Matthew Weiner ’87 (above), former writer/producer of “The Sopranos” and currently the creator, executive producer, and head writer of AMC’s excellent hit series “Mad Men”, is featured in today’s New York Times Magazine.
Among other things, the article observes Weiner’s somewhat neurotic control over every creative aspect of “Mad Men”, which goes a long way in making the show’s early 60’s world of New York advertising feel authentic.
Weiner (pronounced WHY-ner) is the creator and show-runner of “Mad Men,” which means the original idea was his: he wrote the pilot; he writes every episode of every show (along with four other people); he’s the executive producer who haggles for money (he says that his budget is $2.3 million per episode and that the average budget for a one-hour drama is $2.8 million); and he approves every actor, costume, hairstyle and prop…
“I do not feel any guilt about saying that the show comes from my mind and that I’m a control freak,” he told me. “I love to be surrounded by perfectionists, and part of the problem with perfectionism is that by nature, you’re always failing.”
Weiner was also a COL major, which seems to have worked out for him:
Weiner attended the Harvard School in Los Angeles, now Harvard-Westlake. Despite his difficulties there — A.P. History was his one success — he got into Wesleyan, from which he graduated in 1987. “My major was a program that combined philosophy, literature and history,” he recalled. “It had no grades, and I remember getting my first comments back and my father looking at my comments and saying: ‘Isn’t this interesting? I can read this comment and I can see that you got a C.’ ”
…After Wesleyan, Weiner got into U.S.C. film school with some direct lobbying of the dean by his father. “He was instrumental in making sure I got in, with my academic major that had no grades,” Weiner said.
NYTimes: “Mad Men” Has Its Moment