging landscape, diving into the challenges, provocations, and lines of inquiry that arise when contemplating the future of media in the emerging era of generative AI. 

One aspect we will explore is the concept of ‘prompting’ as a new mode of production. Working within and between contexts of cinema, music, literature, experimental art and more, we will experiment with various forms of prompts, exploring their potential to spark creativity, provoke critical thought, and disrupt traditional notions of authorship and artistic intent.  

Through a speculative lens, we will examine how generative AI technologies reshape the landscape of media and culture. What can an AI-assisted film / book / music album be? What happens when AI algorithms become co-creators, collaborating with human artists in a dynamic interplay of generative expression? How do generative AI systems challenge established notions of aesthetics, style, and cultural production? What new narratives, aesthetics, and experiences emerge from this symbiotic relationship? What are the ethical, social, and philosophical implications of generative AI? 


Alan Nguyen is an international-award-winning writer, director and designer. He writes for TV and streaming (Disney+, NBCU, ABC, SBS) theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company, Arts House) and works with new emerging technologies such as VR, AR and AI (Australia Council for the Arts, EyeJack). He is a Lecturer in Media at RMIT.  


Joel Stern is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, and an Associate Editor at Disclaimer journal. With a background in experimental music, Stern’s work — spanning research, curation, and art — focuses on practices of sound and listening and how these shape our contemporary worlds. His current work focuses on ‘machine listening’ and the relationship between sound and the politics of automation and AI. From 2013-2022 he was the Artistic Director of sonic art organisation Liquid Architecture. 


Taking screenwriting serially.


“Historically, screenwriters have been regarded as having low autonomy, yet [Australian TV writers] offer a complex and nuanced account of work in writers’ rooms, and the cultural and economic pressures that shape it” (Maloney and Burne 2021, 187).  

Maloney, N. and P. Burne. (2021). ‘So Much Drama, So Little Time: writers’ rooms in Australian television drama production’. In Script Development: Critical Approaches, Creative Practices, International Perspectives, edited by C. Batty and S. Taylor, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 185–204 


How do teams of ‘staff writers’ develop episodic screen stories from concept to pilot script? And what can these processes teach us about narrative structure, collaboration and series worth bingeing? 


This studio offers you a rare opportunity to develop your skills in concept development and screenwriting within the created conditions of a TV writers’ room.  

As a result of this studio you will have an understanding of television storylining techniques, and how to deploy them over a series of industry documents including beat sheets, scene-by-scene breakdowns, production bibles and scripts. 

Together we will research the roles and responsibilities of the writers’ room. We will analyse the structures of the series that keep us hooked. You will learn about slippery definitions such as series, serial, mini-series, limited series, sitcom and soap, and how these modes have changed and/or endured from broadcast to streamers. 

Over a process of pitching, cast design, forward planning, storylining, production bible creation and pilot writing, we will emerge as co-creators of an original series. If this sounds like the ultimate group-work nightmare, that’s a risk we’ll have to be willing to take. But, more likely, we’ll experience ‘writers’ rooms operating at their best when writers work together to create narrative, but also for there to be capacity for individual agency and expression’ (Maloney and Burne 2021, 192).  

The studio’s aim is to leave you with the ‘belief that a good story was a group effort and that, when it emerged, there was a collective pride in what was achieved’ (ibid). Whatever happens, you will be immersed in an iteration of writers’ room culture, and have accrued the skills within. 


Stayci Taylor is a Senior Lecturer teaching across media and creative writing. She is co-editor of two books on script development, one on the iconic Aussie series Wentworth and Prisoner, and another on creative writing methods. In 2022 she was named as the national leader in her field (film) in The Australian research awards. Her PhD in screenwriting practice won the RMIT prize for research excellence in her category (2017). She brings to her research a background in writing for television in her home country of New Zealand, including 9 seasons of an award-winning bilingual soap, and the co-creation of an award-nominated primetime sitcom.  


Experiments in the space between actuality and fiction 

“…for us fiction matters because if you combine it with documentary images or a documentary situation you get a contradiction where sparks can fly. Fiction is crucial to start the fire.”  

Danièle Huillet quoted in the BFI obituary of Jean-Marie Straub 


What can a film be?  


