Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Oklahoma native Matt Payne, co-founder and co-CEO of Prairie Surf Media, a locally based production studio focused on multi-platform content creation, is a filmmaker to his core, with an impressive list of credits and achievements across a multitude of creative businesses.
During a 15-year stint in Los Angeles, where he worked in both television and film, Emmy award-winning Payne racked up credits as a writer, a documentary filmmaker, an award-winning travel photographer and writer, public speaker and adventurer.
While in Hollywood, Payne had a successful writing career. He wrote episodic television on such hit series as CBS’ “Vegas” and “Defenders,” and TNT’s “Memphis Beat,” and additionally was part of the production team on Fox’s “24” and CBS’ “Without A Trace.” But he realized he could tell stories from anywhere, so he and his wife returned to Oklahoma City a few years ago, so their daughter could be with family and benefit from all the good Oklahoma has to offer. And, he could bring his wealth of experience to a burgeoning entertainment industry in his home state.
Payne, a graduate of the film school at the University of Oklahoma, where he met his long-time friend and partner in Prairie Surf Media, (PSM), Rachel Cannon, returned with the goal to create an industry that empowers other 1 storytellers, allows them to be the mentors they wish they’d had, and to help shape the rapidly expanding entertainment industry in Oklahoma.
In 2019 Payne produced and directed “Storm Chasers,” as part of Oklahoma’s Own Originals for Griffin Communications. He traveled the state throughout the spring of that year tracking tornadoes with the state’s best storm chasers from Channel Nine, for the documentary. While “Storm Chasers” touches on thrill-seeking, which adrenaline junkie Payne can relate to, he told the story to highlight how the people who drive into these storms to report about tornadoes to the public are real-life heroes, who save lives through what they do.
Prior to that, he produced the three-part television series, “Mosaic Oklahoma,” which won the 2018 PBS Special Achievement Development Award. He was also a 2018 Emmy nominee for the OETA Foundation project “Rare;” a recipient of four prestigious Bill Muster Travel Photography Awards given out by the Society of American Travel Writers, and he received a first and third place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for Magazine Photography.
In addition to those pursuits, Payne is the Travel Editor of 405 Magazine and has been a contributing writer and photographer to National Geographic Traveler, Travel Age West, Explorer Magazine and many other travel publications. He served three years as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University and travels throughout the Midwest, inspiring audiences with 2 talks covering a range of topics from travel writing and photography to screenwriting.
Payne is heavily involved in his community, serving on numerous boards and volunteering with nonprofits both to advance the streaming, television, and motion picture industry in Oklahoma and to help provide economic advantages from employment to ancillary business opportunities.
He’s a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Society of American Travel Writers, is a regular speaker at the deadCenter Film Festival, a participant in the Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy and sits on the board of directors of the Oklahoma City Zoological Society as well as the Moderns board at the Oklahoma Museum of Art.
The enthusiastic, adventurous, filmmaker-entrepreneur spends his downtime currently living on a farm outside of Oklahoma City with his wife Meg, his two-year-old daughter Maisie, a dog named Jasper, six horses, two cats, two donkeys, three chickens, two pigs and a rooster named Wayne.