Matt Payne the co-founder of Prairie Surfing Productions, owner of Matt Payne Media and is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, an award-winning travel photographer and writer, public speaker and adventurer. Currently Matt spent spring of 2019 storm chasing with Oklahoma’s channel nine storm trackers as part of a new documentary-series called Oklahoma’s Own Originals for Griffin Communications. He is the travel editor for 405 Magazine, the producer of the three part television series Mosaic Oklahoma and has been a contributing writer and/or photographer to National Geographic Traveler, Travel Age West, Explorer Magazine, Apartment Therapy,,, Austin Monthly (digital), San Antonio Magazine (digital), Communities Digital News and many other travel publications. Matt served three years as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University and travels the Midwest, inspiring audiences with talks covering a range of topics from travel writing and photography to screenwriting.

Matt’s awards include a 2018 Emmy nomination for the project OETA Foundation project “RARE,” four prestigious Bill Muster Travel Photography Awards given out by the Society of American Travel Writers, gold medal portfolio winner for SATW’s PhotoQuest competition, the Society of Professional Journalism’s first and third place awards for Magazine photography and the 2018 PBS Special Achievement Development Award for his television show Mosaic Oklahoma. Matt is a member of The Writer’s Guild of America, Society of American Travel Writers where he co-chair or serves on several committees, a regular speaker at deadCenter film festival, a participant in the Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy and sits of the board of directors of the Oklahoma City Zoological Society as well as the Moderns board at the Oklahoma Museum of Art. Matt’s Instagram account “Matt Payne Travel Photography” celebrates 14.5k engaged followers on IG, 6k followers on FB and grows daily. He also is the first official brand ambassador for Bedford Camera in Oklahoma City.

In 2015, Matt and his wife moved to Oklahoma after 15 years in Los Angeles. There, Matt worked in the film and television business where he wrote episodes of hits shows including Vegas and Defenders for CBS and TNT’s Memphis Beat. He was also part of the staff of the FOX hit 24 and CBS’s Without a Trace. Matt currently lives with his wife, daughter, a dog named Jasper, six horses, two cats, two donkeys, three chickens, two pigs and a rooster named Wayne on a farm outside of Oklahoma City.

Matt Payne Writer
  • “Matt Payne’s writing impresses on every level, from CBS period dramas to wild, woolly adventure and travel reporting.   His humor, common sense, and wonderfully skewed eye and ear make for a delightful read every time.  A true multi-talent.”

    Greg Walker

    Executive Producer, Vegas, The Defenders, Extant, Without A Trace

  • “Consider yourself very lucky if you get the chance to study writing with Matt Payne. Matt’s a great writer because he’s a great person: funny, endlessly creative (ask him about One Weird Shoe), and deeply interested in…well, everything. He has a handle on how awesome it is to be alive. It shows in his work, and anyone who enters his sphere will get to revel in it. You’ll come away a better writer. More observant. More tuned in. More daring. And even if you never turn that into external riches, you’ll become a better person for it.”

    Robert Howells

    National Geographic, Men’s Journal, Outside Magazine

  • “Matt Payne is a unique writer who has mastered the art of storytelling in all its forms. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, a compelling hour of television drama, or his funny, insightful travel writing, Matt has a voice full of thunder and lightning that crashes with truth, and flashes into your heart with its beauty.  Strap in, hold on, and take the ride, you’ll be happy you did.”

    Bruce Rasmussen

    Producer, Kingdom, Dallas, The Drew Carey Show

  • “Matt Payne is a pleasure to work with. He has crafted all manner of stories and knows how to develop small ideas into concise concepts with focused direction. His industry experience and mainstream sensibility are a great combination.”

    Brendan Parker

    Spaghetti Eddie

  • “Matt Payne helped us take our writing and knowledge of the industry to the next level. Without his help we would have been lost.”

    Scott Girardin

  • “Matt is a great writer and collaborator. He has helped improve our script and screenwriting knowledge by leaps and bounds.”

    Major Skinner

  • “’Writers’ these days become so pigeon-holed and narrowly focused as journalists or novelists or screenwriters or as critics, but MATT PAYNE is one of those rare individuals who embraces the whole carnival of writing both fiction and nonfiction with his writing aimed for multiple audiences with passion, insight and always with originality!”

    Andrew Horton

    The Jeanne H Smith Professor  of Film & Media Studies, The University of Oklahoma

  • “Matt and I have worked together for years and he has written for me before. He is fun, smart and musical and I can say with certainty that at least two of those are relevant to understanding how to write better stories.”

    Jan Nash

    Executive Producer – Rizzoli and Isles, Without A Trace

405 Magazine
Communities Digital News
Fox Television Studios
Dead Center Film Festival
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Individual Artists of OKlahoma
Matt Payne