This studio offers the opportunity to explore the intersection between actuality and fiction as a way to develop individual, idiosyncratic film projects.   

A series of practical exercises will be used to help identify both subject matter and the unique means by which these subjects may be investigated and expanded upon.   


Robin Plunkett is a cinematographer.  He has worked in all capacities in camera departments for more than 35 years.  He also has experience as a producer, director (of non-fiction) and editor.  For the last several years he has been teaching elements of cinematography, and film production in general, at the VCA and RMIT.    


Conceiving and crafting a narrative storytelling podcast series 

“Most podcasts are structured around the oral traditions of either storytelling or conversation, which underscores the most obvious formal fact of podcasts: They’re driven by voices.”

Weiner, J., 2014. The voices: Toward a critical theory of podcasting. Slate, Dec. 

“Described as an open platform for communication, podcasting is seen as an extension of the everyday discussions between the hosts of each podcast and as a space where, alongside guests, they can explore issues that interest or concern them. The presence of the audience offers new opportunities for public, personal and political articulations that often go unheard.”

Vrikki, P. and Malik, S., 2019. Voicing lived-experience and anti-racism: Podcasting as a space at the margins for subaltern counterpublics. Popular Communication, 17(4), pp.273-287. 


How can we work collaboratively to produce a podcast series that authentically reflects our audience’s diverse voices and perspectives? What are the distinctive characteristics of podcasting and audio storytelling that help us create meaningful connections between producers, hosts and listeners? 


 In this studio, students will work collaboratively to devise, produce, publish and promote a whole-of-studio podcast series based on voice and sound-rich storytelling. The class will vote on the name, theme and target audience, following brainstorming work and pitches in smaller groups. Each student will produce an individual story that will feature in an episode of the series, as well as take on other production roles.  

In the weekly workshops, you will build practical skills in recording, interviewing, writing, presenting, editing and mixing. There will be scope to design artwork and pitch music for the series, as well as learn about and take on other vital roles. There will be dedicated time in workshops for collaborative production work and for listening to and analysing audio stories and podcasts. 

Questions we may explore include: 

  • What are the fundamental elements of an engaging podcast series, and how can they be effectively incorporated into the design and creation process?  
  • How can storytelling techniques and narrative structures be utilised to engage and captivate listeners? 
  • How can we clearly define a target audience, and how can their preferences and interests inform content creation? 
  • How can we ensure the series reflects and amplifies the diversity of voices and perspectives within the target audience? 
  • What are the technical aspects involved in podcast production, and how important are they in producing high-quality episodes? 
  • How can we effectively promote and distribute the series in a challenging environment where “discoverability” is critical?  


Heather Jarvis is a radio & podcast producer, journalist, and lecturer in Media at RMIT. In her extensive career at the ABC and community radio, Heather produced and presented programs spanning from music and magazine-style shows to documentaries, features, current affairs and sport. Her radio documentary work has been shortlisted for the Amnesty International Australia Media Awards and the United Nations Media Awards. Heather’s practice-based PhD research examines podcasting as a feminist, decolonising practice. She is currently working on a podcast series on healthy aging for seniors as part of RMIT’s Pathways to Healthy Ageing interdisciplinary initiative.  


Imagining and exploring “unmade” movies and the ephemerality of moviegoing 


Image: still from Tsai Ming-Liang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003) 

“The cinema is an invention without a future.” 

(statement widely attributed to cinema pioneer Louis Lumière and quoted by Jean-Luc Godard in Le mépris/Contempt, 1963) 


How can we use lost, unmade, partly imagined, non-existent, and incomplete “films”, as well as our ephemeral histories and practices of filmgoing, to create and inspire new works across a range of media forms?  


The evocative term “phantom cinema” suggests many different possibilities, from those films that were planned and never made to the cinemas themselves that no longer exist. In some respects, the history of those films that were never made, the cinemas that no longer survive, the movies that only exist inside other movies (say the films partly imagined in a movie like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), the ephemeral practices of movie watching, and the works made by filmmakers and photographers such as Guy Maddin, Tsai Ming-Liang and Cindy Sherman that respond to this “loss”, are larger, richer, and more evocative than what survives. These spaces and artefacts (for example, scripts for films that were never made) also provide creative opportunities for writers, curators, and media makers to imagine and work with these lost, unmade or ephemerally conceived projects. These histories and realities also feed into the discourses around the “death of cinema” that have once again taken centre stage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of streaming, highlighting profound, seemingly unprecedented changes in technology and audience habits. 

