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Catch me talking ‘Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film’ on the podcast – ‘The Dustin Dales Show’

February 12, 2017 Leave a comment

THANKS, DUSTIN, FOR HAVING ME ON…

HERE’S DUSTIN’S POST ABOUT THE PODCAST EPISODE FEATURING THE SEGMENT WHERE I TALK ABOUT MY BOOK “ALEXANDER PAYNE: HIS JOURNEY IN FILM” (YOU CAN LINK BELOW TO THE BOOK’S AMAZON PAGE AND TO THE SHOW):

I want to send special thanks to Leo Adam Biga for stopping by to chat his book on Alexander Payne!

 

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Author & Journalist Leo Adam Biga of My Inside Stories stops by the show to chat film and his book ‘Alexander Payne: His Journey In Film,’ plus my reviews of #ADogsPurpose & #TheComedian

You can check out his book on Amazon here.
https://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Payne-His-Jou…/…/0997266708

 

Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of The Dustin Dales Show by Dustin Dales for free.
ITUNES.APPLE.COM

 

Lisa Haselton’s interview with writer Leo Adam Biga

January 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Thanks to author Lisa Haselton for featuring this interview with me on her popular blog Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews. Be sure to visit her site and support it. She has a wealth of rich content related to authors, books and other writing things.

Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Award-winning blog for book reviews, author interviews, and anything writing-related.

Interview with writer Leo Adam Biga

Writer Leo Adam Biga joins me to chat about his film book–

Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film”:

 

 

Bio:

Author-journalist-blogger Leo Adam Biga resides in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. His articles appear in various newspapers and magazines as well as on his popular blog, leoadambiga.com, and Facebook page, My Inside Stories. His work has been recognized by his peers at the local, regional and national levels. He was the 2015 recipient of the Andy Award for international journalism from his alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Omaha. That grant supported his reporting mission to Uganda and Rwanda, Africa in the company of professional world boxing Terence Crawford of Omaha and Pipeline Worldwide director Jamie Nollette.

Biga is the author of several books, including “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” and “Crossing Bridges: A Priest’s Uplifting Life Among the Downtrodden”. Biga’s reporting and writing about Payne has made him a recognized expert on the Oscar-winning filmmaker (“Sideways“, “Nebraska”) from Omaha. His latest book is “Nebraska Methodist College at 125: Scaling New Heights” – a history of the Omaha-base college of nursing and allied health celebrating 125 years.

The writer is developing the Nebraska Screen Heritage Project as a multimedia celebration of native Nebraskans in the film and television industry. He is also developing a book about Omaha’s Black Sports Legends.

Welcome, Leo. Please tell us about your current release.

Articles and essays take you deep inside Alexander Payne’s creative process. This second edition includes significant new material related to his last film “Nebraska” and his highly anticipated new film “Downsizing,” It also features the addition of a Discussion Guide with Index.

Payne fans will appreciate the extensive interviews-stories that follow the arc of the writer-director’s career from brash upstart to consummate filmmaker at the head of the Indiewood movement.

Film historian Thomas Schatz (“The Genius of the System”):

“This is without question the single best study of Alexander Payne’s films, as well as the filmmaker himself and his filmmaking process. In charting the first two decades of Payne’s remarkable career, Leo Adam Biga pieces together an indelible portrait of an independent American artist, and one that’s conveyed largely in the filmmaker’s own words.”

Leonard Maltin:

“Alexander Payne is one of American cinema’s leading lights. How fortunate we are that Leo Biga has chronicled his rise to success so thoroughly.”

Alexander Payne:

“Throughout many years of being interviewed, I find Mr. Biga’s articles about me to be the most complete and perceptive of any journalist’s anywhere. They ring true to me, even in critique, in a way that reveals the depth of his talent in observation, understanding and expression.”

What inspired you to write this book?

In covering Alexander Payne more than a decade and a half I accumulated a large body of work about someone I saw go from a promising newcomer few heard of and whose first two films were not much seen to an accomplished filmmaker recognized around the world. The book collects my journalism about Payne and his journey in film, thereby preserving my work about him in an enduring, hard-bound fashion and thereby contributing my take on this important film artist.

