It’s a class McConaughey conceived and designed, said Jay Bernhardt, dean of the communication college. The class involves “walking through an entire motion picture from the first draft of the script to postproduction and release,” with all the different steps involved, Bernhardt said.
“It’s the class I wish I would have had when I was in film school,” McConaughey said in a statement. “Working in the classroom with these students gives me a chance to prepare them. Making movies, turning words on paper into film, is both a science and art — no matter the time or generation. The elements of truth and genuine joy for the process are timeless. That will always be our classroom focus.”
The promotion from visiting lecturer to professor of practice will allow McConaughey to be more actively engaged with students, a university spokeswoman said, including teaching other classes, mentoring students’ creative work and leading workshops.
In the class — which he has been teaching for six semesters — McConaughey deconstructs all the steps and gives firsthand examples of what’s happening in studio lots or in boardrooms, Bernhardt said.
When McConaughey is making a film, he shoots videos during his time on set so students can experience what’s happening during production, Bernhardt said. “Usually the director of the film comes in toward the end of the semester, and we’ll screen the film,” the dean said.
McConaughey has acted in more than 50 movies, including “A Time to Kill,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and, in one of his most memorable and defining roles, “Dazed and Confused.” He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his lead role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” He has also worked as a producer, including on the award-winning HBO series “True Detective.”
University of Texas officials also praised his role in the classroom. “He has a passion for teaching, and for all things cinematic, that is palpable, even infectious,” Noah Isenberg, chair of the Department of Radio-Television-Film, said in a statement.
Students love the class, Bernhardt said — there’s always a huge waiting list.
McConaughey earned a film degree from the University of Texas in 1993.
“We’re just really lucky and fortunate to have among our alumni someone like Matthew,” who is so generous with his time and his experiences, Bernhardt said. “It makes the whole school better.”
McConaughey, a well-known University of Texas Longhorns fan, was at the Redskins annual Welcome Home Luncheon on Wednesday in Washington.