Joseph Fortunato

Lecturer Sr, MY
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002
Lecturer Sr, MY
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002
Lecturer Sr, MY
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002

Student Information

Graduate Student
Journalism and Mass Communication
Cronkite School-Journ/MassComm

Biography

A native of Akron, Ohio, Joe Fortunato began his entertainment career as a research assistant on NBC's TODAY show in the summer of 1988. After graduating from Yale University the following year, he came to Los Angeles and worked at ABC in Children's & Family Programs where he oversaw the highly rated Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. Fortunato then spent the next five years developing movies for television, starting at NBC and then as head of development at Steve Krantz Productions. From there, he joined the Creative Affairs team at Shukovsky English Entertainment (SEE) to help develop primetime series for the company. At SEE, he was involved with such comedies as The Louie Show, Ink, Murphy Brown and the CBS pilot Lawyers. While working closely with seasoned comedy writers, Fortunato became interested in pursuing a writing career of his own. He partnered with writer James Koonce, and together they worked as staff writers for the FOX comedy Living in Captivity under the tutelage of Murphy Brown creator Diane English. From there, the pair wrote several TV pilots and a feature film, Nowhere Man, which was being developed at Disney. As both a writer and executive, Fortunato has served as a panelist on several comedy and writing seminars and has been a judge for the Scriptwriter's Network annual writing competition as well as the WGA awards. He also spent three years on the Board of Directors for Future of Hollywood, a philanthropic organization comprised of young professionals in the entertainment industry, where he wrote a popular column for the organization's quarterly newsletter. Aside from his full-time duties as a Sr. Lecturer at ASU, Fortunato has served on the executive board for the Independent Feature Project (IFP), Phoenix Chapter and is a member of the Writer's Guild of America. In addition to being on the faculty, Joe is currently pursuing a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.  His latest research projects include “The Gaze and The Spielberg Face: Steven Spielberg’s Application of Lacan’s Mirror Stage and Audience Response” and “Truth, Torture and the Political  “Chilling” of Zero Dark Thirty.”  He is also the creator of "Fortunato Film School" a popular program in Arizona where he hosts screenings of classic films with live commentary for cinema enthusiasts all around the Phoenix area and beyond.

Joe currently lives, works and shops in Phoenix’s East Valley. He is single, but shares his home with his dog Brody, an extensive Jaws collection, a vintage KISS pinball machine and his beloved Evel Knievel lunchbox. 

Research Interests

Film Study & History, Screenwriting

Publications

  • Fortunato, J. (projected 2017). “Bombs Away? Revisiting the “Failure” of Steven Spielberg’s 1941.” Book chapter in the upcoming collection, Media Fails: What Flops, Fiascos, and Bungles Tell Us About Media History, edited by Carole Stabile and Phoebe Bronstein.  Despite its largely pre-determined reputation, Steven Spielberg's epic "failure" 1941 was not the catastrophe its legacy suggests. This analysis examines a variety of creative, business and cultural factors that contributed to the uneven finished product, and raises another consideration - Could the film’s status as a “bomb” be the result of a narrative of failure originally constructed by critics biased against Spielberg’s early success?
  • Fortunato, J. (2017). “Steven Spielberg.” Contributing chapter in the collection, Race in American Film: The Complete Resource, edited by Michael Green for ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press.  An overview of race and racial issues in the cinema of Steven Spielberg from his early allegories of race in E.T. and more sanitized versions of racial issues in Amistad or The Color Purple to his later attempts to explore deeper and more complex racial stories in such films as Schindler’s List and Munich
  • Fortunato, J. (2014). “The Spielberg Face”: How Steven Spielberg Uses Lacan’s Mirror Stage to Influence Audiences. Published in peer-reviewed journal Visual Communication Quarterly 21:1, 43-53. DOI: 10.1080/15551393.2014.892788.  Through the theoretical framework of Jacques Lacan’s “Mirror Stage,” this unique study employs statistical analysis to code the frequency with which Spielberg applies one signature shot, known as the “Spielberg Face,” that emotionally influences the viewer by providing them with desirable images of the human face.  Goal of the study is to provide statistical evidence that Spielberg employs Lacan’s theory in his more popular films.
  • Fortunato, J. (2014). “Those Were the Days: How Changes in Technology Have Altered How We Watch Television.” Published in peer-reviewed journal The Mid-Atlantic Almanack Vol. 23, 171-183. ISSN 1063-1763. The Journal of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association.  In recent decades, technological changes such as DVRs, streaming media, file sharing, and other outlets for viewing television content “on-demand” has not only altered the business of television distribution, but also the social and personal ways we interact with television programs.  This essay examines how “event television” that was watched by large audiences together in the Classic Network Era has shifted to fractured audiences, binge viewing and “spoiler alerts” in the current Convergence Era of television.

 

Courses

Summer 2018
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
MCO 450 Visual Communication
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
MCO 450 Visual Communication
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
MCO 450 Visual Communication
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Summer 2017
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
MCO 450 Visual Communication
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
MCO 450 Visual Communication
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Summer 2016
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
MCO 450 Visual Communication
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
FMP 484 Internship
THF 497 Senior Project
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 598 Special Topics
Summer 2015
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
FMP 484 Internship
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
FMP 484 Internship
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 598 Special Topics
Summer 2014
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
FMP 484 Internship
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
FMP 201 Film: The Creative Process I
FMP 261 Introduction to Screenwriting
FMP 294 Special Topics
THE 405 Film: Great Perfrmrs/Directors
FMP 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 598 Special Topics