Excerpt from “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film”:

Even though Alexander Payne demonstrates time and again that commercial considerations mean very little to him, following the breakaway success of The Descendants (2011) there was every reasonable expectation he might lean a bit more again in the direction of mainstream with his next film. I say again because I count The Descendants as a conventional, even mainstream work even though its protagonist rails against his comatose wife and sets out to wreck the life of the man she was cheating with, all the while trying not to lose it with his two grieving daughters in tow.

Payne soon quashed any notion of playing it safe when he announced the small, insular back roads comedy-drama Nebraska (2013) as his new feature project. It did not help its bottom line chances that the film is set in rural Nebraska, which for most filmgoers may as well be the dark side of the moon for its unfamiliarity, remoteness, and perceived barrenness. Indeed, if Nebraska conjures any image at all it is of endless cornfields, cows, and monotonously flat, uninspired scenery. When the story laid over such a setting features a confused, depressed old cuss alienated from family and friends and wandering around in a bleak wasteland made even bleaker by black and white photography and desolate late fall, post-harvest locations, it does not exactly engender excitement. The prospect of a dour, feel-bad experience devoid of life and color does not get tongues a-wagging to generate the all important buzz that sells tickets.

Of course, anyone who has seen Nebraska knows the film is not the downer it may appear to be from glimpsing a thirty second trailer or hearing a thirty second sound bite, but that it is ultimately a sweet, deeply affecting film filled with familiar truths amid its very Nebraskaesque yet also quite universal archetypes.

Payne’s insistence on shooting in black and white was a completely legitimate aesthetic choice given the storyline and tone of this stark, autumnal mood piece about an old man having his last hurrah. But it also meant a definite disadvantage in appealing to average or general movie fans, many of whom automatically pass on any non-color film.

Compounding the aversion that many moviegoers have with black and white is the fact that most studio executives, distributors, and theater bookers share this aversion, not on aesthetic grounds, but based on the long-held, much repeated argument that black and white films fare poorly at the box office. Of course, there is a self- fulfilling prophecy at work here that starts with studio resistance and reluctance to greenlight black and white features and even when a studio does approve the rare black and white entry executives seem to half-heartedly market and release these pics. It is almost as if the bean counters are out to perversely prove a point, even at the risk of injuring the chances of one of their own pictures at finding a sizable audience. Then when the picture lags, it gives the powerbrokers the platform to say, I told you so. No wonder then – and this is assuming the argument is true – most black and white flicks don’t perform well compared with their color counterparts. Except, how does one arrive at anything like a fair comparison of films based on color versus black and white? Even if the films under review are of the same genre and released in the same period, each is individually, intrinsically its own experience and any comparison inevitably ends up being a futile apples and oranges debate. Besides, there are exceptions to the supposed rule that all black and white films struggle. From the 1970s on The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, Young Frankenstein, Manhattan, Raging Bull, Schindler’s List, Ed Wood, and The Artist are among the black and white films to have found wide success. It is admittedly a short list but it does prove black and white need not be a death sentence.

To no one’s surprise Paramount did what practically any studio would have done in the same situation, which was to fight Payne on the black and white decision. In no uncertain terms Payne wanted to make Nebraska in black and white and just as adamantly the studio wanted no part of it. He pushed and they pushed back. He would not compromise his vision because from the moment he first read Bob Nelson’s screenplay he clearly saw in his mind’s eye the world of this story play out in in shades of black and white. It just fit. It fit the characters and the settings and the emotions and as far as he was concerned that was that. No questions asked. No concessions made.

What exciting story are you working on next?

At any given time there are interesting journalism and other narrative-based projects that arise. Much of my work as a journalist entails writing about various arts-culture subjects. I also write a fair amount on social justice issues. On occasion I travel for my work. I once went to North Dakota to research a set of stories about a campus serving developmentally disabled individuals. I participated in a baseball tour of the Midwest that resulted in a first-person story I wrote about the tour group’s visits to various baseball shrines and stadiums in a five-state region. I spent a week on the set of Alexander Payne’s Sideways in the Santa Barbara region and wrote a series of stories from that experience. I traveled with a group of folks from Omaha to the first Obama inauguration in D.C. and filed a story about that. I have been out to Los Angeles a number of times related to my reporting on Payne and his films. In 2015 I received a grant for international journalism that funded my reporting mission to Uganda and Rwanda, Africa with world boxing champion Terence Crawford. This past summer I made my first visits to the American South and I wrote a number of posts about the experiences on my blog and Facebook page.  In 2017 I hope to travel to New York or Toronto for the North American premiere of Payne’s new film Downsizing starring Matt Damon.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I suppose I began thinking that way in college, though I didn’t do all that much writing then. it really wasn’t until some years after college, having worked in public relations and then beginning to freelance as a journalist, that I identified as a writer. But it still took me a few years to say the words “I am a writer” without stumbling over them.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Yes, I do write full-time. Like most writers, much of my time is not taken up with writing per  se, but rather with the different things that prepare me to write (interviews, research) and sustain my writing (pitching, marketing). There’s a fair amount of correspondence and phone conversation that takes place between myself and editors.

