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MAD Magazine poked fun at everything - and changed the world. A peek behind the scenes at this culture rotting institution.
MAD Magazine poked fun at everything - and changed the world. A peek behind the scenes at this culture rotting institution.
606 backers pledged $58,193 to help bring this project to life.

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The Production Homestretch

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Greetings friends - we're happy to bring you an update of significant importance to the project.

Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Gaines Ashton, widow of MAD publisher Bill Gaines. She provided some great insight into the inner workings of MAD and we are so grateful that she sat down with us.

The old "pretend you're asleep during the interview" trick. The guest always loves that.
The old "pretend you're asleep during the interview" trick. The guest always loves that.

When We Went MAD! will essentially be comprised of interviews, animated images, and archival footage. But in addition to that, we have planned on a series of staged scenes: various moments of people reading MAD throughout the decades to act as a bridge between each segment of the film. 

Filming these scenes went through many fits and starts. It has been a long, drawn out process of procuring actors, props, crew, equipment, and a studio, at the ridiculously low cost we needed, but we finally pulled it off.

This is a major accomplishment in reaching the completion of this project, and the footage turned out great. 

This coincides with some intensive editing taking place. We are now down to a 110 minute cut, which we think is really good, and when all is said and done we plan on landing at around 100 minutes, giving us some room to add...

Three more interviews. We are still hopeful to land a couple of celebs, we have feelers going out and and trying everything: front door, back door, side door - any door that doesn't get slammed in our face.

We had a meeting with the post production house, where editing has been taking place, to coordinate a game plan for entering the full phase of post: animation, green screen, audio mixing, music, color correction, etc. 

We are making great progress. 

Shooting the 1950's segment
Shooting the 1950's segment
1950s
1950s
1950s
1950s
Shooting the 1960's segment
Shooting the 1960's segment
1960's  - MAD fanatics probably know what issue is hiding behind that math book.
1960's - MAD fanatics probably know what issue is hiding behind that math book.
Shooting the 1970's segment
Shooting the 1970's segment
1970s
1970s
Shooting the 1980s segment
Shooting the 1980s segment
And we have the 1990s
And we have the 1990s
The 2000s and beyond...
The 2000s and beyond...
A great crew pulling off a minor miracle in low budget filmmaking.
A great crew pulling off a minor miracle in low budget filmmaking.

Hello to all! An update to warm the cold of winter

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Hello! Here’s a brief update on where we are. Unfortunately, attempts to land a couple more celebs have gone nowhere. We’re not giving up, but it’s obvious we can’t keep waiting forever for the possibility of an interview. We are moving on to our last two key interviews, which we are in the process of lining up schedules. These interviews will be the last of those “required” to allow completion of the film, with or without any further celebrities chiming in. As a result, editing is in a bit of a holding pattern, as much could change based on the outcome of what our last two folks have to say.

We’ve also been doing quite a bit of research into photos and television mentions of MAD – this has been quite fun. It is interesting to note that MAD’s rise in popularity was in lockstep with the rise of television. And yet, for as much lambasting as MAD carried out against the boob tube – MAD has had a long history of making interesting appearances on it. We’ve been able to locate some great historical footage and order “screeners” – temporary cuts of the broadcasts that we can edit into the film to see how much licensing will be necessary. From Dave Garroway reading MAD #26 live on the Today show in 1956 to CBS visiting MAD in 1978 – some real gems have turned up. We have several other known moments of television MAD-ness, the challenge is finding what still may exist. 

If there are any Today show or Mike Douglas fanatics out there – we’re looking for the 8/30/1976 episode of the Today show – which happens to be the day Tom Brokaw debuted as a host of the show. Oddly enough, NBC does not have that episode. On 9/23/1977 Mike Douglas interviewed Al Feldstein – so if anyone has access to something like that, we’d love to hear from you!

We continue applying for grants from various film-centric sources of funding – keep the fingers crossed as those letters of acceptance/denial will be arriving soon.

Let’s hope for great things for all of us in 2016!

Catching up...

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Well, after a bit of momentum via a great interview with "Weird" Al Yankovic, we thought this summer was shaping up to be fruitful. We were on our way to our next interview - contact was made and we made our pitch. Unfortunately, it turns out MAD was not a major influence of our targeted guest - who would have thought! So, we struck out there, but the search continues. We are sending out more requests for interviews, and hopefully we'll get a few bites.

On a positive note, we have tracked down some tremendous footage of the MAD staff at work in 1978. It has great interviews with Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein, but to see the likes of art director John Putnam, production man Lenny Brenner, and associate editors Nick Meglin and Jerry DeFuccio is amazing. Let's hope the licensing fee gods look down favorably upon us when it comes time to tally this thing up.

As the eternal wait to land a few more interviews drags on, we continue to edit and plan for further B-roll shoots. As this has taken far longer than any of us would have imagined, we've decided to keep the flames of interest glowing with some short "Moments of Mad-ness". These will be minute long pieces taken from the interviews we have collected so far. Seeing that Sergio Aragones recently celebrated a birthday, we thought who better than to kick this off. So have a look and hopefully we'll have some positive responses to our interview requests so we can move this project ahead!

Thanks!

Alan

Gettin' Weird

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Weird Al talking all things MAD
Weird Al talking all things MAD

Well that went well. 

This past holiday weekend we took a trip to the Traverse City, Michigan to have a sit down with Weird Al Yankovic, who was performing. Being overly cautious, I waited until I had the hard drives in my hands before I posted this update - didn't want to get hopes up if it didn't come together. The whole experience came together rather quickly - a couple weeks from getting permission to interview him to finding a location relatively close to us (he's on his world tour).

Al was terrific! We grilled him for about a half hour and he had great insight into MAD's influence on him and his career. He seemed truly interested in the subject and in relating it to us, despite having performed six nights straight, the last being in Milwaukee, leaving at 2 AM and arriving in Traverse City at 10 AM. 

This was a big get - and now on to the next... 

Alan

We've reached "epic" territory

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Hi all!

A quick update on the state of WWWM! - 

1. For the first time we have a complete start to finish rough edit of the movie based on the current footage we have. This is, as far as I'm concerned, a big deal for us! The story of MAD and it's influence is told from its inception to current (relatively) day. Here's where the "epic" part comes in - the running time is at a brisk 3 hours or so. Now, as I watch it, I can't get enough of this story - 3 hours just flies by for this MAD fan. That being said, I'm fully aware that this movie shouldn't rival COSMOS for screen time. We're aiming at 100 minutes or so - and THAT's probably too long. What this all means is - let the chopping commence!

2. We're prepping the insert shots of kids reading MAD in various eras. The most difficult thing in putting this together was finding a drugstore style magazine rack. Whoda thunk? (thank you Craigslist)

3. We're also planning our final (hopefully) trip to L.A. for a handful of interviews. 

If everything comes together - this summer will be very fruitful in wrapping up the filming portion of this production. Send us some good juju!

Thanks as always,

Alan