Showing posts with label bettydraper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bettydraper. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2013

Matt Weiner reveals what Mad Men is really about

Wesleyan University kicked off a fundraising drive last night with a talk by its most famous '87 alum --Matt Weiner. The event was held in the Directors Guild Theater which enabled the event to open with a luscious, big screen sampling of all 6 seasons --up until S604. (No preview clips, natch.)

Some of the things that Matt talked about in (warm, relaxed) conversation with Wesleyan’s' president--a meeting of minds he presumably never foresaw when he was (by his own admission) a lackluster student in Middletown:

1. He actually wanted to be a poet. He wrote poetry in college and did a poetry thesis senior year which he brought to a poetry professor for feedback. The professor's response: We both know you're not a poet, don't we? "Actually, I hadn't known that," Matt said. "But it helped me enormously."

2. After graduation, desperate to live in New York, Matt took a job with a friend's mother, an interior decorator, who basically hired him to "stand around and make sure the workers weren't stealing stuff." After a while, he decided to move back to LA, where he'd grown up. "Because one day, standing in a room being decorated, I realized I'd be doing the same thing the next year. And the next."

3. Matt is fascinated by the late 50s "which actually lasted through 1962." He felt the same vibe played out when he was in college in the 1980s-- revival of diners, jazz, fashions, etc. He is not so fascinated with the Boomer 60s when "everyone wore the same thing and shouted, in unison, 'I'm an individual!"

4. He chose to set the show in advertising because "that was the glamorous job of that era."

5. On Don Draper's character: "Don is a person from rural poverty who is acutely aware of the fact that he ran away from death, in an act of cowardice. He actually killed someone, by accident, but never took responsibility for it. He is very interested in self-preservation. Fear was instilled in him as a child, by a hobo who told him that death was going to come looking for him, and that he should 'keep moving.' That was where I started the series."

6. Another thing that inspired the Mad Men story was the conundrum of expectations for men at that time: "They were supposed to be great dads and great husbands and work for the Little League and the PTA...but they were also supposed to drink as much, smoke as much and get laid as much as possible."

7. He's grateful for the creative freedom AMC provides, including the freedom to not to have to spell everything out. Like sex scenes. "I'm more interested in "the just before" and "the just after."

8. Don Draper is not an anti-hero. "It disturbs me when people call him that. Don't people have to murder someone to be anti-heroes? Don has his own code, his own moral center. But it is totally situational. Like most of ours. And that is what the show is really about."

9. And speaking of personalized moral codes: "Pete is my Democrat. He's right about everything, but he's from a screwed up background. And I do believe that you are the sum of your experiences."

[SPOILERS ALERT: Proceed at your own caution, if you haven't seen Season 6.]

10. When asked about heroism in the show, he said: "It's Don's support of Peggy. It's Betty going into town after that violinist. Heroism to me is any time you overcome your own weaknesses, push your own boundaries."

11. On Themes. The theme of last season (#5) was Success. One of the themes of this season is: How are you perceived by other people? "When Betty Draper goes downtown, people there make assumptions about who she is based on her weight and her hair and the fact that she knows how to cook. She resents that. "

12. "The show is not judgmental about human behavior, and that makes people uncomfortable, I think."

13. Don can't love the people who love him. He begins to emotionally withdraw from Megan when he sees she can't accept his 50s lifestyle.

14. "1968 was probably the crappiest year in the history of America. I have new respect for people who were there." When asked about how this will impact his characters, he was characteristically evasive about details, but said, “Bad stuff's gonna happen."

15. A question from the audience: Do you believe people can change? Tellingly, Matt paused a long moment before answering, "Yes. But I believe wanting to change, is a change." And we see where Don gets his remarkable ability to finely slice and dice the meaning of words.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Forgive me, non-Mad Men fans, I have to talk about...Betty! [spoiler alert for those who haven't yet seen last night's S6 premiere)

First shock to me that the writers left her plus-size. (Does one of them have a grudge against her?) I thought for sure that her added weight, a (brilliant) cover for pregnancy during shooting last season--so she wouldn't have to walk around behind laundry baskets--would have been done away with, now that a cover's not necessary. Or is it? Are Xander's days as an only child numbered?