My writing schedule depends on what else I have going on in terms of interviews and such. It also depends on what kind of writing I’m doing . If it’s a book, I try to plan writing on certain days and even during certain times of the day when I know I’ll be able to devote some undivided attention to the project. If it’s an article, then it’s a bit more haphazard and directed in part by deadlines. If it’s a blog or Facebook post, then it’s much more in the moment and as the spirit moves me. With any of these forms of writing though, I might be at the keyboard in the morning, afternoon or evening.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

As a nonfiction writer I depend on primary interviews for my source material and I am a stickler for recording all my interviews and transcribing them myself.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I don’t recall ever really thinking in those terms as a child. I am also sure I would never have considered being a writer if not for some teachers in elementary and high school who encouraged me. There were a couple professors in college who also influenced me to follow this path.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

Most of my original writing these days is actually done for my blog and Facebook page. But those sites also serve as an archive and new platform for my previously published work. If your readers want a real sense for who I am as a person and as a writer, I encourage them to visit those sites.

Links:

Blog | Facebook | Amazon

Thank you for being here today, Leo.

Posted by Lisa Haselton at 12:02 AM

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Labels: Alexander Payne: His Journey in FilmArtsauthor interview,EntertainmentFilmLeo Adam Biga

About Lisa

Lisa Haselton
I’m a NH native and love New England. I love writing about the region, exploring it on foot, on my bicycle, and in my car. There are so many small communities and fun and interesting people in this area, that I could be here a lifetime and not do all it is I want to do. 🙂

I’m a writer because I have a passion for words. I write YA and adult fiction, favoring all flavors of mysteries and I enjoy dark fiction. I belong to Sisters in Crime and Sisters in Crime – New England (SinCNE) and I’m a regular contributor to the SinCNE blog. My favorite mystery writing conference is the annual New England Crime Bakeheld each November in Boston.

I interview authors at Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews. All reviews are my own opinion. For interviews, you can contact me at ReviewsAndInterviews (at) gmail (dot) com.

I’m a moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom that hosts live chats with guest authors on Sunday nights 7-9PM EST. Join the e-mail list to get notifications of upcoming guests, then stop in and join the conversation!

View my complete profile

Links to check out

Signing “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” at Our Bookstore Holiday Party

December 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Hope to see you at Our Bookstore’s Annual Holiday Party on Monday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 7 pm. I will be among a group of local authors signing books. It would be my pleasure to sign a copy of “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” for you or for the film lover in your life. It makes a great gift. $25.95

 

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FROM OUR BOOKSTORE:
Celebrate the holiday season with us at our annual gathering.

Meet local authors:
Eileen Wirth, author of “From Society Page to Front Page and Images of America : Omaha’s Historic Houses of Worship”

Leo Biga author of “Alexander Payne: His journey In Film”

Michael Kelly author of “Uniquely Omaha”

Also attending:
Kira Gale, Connie Spittler, George Haecker,
John Prescott, Mark Langan, David Harding,
Jon Blecha, Joe Broghammer, Joan Fogarty
and Vicki Krecek

Come for libations, nosh, and a great collection of new books!
1030 Howard St, on the lower floor of the Passageway in the Old Market.
ALL ARE WELCOME!

 

Signing “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” at Our Bookstore – Monday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 7 pm

December 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Thank you, Our Bookstore, for featuring “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” on your Facebook page. I will be among the local authors signing at the store’s annual Holiday Party from 5 to 7 pm on Monday, December 5. Our Bookstore is located in the Passageway of the Old Market. It is a cozy literary corner with a great, curated selection for such an intimate space. Hope to see you there. My book sells for $25.95. Hope to sign one for you.

