Have you heard about the “Mad Men” Fan Cut yet? It’s a project that’s somewhere at the intersection of contest, celebration and art project, from a collaboration between AMC and some of the people behind “Star Wars Uncut.”
“Star Wars Uncut” was an Emmy-winning homage to “Star Wars,” created by breaking up the film into individual 15-second chunks, and having different fans recreate each mini-scene in just about every way imaginable. Seriously, if you can think of it, it’s in there: We’re talking Millennium Falcons constructed out of cardboard boxes, lightsaber-wielding Legos, and people wearing scotch-taped paper signs to designate themselves as C-3PO and R2-D2… there’s even an actual robot at one point, as well as some unsettling line art and some even more unsettling clip art — and all that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Mad Men” Fan Cut hopes to do the same with the show’s now-iconic pilot, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” — anything is possible, from a whimsically-animated version of Joan leading Peggy through Sterling Cooper for the first time to a claymation standoff between Don and Pete.
KK Apple, one of the geniuses behind “Star Wars Uncut,” is working with AMC to help on the “Mad Men” Fan Cut — read on for some of her sage, fan-cutting wisdom.
How did the “Mad Men” Fan Cut come about?
AMC wanted a way to celebrate the end of the “Mad Men” series! The “Mad Men” fanbase was definitely a big part of the show’s success — there have been costumed watch parties, 60s-era makeup trends, Don Draper-isms galore that are now part of our popular culture. I think they had seen “Star Wars Uncut” before, so were inspired by the idea of a crowd-sourced remake and really getting the fans involved, so they approached the Uncut team to help. That’s how I got involved as the community manager.
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Any tips for creating a winning “Mad Men” clip?
Think outside the box! I’d love to see all kinds of interpretations of “Mad Men” — what if you set scene in a completely different decade, or made Don Draper a slapstick comedian, or animated a scene in the style of 1960s illustrations? There are so many ways to get creative. “Mad Men” has always been very detailed visually, so I’m excited to see how people take that and run with it, with the sets, costumes, and overall moods of their scenes.
If I were making a scene, I might create a Draper Sterling Cooper Price run by a diverse cast of women… (reimagining history, heyooo).
What do you think was the most creative clip in all of “Star Wars Uncut?” (The most outlandish? The weirdest? The highest production value? The lowest production value? etc…)
Ooo that is tough, because I have new favorites every time I watch it.
Most Outlandish: This Vader DJ/music battle scene is outlandish and so so good. Or here’s a scene where Wedge Antilles is played by… a chair. I mean, most of these scenes are outlandish, which is what makes them great.
Highest production value: Making “Empire Uncut” was definitely exciting because a lot more folks have access to HD video capabilities than when the first Uncut started — thanks smartphones! So there was definitely a boost in quality overall: This Wes Anderson-inspired scene was really well done, or this awesome stop-motion Wookie. There were so many great animated scenes that must have taken a lot of man-hours to create, like this tiny Lord Vader, or this spooky Vader. We probably could make an entire animated Star Wars Uncut with the number of great entries we got.
Lowest production value: That being said, fans were still so great at making low production value look good: I loved this scene of Luke sliding down a playground slide — so simple, but worked so well. Or this one, where the creator used his dogs for scene partners.
Any scenes you find lend themselves particularly well to fan interpretation in “Mad Men?” The AV Club joked that it was time for fans to “bust out those Vincent Kartheiser impressions they’ve been cultivating for years” (also, I noticed that almost all of the Peggy/Joan scenes have been claimed!).
I think any scenes with character interaction would be fun to reinterpret — we’ve seen these characters grow and change over so many seasons, so I’m excited to see how people get creative with the performances. I think Peggy and Joan scenes are definitely going to be some fun performances. Peggy at the doctor’s office is pretty juicy, too.
I’m almost more excited to see how fans reimagine the physical spaces of these scenes — the office, the nightclub, Don at home. All of those places really set the mood for the show, so I’d love to see how fans remake them in new ways.
There were 20 judges for “The Empire Strikes Back Uncut,” and for “Star Wars Uncut,” you had a code-based system that chose the winners based off of user ratings — how is it going to work for the “Mad Men Fan Cut?”
It’s going to work on a similar panel-judging system, I believe. The AMC team has a wonderful creative eye, clearly, so they’re going to be great! We do have social sharing tools in place on the site, so if there are some fan scenes that end up being runaway Internet favorites… the Internet usually wins.
“Star Wars” has a pretty different fan base than “Mad Men.” How do you think that will affect the type of submissions you get?
This project definitely appeals to a different audience, but still a passionate one! Some of my favorite Star Wars scenes had adorable kid performances, which won’t happen for this Fan Cut. Star Wars has about a 30-year head-start on creating a fandom, but Mad Men sure has a lot of excited fans! This is one of the first times AMC has given fans an opportunity to be part of a show like this, so I hope fans will run with it. I mean, what if there was a Mad Men Con down the road??
The submission period ends April 1. Anything you want to say to the competitors?
Try new, weird things! I’d love to be totally surprised by the submissions. Originality will always be rewarded – and it will definitely help you stay within the rules for the project.