Mon, 29 August 2016
Max Joseph is a filmmaker, director, and the co-host of Catfish, which has just completed its fifth season on MTV. Max got his start in online video but has also worked extensively on documentaries and feature films. He is the creator of the powerful and beautiful promotional videos Make It Count (for the Nike FuelBand and starring Casey Neistadt) and Follow the Frog (for the Rainforest Alliance) and he also directed the 2015 feature film We Are Your Friends, starring Zac Efron.
Max grew up in New York City, the only child of hardworking parents who were creative at heart. He grew up hoping to enjoy his day-to-day work more than his parents did, and was inspired by his cousin, who worked for Jim Henson, to follow his creative dreams. He realized at the age of 15 that he wanted to be a filmmaker. To this day he considers himself first and foremost a filmmaker (regardless of whether his work is released online or in theatres) and he calls his time on Catfish "a fun detour in an otherwise obsessive moviemaking career". He considers himself a "dreamer" (in contrast to people like Casey Neistadt, who he calls a "doer") because he sees his job as developing a creative vision which he can then hire and direct other people to develop into a reality.
On this episode of the podcast, Max discusses his philosophy and methodology for great filmmaking. He generally gets started with a general concept or even just a "vibe" and a general end goal, and then follows his creative urges to build a great product. He believes strongly in the idea that great concept + great execution = great art and follows this principle in his work. He talks, for example, about how the Make It Count video was built around a very simple concept -- use Nike's money to travel the world and thereby "make it count" -- and thoughtful execution, carefully blending video clips, music, text, and more to create a powerful flow of ideas from start to finish. In short, Max's goal is always to make "the coolest thing ever", no matter how he has to go about doing that.
Max is also a strong proponent of working together with other creative minds to build stronger, more balanced, and more interesting products. He discusses his own experiences with mentoring, collaboration, and other ways of learning from the people around him. He has worked with clients, professionals, corporations, and nonprofits and has learned the best ways to make any collaboration successful.
If you're interested in taking the art of filmmaking, online video, or any other creative pursuit to a higher, more successful, or more fulfilling level, you need to hear this podcast. You'll learn about following your curiosity, asking the right questions, getting paid to learn your craft, which things are better learned in a classroom, connecting with the right mentors and collaborators, and much more. Join me in this conversation with Max Joseph and let your creative spirit soar!
Quotes from the podcast:
"I like putting puzzles together. I started editing and I love just being in a room and playing around with pieces until they fit together in the right way. And once I get them right, that's when I'm in my flow creatively and that's when I'm probably most happy."
"Guilt is not viral. Making people feel guilty when they watch something is not going to end in them wanting to share it with anyone. You don't want to share something that bums out your friends. You want to share something that makes them smile.... There's a way to marry the two, though, so it works."
"That feeling of 'You are not alone' is maybe the most important part of any video or piece of content because that's where the audience gets on board. And then once they're on board you can take them on a wild ride."
"Follow your curiosity. If you have an idea... do it, and do it with all your heart and soul."
"Do weird jobs. Get paid to learn your craft and treat each exercise as a challenge to make... the most awesome, best thing ever, despite any challenge that anyone's giving you. The more constraints and challenges, the more you'll learn how to get around them."
Thanks to our contributor Edi Gonzalez for writing this description!
Max Joseph Links:
Official website: http://www.maxjoseph.com/
We Are Your Friends trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZzAeYWXFpk
Also, if you want to link the videos in the first paragraph, they are at:
Make It Count -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxfZkMm3wcg
Follow the Frog -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iIkOi3srLo