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Mad Men
Mad-men

Genre

Period Drama

Created By

Matthew Wiener

Opening Theme

"A Beautiful Mine" (Instrumental) by RJD2

No. Seasons

5

No. Episodes

65

Wiki

Mad Men Wiki

Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The series airs on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, concluded its fifth season on June 10, 2012 and has been renewed for a sixth season. Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The focal point of the series is Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and the people in his life, both in and out of the office. As such, it regularly depicts the changing moods and social mores of 1960s America.

Mad Men has received critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity, visual style, costume design, acting, writing, and directing, and has won multiple awards, including fifteen Emmys and four Golden Globes. It is the first and only basic cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, winning it in each of its first four seasons in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

ProductionEdit

ConceptionEdit

In 2000, while working as a staff writer for Becker, Matthew Weiner wrote the first draft for the pilot of what would later be called Mad Men as a spec script. Television producer David Chase recruited Weiner to work as a writer on his HBO series The Sopranos after reading the pilot script in 2002. "It was lively, and it had something new to say," Chase said. "Here was someone [Weiner] who had written a story about advertising in the 1960s, and was looking at recent American history through that prism." Weiner set the pilot script aside for the next seven years — during which time neither HBO nor Showtime expressed interest in the project[4][5]—until The Sopranos was completing its final season and cable network AMC happened to be in the market for new programming. "The network was looking for distinction in launching its first original series," according to AMC Networks president Ed Carroll, "and we took a bet that quality would win out over formulaic mass appeal."

Pre-productionEdit

Tim Hunter, the director of a half-dozen episodes from the show's first two seasons, called Mad Men a "very well-run show." He said: They have a lot of production meetings during pre-production. The day the script comes in we all meet for a first page turn, and Matt starts telling us how he envisions it. Then there's a "tone" meeting a few days later where Matt tells us how he envisions it. And then there's a final full crew production meeting...

Filming and production designEdit

The pilot episode was shot at Silvercup Studios and various locations around New York City; subsequent episodes have been filmed at Los Angeles Center Studios. It is available in high definition for showing on AMC-HD and on video-on-demand services available from various cable affiliates. The writers, including Weiner, amassed volumes of research on the period in which Mad Men takes place so as to make most aspects of the series—including detailed set designs, costume design, and props—historically accurate, producing an authentic visual style that garnered critical praise. Each episode has a budget between $2–2.5 million, though the pilot episode's budget was over $3 million. On the scenes featuring smoking, Weiner stated: "Doing this show without smoking would've been a joke. It would've been sanitary and it would've been phony." Since the actors cannot, by California law, smoke tobacco cigarettes in their workplace, they instead smoke herbal cigarettes. Robert Morse was cast in the role of senior partner Bertram Cooper; Morse starred in two 1967 films about amoral businessmen, A Guide for the Married Man (1967), a source of inspiration for Weiner, and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1967), in which Morse recreated his role from the 1961 Broadway play of the same name, (and which was itself based on a satiric novel by a former executive at the now-defunct New York ad agency, Benton & Bowles, Inc.).

Weiner collaborated with cinematographer Phil Abraham and production designers Robert Shaw (who worked on the pilot only) and Dan Bishop to develop a visual style that was "influenced more by cinema than television." Alan Taylor, a veteran director of The Sopranos, directed the pilot and also helped establish the series' visual tone. To convey an "air of mystery" around Don Draper, Taylor tended to shoot from behind him or would frame him partially obscured. Many scenes set at Sterling Cooper were shot lower-than-eyeline to incorporate the ceilings into the composition of frame; this reflects the photography, graphic design and architecture of the period. Alan felt that neither steadicam nor handheld camera work would be appropriate to the "visual grammar of that time, and that aesthetic didn’t mesh with [their] classic approach"—accordingly, the sets were designed to be practical for dolly work.

