Alexander Payne is one of the most celebrated filmmakers working today, known for his dry, absurdist comedies that tackle big issues from a small-town lens. With films like “Sideways,” “Nebraska” and “The Descendants” under his belt, as well as an upcoming project with Chris Pratt called “Straw Men,” it’s safe to say that Payne has found something he really loves doing. His ability to make so many great movies is because of two things: his unique voice and his process around making movies.
Alexander Payne’s Hands-On Shooting Process
From the outside, it may seem like the shooting process is all fun and games. But at least for Payne, it’s a very serious and organized process. From the moment the crew gets on set, the director’s process is all about the details. An essential part of Payne’s process is blocking and rehearsing. Blocking is where the director and his team decide exactly where each actor will stand and what each moment looks like, as well as where all the camera operators will be standing and what the frame will look like.
Alexander Payne’s Hands-Off Editing Process
Most of the work that a film editor does happens in post-production, meaning after the film has been shot and edited together. For Payne, this part of the filmmaking process is hands-off, which allows him to focus on the details during shooting. As an editor, the last thing that you want is a director that is constantly fiddling with things.
When it comes to filmmaking, the best way to get good at something is to do it a lot, and that’s exactly what Alexander Payne does. He’s made five movies in the last 20 years, and each one has been better than the last. Like any artist, there’s always room to grow, but his process has proven to be effective, and his films have proven to be timeless. If you love making films, there are many things that you can apply from Payne’s process to make your work easier and more effective. Payne has proven that you don’t have to be a control freak to make films, but you do need to be organized and be able to get your ideas across to the right people at the right time.