This studio will examine the notion of “phantom cinema” through an exploration of a range of different media and approaches (potentially from video essays to curated exhibitions and screenings). It will explore the ways in which media makers, writers, and curators have responded to these counter-histories by imagining and representing “stills” for movies that don’t exist (see the work of Cindy Sherman), exploring the physical archaeology of the cinema space itself, recording soundtracks for not-quite existing movies (see the work of Brian Eno and many others), consciously reshaping the canon, proffering bold alternate histories (see, for example, Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan’s Hollywood), remixing, and completing unfinished works in the style (or not) of their original creators. A key aspect of this studio will be an interrogation and opening up of this generally unexplored field to incorporate a range of potential responses, helping address issues of authorship, diversity, and who has been sanctioned to create work at particular points in time. In this regard, it is important to note that the notion of “unmade”, “unseen” or “phantom” media also allows us to imagine and reincorporate other(ed) possibilities, representations, and practices. 

This studio will utilise and work closely with several key resources at RMIT such as the Capitol Theatre (which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024) and the AFI Research Collection @ RMIT (which holds materials for some of these “unmade” films). It will also draw upon the rich cinema and media heritage of Melbourne, exploring old and new, conventional and unconventional places in which films have been shown. In so doing, it will provide a creative opportunity to explore, renew, rethink, remix, and reimagine these historical and contemporary artefacts and practices. 


Adrian Danks is a teacher, editor, curator, award-winning critic, and essayist. He is co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque and was an editor of Senses of Cinema between 2000 and 2014. He is author of the edited collections A Companion to Robert Altman (Wiley, 2015) and American-Australian Cinema (Palgrave, 2018, with Steve Gaunson), and the recent monograph, Australian International Pictures (with Con Verevis, Edinburgh UP, 2023). He has published hundreds of essays and book chapters on cinema, and has served on the selection committees, curatorial boards, and judging panels of organisations like the Melbourne International Film Festival, ATOM, AACTA, ACMI, Experimenta, ReelDance and the Big West Festival. 


Interview based documentary production

Image: still from TABLOID (2010, dir. Errol Morris) 

“My stuff always starts with interviews. I start interviewing people and then slowly but surely, a movie insinuates itself.” – Errol Morris, AVClub, 2008.  


What technical and ethical arise when we interview human participants about their lives?  


In REAL PEOPLE, REEL LIVES, students will engage in a variety of studio activities (including class discussion, media production, and reflective writing) that consider the use of interview in documentary film. In the first half of the semester, students will reflect on the (very different) approaches to interview taken by Errol Morris and Molly Dineen, before developing a code of conduct for their own filming of human participants. Practical classes will assist students in evaluating and honing their own media production skills. The second half of the semester finds students working in small groups to devise, pitch and produce a major nonfiction work with interview at its core. It is encouraged that this major work is a short documentary of 5 minutes duration but there is also scope to create a print or transmedia artefact. 


Rohan Spong is a writer / director / cinematographer whose interview-based feature length films ALL THE WAY THROUGH EVENING (2012) and WINTER AT WESTBETH (2016) have been released in cinemas (Australia, New Zealand & US), been broadcast on television (ABC, SBS, FOXTEL, 7PLUS and on PBS/WORLD) and selected by numerous film festivals (including MIFF, Sydney Film Festival, DOC NYC). His work has also been programmed at cultural institutions including ACMI, MONA, Boston Museum of Art, Lincoln Center (NYC) and the US Library of Congress.  

You can read more about his work at   


Exploring horror film through a contemporary lens 

Image: still from Get Out (2017, Dir: Jordan Peele)

“Just because it’s a horror film doesn’t mean it can’t be deep” —Jennifer Kent
Australian Screen in The 2000s, edited by Mark David Ryan, and Ben Goldsmith, Springer International Publishing AG, 2018 

What is art-horror and is it really a new genre? How do horror films historically explore deeper themes and meanings, and how has this shifted in modern horror films to give voice to underrepresented stories and characters, and push the style, structures, and tropes of horror films to new territory? 