FinancesEdit

According to a 2011 Miller Tabak + Company estimate published in Barrons, Lions Gate Entertainment receives an estimated $2.71 million from AMC for each episode, a little less than the $2.84 million each episode costs to produce. In March 2011, after negotiations between the network and the series' creator, AMC picked up Mad Men for a fifth season, which premiered on March 25, 2012. Weiner reportedly signed a $30 million contract which will keep him at the helm of the show for three more seasons. A couple of weeks later, a Marie Claire interview with January Jones was published, noting the limits to that financial success when it comes to the actors: "We don’t get paid very much on the show and that’s well-documented. On the other hand, when you do television you have a steady paycheck each week, so that’s nice." Sales from home video and iTunes could amount to $100 million in revenue during the show's expected seven-year run, with international syndication sales bringing in an additional estimated $700,000 per episode. That does not include the $71[18] to $100 million estimated to come from a Netflix streaming video deal announced in April 2011.

Episode credit and title sequencesEdit

The opening title sequence features credits superimposed over a graphic animation of a businessman falling from a height, surrounded by skyscrapers with reflections of period advertising posters and billboards, accompanied by a short edit of the instrumental "A Beautiful Mine" by RJD2. The businessman appears as a black-and-white silhouette. The titles, created by production house Imaginary Forces, pay homage to graphic designer Saul Bass's skyscraper-filled opening titles for Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) and falling man movie poster for Vertigo (1958); Weiner has listed Hitchcock as a major influence on the visual style of the series. David Carbonara composes the original score for the series. Mad Men — Original Score Vol. 1 was released on January 13, 2009.

In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show’s opening title sequence ranked #9 on a list of TV's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers. At the end of almost all episodes, the show either fades to black or smash cut to black as period music or a theme by series composer, David Carbonara, plays during the ending credits; at least one episode ends with silence or ambient sounds. A few episodes have ended with more recent popular music, or with a diegetic song dissolving into the credits music. The Beatles authorized the use of "Tomorrow Never Knows" for the season 5 episode "Lady Lazarus", and the same track was used over the closing credits. It marked a rare instance where the band licensed their music for a television series. Lionsgate, which produces Mad Men, paid $250,000 for the use of the song in the episode.[24] Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice It's Alright ended the last episode of Season 1.

CrewEdit

In addition to having created the series, Matthew Weiner is the show runner, head writer, and an executive producer; he contributes to each episode—writing or co-writing the scripts, casting various roles, and approving costume and set designs. He is notorious for being selective about all aspects of the series, and promotes a high level of secrecy around production details. Tom Palmer served as a co-executive producer and writer on the first season. Scott Hornbacher (who later became an executive producer), Todd London, Lisa Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton were producers on the first season. Palmer, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton were also writers on the first season. Bridget Bedard, Chris Provenzano, and writer's assistant Robin Veith complete the first season writing team.

Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton returned as supervising producers for the second season. Veith also returned and was promoted to staff writer. Hornbacher replaced Palmer as co-executive producer for the second season. Consulting producers David Isaacs, Marti Noxon, Rick Cleveland, and Jane Anderson joined the crew for the second season. Weiner, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Veith, Noxon, Cleveland and Anderson were all writers for the second season. New writer's assistant Kater Gordon was the season's other writer. Isaacs, Cleveland and Anderson left the crew at the end of the second season. Albert remained a supervising producer for the third season but Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton became consulting producers. Hornbacher was promoted again, this time to executive producer. Veith returned as a story editor and Gordon became a staff writer. Noxon remained a consulting producer and was joined by new consulting producer Frank Pierson. Dahvi Waller joined the crew as a co-producer. Weiner, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Veith, Noxon and Waller were all writers for the third season. New writer's assistant Erin Levy, executive story editor Cathryn Humphris, script co-ordinator Brett Johnson and freelance writer Andrew Colville complete the third season writing staff. Alan Taylor, Phil Abraham, Jennifer Getzinger, Lesli Linka Glatter, Tim Hunter, Andrew Bernstein, and Michael Uppendahl are regular directors for the series. Matthew Weiner directs the season finales. Cast members John Slattery and Jon Hamm have also directed episodes.

As of the third season, seven of the nine writers for the show are women, in contrast to Writers Guild of America 2006 statistics that show male writers outnumber female writers by 2 to 1. As Maria Jacquemetton noted: We have a predominately female writing staff—women from their early 20s to their 50s—and plenty of female department heads and directors. [Show creator] Matt Weiner and [executive producer] Scott Hornbacher hire people they believe in, based on their talent and their experience. "Can you capture this world? Can you bring great storytelling?"

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