Our Gang: He Was Always Going to Land on a Sofa

With the re-launch of our web site at Carousel Films & Communications, we are introducing a new feature, called "Our Gang," a semi-weekly blog post that talks about media colleagues and interesting projects outside our own company. If you have a documentary or dramatic film, book, or marketing campaign that you would like us to feature, please contact us.

First up in "Our Gang" is Anne Zeiser, marketing strategist and former colleague at WGBH. Anne has recently published a book that provides essential information on how to integrate your project's story content with the marketing from the get-go. Gone are the days when you make a film or write a book--and then think about the marketing afterwards. There's a new holistic approach, which Anne discusses in her book, called " Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media." It's the future of entertainment, says Anne; "think Game of Thrones meets Minecraft," she explains.

Since we are all about story-telling at Carousel Films & Communications, to whet our appetite for her book, Anne suggested we start with her fascinating account of the development of the 36-second opening sequence for "Mad Men," which she wrote about for the Huffington Post.

"In the iconic opener, viewers see the back of the enigmatic ad man enter an office building and, as that world crumbles, watch him plummet from the skyscraper," Anne writes. "Seen from multiple POVs, he falls past juxtaposed ads peddling the post-WWII American Dream -- alcohol, beautiful women, and wholesome family life. All this represents Draper's metaphorical crises of confidence and authenticity, played out season after season, relationship after relationship, ad campaign after ad campaign."

If you were one of many "Mad Men" fans who thought the opening sequence foretold Don Draper's suicide, watch it again, Anne advises. You'll see that series creator Matthew Weiner had a well-formed idea of how the series would end years before it came to its Coca Cola conclusion. In other words, Don Draper was destined to weather each of his crises, since he ended his metaphorical fall in the series open each week by sitting on a sofa--presumably in his office where he could oversee the creation of his next blockbuster ad campaign. Weiner had never once intended for Draper to fall to his death.

The complete "Mad Men" case study appears in Anne's book--along with lots of practical information for those of us on leaner budgets than Matthew Weiner's team. In fact, next week, I'll post a Q&A with Anne that will include great tips for documentary filmmakers. Check back on our blog on August 7th.

Photo Copyright: Lionsgate

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