Max Kaplan

Filmmaker, writer, and director.

Listen: Spotify | Apple

Make Dope Shit S1 Ep5 Scarlet Street

“My favorite part is when I’ve got two completely disparate ideas. I think something really important about our humanity is the ability to hold two separate ideas in our heads. To balance them and consider them at the same time. As an artist, juxtaposing ideas and images are some of the most interesting things we can do. 


So when I find ways to merge ideas that are completely different that had nothing to do with each other – I maybe even had them years apart – and they can finally come together, those are some of my favorite moments”

In this episode, I sit down with Max Kaplan, an independent writer, director, and filmmaker. Currently living in Athens, Ohio, Max is about to graduate from the Ohio University School of Film – and even before graduating has a wealth of experience in the industry. 

With a passion for filmmaking that ignited at a young age, Max has been crafting films since he was 11. As he gears up for his thesis film, he reflects on his journey, the influence of his experiences, and his creative process. Throughout this chat we delve into his high school projects, his ideas on the more esoteric elements of creativity, and his thoughts on the role of social media in creative expression.

Follow Max: Instagram 

Support His Indigogo for Looker, a horror short film


Show Notes

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Max’s journey into filmmaking beginning at the age of 11
  • His current status as a student at Ohio University School of Film and the anticipation of his graduation and thesis film.
  • Discussion about “Hawaii,” Max’s high school “magnum opus.”
  • Reflections on Max’s filmmaking process during high school, including making a significant film each year and other smaller projects.
  • Exploration of Max’s creative process, ideation, and how he documents and revisits his ideas.
  • Insights into the balance of working on personal projects and freelancing, and how these experiences feed into each other.
  • Lessons learned from assistant directing on various projects, including understanding crew efficiency and different working styles in American vs. European film sets.
  • Discussion on the intentionality in filmmaking, the importance of pacing, and creating rewatchable films.
  • Max’s approach to presenting his films, the value he finds in exclusive, in-person premieres, and his perspective on the role of social media in sharing creative work.
  • The conversation about Max’s recent film, “Death of a Bible Salesman,” its personal significance, and audience reactions.
  • Delving into the themes of social media, perception, and existence in Max’s upcoming thesis film.
  • Closing thoughts on the value of the creative process and the significance of releasing work for the sake of moving on to new projects.


Resources and Links

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