Music Video Director Max Moore Shares His Secrets For Creating Top Notch Music Videos

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Director Max Moore knows a thing or two about captaining music videos. From bodies elegantly falling in Issues’ “Home Soon” to his latest creation with New Found Glory “Happy Being Miserable,” Moore has established himself as a bankable music video director. Delivering production value and creativity seems to be part of Moore’s signature trademark.

GSM’s Joe Ortega sat down via the interweb with the rising director to talk about his beginnings, pies, and his creative process.

1) Let’s start from the beginning, hitting the highlights, how did you get into the world of music videos?

I first got into directing music videos, first and foremost, by playing music. Growing up I was always involved in music, playing in several different indie, punk, hardcore bands.   After the last band I was in broke up, I transferred to a film program an hour north of Nashville to study film. Since I already had an extensive background playing music and tons of my friends were still in active bands, I fell into directing music videos kind of by default. I was still in school finishing my film studies degree, but I was also directing smaller music videos for my friends’ bands. From there, things kind of just snowballed over time. By the time I was ready to graduate, I was pretty seamlessly able to move from doing it part time in school to directing full-time – starting the early stages of a career out of it.

2) What was the first music video that stole your heart and made you want to do this for others?

I grew up still watching music videos on TV, like MTV was still around playing videos. Fuse was huge for me also at the time. So some of my favorite videos that really got me hooked on the power of a video came out of the 2000s area in the rock genre. Specifically, I remember watching Underoath music videos on Fuse after school and thinking they were so amazing in their aggression and dark abstract aesthetics. I also really loved Smashing Pumpkins videos growing up. Still at that time, I never thought to myself, man I want to direct music videos. It seemed so out of grasp I couldn’t even dream to want that for myself yet.

3) The platform for showcasing music videos has changed drastically over the last 20 years and even more so in the last 10 years, where’s the next step of video platform going?

Yea, it for sure has. When I first got into directing music videos around 2010 / 2011, Vevo and Youtube were just starting to build up steam and put up older music videos online. So I, in some ways, slipped into the industry right before the big Youtube re-birth of the music video, as I would call it. When the music industry started to get a grip on the illegal downloading again, labels slowly started putting more into music video budgets, while at the same time YouTube became the premiere destination for music videos, offering up mass exposure for them like they’ve never had before. In today’s day and age, you can watch any music video you want, any time you want, just with a few clicks of a button. Back in the day during MTV and what not, you would have to wait around for the networks to play it on air, hoping that you catch it in time. So I think arguably, music videos today are a HUGE asset to selling and putting out music like they have never been before in the past. All that said, I’m not sure what the future will hold in terms of showcasing platforms, but I can guarantee you that the internet will without a doubt be involved in some way.

4) For those of us who don’t typically do anything but binge watch videos and don’t film/direct them, can you share some of the most challenging aspects of the process?

I think one of the most consistent challenges with making music videos is a three-way balancing act between creativity, money, and time. More times than not, music videos have a very, very fast turn around time. We normally have just a few weeks at the absolute most to work on the concept, a few days to prepare for a shoot, while at the same time trying to stay within the budget we are given. On top of all that, you have to find a way to successfully pull off the creative concept agreed upon by the record label, artist, and myself. It can be a real struggle at times to maintain that balance and find a way to do amazing creative stuff, with a set amount of money, in a very tight constrained amount of time. Directors/production teams that can pull that balancing act off consistently are, in my opinion, the ones that continue to get good work / get hired again and again.

5) Moving on to a recent project you just did a new video with New Found Glory, how do you generally approach a concept that blends your vision and the bands sound?

Every music video is different in its creative approach. Sometimes I solely come up with a concept I pitch to the band, while other times there is more of a 2-way street collaboration. This specific time Chad from New Found Glory came to me with the idea already pretty much flushed out. I took his outline and worked on the details in music video treatment that we ultimately made.

6) The video is fantastic, I loved it! Would you share a little bit of the creative process for this video?

Like I was saying before, Chad came to me with the idea already in his head to recreate the pie eating scene from Stand By Me. The hardest part of making this specific video was the fact that Chad came to me with the idea just a week and a half before the proposed shoot date. We got on the phone, I heard him out on the concept, I wrote the treatment, and finally we were approved on the concept just 7 days before we were supposed to shoot. Considering how many details went into this video, 7 days to produce a video on the scale was a bit of a rush for sure. All that said, we put together an amazing team in Nashville and it all came out perfectly.

7) Everyone seemed to have a ton of fun based on tweets and Instagram posts, who would you say had too much fun make this video?

The cool thing about the video was that we got to invite around 50 or so NFG fans around the area to come be extras in the video. With it in mind that for some of them, NFG is/has been their favorite band for a long time, it was cool to see how excited and stoked everyone was to be a part of it. There were for sure a lot of laughs and smiling on set the whole day. The band, crew, and cast all had a blast.

8) This is clearly not your first rodeo, what would say was a unique aspect of this particular music video?

A unique aspect of this video was the whole projectile vomit gag we had to figure out how to do. Obviously rigging a projectile puke machine is not something I have a lot of experience with haha, so I knew off the bat we had to hire a professional special effects team that has done this kind of thing before. We ended up getting an awesome team to work on the project that really killed the effect. Without the puke gag looking amazing, this video wouldn’t be half as funny as it was.

9) Who would win a real pie eating contest? You, Jordan, Chad, Ian or Cyrus?

That one I’m not sure of haha. I’d probably come in last place for sure, considering I have an incredibly weak stomach!

10) Thanks for taking the time to share some of your thoughts with your history, the process and your time on this video, we greatly appreciate it. With this being the last question, what would you say to a world of aspiring filmmakers and music enthusiasts for pursuing their dreams?

I would say, remember to always think outside of the box. Think outside of the box not only in terms of specifically making content (films, short, music videos, etc) but also, just as importantly, in the way you see the things around you. Everyone, believe it or not, has resources around them that they can pull/use to make their dreams or goals a reality. I think sometimes it just takes some lateral, unique thinking to actually realize those resource and understand exactly how to take the next step creatively and professionally in whatever endeavor you are pursuing.

To view Max’s entire arsinel of videos, click here!

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