As most of you have probably realized by now, staying creative during quarantine isn’t exactly the easiest thing. Hell, even staying positive during quarantine isn’t that simple either.
Nonetheless, in case you’re looking for some helpful inspiration to stay strong and come out of this whole ordeal better than you went in, look no further than director Max Moore.
The talented filmmaker known for his work with Code Orange, Knocked Loose, Motionless In White, New Found Glory and more has been an endless source of inspiration with his distinct sense of creativity and persistent DIY attitude.
Catching up with The Noise to detail exactly what he’s been working on while stuck at home like the rest of us (hint: a new kickass director’s reel), the hardworking creative admitted that while times are tough, there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel.
“[The coronavirus pandemic] is a scary thing to witness when you’ve banked your entire livelihood and entire adolescent and adult life into making this kind of work,” Moore says. “Just like so many other industries getting affected in similar ways, it is an important time to think ahead about the realities of how this virus might change things in big ways for the foreseeable future.”
“The good news,” he adds, “is that the need for content creation and storytelling will never go away. The need for it will arguably go up as we get further into this pandemic. I think the key thing will come from being flexible enough to adapt how we approach making music videos in a world that looks a lot different than it did just two months ago.”
To read up on what else Moore has in store for the rest of 2020, be sure to check out our in-depth Q&A below. Afterward, for more, head here.
Outside of your own work, what’s the most creative quarantine content you’ve seen so far?
MAX MOORE: Since being at home more than usual, a lot of us have had more time to watch and engage with all kinds of content (movies, tv shows, YouTube channels, etc.). That said, it’s been really interesting for me as a content creator myself to sit back and see how so many brands and artists have pivoted from traditional live action content to more virtual and safer-made work. One of my favorite quarantine content moments so far was when Code Orange live streamed their record release show instead of just canceling it. Apparently it was a quick turnaround to get it up and running since it was right when the shut downs / cancelations were first starting. They carried on with an impressive production in the venue with no fans; it was rad.
On the music video side, the artist Lauv had an interesting video premiere a few days ago that was shot by the artist himself on his phone and was apparently directed almost exclusively via Zoom calls.
How are you personally staying creative during quarantine? We saw you put together your new video reel which looks great by the way.
Thank you! Initially when this all first hit, I was kind of stunned and basically just in a holding pattern to see how it would all play out. I did projects around my house that I’ve been putting off and obviously watched a lot of movies / TV. Essentially, I was just waiting for the restrictions to be lifted so I could get back to directing again as normal. Now though, several weeks into this, I’ve realized that I can’t just wait around passively during this time. Instead, I’ve really challenged myself to stay productive and [be] proactive with my career. The new production company I signed with early this year, Tuff Contender, has really been awesome in supporting their directors by encouraging us to stay busy in creative ways. So shout out to them.
One big thing for me was creating this new director’s reel. I haven’t cut a new reel in over two years simply because I was always so busy caught up in production. The reel is a way for me to quickly show who I am as a director and really entice clients or people in general into getting into the work that I’ve done. Hopefully people dig it and that can lead to more work when the world gets back to a little more normal state.
Which video from your reel are you the proudest of?
It’s kind of hard to pick just one because I enjoy different videos I’ve directed for different reasons. Generally speaking though, I’m really proud of the last few videos I put out last year and in early 2020. The New Found Glory “GOAT” video was a really fun one to make that I think turned out well and got a lot of positive responses from their fans. Also, I recently directed a video for All Time Low that I had a blast on. There were a bunch of animals on set so that’s always a good time. Making the new Code Orange videos were a highlight as well.
Code Orange’s “Swallowing The Rabbit Whole” has to be one of your best videos yet. There’s so much going on! How challenging was that to put together?
Thank you! Yeah to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever gone in harder and put so much of myself into a video. Jami [Morgan] from the band called me a few months ago and described what he wanted to do with these videos. I remember thinking to myself, “wow this is going to be insanely difficult to make happen” but I knew I was up for the challenge. Working with Code Orange is awesome because they bring so much to the table from the start. That makes working on video projects with them way more heavily collaborative than other artists.
Leading up to the shoot, Jami and I were constantly doing phone calls, almost daily, mapping out every single detail in these videos. We shot the “Rabbit Whole” video and the “Underneath” video back to back in three days right before Christmas. I’ve had tons of hard days on set, but I can for sure say these were challenging shoots. Not like the vibe was bad or anything, but they were just physically and mentally long and demanding. I want to give a massive shout out to my crew on these projects as they really stepped up and helped get these over the finish line. The collective attitude on set was very much like, “we all believe we are making something worthwhile here so let’s go in fully for it.”
On the backend, the edit was pretty intense as well. I easily put in well over 150 hours in a two week span on editing and VFX on “Rabbit Whole” alone. All that said, the reaction from their fans and my friends really made the whole process satisfying.
Since the last time we spoke, you’ve really branched out with who you’ve worked with including artists like Lil Lotus, Cold Hart and Smrtdeath. How much fun was it working with some new genres?
Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun taking on some music videos outside of the traditional pop punk / hardcore world. Don’t get me wrong, I love and will always love working with bands but there is also a sense of creative freedom that comes with working with solo artists. Rather than being locked into having to shoot a traditional band performance, I love the openness that a solo performance can lend itself to. In a lot of ways though, this kind of music – however you want to categorize it, “emo rap or soundcloud rap” – is the new wave of punk / alternative music in my opinion. These artists have created an entire scene completely on their own terms. The DIY and self-sufficient spirit of this new wave of artists is something I really respect and naturally gravitate towards.
Moving forward, with no real end in sight, how do you think COVID-19 will impact the music video industry over the next few months?
Obviously, no one for sure knows what the coming months will exactly look like for the music video industry, or film industry as a whole. I still like to remain optimistic that once restrictions are eased, some level of normalcy will return and live action music videos can start shooting again. As for right now, pretty much all live action production is frozen from top Hollywood movies to commercials down to smaller music videos. It’s a scary thing to witness when you’ve banked your entire livelihood and entire adolescent and adult life into making this kind of work. Just like so many other industries getting affected in similar ways, it is an important time to think ahead about the realities of how this virus might change things in big ways for the foreseeable future. The good news is that the need for content creation and storytelling will never go away. The need for it will arguably go up as we get further into this pandemic. I think the key thing will come from being flexible enough to adapt how we approach making music videos in a world that looks a lot different than it did just two months ago. Though this outbreak dramatically complicates the creative and logistical process of creating videos, which is terrifying, it’s also kind of exciting to have a system reboot kind of moment. That is, how can we as creatives continue to make our best compelling work for our clients in this turbulent environment? Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
That’s very true! How do you suggest inspiring video directors spend their time at home? Maybe hone in on their craft and make something new every day?
Like I mentioned earlier, my approach to this quarantine time is to stay engaged and productive. I think it’s easy to sink into the couch and fall into a lazy routine of complacency. Not that I haven’t had moments like this, but I encourage other directors or artists to stay creative during this time. This isn’t a vacation but rather a time to re-focus and pivot into something productive. Edit a new reel, shoot some test footage around your house, write a script or a treatment for future use, etc. For me, so much of my mental health is tied to creating, so staying focused right now is a great way to balance that side of my life as well.
Last question, for people who are absolutely bored out of their minds, what have you been watching lately? What’s been capturing your eye?
With all the initial doom and gloom from the news out there, I think I’ve been subconsciously less inclined to watch intense dramas right now [laughs]. I’ve found myself gravitating towards comedies to be honest. Checking out older shows that I hadn’t seen like Righteous Gemstones and Schitt’s Creek have been fun, lighthearted watches to boost my mood.