Upon introduction, it is hard not to get caught up in the fast-paced world of Max Schneider. Quickly approaching the eve of his 21st birthday, Max’s entire 5’7” frame seems to continuously vibrate with an energy for all things entertainment. A YouTube performer, singer, songwriter, actor and model, Max started in the entertainment world at the age of 16, receiving his big break when he was cast as Zander Robbins in the Nickelodeon show “How to Rock.”
From there, Max has acted in numerous Nickelodeon shows, landed guest roles on television series such as “Law and Order SVU,” modeled alongside Madonna for Dolce and Gabbana and developed a devoted YouTube following which he has named “Schneidermonkeys.” And when others lecture him that someday he’ll have to choose between music and acting, Max laughingly responds: “Why?” As he puts it, “I have one life to live. I want to do all these things and give it my all.”
With an acting resume that reads 10 pages long, Max comes across at moments as far more mature than his age. But sitting atop his cast chair from his Nickelodeon days, feet dangling as he animatedly shared stories about his best friend-turned-girlfriend and zip-lining dates, Max seems like any other young man who enjoys going on late night adventures with his friends. Today, Max dropped the first single “Nothing Without Love,” a preview of his debut album that will drop in August. Following the release of the album, he will be moving to Chicago to film the new NBC show “Crisis.” Sitting in his recording studio, Max talked about his dream of owning a talking monkey, what YouTube has given him that television can’t and why he refuses to choose between film and music.
What does a typical week look like for you?
Max Schneider: I would say it involves a lot of music making, singing and dancing and making videos and figuring out new concepts for videos, and then I do a lot of auditions for acting stuff, and sometimes I’m shooting something, sometimes I’m not. And then on my free time I try to do random things with my friends like going bowling or going skydiving, something like that. Try to switch it up.
If you had a completely free day, what would you want to fill it with?
Completely free days always kind of freak me out, ‘cause I’m like, “What do I do?” So I definitely get a good workout in so I feel good for the day, and then I love doing something new on that free day, like whether it’s– I love ziplining. I like making it an adventure day, and then yeah, just getting a good dinner with my friends or something. A nice ending to it all.
Do you get recognized a lot when you’re out and about?
I get recognized a lot, yeah. Depends sort of the place I’m at, and what I love these days — I’ve been really lucky to like work in YouTube stuff and Nickelodeon stuff — so the different people that come up to me sometimes it’s young people like 12 or 13 and sometimes it’s– I was in this Starbucks — I love telling this one — I was in this Starbucks in an airport, and I’m standing there and I’m waiting for the drink, and the guy is like, “Max Schneider,” and I was like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Wait, you’re Max Schneider. I watch your YouTube,” and I was like, “Word, man.” This guy, like this 35-year-old guy at Starbucks, was like, “Yeah man, keep doing your stuff.” And I left and I just didn’t think that would happen. That kind of stuff happens sometimes; it’s cool.
Do you feel a different connection with your different groups of fans? Because with YouTube it is really you being you and with television you’re playing another character.
It is definitely different in a lot of ways for sure. I definitely feel like people who watch my YouTube stuff definitely know me in a very genuine sense, but I’ve also been really lucky that a lot of the Nickelodeon stuff I did, I really just played myself with like little different character differences. I did a show called “Beauty and the Beast” where I played this character Jake Riley who is just like the biggest jerk ever, so if I meet people that only saw that — actually my friend had a friend who was like, “I saw him on that show.” I didn’t know if I should talk to him though ‘cause like I didn’t know what he was going to be like, so people like that might think I’m a jerk, so it’s funny to see how different things give you a different portrayal.
How do you think people view you on your YouTube channel?
I don’t know. I hope that they enjoy it for one, and I hope that it makes them happy. That’s my main goal, but I really try to keep it as real as possible. My one thing is I talk a lot; I’m doing it right now, and I try to not really have a filter because I feel like you can tell when things are scripted, and I really want people to get a sense of me in the most genuine way possible.
Have you ever put out a video that you looked back and thought, “Why did I do that?”
[laughs] I’ve definitely put out some videos that I’m like, “Oh man,” especially some old ones. I would say when I first started doing YouTube videos when I wasn’t really into it, 16, 17, I was like super vain. I was looking at the camera, I was like, “Hey guys, how’s it going?” I look back, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing?” So things like that and then some videos like even from recent years I look back and I’m like, “Why did I think that was going to be awesome?” But you got to take the risk, and sometimes it’s going to be kind of crazy but you just got to do it ‘cause that brings in new cool stuff.
If someone was to play you in a movie, who would you choose?
Oh man, I would love Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play me. I love him; I think he’s awesome. He’s older than I am, so I don’t know if that would work but if it could work I would love that.
Who would be the leading characters in your movie?
Probably me. I’d probably be in the movie, maybe. My mom and my dad ‘cause they’re awesome, and then my grandma who passed away recently because she was the coolest southern woman who said like hilarious things all the time. A bunch of my good friends, for sure some in New York, some in Los Angeles, and then I feel like there would have to be a talking monkey — somehow we would have to incorporate that. That is not something that is in my life currently but if it could be I think I’d be even happier than I am now. So in the movie world if I could just have a talking monkey pet that would be pretty awesome.
Just to hang out with, yeah.
Just to hang out with and play music. Just do stuff.
Do you think in the next couple of years you will steal a monkey from the zoo and train it to talk to you?
I don’t know if I’m going to be able to steal the monkey from the zoo. I’m not good at stealing things, but if I could, you know, possibly adopt a monkey — I know that’s hard to do but I’ve looked into it, and I’m hoping that that will be a possibility.
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