University of Texas students, meet your newest professor: Matthew McConaughey.
The Oscar-winning actor has been appointed as a professor of practice at UT Austin’s Department of Radio-Television-Film, the university announced Wednesday. Those appointments are often bestowed on people who lack PhDs, but have the experience and skills to make up for it.
The appointment might seem out of left field, but McConaughey has actually been a visiting instructor at the school for four years.
He co-teaches and developed the curriculum for a class called “Script to Screen,” which provides students an insider’s look at every step of the film production process using real-life case studies — films starring McConaughey.
This semester, the class studied the Harmony Korine stoner comedy “The Beach Bum” and the upcoming Guy Ritchie-helmed crime comedy “The Gentleman.”
The reading list includes script drafts, shot lists, and storyboards. Students also get guidance on pitching and workshopping their own projects.
Now officially a professor, McConaughey’s fall semester class will include a study of “The Gentleman” and the 2012 drama “Mud,” whose director Jeff Nichols is scheduled to visit.
McConaughey, who graduated with a film degree from UT Austin in 1993, said in a 2017 interview with Texas Monthly his aim is to boil down for his students the seemingly mystical qualities of filmmaking into science — which involves collaboration, passion, and openness.
“They ask some menacing questions that remind me of back when I was 20 and I had those same questions,” he said.
The actor described the class as the kind he would have liked to have taken when he was a student. He quickly learned on the set of his first feature, “Dazed and Confused,” that his assumptions were all wrong.
“I know when I was in film school I thought being a film director was a dictatorship, and I was intimidated by not having the right answer to everything,” he said.
Students give McConaughey high marks.
“He just drops those wisdom bombs all the time and that’s kind of how his Academy Awards acceptance speech was and that’s just how he talks normally,” student Maryanne Maxwell said in the Texas Monthly interview.
McConaughey has an unheard of 5.0 rating on the Rate My Professors website, with one reviewer naturally remarking “His class was ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT!”