Filmmaker Feature: Matt Payne

Matt Payne is a twenty year old Huntington Beach native who is currently a second year student majoring in film at Long Beach State University. He describes himself as ” an avid surf turkey; you can usually find me paddling around at the Newport river jetties.” While in school and surrounded by his surf buddies, Matt is focused on trying to soak up as much knowledge as he can and practice that filmmaking knowledge on his “little pet projects.”

How’d you get into filmmaking? What got you inspired to pick up a camera and learn to edit?

My mom always used to film my family surfing on the weekends, so one day I started tinkering with the footage in a shoddy editing program on the home computer. From there it kind of snowballed into filming for my high school surf team or cinema class and cutting the footage together into little mini-movies.

What’s the idea behind your Dirty Harry series?

I’m just trying to create something fun and different. Change the pace up from your average “rip clip” or day-in-the-life webisode, ya know? I always loved the thought of exploring surfing from a fictional standpoint, and so my buddy Jason and I decided to expand on his nickname (Harry) as the sorta theme to our little movies. And why not tip our hats to the most legendary badass to ever grace a movie screen (Eastwood)?

You presented your Dirty Harry clips as a DIY surf video. What does that mean exactly? Are you self-taught? If so, how have you learned?

The Dirty Harry volumes are definitely a “do-it-yourself” project. From self-funding to creativity, me and Jason had to really dig deep in our pockets to make these things come to life… Blood, sweat, tears and cash. No heavy brand backing or corpo dudes breathing down our necks for content. It’s really just a grassroots operation trying to give some people the goose bumps when they watch our surf flicks.

For me, I usually learn something new with each video I work on. I’ll try to teach myself the craft by taking in a lot of inspiration from my influences, making a mess of their techniques and hopefully come up with my own style by blending together the stuff that I like the most. I wanna progress with each piece too; It’s usually cringe city for me every time I look at one of my old vids because I’m my own worst critic.

Why do you think we are starting to see more and more Super 8 film getting peppered in to surf films/shorts lately? What’s the draw for you?

I think Super 8 has timeless look that no post-production program can replicate. When you see it on screen, you immediately notice it. The process feels so much more natural than digital. I love the little moments like having real light leaks while shooting compared to downloading a stock film burn online to overlay on your clip, you know? I dig Super 8 because it’s relatively affordable and I can mix it up by sprinkling in some of that real mojo on my films to give them that much more of an edge.

What do you think it takes to be a successful filmmaker?

It’s easy to get discouraged when there are so many talented filmmakers floating around out there. But for me, I feel like it makes it a lot less stressful to just not care. Nowadays anyone can take their 7d and churn out a skippy edit to a hip tune. But I feel like as long as you focus on your own gig and try not to worry too much about what everybody else is doing, you might turn out alright.

What’s will we be seeing next from Matt Payne?

I’m definitely gonna try to pump out another Dirty Harry piece over summer… I also might get a crack at helping out on some videos while interning with Joe G and the crew over at Globe Shoes. Stay tuned!