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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.
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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

let's hope this snowballs...

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FINALLY! We have a reason to celebrate in this loooong process of producing When We Went MAD!

We just returned from New York where we interviewed our first celebrity who was willing to claim MAD had an influence - Gilbert Gottfried, the cleanest act in showbiz.

We needed this - it was starting to look a bit gloomy - getting close to a celeb, only to have the rug pulled at the last second. Well, this time we were able to see this through. Gilbert was very kind to sit down with us and gave us some very good material to work with. I have to thank Frank Santopadre, a terrific comedy writer (and writer for MAD - whom we interviewed after Gilbert) for hooking us up with GG. So we have our first celeb. Let's hope this snowballs into a few more who see our project as having a bit more credibility, knowing that there are some names behind this.

We also had the opportunity to sit down with MAD legend Al Jaffee for a bit. He's 93 and as sharp as the X-Acto blades sitting in his art drawer, if he has one. 

Frank S. was our last interview - and he provided some great insight into what it's like growing up as a MAD fan and then moving on to being a MAD writer. 

Finally, just a little bit more of your time to fluff our feathers... the current issue of MAD includes a page with three caricatures; MAD writer Dick Debartolo and... When We Went MAD! producers Alan Bernstein and Doug Gilford! Had I known that all you needed to do to get into MAD was to spend five years or so producing a documentary on them - I would have started this when I was 7. Doug is the drooling knucklehead with the MAD t-shirt and I'm the straight jacketed knucklehead behind him. Either that or I'm the image just to the right of the crying baby - the artist never did specify...

 Anyway, if this was MAD's attempt at getting us to overlook the rough spots in it's history... it would have worked - had we made the cover. This is good, but only enough to for us to remove the 130 minute segment we had in mind comparing MAD to CRACKED, issue by issue. 

Next up, we're preparing for some studio shoots, and we'll start working on nabbing the next celeb.

Final update - from the technical end of the spectrum: we've been in a bit of an editing holding pattern as we make the switch from Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It's not a good idea to jump ship in mid edit - but we felt that FCP7 had reached the point of impracticality that we could no longer work with it knowing there was better software out there and moving over to it would only delay us a bit.

That's it for now. Thanks as always!

Alan

Here we go with another ridiculous When We Went MAD! update (Fold-In reference)

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I've been contemplating waaaaaaaay to long on what to write for this update. It's been a few months since you've heard from us. I know, and I'm sorry. 

It's been a time of chopping and slicing at a great deal of material - over thirty interviews, receiving MAD related photos and home movies from all over - a mesmerizing collection of various MAD trips, old office photos, and family photos of the folks who brought us MAD, researching old news and television interviews, and playing perhaps the longest game of phone tag with a handful of contacts who are trying to line up celebs for us. 

I like my updates to demonstrate great progress - and while the edit is coming along and I think it's looking great (compelling for the MAD fan and fun for the casual reader), I don't really have anything of a blockbuster nature to report. Thus my longer-than-need-be delay in this update. 

We're still looking for MAD related photos, we could really use any help with researching old video - right now it's team ME trying to track down any footage, and that just takes me away from producing and editing. Hit me up if you have any experience or contacts in archival footage searching!

Normally, sifting through someone else's vacation pics has all the makings of a coma inducer. This, however, has been exhilarating for me. Finding the right place for these in the movie is not as easy as it seems. Let me leave you with a selection of photos we've received, mainly from some of the MAD trips. 

John Ficarra and his doppelgänger (not sure who's who)
John Ficarra and his doppelgänger (not sure who's who)
Feldstein at work
Feldstein at work
Al Jaffee and some other dudes
Al Jaffee and some other dudes
The Wild One
The Wild One
Sergio Aragones (the one with the cape)
Sergio Aragones (the one with the cape)
Dave Berg and Bill Gaines
Dave Berg and Bill Gaines
Jack Davis stuck in traffic
Jack Davis stuck in traffic
A smattering of UGOI
A smattering of UGOI
Don Martin and George Woodbridge
Don Martin and George Woodbridge

 Thanks for reading and supporting!