By Corinne Henneberry
Since 2011, Reel Works has been raising awareness to provide teens with the mentoring, training and support to build careers in the film and television industry. Check out our chat with the guys, during which we talked about their fave “Catfish” episode, their best dating advice and their memories of the late Michael Fortunato. Oh, and they also mentioned why they don’t want “Catfish” to be airing for much longer!
MTV ACT: We’re at the Reel Works Gala Benefit, which supports teens entering New York City’s film and television industry. What advice do you have for young people considering a career in the field?
MAX: Now more than ever, the best thing you can do is just to continue making stuff. A lot of kids email me and they say, “What jobs should I get? What camera should I get? What internship should I get?” The best answer to all of it is to keep on making films, little films, non-fiction, fiction.
Also, try to develop an audience online. The Internet has kind of put film festivals out of business to a certain degree, because you can make films and bypass the festival and have an audience. So learning how to make films for an audience, building that audience, and sharpening your voice is the best thing you could do as a young filmmaker.
MTV ACT: You’re both being honored tonight — congrats! How did you first become involved with tonight’s benefit?
MAX: We’re both from New York, we grew up here making films, and our hobby of making films as kids has kind of become our careers. I grew up in Brooklyn; Reel Works is from Brooklyn. I started making films there when I was 13, so I think it’s very fitting that we would team up with Reel Works and help them get the word out and raise money for their program.
MTV ACT: Which “Catfish” episode has been your favorite so far?
NEV: “Favorite” is a hard word, because you have to remember that what we’re dealing with here are very complicated, emotional lives and feelings, so as much as I understand the question, each episode has … wonderful sort of upsides, and at the same time [is] sort of very disappointing.
MAX: There are episodes that were incredible to film that didn’t necessarily turn out to be the most sensational.
NEV: I think Alia.
MAX: Alia was one of them.
NEV: Alia was just somebody that we were really drawn to and connected with and really inspired by. And the way she handled her life and also the experience of the show was really impressive.
MAX: We were in Oakland right as the Trayvon Martin verdict and “Fruitvale Station” came out. It was a very interesting time to be in Oakland, to say the least, and so, between what was happening in the episode and what was happening in America, it was just an amazing kind of confluence of themes and ideas that had to do with America.
MTV ACT: Last month, Michael Fortunato passed away. What do want fans to remember about him?
MAX: I think about it a lot.
MAX: It’s been a real head trip.
NEV: In my process of that unfortunate event, I think it’s really just disappointment, because for six years Michael and Ashley had a really great relationship. It started off on the wrong foot, they finally got around to telling each other the truth but never really admitted the whole truth, and in my opinion missed out on what could have been a really life-changing relationship for both of them if they had just been honest with each other.
MAX: At the same time, he did kind of irrevocably change her life. He helped pump her up and give her the confidence she needed to come on the show. That was kind of her biggest fear, and she got over it just on Day 1 of being on the show. The fact that he somehow inspired her to do this and to go find her, he will have forever changed her life.
MTV ACT: Now that Season 2 is over, what do you guys do to relax?
MAX: “Catfish” in a lot of ways is a fun vacation for me. When the show is over is when things get really intense. I’m directing a lot, and I’m writing and working on projects, and I’ve been traveling, making films.
NEV: I’m going on a national college speaking tour, sort of spreading what I think is the good word about honesty and vulnerability and connection, friendship, and social media and best practices and all that.
MTV ACT: What’s one lesson you learned from filming the second season of the show?
MAX: You can’t judge anyone too quickly. There are always two sides to the story, and it’s very tempting to write someone off right away. It’s very easy to do, we all do it, and sometimes it feels good to do it, but until you really know, until you really know where someone’s coming from in their story, you just can’t judge.
MTV ACT: Do you think people are “catfishing” less or more since the show has become such a hit?
NEV: I don’t know. I think the phenomenon of deceptive online relationships is just a result of the Internet becoming a part of relationships. I don’t think more people are doing it now than they would have.
MAX: I think if anything, more people are aware of how to detect a fake at this point.
NEV: Max and I both sort of hope that we are working our way out of a job.
MAX: Right, I mean, Season 3 should have very few people getting catfished.
NEV: But every day, thousands of people who get a Facebook account are young and don’t know better, and so we’re trying to help avoid the hard lessons of life via what could occur.
MTV ACT: You’re both in relationships. What’s your best advice for being in a healthy, happy relationship?
MAX: I think understanding who the other person is and giving them the space to grow and be their best self. And also just trust, you know. If you can trust someone else and they trust you and you feel that they want you to be the best you that you can be, I think that all those things are really important.
NEV: My secret is …
MAX: K-Y Jelly? Is that what you were gonna say?
NEV: No, I wasn’t gonna say…
NEV: I was gonna say: soft …
NEV: Lots and lots of soft, sweet kisses to the neck area.
Be like Nev and Max and support Reel Works, which provides free filmmaking programs for NYC youth.
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