And then--the hair! Is her Marilyn-to-Jackie move an attempt to spice up her marriage? Clearly she's NOT good at pillow talk, given her awkward attempt to turn on a distracted, straight-edge husband by initiating role play using fantasy--of all things--child molesting! Or perhaps it's an attempt to prove to the world (and herself) that there's more to her than a strung-out druggie on St. Mark's assumes. Speaking of which--didn't that scene make you just want to reach into the screen and tell her to buy the building, it'll be worth millions someday!?

OK, now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, March 4, 2013

my novel goes on sale today

I'll admit, when I started writing a book (um, ten years ago?!) I had no idea how difficult it would be, nor how many people would need to become involved in the making of it. I guess I'd thought a novel would be sort of like writing a veeerrrrry looooonnnnng commercial or print ad. And indeed, my first draft probably read like that. The agent I sent my first draft to mailed it back with a few kind words and also (kind) harsh ones, "A novel needs to tell a story. Yours doesn't." Back to the drawing board--er, keyboard--after some crying and gnashing of teeth. The next draft came a few years later (I was also, you know, writing for actual pay) until I had piles and piles of scenes and plotlines and my husband (tired of carrying the piles out to the car when we went upstate on weekends) suggested I devote a summer to finishing the novel, just to get it out of my system. And now, thanks to the interventions of him and a few others (which I'll save for more posts) I have a novel coming out today from Simon & Schuster. It's called Making It: A Novel of Madison Avenue. A story set in (where else?) Adland from the POVof an older, wiser, married Peggy Olson. (The book is not affiliated with AMC's Mad Men, need I say?) Feeling morose on a Monday? Cheer up by doing an adbroad a solid. Buy the book here. Each sale improves my ranking on Amazon by at least a thousand. Thanks!

Monday, March 19, 2012

notes from my sxsw session

Thanks to Craig Carter for live blogging my SXSW session last week. If you missed it and want to catch up on how brands can use social storytelling to enhance the fan experience, his excellent notes can be found here. Or listen to the SXSWpodcast here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

transmedia recipes for bigger brand muffins

If you're at SXSW and interested in transmedia for marketing, hope you'll make it to @BettyDraper's Guide to Social Storytelling. I'll talk about how transmedia is transforming the marketing landscape and show examples of brands using it to their advantage.  Monday, 9:30 AM in the Longhorn room at the Omni. Full disclosure. January Jones won't be able make it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

@bettydraper's guide to social storytelling

If you're in Austin for the SXSW digitalpalooza, hope you'll join @BettyDraper and me for a fun session on Monday morning at the Omni Hotel. It's @BettyDraper's Guide to Social Storytelling where we'll take a look at current examples of social advertising, transmedia, brand fiction and branded content to determine what makes stories work for today's social audiences--and what makes them fail. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

SXSW panel shopping? 13, er, 14 items in my cart

If you're like me, you're inundated with tweets, emails, Facebook messages and spamblasts soliciting your vote on proposed SXSW panels. No wonder. Public "thumbs-up" and comments count for 30 percent of the decision-making process. (Sort of like hinging a college admission on the dubious qualifier of how many letters of recommendation a candidate drums up.) Over 2300 panels were proposed this year. Your two cents counts in deciding which ones are chosen. How to shop through them if you're not a bot? You could start with the ones I'm buying, listed in no particular order:

1. Tweeting On Weekends: Are We Becoming Socially Anti-Social?
As technology allows us to share every moment instantaneously online, are we missing out on what is right in front of us? Posing this question (and presumably answering it) is Ogilvy's Rohit Bhargava, author of the new marketing book, Personality Not Included and writer of Influential Marketing blog.
Recommended For: anyone who's ever been grappled with the question of text-iquette or gotten the stink-eye for tweeting under the table

