Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser on what he looks for in a script

After emerging from my sub-basement cryo-chamber as my alter-ego Telematic Dan, I covered the red carpet premiere of Mad Men Season 4 in Hollywood, CA at the Mann Chinese Theater 6 (in the same complex as the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre).

For a round-up of the night, go here.

One moment that stuck out was when I asked actor Vincent Kartheiser (who plays advertising accounts man Peter Campbell on Mad Men) about what he looks for in a screenplay… his first response was…

That’s a big question, man.

So I pressed him. How about in the first 10 pages? What do you want to see?

That’s when he gets Christian. (as Pete Campbell says)

And his answer is exactly the same as when I asked this question to a Miramax development exec years ago…


Kartheiser says it again:


Then he adds:

I want to see a story about real people.

This is a great lesson to screenwriters:

Actors are often THE factor that gets a script made into a movie. And what are actors looking for? Great characters.

So give ’em what they want!



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