From Jennifer Kent’s ‘The Babadook’, to Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’, Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’, and Robert Egger’s ‘The Lighthouse’, is a new style of horror emerging? Some terms being explored for these modern horrors are ‘art horror’, ‘elevated horror’, or ‘post-horror’. The commonality of these films can include: an ‘arthouse style’ that depart from more ‘commercial’ representations of horror, a focus on rich emotional character journeys, and a direct or metaphorical exploration of deeper themes, often where the horror speaks to current cultural and/or socio-political issues.  

But is this in fact a new lens of horror, or a more a reframing of traditional horror cinema? We will take a journey through modern art horror films, all the way back to horror classics such as Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’, George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’, the bold stylings of Italian ‘Giallo’ horror such as Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’, and 1920s silent film ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’, to unpack ways in which the traditions of the horror genre informs this new art horror movement, and finally how we can construct our own art horror ideas, that bare relevance to our own current contexts, and continue to subvert the genre both stylistically and thematically.  

In this studio, you will first research and explore traditional and modern art horror cinema, and from this exploration write and then, in groups, make an art horror short film.  


Tim Marshall is an award-winning writer/director. In 2013, his short film Gorilla won the Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBTQIA+ short film prize. His short film Followers, screened at Sundance Film, SXSW, and MIFF in 2015. 

Tim has just completed his first feature film as writer/director/producer, queer horror Closing Night. The film stars award-winning queer actor Daniel Monks, with executive producers Dan Lake and Kurt Royan from Orange Entertainment Co. The film will be released in 2023.

As a screenwriter, Tim has learned from the very best – having developed his scripts with the assistance of script consultants including Andrew Ellard (writer, IT Crowd, Red Dwarf), Lynne Vincent McCarthy (script editor, The Babadook, The Nightingale), Ruth Atkinson (Sundance Screenwriting Lab script consultant), and Guinevere Turner (writer, American Psycho)

Tim has been selected for Screen Australia’s Talent USA program, and the Film Independent Directing Lab in Los Angeles, which included mentorship from Barry Jenkins, and Chloe Zhao. 


Creating Synthetic Media with Film and Video  

Image: ‘No Country for Old Actors’, Deepfake – Source Ctrl Shift Face/Youtube 2019. 

“Crucially, deepfakes are democratic in nature: the only things needed are training material for the algorithms and computing power; in contrast to traditional photo or video editing software, no specialist skill is necessary as the process is automated, meaning that even a relative amateur can produce high-quality synthetic content Chesney and Citron, (2019) 


How might Synthetic Media provide a creative foundation and orientation to the expansive AI generation field and contribute in inspiring a broad range of theories on AI generated technology?  


Filmmaking has become more democratic than ever. This is potentially in part due to advances in synthetic media; a new form of virtual media produced with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI). Generally, the medium can incorporate visuals, voice, video, writing, music, drawings or paintings. This flexibility allows for diverse ways of storytelling through media. It is characterised by a high degree of realism and immersivity. Moreover, synthetic media tends to be indistinguishable from other real-world media, making it extremely challenging for the user to discern from its artificial nature. One of the most famous examples of deepfake technology being used in a film is Star Wars: Rogue One (Edwards, 2016). New forms of synthetic media have broken records for early public adoption and a technological shift potentially more far-reaching than the internet itself. The broad category of generative AI has the potential to disrupt industry, art, and culture, both if done poorly and if done well.  

This studio will explore the production and creation of synthetic video alongside the methods of traditional film making. Enabled by exploration of long form cinema and a range of cloud software, this studio will provide a comprehensive, but introductory overview of the development of synthetic media, the cinematic methods used to produce artificially generated content, and the industry opportunities for filmmaking and virtual production.  