Vote and/or comment here.
2. Ad Agencies Need a New Mindset to Survive
Will the ad agency survive now that the reins of media have transferred from a few professionals to 2 billion individuals? If so, it will have to revamp its entire way of thinking. How? Find out from Edward Boches, CCO, Mullen who's organizing a panel including Rob Schwartz, CCO, TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, John Winsor, Founder & CEO of Victors & Spoils and Ben Malbon, co-founder of BBH Labs.
Recommended For: marketers, branders, anybody with a job in adland, or looking for one. Great networking possibilities.
Vote and/or comment here.
3. Ladies Claim Digital Strategy is the New Creativity
What makes this panel interesting to me isn't only its topic (what the heck constitutes creativity now?) but the fact that the panelists are all of the female persuasion. Which may be a first at this testosteroned geekfest. Organizer is Ana Andjelic, i [love] marketing blogger and contributor to AdAge. Panelists include former BBH Chairman Cindy Gallop known for her irreverance onstage and off, who I once saw flabbergast into silence a (mostly male) audience by holding up⎯and explaining⎯ a new kind of dildo.
Recommended For: creatives, strategists, planners, social media pundits. With ovaries and without.
Vote and/or comment here.

4. I'm So Productive, I Never Get Anything Done
Hoping that, for my own state of productivity, this one makes it. David Carr, digiculture columnist for New York Times, promises to shed light on a question that hobbles more of us every day: how to get things done when you're busy doing myriad other things. Like, um, writing blog posts. He produced a book. So maybe he knows.
Recommended For: anybody with a to-do list and easy access to interwebs
Vote and/or comment here.
5. Why Doesn't This TV Have a Pause Button?
Kids are growing up in a world where connectivity is as taken for granted as air. How will this affect the future of media? Spatial relationships? Multi-tasking? Panel features experts on this topic⎯kids. Moderated by Alan Wolk of KickApps, writer of acclaimed blog ToadStool⎯and dad.
Recommended For: Anyone who plans to be around in the future.
Vote and/or comment here.
6. Genius Steals: Remix Culture IS Culture
According to Faris Yakob, MDC Partners, the only way to achieve new is to remix the old. In fact, he says, recombinant processes are the only source of novelty, from sexual reproduction to idea creation to technology. Faris is a thoughtful and riveting presenter, more fun than you'd think a guy with a doctorate from Oxford would be, and I look forward to the originality with which he's sure to support his assertion that Originality is a Myth.
Recommended For: writers, strategists, creatives, thinkers, content creators
Vote and/or comment here.
7. Community Thunderdome--Branded vs Unbranded, You Decide
This panel was given last year and I was going to blow it off. It was on the last day I was there, it was early and I was exhausted. But it turned out to be one of the best I attended. Ostensibly, its subject is serious: how can brands harness crowds and collaborate with communities to find meaning within culture and market products? But more compellingly⎯it's a lot of fun. Sitting back and watching fantastic collection of entertainments compiled by Bud Caddell (creator of Bucket Brigade publishing project) and Mike Arauz (Undercurrent) provides much needed respite from talking heads.
Recommended For: anyone afloat in the information-overload that is SXSWi
Vote and/or comment here.
8. Keds. The Original Sneaker, Relaunched
What's great about SXSW is how many ideas are discussed, how many assumptions challenged. But sometimes you need a break from the headiness, to sink your teeth into a meaty case study. Darren Paul tells the story of how his interactive shop Night Agency succeeded in making a century-old brand relavent again. The tale isn't just about creativity. It's about strategies for aligning the forces of three brands with seemingly little in common⎯Bloomingdales, Keds and the Whitney Museum.
Recommended For: marketers, branders, advertisers, anybody with something to sell
Vote and/or comment here.
9. Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned from the 3six5 Project
One of the most innovative crowd-fueled ideas I know: diary of a year as told from 365 points of view. Imagine having to rally, coach, edit and proofread a different writer every day. (Disclosure: I am honored to be one of those writers.) Take a peek into amazing collective consciousness created so far. I look forward to hearing behind-the-scenes stories and learning from the3six5 creators Len Kendall and Daniel Honigman as they talk about mistakes and revelations.
