'Mad Men' Asks Fans to Help Recreate Pilot

Contest asks viewers to shoot new versions of individual scenes that will be compiled into a full episode

John Slattery, Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser in the first episode of 'Mad Men.' The show's creators is asking fans to help recreate the pilot episode. Credit: AMC

It was a simpler time, 1960 — at least as it was known in 2007 when Mad Men premiered on AMC. Don Draper was just a pedestrian adman, not an iceberg of lies named Dick Whitman; Peggy Olsen was a fresh-faced secretary, not a copywriting genius; and Pete Campbell was an obnoxious, haughty junior account executive, not an obnoxious, haughty Head of Accounts. Now, in celebration of the show's final episodes, AMC has launched "Mad Men: The Fan Cut," a contest that asks fans to relive those halcyon days and recreate individual scenes from the pilot that will be compiled into an entirely fan-made episode.

AMC has uploaded Mad Men's entire first episode onto YouTube, breaking it up into short clips ranging from eight to 38 seconds. Fans can register for the contest and select the moment they want to recreate, but must act quickly because only five fans will be allowed to claim a single scene. Several have already been reserved, but a number of highlights still remain, including snippets of Don talking cigarette preferences with a waiter, Peggy putting the moves on her new boss and numerous instances of Pete acting like a jerk.

Fans will have until March 2nd to claim their clip, after which they'll have 30 days to shoot their video and upload it to YouTube. The winning clips will be selected by a group of judges who will announce their decision on May 6th. The fan-created version of the pilot will air during Mad Men's final season this spring.

Mad Men returns to AMC on April 5th. The show's final seven episodes are being touted as the second half of the show's seventh season, which began last spring and concluded with an unexpected, climactic song-and-dance number to help bid farewell to a longtime character.

With so much hype surrounding the end of one of TV's most beloved dramas, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner expressed some apprehension about how the finale will be perceived.

"I hate to say this — obviously ending the entire series is significantly more pressure — but it’s been that way every year," Weiner told the Wall Street Journal at the end of Season Seven's first half. "I never knew if the show was coming back for most of the series, so we treated every episode 13 like it was the end. It’s very bittersweet and high-pressure."