This course will be a comprehensive orientation to this expanding field, while grounding students in an introduction to contemporary tools and techniques. In this studio, students will research, develop and produce film, video work and immersive art that explore the idea of synthetic media through focusing on novel and immersive forms of cinematic experiences. In response to findings each week on key synthetic media-focused texts, students will be asked to:  

  • explore the current state of synthetic media, its pros, its cons, and potential trajectory globally
  • compare and contrast with other immersive media and the methods used to produce artificially generated content
  • discuss the industry opportunities for filmmaking and virtual production
  • experiment with the current tools and techniques of synthetic media

Students will create film, video and audio work that explores synthetic media. This will potentially include an exploration of synthetic media applications such as UE MetaHuman Creator, Midjourney, DALL- E2, Runway, Maya, Substance 3D, Polycam, green screen chroma keying as well as traditional filmmaking & foley techniques. The class will be an amalgamation of discourse, discussion, and practical experimentation. 


Cat Lew is a Video Artist, Sound Designer, Audio Engineer and Educator. She has a diverse creative practice, having produced video art and sound design for Melbourne Fringe Festival, West Projection Festival, Creative Brimbank, Incinerator Gallery, Mesma Studio, Cinema Viscera, City of Melbourne and City of Maribyrnong. She currently teaches digital media, film & sound editing and design at VU Polytechnic, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and RMIT.


Enhancing your broader media practice via photographic thinking and experiments

Image credit: Brian Morris, 2017

‘A knowledge of photography is just as important as that of the alphabet. The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the use of the camera and pen alike.’  

-László Moholy-Nagy. ‘From Pigment to Light’, Telebar Vol.1-2, 1923  


How do practical and conceptual ‘uses of photography’ matter to us as contemporary media practitioners?  


What is a photograph now? What are some of the diverse uses to which photographs are put by both professional and non-professional image-makers? How might an expanded literacy around the still image be useful for your media practice regardless of whether you aspire to be a film and television maker, social media producer, cultural critic or radio practitioner?  

This studio explores these questions through repeated cycles of making, looking at, reading, thinking and talking about a range of various kinds of photography that might include portraiture, street photography, social media forms, production stills, photo books, studio-based, ethnography/documentary, expanded photography, fine art and promptography.  

Moholy-Nagy’s observation about the importance of photographic literacy still holds water eighty years after it was made – but it needs re-examining in the radically different context of digital and platform media and emerging AI-mediated processes. Today, influential pre-digital ideas about how we ‘read’ and culturally incorporate photography in our lives jostle alongside newer theories that have emerged in the internet era. Any exploration of contemporary photography needs to take account of fundamental changes in technologies, practices and contexts that have destabilized the very idea of ‘the photograph’ and photography as a practice. That uncertainty figures as a lament for some and a creative opportunity for others.  

This studio will provide an opportunity for you to further develop your own photographic literacy, including production and post-production skills, and investigate the usefulness of photography in enhancing your broader visual media practice.  


Brian Morris has taught and researched media at tertiary level for twenty-five years. His past areas of teaching and research include media representations of cities and places, media technologies, television studies, cultural studies, photography and media education. He still gets a buzz working alongside students to investigate why and how things in the world are or might be through different combinations of thinking, doing and discussing.


Making the audience squirm with experiments in fictional narrative film

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”   

– Pablo Picasso  

How might subversive filmmaking generate discomfort in an audience? 


As filmmakers, we want our audience to be engaged with the themes and narratives of our work, challenged by its content and form. We might build anxiety through a rapid action sequence, anticipation through a too-long shot of a doorway, confusion through inconsistencies in composition and continuity. Knowing how form and narrative work together to generate certain emotions is an important tool for the filmmaker to have – but how do we generate discomfort, specifically, and why might we want to? 

Subversive practice is a method in which the established conventions and expectations of filmmaking and/or filmgoing are challenged, contradicted, or reversed. When films do this, often audiences might feel confused, shocked, intrigued, amused, or otherwise uncomfortable. This technique can therefore be used as an approach towards uncomfortable filmmaking, and has applications in horror, comedy, drama and beyond. 

In order to subvert something, you first need to understand how it operates in an expected or conventional manner. Therefore, through this studio you can expect to learn about the ‘rules’ of effective narrative filmmaking, including proven/common narrative structures, composition and framing, coverage, continuity, and editing. We will then look at examples of where these rules have been broken in ways that create interesting film-watching experiences through the generation of discomfort, across various genres.  

