Yaniv “Nev” Schulman Talks CATFISH: THE TV SHOW, Which Chronicles His Trek Around the Country to Document Couples in Online Romances

by     Posted 2 years, 83 days ago

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The new MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show, premiering on November 12th and based on the critically-acclaimed documentary feature, will focus on couples who have fallen in love online but have never met face-to-face.  With 12 hour-long episodes, filmmakers Yaniv “Nev” Schulman (from the original 2010 film) and Max Joseph are on a quest around the country to tell the stories of these hopeful romantic partners, showing how social sites lead to romance that can blossom, get deleted and evolve in totally unexpected ways.

While at the MTV portion of the TCA Press Tour, Nev Schulman talked about making this show on his own terms, not wanting to know anything about the couples ahead of time, how he never expected the movie to be controversial, and how his life has changed since the film originally premiered at Sundance.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

catfish-nev-schulman-max-josephQuestion: When you know what the people really look like and you are filming with the other person who is still a hopeful, how hard is it to remain objective and not give it away?

YANIV “NEV” SCHULMAN:  The most important thing to me, for making this show, was to make it on my terms.  And the number one term for me was that I don’t want to know anything because I suck at acting.  If you want proof that Catfish was real, just put me in an audition room and watch me fall apart.  I can’t pretend.  I’m really bad at it.  That’s partly what makes me good at hosting a reality show.  So, I don’t know anything, and 95% of the crew doesn’t know anything.  We are actually going and discovering.  I would feel really weird and gross about pretending not to know something, and stringing someone along on some story.  So, that’s how we dealt with that.

Why don’t these people use Skype?

SCHULMAN:  In many cases, if Skype is an option, someone finds an excuse or a way to avoid using it because they are hiding their identity, in some way.  That is always a big question.  You’ve been in a relationship with someone for so long, and you like them so much that you are willing to go to the extent to email me and agree to be on some show, but you haven’t made any effort in actually just trying to communicate with this person on a more meaningful level.  A lot of people that we are meeting are young people, and they are so excited about the relationship.  They are so happy that someone has taken such an interest in them, be it on Facebook or VampireFreaks, or whatever website they might be using.  They don’t want to lose that, so they are willing to forego what would seem to be totally obvious things that one would want, in communicating with someone that often.  Part of it is overcoming the fear of possibly losing something that you are so happy about having.                

catfish-the-tv-showSome people tuning in to this will be familiar with the documentary and therefore expecting some weird twist, towards the end of the episode.  Do you feel obligated to do that now?  If it’s a straightforward love story, do you feel like you have to make it more interesting?

SCHULMAN:  I think the story starts very much like mine, which is with an online relationship.  Obviously, there’s always an element of mystery and curiosity.  There’s certainly an element of love and longing.  That’s where it starts.  Where it goes is very much with the insecurities of teenagers.  This actually dives headfirst and explores, in a real emotional way, what people are feeling.  When you do that, you almost always find interesting, compelling truths, and that’s what this show ends up doing.  So, whether or not two people are totally lying to each other and it turns out to be a huge disaster, that’s only the first part of the story.  We then want to know why they are doing it, who they are, what they are feeling, what led them to this place, and why that resonates with thousands of other young people, who have the same feelings, who don’t have someone to talk to, or who don’t know how to express themselves, for whatever their reasons may be.

catfish-the-tv-show-yaniv-schulmanWhen the movie premiered at Sundance, you made a big splash, but there was also a really quick backlash with questions of, “Is this fake?”  Are you prepared for that to happen again with this?

SCHULMAN:  Sure.  I’ve become increasingly aware, over the last few years since the film premiered at Sundance, at just how unbelievably lucky, unusual, and crazy my story was, not just because it happened to me, but because my brother and best friend are filmmakers, and that this woman had this story to tell and that she was willing to tell it.  In a way, it was like lightning in a bottle.  We never expected it to be controversial because it happened to us, and we never thought that people would not believe us.  But, the conversations that it started trumped the controversy.  The fact that people were talking about their online lives, and how much time we all spend using the internet, is a conversation that I was excited to be at the center of, and continue to want to explore and talk about.

How has your life been different, after the film premiered at Sundance?

SCHULMAN:  Well, yeah.  I was producing bar mitzvah documentaries in New York City.  That was my job, and I had a good time doing it.  Never, in a million years, would I have dreamt that I would be hosting a reality show on MTV, nor would I have said that I wanted to do that, if you had asked me three years ago.  But, I got these emails, and they came in more and more and more.  As someone who does like telling stories, and telling them with a film format, I said, “What can we do with these?  How do we keep discovering and learning and exploring what seems to be an energy that we’ve tapped into with this film?”  It seemed to be a perfect fit with MTV.