Recommended For: content creators, nonfiction writers, publishers, digital strategists, rabble-rousers
Vote and/or comment here.
10. Futureproof Publishing: Interactivity, Magazines, Journalism and Augmented Reality
Does the internet need to kill journalism and quality publishing or might it be what saves the industry by creating a new kind of interactive magazine? As an industry that survives on marketing dollars, how can interactivity make the publishing industry more attractive to marketers? These and other questions impacting the future of publishing will be explored in a panel moderated by Benjamin Palmer, co-founder of The Barbarian Group which has recently made interesting forays into futureproofing corporate communication.
Recommended For: writers, publishers, journalists, digital strategists, content creators, storymakers
Vote and/or comment here.
11. Interactive Narratives: Creating the Future of Literature
Oh, yea. The emerging field of creating new narratives is a topic in which I am very interested. Razorfish's Andrew Lewellen is putting together a panel of experts to explore how technologies like augmented reality, transmedia storytelling and interactive stories offer new ways for narratives to be created and experienced. What's more, he promises insights into how writers and developers can work together to go so far as to create new forms of literature.
Recommended For: writers, AR creatives, transmedia tellers, content creators, creative technologists, readers of all persuasions
Vote and/or comment here
12. Transmedia Artists Guild: New Media Needs New Representation
And who'll represent the interest of players emerging onto this new field? At SXSW last year, a group of transmedia, ARG and net-native story designers formed a new advocacy organization, representing individual producers and artists working in this still-hazily-defined world: the Transmedia Artists Guild. TAG seeks to fulfill needs that are currently overlooked by established creative guilds and advocacy organizations. What is it and how can it transform your career? Panel organized by Jay Bushman, with whom I shared a fun panel at Digital Hollywood, so I can vouch for his entertainment skills.
Recommended For: writers and creators of fictional worlds that spin off from the page or screen where they first combusted
Vote and/or comment here
13. Saying It Short: Writing Workshop with @BettyDraper
Yup, this is my own session. (If you can't sell yourself, how can you hope to sell anything else?) It's on a topic I hope interests others as much as it does me: how our definition of good writing is evolving in an age ruled by search engines and character counts. I'll take what I've learned winning writing awards in three areas (advertising, social media, litworld), pull out teaching chops (one student went on to become Lady Gaga) and, with the help of like-minded others (you!), put on a show that's interactive, informative, learning-based entertainment.
Recommended For: anyone writing today, which is to say pretty much everyone
Vote and/or comment here.
Let me know if I've missed any unadvertised specials. Shopping ends Friday, 11:59 CDT, geektime. Your two cents matters even if you can't be at the conference. SXSW releases podcasts of presentations, so you don't have to miss them even if you don't make the digipalooza in person.

UPDATE: How, in my original post, did I omit the timely Is Facebook Skynet? which explores the all-too-real possibility that as in Terminator (remember?) the platform is growing progressively smart enough to annhiliate the whole human race. (Already, it's terminated life as we knew it.) Panel led by Ian Schafer, CEO of Mad Men agency Deep Focus, who is touting it with Draperly genius: a trailer.
Recommended For: 500 million Facebook players and marketers who love them

Vote and/or comment here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

@BettyDraper packing her hatbox for SXSW

Thanks to you who kindly voted on this proposed panel last Fall, I'm on my way to Austin where @BettyDraper will be presenting a session on Brand Fiction: what the heck is it? What can it do for your brand? How to integrate it into current marketing efforts? It's been recommended as a top SXSW panel for business and highlighted in SXSWorld and by the sharp folks at Razorfish. If you're putting your SXSW schedule together, hope you'll consider joining @Roger_Sterling (Michael Bissell) and me at 3:30 on Saturday for "Rules of Brand Fiction from Twittering Mad Men." A little fun before happy hour!