The kid (from Ardmore) stays in the picture

Dinner and conversation with James Payne, a Tulsa-based filmmaker and co-founder of FieldGuide Media.



“I’ll have a cheeseburger,” I say. “With sweet potato fries. And a beer.”

James Payne, my supper companion, ordered a beer and a salad.

“Oh, are you a vegetarian?” I ask. Then I add, clumsily, trying not to sound like Jerry Seinfeld, “I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

“Nah,” Payne says. “I’m just in detox right now, after all that barbecue down in Austin.”

Payne and I were dining back in March, a few days after his return from the fabled South by Southwest (or “SXSW”) yearly music and film bonanza in Austin, Texas.

The 2009 SXSW was a pretty big deal for Payne, actually — and for FieldGuide Media, the film and video production company he co-founded in 2006. With dual offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, FieldGuide handles productions for both commercial and TV broadcast programming, as well as Web content and original films.

I’d heard the general story, but I ask Payne to give me the SXSW specifics. I was also curious to learn how he got into the film production biz to begin with.

For openers, most of the films on which FieldGuide works are documentaries.

“Asking questions, seeking out the truth — it’s simply the kind of storytelling that I enjoy the most,” he says. “As the storyteller, or as the listener.”

Enter SXSW. During that festival, FieldGuide presented two feature-length documentary films: “Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo” (for which Payne was the producer) and “Winnebago Man” (which he co-produced). The former profiles several female inmates in the Oklahoma state prison system as they compete in the yearly prison rodeo in McAlester. The latter is a “This American Life”-like saga about a filmmaker who sets out to find and interview a certain salesman who unwittingly became the star of one of the most widely viewed viral videos ever circulated.

Reviewers had been kind to both films. Things were looking up.

‘“Sweethearts’ did especially well at the festival,” Payne adds. “An agent in New York had been working to position the film for sale upon its completion. And as luck would have it, during South by Southwest, a large cable channel purchased the film for U.S. broadcast.”

Which cable channel, you ask? He couldn’t say. Not at the time, anyway.

But such good news got me wondering, as second beers were being ordered and plates were being cleared, about how Payne first got into the film game, and when.

Born and raised in Ardmore, he studied geology at the University of Oklahoma, thereafter working for the Environmental Protection Agency, and later as an environmental consultant.

“But I got tired of the corporate side of things,” he admits. “I guess I’m still sort of a science geek at heart, but I’ve been into films — and into sound and lights and cameras, all that technical moviemaking stuff — for quite a while, too.”

Payne worked in a video store while at OU. He also ran with a crowd of creative types, most of them movie buffs and film students. He says he was trained “on the job” while constantly helping out on their various film projects.

Some of these, in turn, eventually would become critically acclaimed films. A few examples of such include the FieldGuide projects “Okie Noodling,” “The Creek Runs Red” and “The Flaming Lips: U.F.O.s at the Zoo.”

Given that kind of track record, and given his hands-on and homegrown training in filmcraft, I ask Payne, just after our checks arrive: “So do you see yourself as a part of some sort of emergent Oklahoma-based filmmaking scene?”

“I absolutely do,” he answers. “There’s cool stuff happening; I think you could say that the productivity and quality have really risen as of late. And I’m reminded of the term ‘new-regionalist,’ which has been used to describe some of the films I’ve produced and co-directed with Bradley Beesley. While these films sometimes deal with subjects that are specific to Oklahoma, they also suggest broader themes and larger meanings. And that’s pretty much what I love about documentaries — that broader, larger potential. “

Scott Gregory hosts “All This Jazz” on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS, where he also serves as the producer and editor of “Studio Tulsa.”
 

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February 2019

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
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Cost: Free

Where:
Peace Academy
4620 S Irvington Ave
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice
Telephone: 918-583-1361
Contact Name: Sandi Cox
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Clark Youth Theatre announces performances of As You Like It by William Shakespeare on February 1-2 and February 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 3 and February 10 at 2 p.m. at the Henthorne...

Cost: $10-$13

Where:
Clark Youth Theatre - Henthorne PAC
4825 S. Quaker Ave
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Clark Youth Theatre, Incorporated
Telephone: 918-746-5065
Contact Name: Tammy Slack
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Clark Youth Theatre announces performances of As You Like It by William Shakespeare on February 1-2 and February 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 3 and February 10 at 2 p.m. at the Henthorne...

