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Friday
Jan182013

LDM 2012: Year in Review

When I decided to move to Los Angeles on December 9, 2011, my primary goal was to get Literary Death Match on television. I don't know if I believed it was possible or not. I don't ever think too far ahead when it comes to my wildest dreams. I just set a breadcrumb in the not-too-distant distance, and start jogging. 

Since that move, LDM has gone on another 365-day thrillride. In a year where I thought we'd do 40 shows, we did 67 in 24 cities (insanely, I did 62 of them). But to kick off the year, LA Times gave us a big boost bysaying the nicest thing ever about us, calling LDM "...the most entertaining reading series ever." We went on to turn 10 in Boston, turn 30 in London, debut in Berlin, Providence, Oslo, Portland (Maine), Norwich and Helsinki. In LA, we went from Ep. 5 all the way to Ep. 18. In DC, we did our first-ever cartoon-based event - one of my favorites in our nearly seven-year history. While I couldn't seduce two of my three favorite writers onto the LDM stage in 2012 (Wolff & Saunders: I'll keep trying),Etgar Keret did jump into the fray, and won LDM gold (well, LDM metal) in Edinburgh. And he was just one superstar this year amidst a cast of superstars (click to see their names to see them in LDM action): Jeffrey EugenidesSusan OrleanMichael C. HallMolly RingwaldHenry Rollins,Tig NotaroKeegan-Michael Key (please watch Key & Peele!), Peter SerafinowiczJon Ronson and Moby (who judged the first-ever LDM, and returned to our loving, odd web). 

But above all, we managed to pull off my initial reason for coming to LA:we gave, and keep on giving, TV our best shot. What a colossal effort! For starters, we raised $11,165 on Kickstarter before I understood that we needed $20k. After some huge help by LDM angels (Kevin Dolgin,Dave Szymanski, Pierre Blaizeau & Timothy Dansdill) and teaming withKeith Crutchfield, the LDM team came together in December for something that was so jaw-dropping and scope-busting (it was in a boxing ring!), I barely had time to take a second and be wowed by it all. But it was wowing. It really was dream-come-true stuff (definitely click on the pictures below to check it out). 

Where LDM TV stands now: the footage has all been reviewed; we're paring things down to a 3.5-minute reel (which we'll likely debut at a house party in LA - ping me if you want to come), then working on a 10-minute reel. Then we'll start cracking on creating a full pilot. This stuff takes so long to perfect, but we're in belief mode. The footage we have is sensational, the people around us are all so smart and supportive, and I really feel like - and I'm an "if it happens" person not a "when it happens" person - we've got a real shot. 

Which brings us to 2013. Where we have a total of THREE shows (so few!) scheduled between today and March 8 (January 31: DC; February 14: LA; March 8: Boston at AWP). We're preaching patience to ourselves. Well, I'm preaching it to me. Pulling back to let our heads churn in LDM TV land. We recently created a lineup bible with our dream judges/dream readers for pitching purposes and every show is holy amazing, can't-not-watch TV. And that's what we're asking of our live shows this year. We want every LDM to feel like the event we believe it to be. This year, we'll turn 50 (FIFTY!!!!) in San Francisco. We'll turn 10 in the Twin Cities (TEN!!). And if all goes as planned, we'll turn 1 in Reykjavik, Salt Lake City,Ljubljana, Tel Aviv, Cairo and...wait for it...Brooklyn - more to come on that front. (And there's a chance we'll even debut in Auckland and Calgary).Also, if you know anyone in Nairobi or Rome, do put us in touch. 

Mostly, though, I just want to say thanks to a whole lot of people: starting with every single person that came to Literary Death Match in 2012. I know how much fun stuff there is to do in the world, and how exhausting the days can be, and how tired can cannibalize your nights. So, I'm really grateful when people show up. It sounds obvious, but it makes all the difference. We have one rule in LDM land: if people show up, we'll keep coming back. And people kept showing up. We had over 11,000 (!!!!!) people see the show this year. THAT'S SO MANY PEOPLE. And I hugged too few of you. I will try to hug all of you in 2013.  

I should wrap this up, so let me say this: LDM is going to do everything in its power in 2013 to keep books in the pop culture conversation. The best way we know how is to get LDM on TV. The second best way is to travel the world and showcase awesome writers and fun cultural people to judge them with the kind of loveliness we love best. If TV happens, my face is going to fall off with joy, because I can guess at the impact it'll have on books. Plus, it'll shut up all those people who run out of interesting ideas and so end up writing pointless columns about the death of the novel. Yawn. 

So, yeah, let's get on with it. But first? Call your mother. She misses you. 

 ATZ

See pictures of LDM TV: The Pilot by clicking below: 

Show 1:  

Show 2: 

 


Now to thank all the people that made a huge impact on this year, but reading thank you lists is boring if your name isn't on them, so I'm putting them here. If you're not on here, don't worry, I'm going to feel like a jackass once I hit send and think: how did I leave them off!?!?!

First off: the core executive producer team, who will be taking us far into the future: Suzanne Azzopardi (UK), Kirsten Sims (East Coast) and Morgan Macgregor (West Coast), and to the producers that will be hassling you via email this year: Sarah Moeding (Twin Cities), Vikki Reilly (Edinburgh), Brian Martin (Dublin) and our assistant producers: Erin Valerio and Danielle Susi. And to Alia Volz for making LDM SF 2012 another year of wonderful. 

And these people, who shared their homes to make LDM 2012 such a smash hit: Ben Mainwaring, Matt Herlihy, Alia Volz, Joe Zuniga, Sarah Moeding, Jess Wallen, Kirsi Koskinen, James J. Williams III, Kalle Ryan, Hilde Susan Jaegtnes, Jessica Lambert, Kathleen Volk Miller, Jan Falkowski, Wibke Wetzker, Pierre Blaizeau, Lucinda Hannington, Eliza Kane, and anyone I might have forgotten because 62 events is too much for my brain to remember. Thank you. 

 

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