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  • Lona Ferraro

    how do we email Nev ? Nev i would like to befriend the lady artist , You had an online friendship with all tho did she spark Your tv show, she has a big heart and seems really interesting and lonely life can be tough, i am sorry You were hurt , but now a big star, your heart is big also , great luck ! Is anyone buying the ladies paintings ? Thanks Lona

  • Stacie

    as above…I met a creepy man….help me :-)

  • Mkailyn

    I have this friend, and have for the past 2 years. His names matt and he lives in LA, Ive always been crazy about him, he makes me feel like he’s the other half that ive been looking for. Theres only one issue.. We havent met. We met on some stupid gaming website called habbo 2 years ago and have been close ever since, we’ve also datted in the past to. He rarely sends me photos, says he dosent have Facebook and always comes up with excuses to Meet in person. Im worried and searching for answers. I would love your help xox

  • ciara thomas

    hey nev i just got done watchin ur movie and i respect u more for not going after that lady who played u i understand y she did the things she has done not saying it was right but it’s just said how lyfe treated her . but i have a problem of my own i have been talking to dis girl for about 3 yrs and we never met she been threw alot in her life and some of them problems in her life caused her ta have a baby but idk how to feel about that…. every time we talk on the phone i get so happy like a kid xmas morning she makes me so happy but every time its time to meet up she says she cnt or gotta work she says she in the army and she doesnt have time looking @ ur movie has me thinking shes not real idk i love her …….. so if u could help me out PLEASE

    thanks, ciara

  • savannah

    Hi my name is savannah I’m dating this girl and we’ve never met she lives 2 hours aways from me and she the love of my life we talk all the time I wanna meet her and see if she ia the person that I’ve been talking to the whole time but every time we go to meet stuff just doent go right and we end up not meeting I think I’m truely in love with her and I don’t wanna lose her how do I fix thia

  • Denise Phillips

    Love the show and would like to meet Nev! Such a nice and attractive man, Im for real! I’ve done on line dating and have had some Catfish as well. Hope to hear from you!!! Denise

  • Trimice Gartrell

    Hello Nev, i a 34 year old beautiful African American female! I have been having a hard time of finding real, true love! Do u have any suggestions, can u please get back with me?

  • La Deidra

    I’ve been watching your show Catfish and I have been going through the samethings. I feel like now it’s time for me to see what is it about him that he don’t want me to see. Tired of waiting and putting off him seeing me for various reasons.

  • crystal

    HI, Nev I’m crystal and I have met this guy over teen chat and I started to have feeing for him I end up giving him my number everything he says is sweet things but I want to meet him to see if we got a connection. of all the guys I liked I feel the one I been talking to is the one so please nev help!!!!!!!!!!!! you been through this and you know how that wonder is about a person.
    thank you:)

  • crystal

    HI, Nev I\’m crystal and I have met this guy over teen chat and I started to have feeing for him I end up giving him my number everything he says is sweet things but I want to meet him to see if we got a connection. of all the guys I liked I feel the one I been talking to is the one so please nev help!!!!!!!!!!!! you been through this and you know how that wonder is about a person.
    thank you:)

  • Deborah Arlene Cassidy

    405085

    I would like to develop a penpal around catfish around the set to become friends pleease let me kmow thanks,,,ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Deborah Arlene Cassidy

    048400

    I would like to develop a penpal around catfish around the set to become friends pleease let me kmow thanks,,,ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Tiifany Nicole Keith

    Hey nev, my name is tiffany nicole keith im 22 n going to be 23 this august i know ur show is about helping people finding there online lovers but i was wondering if its possible if u can help me out with something different. email me @ tiffkeith46@yahoo.com or call me @ 760-583-4813…. thx nev :) much luv n i hope u can help me with my situation <3

  • Kay

    ive fallen in love with Nev. that is alll. you wouldnt be disapointed im not a catfish : ) promise.

  • Jessica Anne Marie

    To contact Yaniv Schulman regarding Catfish, you can email him at catfishnev@gmail.com. For information about pricing and prints, contact him using yanivschulman.com@gmail.com. Nev Schulman became a Hollywood sensation after his 2010 hit documentary “Catfish.”

  • Jessica Anne Marie

    To contact Yaniv Schulman regarding Catfish, you can email him at catfishnev@gmail.com. For information about pricing and prints, contact him using yanivschulman.com@gmail.com. Nev Schulman became a Hollywood sensation after his 2010 hit documentary “Catfish.

  • Cindyrelisha

    does he have a Skype addy?

  • Cindyrelisha

    does he have a Skype addy?

  • Ahmad

    Hello Nev, i a 18 year old , i have found my perfect girl but she live very far from me and we are together from 1 year and 4 months i had never see her
    and her family try to make us leave because a Religion and her mum everyday try to find bf for my girl . sometimes her mum ask a boy to come home !!!!

    her mum never give me a chance !
    i need a help , No ?

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