Dr. Kate Fortmueller
About: Kate Fortmueller teaches courses in media industries and media theory. Her research focuses on media industry studies with an emphasis on labor.
Ph.D., Critical Studies, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
M.A., Critical Studies, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
B.A., Government and Italian Studies, Smith College
Research Interests and Activities
Dr. Fortmueller’s work combines political economy, media industries studies, and cultural studies. Her research on actors and below the line talent utilizes both archival evidence and ethnographic methods to explore historical and contemporary issues for people working in film, television, and digital production. Dr. Fortmueller’s forthcoming book is about actors and the growth of freelance labor in Hollywood. Her work appears in Film History, the Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, Journal of Film and Video, Television & New Media and is forthcoming in Media Industries.
Abstract: The early 1970s marked a number of significant changes in the television landscape: new regulatory structures, the growth of cable, and shifts in programming including a steep rise in televised reruns. By 1972, reruns constituted over half of prime time network television. Although this practice benefited the financial bottom-line for producers, it was frustrating […]Read More
Abstract: In the 1970s, almost fifty years before the “Time’s Up” movement, women in Hollywood unions organized “women’s committees” to counter institutional sexism and address rampant underemployment. While the unions supported the general motive behind these committees’ efforts, women activists struggled to gather information about hiring practices and enact policy changes. To understand gender inequity […]Read More
Abstract: Actors are, and have always been, the biggest labor force in Hollywood. Although their faces might be familiar, how they have negotiated the extremely competitive and ever-changing business of Hollywood is typically a mystery. For many, at least those below the level of stars, work in Hollywood is inconsistent. Hollywood Freelance demonstrates how sporadic […]Read More
From the ragtag crews of 1910s productions to the organized backlots of Classical Hollywood to the runaway productions of the last fifty years, Hollywood has employed a wide array of workers. Their duties have ranged from hanging lights and writing music to designing sets and casting talent, and their professional norms and practices have helped […]Read More
Abstract: “What type of sword am I wielding?” For most performers in visual media this question is moot, clearly answered by the prop department – but for video game voice actors, understanding the imaginary weight and velocity of an object provides essential information to help them find the appropriate vocal range for a performance. Voice […]Read More
Dr. Fortmueller’s courses are designed to help students understand the relationship between media studies and media making while giving them a fuller understanding of media histories. Prior to teaching in Grady College, she taught in the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and at Fairfield University.