You will write and produce your own experimental film sketches that aim to generate discomfort through clear sites of subversive practice and reflect on the effect this has on the experience, tone, genre and meaning of your work. 


Kiralee Greenhalgh is a filmmaker and PhD candidate at RMIT University, with special interests in film form, narratology, interactivity, audience agency and cross media storytelling. She has a specific love for the surreal and the absurd, fostered through an obsession with horror films, sketch comedy and a long-term working relationship with comedy group Aunty Donna. She also has an extensive catalogue of music video works, having collaborated with artists such as Peach PRC, Gang of Youths and Missy Higgins. Kiralee is currently in post-production for her self-directed comedy-horror interactive titled Night of the Living Haunted House Attractions, and short horror film The Glow.  

sem 1 ’23 timetable and allocations


  • For reasons out of our hands, the studio times may not appear in your timetable for a while. The studio you have been allocated to, either in the allocations below or by email from the studio coordinators is the studio you are in



  • You do not need to select your studio in myTimetable – this will be done automatically.


  • Please put in your preferences for non-studio classes around your allocated studio. 


  • You may not have got your first studio preference but remember, all studios are fantastic. We can only change your studio allocation under very special circumstances. Work shift and timetabling clashes are not valid reasons. Your studio is your core study so you may need to move things around your studio.


  • For any queries, please use this form and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours. 
    • After submitting your query to the form we will reply in email. You must Reply All if there a few people cceed.


  • Here are the studio allocations and timetable.
    • Please note: the latest allocations are:
      • in your mytimeable or
      • as you’ve been notified by the studio coordinators in email                           
    • 1’23 Studios Timetable
      • NOTE: if you are new to studios you will see two classes for each studio. You need to attend BOTH

Yours in Studio

Paul, Dan and Alan


Semester 1 2023 Media Studio Ballot


Media Studios are timetabled SEPARATELY to MyTimetable. The times and days of each studio session will be made available with the Studio Descriptions before you ballot. PLEASE CHECK days/times against your other commitments BEFORE selecting your studio. You will also need to select activities for your other classes AROUND your studio times.

On Monday 16 January, the Studio Descriptions will be published on this website. Read through them carefully, before entering your top three preferences into the ballot on Tuesday 17 January. We have set the ballot up this way so that it interferes as little as possible with your other timetabling (i.e. you can preference classes around your studio).

The below checklist will be updated with appropriate links at each stage.

For any queries, please use this form and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours.

Semester 1’23 Ballot Procedure:

Draft timetable available to view in MyTimetable

16 Jan – Studio descriptions/times released – HERE

17 Jan – Studio ballot opens 8:00am HERE

22 Jan – Studio ballot closes 11:59pm

25 Jan – Studio allocations Round 1 released (on the 27th apologies)

27 Jan – Timetable preferencing opens

2 Feb – Studio allocations Final Round released

5 Feb – Timetable preferencing closes

✘ 20 Feb – Access granted to studio Canvas shells

✘ 27 Feb – Semester 1 classes begin

Flex Semester Media Studios


Flex Studios are Media Studios that run in November/December, in an intensive, 6-week mode. This year, Flex Studios will run from Monday 31 October to Friday 9 December, with final assessments due Friday 16 December.


Check with your academic advisor.



Character and location in non-fiction media making

Timetable (you must attend all sessions):

WEDNESDAY 10:30-12:30 + 13:30-16:30

FRIDAY 10:30-12:30 + 13:30-16:30

Daguerréotypes (1975, dir. Agnes Varda)

Studio question:

What are some of the technical and ethical considerations when we turn the camera towards characters and locations and describe our work as documentary?

Studio description:

In People + Places, students will engage in a variety of studio activities (including screenings, discussion, practical exercises, reflective tasks and media production) to explore the various ways in which non fiction materials can be arranged for different outcomes and audiences. The first half of the semester finds students researching and reflecting on various approaches to capturing the real world. In class, students will respond to the work of practitioners such as filmmakers Frederick Wiseman and Molly Dineen and photographers Eve Arnold and Martin Parr in a series of in class exercises. Along the way, students will evaluate and improve their media production skills. The second half of the semester finds students working in small groups to devise, pitch and produce a major work. This major work is usually a short documentary of 5 minutes duration but there is also scope to create a print or transmedia artefact.

