Matt Weiner on spoilers

 Posted by on June 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm  Matthew Weiner
Jun 102009
 

Our lovely friend Joe Bua sent us to this one; a conversation with television creators about spoilers.

I mean, there’s nothing we can do about the speculation online. But that can get kind of funny. My show takes place 47 years ago, and there are people wondering what’s going to happen with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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  19 Responses to “Matt Weiner on spoilers”

  1. Speaking of which, they're filming in the neighborhood again today. Whereas before there was some doubt on my part as to wheher it was the show. This time, there was no doubt whatsoever. I'm talking about actual (recognizable) cast sightings — in hair, makeup, and costume. I forget how much of a time capsule my neighborhood can be. Just add a few vintage cars, and people in the right clothes, and suddenly you're on the set of Father Knows Best.

  2. So did it look like 1963 hair or 1964 hair, hulla? 😛

  3. Good one, S Tar.

  4. ST, let's just say that no one had an Afro.

  5. And I covet Sally Draper's clothes.

  6. Uh oh, paparazzi.

  7. Yay, security.

  8. "ST, let’s just say that no one had an Afro."

    Really funny. Not.

  9. ??

  10. ST, let’s just say that no one had an Afro.

    Dammit. The blaxploitation episode of Mad Men will have to live on in my fan fiction.

  11. it's as old as time … cave-people would argue over getting a peek at the last wall. the cave-runner would never allow it.

  12. Market research dictates that audiences DO want to know as much as possible about the show or film being advertised, and I’ve always wondered what planet these people are living on. For a story that relies on character revelations and plot twists, it’s only engaging to me as a viewer if I don’t know what those revelations or twists are. No truer is this than with MAD MEN.

    Most promo teams are guilty of spoiling just about every major dramatic beat in a :30 episodic promo one stage or another, because that what makes perfect fodder for an impressive trailer. It’s also common practice to use fictious praise from critics in theatrical tv spots. The conventional wisdom is, most people aren’t paying that much attention. Only the diehard fans are, and they do not represent a large segment of the audience.

  13. Lyle, just call us Pandora. It’s a desire as old as that story – if human nature made sense the world would look a LOT different.

  14. […] The Hollywood Reporter has a transcript of the interview that Roberta put up a clip from. […]

  15. […] you see Roberta’s post? Did you hear what Matt said? He doesn’t like location photos used to try to get […]

  16. "Market research dictates that audiences DO want to know as much as possible about the show or film being advertised, and I’ve always wondered what planet these people are living on. For a story that relies on character revelations and plot twists, it’s only engaging to me as a viewer if I don’t know what those revelations or twists are. No truer is this than with MAD MEN."

    I'll try my best to speak on behalf of all those from my planet. I read spoilers all the time; I actively seek them out, and I honestly don't think my viewing experience is harmed in any significant manner. Knowing the basic plot points doesn't really tell me anything. The plot is just window dressing. The execution is what really matters, and the only way to experience the execution is to actually watch it. For example, I read about the final scene between Pete & Peggy in "Meditations" before the episode ever aired (in the New York Times of all places). Knowing the bare essentials of the scene (i.e. who says what to who) ahead of time didn't lessen the impact at all to actually watch it happen.

    I guess my philosophy is best summarized by oft-used Roger Ebert quote about how to judge a film: "It's not what a movie is about, but how it's about it."

    • In which case, alynch, the question remains: Why seek spoilers? They tell you nothing, by your own understanding, and yet they can deny you the pleasure of being surprised.

      I like to avoid spoilers in part because I like seeing if I can figure something out myself. There’s no pleasure in realizing the killer is the butler if you already read about it online. And if you don’t realize it until the reveal, there’s a certain pleasure in having been well & truly fooled.

  17. Why do I seek them out? I suppose for the same reason that I watch trailers & TV spots, read interviews with the cast & crew, check out those weekly previews on the AMC site, and read early reviews from critics: to feed anticipation.

  18. I also have a no spoilers policy. Just makes for better TV watching. Would you read the last page of a book before you got halfway through it?

    Especially in the geek intensive SciFi community there’s starting to be a big pushback on spoilers. Why would I want to take the element of surprise away from Joss or JJ, for example?

    And, lovely Lipps, thanks for the link. And this site.

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