Alexander Payne is a well-known filmmaker who has directed and co-written many films. He is also a screenwriter, producer, and editor and spent his childhood living in Nebraska, where many of his films are set. He made movies from the early eighties until now and made his name in the industry because of his movie Election.
His first job out of college was as a sports writer for the Omaha World-Herald. He later landed a job as a reporter for The Daily Cardinal, Stanford University’s student newspaper, covering local and national stories. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in English and Philosophy in 1977.
Before Alexander Payne became a Filmmaker, he believed in five things. One of his beliefs is that timing is the best way to make films. Secondly, he believes in writing a script before making a film. Thirdly, he says that one has to make financial decisions, and there is no need to let finances affect film production. Additionally, he says that one has to resist the urge to reconsider after making a decision. Lastly, Alexander Payne insists that respect for everyone on the set is a critical in becoming successful in filmmaking.
He became assistant editor of the University News Magazine at Stanford University and a freelance reporter for The Daily Cardinal while studying English and Philosophy at Stanford University. He worked as a journalist in California, mainly writing feature stories for alternative weeklies and articles for national newspapers. His first personal film was titled “Citizen Kane” (1976). It received the Best Student Film Award at Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Prize at Deauville Film Festival. His student director Terry Sanders later invited him to direct the film.
Alexander Payne enjoys working with the same people, and his first film with his team or family was Citizen Ruth (1996). He has worked with producers Richard W. Noyce, Ted Hope, and Aaron Ryder on most of his films. His notable projects include Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), Sideways (2004), The Descendants (2011), and Nebraska (2013).