“This is without question the single best study of Alexander Payne’s films, as well as the filmmaker himself and his filmmaking process. In charting the first two decades of Payne’s remarkable career, Leo Adam Biga pieces together an indelible portrait of an independent American artist, and one that’s conveyed largely in the filmmaker’s own words. This is an invaluable contribution to film history and criticism – and a sheer pleasure to read as well.” –Thomas Schatz, Film scholar and author (“The Genius of the System”)

 
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“Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” is a must-have resource about one of America’s and the world’s leading cinema artists. I have been in the unique position of covering the Oscar-winning filmmaker from Omaha for 20 years, The book is the culimination of all that reporting and writing about the acclaimed writer-director and his work. Through interviews, articles and essays I take you through the journey of his feature filmmaking career from “Citizen Ruth” to “Election” to “About Schmidt” to “Sideways” to “The Descendants” to “Nebraska” and even looking forward to his upcoming “Downsizing.”

The new edition is from River Junction Press in Omaha. It makes a great gift for the film lover in your life.

The book charts Payne’s rise to the elite ranks of world cinema and takes you deep inside his creative process. It is the most comprehensive look at Payne and his work to be found anywhere. This new edition includes significant new material related to “Nebraska” and “Downsizing” and the addition of a Discussion Guide with Index for all you film buffs, critics, filmmakers, educators and students. The book is great for more casual film fans who want a handy Payne primer and trivia goldmine.

More strong praise for the book:

“Alexander is a master. Many say the art of filmmaking comes from experience and grows with age and wisdom but, in truth, he was a master on day one of his first feature. Leo Biga has beautifully captured Alexander’s incredible journey in film for us all to savor.” – Laura Dern, actress, star of “Citizen Ruth”

“Last night I finished your wonderful new book and I enjoyed it so much! Alexander Payne is such a terrific director and I loved reading about his films in detail. Congratulations.” – Joan Micklin Silver, filmmaker (“Hester Street,” “Crossing Delancey”)

“Alexander Payne is one of American cinema’s leading lights. How fortunate we are that Leo Biga has chronicled his rise to success so thoroughly.” – Leonard Maltin, film critic and best-selling author

“I’d be an Alexander Payne fan even if we didn’t share a Nebraska upbringing: he is a masterly, menschy, singular storyteller whose movies are both serious and unpretentious, delightfully funny and deeply moving. And he’s fortunate indeed to have such a thoughtful and insightful chronicler as Leo Biga.” – Kurt Andersen, novelist (“True Believers”) and Studio 360 host

“Alexander Payne richly deserves this astute book about his work by Leo Biga. I say this as a fan of both of theirs; and would be one even if I weren’t from Nebraska.” – Dick Cavett, TV legend

“Leo Biga brings us a fascinating, comprehensive, insightful portrait of the work and artistry of Alexander Payne. Mr. Biga’s collection of essays document the evolution and growth of this significant American filmmaker and he includes relevant historical context of the old Hollywood and the new. His keen reporter’s eye gives the reader an exciting journey into the art of telling stories on film.” – Ron Hull, Nebraska Educational Television legend, University of Nebraska emeritus professor of broadcasting, author of “Backstage”

“Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the book is Biga’s success at getting Payne to speak candidly about every step in the filmmaking process. These detailed insights include the challenges of developing material from conception to script, finding financing, moderating the mayhem of shooting a movie, and undertaking the slow, monk-like work of editing.” – Brent Spencer, educator and author (“The Lost Son”)

“This book became a primer for me, and introduced me to filmmaking in a way that I had never experienced in my years at film school. The intimacy and honesty in Biga’s writing, reporting and interviewing– and Payne’s unparalleled knowledge of cinema introduced me to filmmaking and film history from someone I quickly came to respect: Mr. Payne.” – Bryan Reisberg, filmmaker (“Big Significant Things”)

Biga Signs “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” at The Bookworm

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment

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Biga Signs “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” at The Bookworm

From 1 to 2 pm on Saturday, Oct. 29 I am the featured author at The Bookworm’s Holiday Book Fair. I will sign copies of the new edition of my book “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film.” ($25.95)

