Max Emerson is a busy guy. The model/writer/director/producer and YouTube personality’s first feature film is premiering in theaters in Los Angeles on June 1 and available on video on demand on June 5.
“Hooked,” tells the story of Jack, an 18-year-old gay hustler. Jack is impulsive when it comes to his body and emotionally explosive. Even though he is very much in love with his boyfriend Tom, he decides to accompany an older, closeted married man from New York to Miami. His client’s intentions prove to be surprising in this cautionary tale about the dark life on the streets.
“It’s apparent that LGBTQ kids need a place they can go to be safe... to find guidance from people who actually identify with the things they are going through. It’s not special treatment, it’s a necessity,” Emerson told the audience at the European Diversity Awards.
A portion of profits from “Hooked” will be donated to organizations that combat gay teen homelessness.
In a recent phone interview, the Vero Beach native and University of Miami grad said he began working on the script nearly seven years ago, not long after his short films “Earwig” and “DipSpit” were screened as part of “Made in Miami” at the 2011 Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
“Right after ‘Made in Miami’, I walked in on my boyfriend at the time having a threesome. That’s when I knew I wanted to do something critical of our community’s recklessness,” Emerson recalled.
He has a rule of thumb when it comes to his projects: “When I write something, I plan to change 80 percent, (although) this one was pretty close structurally (to the original concept),” he said.
Script in hand, Emerson juggled his international modeling career and YouTube series while fundraising on IndieGoGo and eventually launching production two years ago. After a year of filming and another year in post-production, his project was finally ready.
“When you’re on a budget, people don’t work too fast,” Emerson said with a chuckle.
The film debuted at the Inside/Out Toronto LGBT film festival last November and has since been popular on the gay festival circuit. A master of social media, Emerson has leveraged tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and YouTube to spread the word, also. His latest project is “Drag Babies,” a hit web series featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Bob the Drag Queen.
Emerson plans to continue hitting the festival circuit to promote the film and he’s always thinking about the next project.
“My main focus to raise money for a larger production slate of films. Crowdsourcing is hard, (as opposed to) raising money from a couple investors,” he explained.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the busy 29-year-old concluded, “There’s always enough time, you just have to make it,” drawing a parallel to the character in his film.
“Hooked” by Max Emerson will be available on demand beginning June 5 from Breaking Glass Pictures, bgpics.com. Follow Emerson on Instagram at @Maxisms.