After a high school teacher called one of his early short stories “more or less competent”, Max Taxe decided to become a writer full time. He received his BFA in screenwriting from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2011, which is a very useful degree to have. His script Goodbye Felix Chester won Best Comedy Feature at Austin Film Festival and appeared on the 2012 Black List. It is currently in production with Autumn de Wilde directing. Taxe also recently sold a pilot to Pivot and a movie to Disney Channel. When Taxe isn’t in his writing cave, he’s playing with his two corgis, who he will undoubtedly talk to you about ad nauseam if given the opportunity. He also enjoys bowling more than any human should, and owns his own ball. Its name is Betsy.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? It’s about the work. It’s easy to get caught up in the general meetings, the pitches, the schmoozing, the dream planning of I’ll-get-the-script-to-this-director-who-will-get-it-to-this-star-and-and-and, the promises, the hype, the paydays, the premieres, so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, the way to break in – and more importantly, stay in – is to do good work. Only good things come from writing a great script.
What are you working on right now? I’m working on a few hasty rewrites for Goodbye, Felix Chester before we start shooting. I have a comedy pilot at Pivot as well. And I always have a few original projects that I’m working on in the background
Do you have a favorite or memorable experience at Austin Film Festival? I think this one goes in the “memorable” category. Apparently, when you win an award at the Austin Film Festival, you have to give an acceptance speech. Which I did not know. So when I won and had to approach the podium, and there’s John Lasseter sitting at a table in the front, and there’s Caroline Thompson, who wrote Edward Scissorhands, and Johnny Depp was somewhere in the room or behind some curtain, I was freaking out. I have absolutely no idea what I said for 90% of the (thankfully short) speech. But I do remember thanking my parents, who weren’t there, obviously, but I felt like it had to be said anyway. Apparently I phrased it as “my parents, who aren’t with us,” as in, you know, dead, and the room audibly hushed. I heard an aww from someone. When I realized what they were reacting to, I had to awkwardly clarify that I meant they were in California, very much alive, just not…here.