Cost: $10-$13

Where:
Clark Youth Theatre - Henthorne PAC
4825 S. Quaker Ave
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Clark Youth Theatre, Incorporated
Telephone: 918-746-5065
Contact Name: Tammy Slack
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Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
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Where:
The Shrine
112 E 18th St
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Telephone: 539-215-1239
Contact Name: LaShanta Lewis

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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

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Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

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Cost: $375

Where:
Ahha Tulsa
101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
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BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]” Tickets are on sale now at www.bacptheatre.com or Call our Box Office 918-258-0077...

Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
Website »

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A celebration of the 2018 Tulsa Area United Way campaign and the many individuals and organizations that made it a success.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Area United Way
Telephone: 918-295-6601
Contact Name: Bonnie Rucker
Website »

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Theme Imitation Imitation is a form of flattery. Learn how writers mimic themes, voice and tone – with one-on-one mentoring - to create your own unique piece of poetry. Instructor: Clemonce...

Cost: $300

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]” Tickets are on sale now at www.bacptheatre.com or Call our Box Office 918-258-0077...

Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
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Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
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TCC and the National Book Foundation present a panel of award winning authors from across the country who will discuss the importance of reading and writing as a means of exploring...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Enjoy lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour to learn how the Food Bank fights hunger in eastern Oklahoma by distributing the equivalent of 450,000 meals each week. You can help too. Food for...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
1304 N. Kenosha Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-936-4551
Contact Name: Regan Leake
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Cost: $30

Where:
Mother Road Market
1124 S LEWIS Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Tiny Things by Bowen
Contact Name: Sarah Bowen
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Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
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BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]” Tickets are on sale now at www.bacptheatre.com or Call our Box Office 918-258-0077...

Cost: $13-$18

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Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
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Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Couples and singles are invited for a private happy hour with appetizers and drinks under the sea. Fall in love with the ocean by participating on an adult scavenger hunt that tours guests through...

Cost: $20

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Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr.
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
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Borrowed Forms Learn to craft content regardless of the format. Turn your mortgage payoff letter into a personal essay about purchasing a home or an orthodontist report transformed into an...

Cost: $225

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
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More information

BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]” Tickets are on sale now at www.bacptheatre.com or Call our Box Office 918-258-0077...

Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
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Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
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Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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Two workshops will be provided on February 15th at the Brookside Library from 11:00-12:00 & 12:30-1:30 will be provided free of charge for caregivers who want to learn about special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Brookside Library
1207 E 45th Pl
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Albert Schweitzer Fellowship & Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-925-2138
Contact Name: Sarah Young

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Two workshops will be provided on February 15th at the Brookside Library from 11:00-12:00 & 12:30-1:30 will be provided free of charge for caregivers who want to learn about special education,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Brookside Library
1207 E 45th Pl
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Albert Schweitzer Fellowship & Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-925-2138
Contact Name: Sarah Young

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Two workshops will be provided on February 15th at the Brookside Library from 11:00-12:00 & 12:30-1:30 will be provided free of charge for caregivers who want to learn about special education,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Brookside Library
1207 E 45th Pl
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Albert Schweitzer Fellowship & Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-925-2138
Contact Name: Sarah Young

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Cost: 7-14

Where:
J.L. JOHNSON STADIUM
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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Cost: Tipping encouraged

Where:
The Colony
2809 S. Harvard
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Cost: $13, adults; $10, students, seniors and military

Where:
Cascia Hall Preparatory School
2520 S. Yorktown Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Clark Youth Theatre
Telephone: (918) 596-1412
Contact Name: Erin Scarberry
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BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised]” Tickets are on sale now at www.bacptheatre.com or Call our Box Office 918-258-0077...

Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
Website »

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Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
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Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

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Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

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Cost: 7-14

Where:
J.L. JOHNSON STADIUM
7777 S Lewis Ave
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Cost: $120.00

Where:
Mike Fretz Event Center
11545 E 43rd St
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Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: Sherry Hacker
Website »

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Cost: $50, $75, $100

Where:
Osage Casino
951 West 36th St N
Tulsa, OK
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Join us again for another evening of fun and laughter with Tulsa's Great Improvisational Comedy Show, “The Spontaniacs!”  Song, dance, and a whole lotta’ silly are...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: The Spontaniacs!
Telephone: 918-521-9345
Contact Name: Eric Peterson
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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
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110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
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