Hope to see you at this great independent, family-owned bookstore in Omaha located at Loveland Centre, 90th & Center Streets
402-392-2877
info@bookwormomaha.com

Strong praise for “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film”–
“This is without question the single best study of Alexander Payne’s films, as well as the filmmaker himself and his filmmaking process. In charting the first two decades of Payne’s remarkable career, Leo Adam Biga pieces together an indelible portrait of an independent American artist, and one that’s conveyed largely in the filmmaker’s own words. This is an invaluable contribution to film history and criticism – and a sheer pleasure to read as well.” – Thomas Schatz, Film scholar and author (“The Genius of the System”)

This labor of love project is the most comprehensive study of Payne and the culimination of 20 years covering the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Contains original articles and essays about Payne and his work, The book makes a great resource for film buffs, critics, filmmakers, educators and students as well as more casual film fans who want a handy Payne primer and trivia goldmine.

This second edition is from River Junction Press in Omaha and features new content current to Payne’s “Nebraska” and “Downsizing” projects and the addition of a discussion guide and index. Make sure to get yours in advance of Payne’s new film “Downsizing” promising to be the most talked-about movie of 2017.

Looking forward to signing your copy of the book on Oct. 29.

Let us know you’re coming by visiting the Facebook event page at–

https://www.facebook.com/events/181824015601959/

Also available at Barnes & Noble, Our Bookstore, via Amazon and for Kindle.

Read more about the book and “Downsizing” at these links–

https://leoadambiga.com/2016/07/29/passion-project-introducing-the-new-alexander-payne-his-journey-in-film/

https://leoadambiga.com/2016/08/28/downsizing-may-elevate-filmmaker-to-new-heights-alexander-payne-his-journey-in-film-your-guide-to-his-cinema-universe/.

Intimate Book Talk-Signing for “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” – Saturday, Nov. 5 @ Indigo Bridge Books in Lincoln

October 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Cover Photo

 

Intimate Book Talk-Signing for “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” – Saturday, Nov. 5 from 3 to 4:30 pm @ Indigo Bridge Books in Lincoln, NE

Public · Books · Hosted by My Inside Stories

 

Spread the “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” gospel at Kiwanis Club of Omaha today

October 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Spread the “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film” gospel at Kiwanis Club of Omaha today

Many thanks to the fine folks at Kiwanis Club of Omaha for having me speak at their weekly meeting today at UNO’s Scott Conference Center. I presented on Alexander Payne and even sold 7 or 8 copies of the new edition of my book “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film”. Though the number of regular club members present was relatively small, there were some special guests on hand whose presence helped make the event a nearly full house. Those guests included an award-winning Swedish journalist covering the U.S. presidential election and a large group of students from various southeast Asia countries. Thanks to John Wehrle for inviting me to present and to Andy Bradley for introducing me. What a nice bunch of people they and their fellow Kiwianians are and what good work they do.

 

SOME KIWANIS FACTOIDS

Kiwanis Club of Omaha

Hosts a weekly meeting every Friday at the Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine Street at 11:45 a.m.. There is always a speaker with a relevant topic of happenings in the community or in the nation. The Club is proud to have welcomed Tom Osborne, Nebraska Governors and Lt. Governors, K.C. Federal Reserve President Esther George, as well as many local CEOs and presidents.

Mission

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

CONTACT INFO

Call (402) 330-0777

kiwanisomaha@cox.net

http://www.kiwanisomaha.com/

MORE ALEXANDER PAYNE: HIS JOURNEY IN FILM NEWS

Look for announcements in the near future about new Alexander Payne book events I will be having at The Bookworm, Indigo Bridge Books in Lincoln, the two Barnes & Noble stores in Omaha and Our Bookstore in the Old Market’s Passageway. Hope to see you at one of these.

If you would like to book me to speak to your group, organization or club about Alexander Payne and the book, contact me at leo32158@cox.net or 402-445-4666 or Inbox me on Facebook. I have other topics areas I present on as well, including Nebraska’s Screen Heritage and Omaha’s Black Sports Legends.

Anyone up for hosting a private Alexander Payne book event at their home? If so, then contact me at the above email or phone number or Facebook me.

https://leoadambiga.com/2016/07/29/passion-project-introducing-the-new-alexander-payne-his-journey-in-film/

https://www.facebook.com/AlexanderPayneExpert/

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