Studio leader:

Rohan Spong is a writer / director / cinematographer whose feature length films ALL THE WAY THROUGH EVENING (2012) and WINTER AT WESTBETH (2016) have been released in cinemas (Australia, New Zealand & US), been broadcast on television (ABC, SBS, FOXTEL, 7PLUS and on PBS/WORLD) and selected by numerous film festivals (including MIFF, Sydney Film Festival, DOC NYC). His work has also been programmed at cultural institutions including ACMI, MONA, Boston Museum of Art, Lincoln Center (NYC) and the US Library of Congress.

You can read more about his work at


The learning of filmmaking inspired by prompts and guided with constraints. 

Timetable (you must attend all sessions):

MONDAY 12:30-15:30 AEST

TUESDAY 12:30-14:30 AEST

THURSDAY 12:30-15:30 + 16:30-18:30 AEST

‘[Y]ou know you are encountering art when you are engaging with an intentional process or product that causes surprising transformations in matter or in a moment.’

Gibson, Ross. 2009. “The Known World.” Text, no. 2007: 1–11. Brien, Burr & Webb (eds) 5 TEXT Special issue, Symposium: Creative and practice-led research—current status, future plans, Oct. 2010

Studio question:

Could a different approach to the learning of filmmaking – working through a series of projects inspired by prompts and guided by constraints that investigate different facets of film production – elicit better outcomes?

Studio description:

In order to evolve our filmmaking skills we need to steady up, take a breath and slow things down — become more deliberate. Through an iterative cycle of learning, making and reflection you will develop your competency in production techniques and your analytical skills will become more refined.

You will be viewing and analysing other’s work in parallel with planning, shooting and editing small projects in and out of class time. Each project will be inspired by a prompt and/or a constraint.

You will develop the technical competencies required to work through each of these projects. This will deepen your knowledge of each of the facets of film production and how they work together. The methods of collaboration and production will be designed as we progress through the semester. There will be time for discussion and feedback back from staff and your peers. Outside of class time you will be researching, reflecting and writing on the issues each of the projects gives rise to.

The second half of the semester you will initiate your own series of film projects that will be small and contained. This is the reverse of the usual film school model of loading all of your eggs into the last week mega project and smashing them all together into a dissipated mess.

Studio leader:

Paul Ritchard lectures in film production and is a member of the nonfiction lab and the Screen and Sound Cultures group at RMIT University. His PhD is titled THE RIVER PROJECT Towards an Eco-Aesthetic practice where he is producing a series of films on rivers.

He has made 13 short films; two of which have been festival finalists. He worked on Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. After graduating from RMIT Media in 1994, he worked as a freelance editor and camera operator while running his own production company ‘No Name Films’ which produced over 120 films, music clips, corporate videos and promos.

Semester 2 Media Studio Ballot

The Semester 2 Ballot Process has now ended.

Media Studios are timetabled SEPARATELY to MyTimetable. The times and days of each studio session will be made available with the Studio Descriptions before you ballot. PLEASE CHECK days/times against your other commitments BEFORE selecting your studio. You will also need to select activities for your other classes AROUND your studio times.

On Wednesday 25 May, the Studio Descriptions will be published on this website. Read through them carefully, before entering your top three preferences into the ballot on Thursday 26 May.

The below checklist will be updated with appropriate links at each stage.

Semester 2 Ballot Procedure:

✔️ 23 May – Draft timetable available to view in MyTimetable

✔️ 25 May – Studio descriptions/times released — AVAILABLE NOW

✔️ 26 May – Studio ballot opens

✔️ 5 Jun – Studio ballot closes 11:59pm

✔️ 9 Jun – Studio allocations Round 1 released

✔️ 10 Jun – Timetable preferencing opens

✔️ 23 Jun – Studio allocations Final Round released — AVAILABLE NOW

✔️ 24 Jun – Timetable preferencing closes