In 1990, Alexander Payne wrote his student thesis film, The Passion of Martin. The title inaugurated Alexander’s career path, and a month after screening the film, he received a job offer from Universal. His deal with Universal didn’t culminate with a studio movie, even though most of his fans had high expectations. Alexander Payne’s time at Universal presented an opportunity to sharpen his craftsmanship in the filmmaking and scriptwriting industry. Payne laid the foundation of About Schmidt at Universal.
Before About Schmidt, Alexander had worked on several titles, including Citizen Ruth, Election, Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska, and Rotten Tomatoes. Payne has been crafty with his labels, and they have all earned him profit. Alexander believes that his early life shaped his script writing career. He aspires to present a film with a definite sense of naturalism, realism, and the commercial American language. According to Alexander, the protagonists in the 1970s, when he was a teenager, behaved and lived like ordinary people.
Alexander’s devotion to portraying the realism and naturalism of the story in the film is evident. He relates well with a recent documentary he watched, By Sidney Lumet. In the documentary, the setting aspired to naturalism, and the team painted no walls. The clothing designers had to overlook the color palette, which gave the documentary the naturalism it necessitated.
As a filmmaker, Payne believes that the experience he has garnered has enabled him to differentiate real life from the life he anticipates creating for the screen. Therefore, he relies on human behavior as his clay when molding a film. According to Payne, films in the 70s were rated based on their level of realism. However, things have changed as people rate movies based on how distanced they are from reality.
Alexander Payne believes that every scriptwriter and movie director should have remarkable scriptwriting, film directing, and editing expertise. There are a lot of activities within the perimeters of producing and editing a film. Therefore, experience defines one’s abilities and capabilities in the industry. An experienced professional will coordinate well with the artists, professionals, and technicians. Alexander advises that a skilled director should develop a love for people, more so their characters.