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Carroll Connection

Max Prio’s Art–and His Surprising Next Act

videos by max prio | reporting by william bole

Photo of Max Prio filming in Fulton Hall

Sipping on an iced coffee in the commons area of Stokes Hall, Carlos Maximilian Prio ’16—management student and filmmaker—pauses during an interview and says, “This is where the story gets long.”

The short of it is that Prio, who goes by “Max,” wasn’t supposed to become a celebrated campus videographer. In the past couple of years, he has produced some 40 promotional videos, mostly for student organizations and the Boston College administration. He has also forayed into dramatic productions with his miniseries Mod of Cards, a Chestnut Hill sendup of the Netflix original series House of Cards.

That wasn’t what he—or his parents—envisioned when he arrived on campus. During his senior year of high school, Prio’s parents told him, “Don’t you dare study film. Go to Boston College and study finance.”

His father is a freelance director who mostly does commercials. When Max was growing up, in Miami, he often tagged along to his father’s shoots and eventually became chief production assistant. “I grew up with a camera in my hands,” the younger Prio says. His parents were all too familiar with the challenges of earning a livelihood as an independent filmmaker. They envisioned their son at a top management school and, after that, in the corporate world.

So did he. At the Carroll School, Prio threw himself into both finance and marketing, which became his concentrations. But in his first semester, he also took a film class, Final Cut Pro Editing, taught by Kris Brewer (Fine Arts). That year, he and a team of film students entered a collegiate film contest hosted by Hyundai, winning second place nationally with their three-minute video, “Boston College Fan Loyalty.” Soon after, he found himself producing a promotional video for a campus group he had joined, the Cuban-American Student Association.

Fan Loyalty Video by Exposure Productions

In the spring of sophomore year, Prio found a way to blend what had become his two passions—management and filmmaking. He launched a startup company, Exposure Productions, dedicated to helping student groups tell their stories.

He’d noticed that Boston College produces many videos geared to prospective students but relatively few for current students who want to learn more about the University’s offerings and how to get involved in campus life. Exposure Productions filled that gap, and it grew to include 10 part-time student employees.

Exposure also ended up becoming a self-designed practicum. “You could take everything you learn in class and apply it to your business. That’s been invaluable to me,” he says, referring to such aspects of the work as marketing, negotiations, personnel management, client relationships, and social media.

Showdown Video by Exposure Productions

In one of his latest projects, Prio, who’s now also a film minor, has produced a set of videos about the Carroll School's EY Peer Advisors, a program supported by the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young. The advisors are seniors who offer guidance on such matters as course selection, concentrations and majors, study abroad, and co-curricular activities.

The videos, including profiles of advisors, were unveiled last month. They’re casual and approachable—the feel that Prio aims to bring to all of his productions. It’s an effect he achieves, for example, by not providing the people he interviews on camera with questions in advance.

“It’s not scripted,” he says. “It’s as raw, as real, as genuine as possible.”

Dean's Coffee Video by Exposure Productions

Prio has also turned his lens on Dean’s Coffee, an informal gathering held weekly outside the Honors Library in Fulton Hall. He has caught with his camera the student-run Annual Showdown, a dance competition that draws thousands every spring; Black Family Weekend; and the workings of the Consumer Insights Panel, which involves students in marketing research studies undertaken by Carroll School faculty.

Off campus, he has shot videos for alumni startups and local businesses in Boston and back home in Florida. Altogether, the 40 or so projects have enabled Prio to pursue his craft while helping his family pay his tuition bills.

a career beckons

Photo of Max Prio filming in Fulton Hall

Exposure Productions took an artistic (and non-renumerative) turn with Mod of Cards, billed as “the first ever feature-length drama series at a college or university.” Thirty-five student actors and 20 crew members came together to produce six, half-hour episodes between December 2014 and April 2015. The series aired on Vimeo, the video-sharing website (where it is still viewable).

Film has taken him far, but it hasn’t diverted Prio from his parents’ advice. After graduation, he plans to follow a path well traveled by Carroll School alumni. “I will go to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a technology consultant,” he makes known at the end of the interview, acknowledging that many who follow his film career have been surprised by the decision.

But then, Prio seems to open another door, mentioning that PwC’s communications office (which undoubtedly produces video among other media) is located in New York, where he will be working.

Taking one last sip of his “BC Bolt” (the iced coffee with a shot of espresso), he adds: “I’m hoping to take advantage of every opportunity I’m presented with—even if it completely changes my career path.”

William Bole is Senior Writer at the Carroll School
Photos of Max Prio by Lee Pellegrini