Director Jennifer Getzinger (COM ’90) screened an episode of the acclaimed series Mad Men for Cinematheque.
An excerpt from the article in the Daily Free Press:
As part of COM’s Cinematheque program, Getzinger showed “The Suitcase,” one of two “Mad Men” episodes that earned her nominations from the Director’s Guild of America.
Getzinger has worked on “Mad Men” since its pilot episode. While she started out as a script supervisor for the series, she went on to direct several episodes, including “The Gypsy and the Hobo” and “The Good News.”
Getzinger earned a degree in broadcasting and film in 1990. Before “Mad Men,” she worked as a script supervisor for movies such as “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Devil Wears Prada” and television shows such as “Strangers with Candy,” “Sex & the City” and “The Sopranos.”
The director also shared her experiences in the industry, particularly how she had to work her way up to a top position.
She spoke with BU Today about the episode and her experiences on the show:
How did BU prepare you for your career?
Before I went to BU, I was interested in writing. In college it became clearer that I was leaning towards directing. I realized that through watching films, and being exposed to films I had never seen before, films by John Cassavetes, for instance. I was in complete awe of these films that I had known nothing about. It made me realize that there is so much that can be done by a director in storytelling, like how you reveal certain things or how you develop a character. I still write a bit, but that was when I felt I wanted my focus to be on directing. Being able to do the hands-on stuff, like super-8 classes and a 16-millimeter class—having that hands-on experience was good and made how you make a film and put it together more of a reality.
What’s it like to direct so subtle and understated a show as Mad Men?
A lot of the subtlety is in the performances. Obviously it’s there in the writing as well. The way things are done on Mad Men would be different on other shows. Even in the camera work, we just never hit anything too hard. We want to let things play out in a little more natural way, in a little more subtle way. It’s hard to describe, but there’s that line of making sure something lands and plays and that it’s not too over the top. That’s the style on Mad Men, and it’s the style I’ve always been drawn to. It’s a great place for me to start as a director because it helps inform a lot of things, even other shows that I do. It’s always better to be able to read the subtleties, even if it’s a comedy, or something that’s going to go a bit bigger. It still has to be grounded in reality. Working with the actors and material on Mad Men has really trained me to pay attention to that.