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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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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

No excuses - just apologies

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Flat out - I've been neglectful. I have taken too long to keep you updated with the project. And for that - I am truly sorry. I can easily see how this can look to everyone who has contributed to this project, and so I look to make amends and a promise. I won't let this happen again. I haven't been timely with the updates because I haven't had much to update lately, I'm embarrassed to say. But with that, I know it's no excuse and I won't make that mistake any longer.

Here is where we are: When We Went MAD! is still in production. Progress is infinitesimally slower than I imagined it would be at this point, but our budget is so tight - I am at the mercy of the "paying" schedule of the wonderful professionals who are helping us out. I am doing my best to avoid cutting corners on this and that means waiting it out for time to become available with the crew. 

That being said, The main editor is sending me updates fairly regularly - and I see a great story coming together. MAD's history is coming to life through the very words of its creators and it is thrilling. And although I am saddened at the recent passing of MAD writers Lou Silverstone and Tom Koch, we are so very lucky to have interviewed them and their stories feature prominently in this film. 

I edit on a daily basis, scan and place images, tweak cuts, and when I'm not editing, I'm seeking out photos, and always looking for production help to join the project and spread the responsibilities. 

We have a big shoot in the works: material we will use to bridge the decades of MAD - kids reading MAD at various stages of MAD's existence. We are a few major props and a couple cast members from shooting that. (anyone know where to get a large magazine rack - as seen in drugstores and supermarkets? No commercial supply houses seem to have them in the Detroit area)

We are starting to schedule the last couple non-celebrity interviews; hopefully we'll have those nailed down in the next few weeks.

We are still in the hunt for those elusive celebrity interviews. A handful seem like we can get them with just a last little push from those contacts we've made. 

This project has been filled with lulls and bursts, and it's been very challenging to keep the lulls as short as possible - again, something that is a by product of having such a small production team.

I hope this at least alleviates some of the concerns and perhaps anger at the scarcity of reports. I want this to be a project every one of us is proud to have supported, and I certainly don't want to let any of you down. 

We'll talk SOON.

Thanks as always,

Alan