Mad Men: Behind The Lens

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Chris Manley (center) on the set of Mad Men with series creator Matt Weiner (right).

The groundbreaking TV show Mad Men is now in its final season. For seven seasons, the show has immersed its viewers in the treacherous world of New York ad executives.

It centers around the iconic Don Draper, whose genuine talents and charisma are constantly being undermined by his self-destructive behavior.

Mad_Men_Cast_Bar_wideMad Men’s unhurried story lines and morally feeble characters have broadened the possibilities for a basic cable drama. Its plot lines are rarely wrapped up at the end of a single episode. Some plots last several seasons long, giving the show the pace of a novel, rather than that of a TV series.

Another one of Mad Men’s essential elements is its ambitious visual style. One part is the show’s meticulously-recreated post-war fashion and decor, complete with cigarette smoke so thick, you can almost smell it coming out of your TV.

The other part is Mad Men’s cinematic photography. It lends the show a gravitas normally reserved for feature films. It also bolsters the show’s vintage elegance in a way that makes this journey to another time seem even more authentic.

Chris Manley, director of photography for the AMC television series Mad Men.

Chris Manley, director of photography for the AMC television series Mad Men.

As the ads for the Mad Men’s final season state, this is the end of an era. In honor of the show’s final days, we’re going to talk with Chris Manley.

Mad-Men-6-Christopher-ManleyManley directed several pivotal Mad Men episodes and was the cinematographer for almost the entire run of the series.

Mad_men_dinner_setWe’ll hear about the challenging career choices that brought him to work on the show.

We’ll also discuss the ideas behind big and small choices that were made while directing and shooting Mad Men, including what Lou and Cutler were saying in the computer room when Ginsberg went nuts.

lou-cutlerThe series finale of Mad Men airs May 17th on AMC.

Chris Manley is now directing and shooting for Masters of Sex, which begins airing new episodes July 12th on Showtime.

Dialogue editing on this episode was by Seven Morris.

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