Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 4, 2011.


Dying to do Letterman is an award-winning indie documentary. Now YOU can help qualify it for an Academy Award®

*** The Journey Continues: Click To Join A Thrill Ride ***

We had an AMAZING run here at Kickstarter. Thanks to YOU for embracing this dream and making our Indie Oscar® Run a reality!

Next step: raising even more to bring Steve's story to theaters everywhere. So, for those of you who are just now discovering this page, come join the thrill ride at: 

-- we'd love to count you part of this incredible family. Look forward to bringing the movie to a theater near you!

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You're Invited! Help Us Compete for an Academy Award®

DocuWeeks™ -- one of the world's most prestigious documentary events -- has invited our self-funded, indie documentary Dying to do Letterman to qualify for an Academy Award® (and yes, we've lost our voice from uncontrollable, joyous screaming!)

But we need YOUR help to compete for the Oscar®...& Beyond, as we try to raise $100,000. Why? That will allow us put Steve's story in theaters everywhere.

The more we raise, the more theaters you can see the movie playing at.

Will you join us on this once in a lifetime thrill ride? We'd love to have you!


"...a nimble, uplifting film that celebrates life, love, and friendship. Best of all, it's a riot." Letter Grade: A

Andrea Simakis,The Cleveland Plain Dealer

A Movie About Chasing Your Dreams

Shot over the course of five years, Dying to do Letterman follows funny man Steve Mazan as he chases a larger-than-life dream: performing stand-up comedy on David Letterman's show. 

However, his quest becomes far more urgent when he's told he may only have five years to live. 

With long odds stacked against him, and time ticking away, Steve faces the decision of a lifetime: should one persevere in the face of every obstacle? Or is there finally a time to give up? 

A funny, inspiring, emotional film that proves it's never too late to chase your dreams.

What are People Saying?

Here's how movie-goers and critics have responded to seeing Dying to do Letterman on the big screen so far:

How Does Kickstarter Work?

It's pretty simple:

  • We set a goal
  • We set a deadline (September 4)
  • You pledge whatever you can to help us reach that goal. Bigger pledges get bigger rewards from us (like a copy of the movie when it comes out on DVD, for instance.)
  • If we reach (or hopefully far exceed) our goal by the deadline, your credit card is charged, we get our funding, and you get the cool reward you chose.
  • If we don't reach our goal by the deadline, your credit card is NOT charged, and you do NOT get the cool rewards.
  • It's okay to exceed our goal (in which case we can bring Steve's story to even more cities) but it's NOT okay to make even a penny less than our goal.
  • In short, we have to make our goal by the deadline, or we don't get our funding, and you don't get your rewards.

What Rewards?

You get something for your money...even if you pledge as little as one dollar. Just check out the cool, unique, and meaningful rewards on the right hand side of your screen. 

Pick something you like (may we suggest a package that includes the special edition DVD of the movie with tons of extras? Starting at $50) and please pledge as much as you can, because your pledges will help us attend DocuWeeks and help us bring Steve's story to even more theaters (See FAQ below for more on DocuWeeks and our theatrical plans.)

Why Should You Support This Movie?

We'd never ask you to support something we wouldn't put ourselves on the line for...and that's why we put our life savings and six years of our lives into making this documentary. You can bet we will keep putting every penny of our own money into Dying to do Letterman for as long as we possibly can. Why?

We Believe In This Project - And We Believe in You

Though we always wanted this film to be funny, inspiring, and entertaining, no one was willing to back a movie about someone dying of cancer while chasing an “impossible” dream. Would Steve’s health hold out? Would he make it on Letterman? There was no way to know (it is a documentary after all!)

So we funded the film ourselves.  We believed that Steve's story was important and had to be told.  In our hearts, we felt that when the time came, real people just like you would embrace the movie. 

That time is now, and we're asking you to support this film we believe in so much.

Please help us qualify Steve's amazing story to compete for an Academy Award®. Pledge whatever you can to Dying to do Letterman right now. Thank you.

Joke and Biagio


  • You'll just have to see the movie to find out! (May we suggest a package that includes a Kickstater-only Special-Edition of the DVD with tons of extras? Starting at $50...check out packages on the right of your screen.)

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  • $0, but Biagio did drink a lot of diet Dr. Pepper while hed edited the video and made the graphics. Caleb Emerson lent us his silky-smooth voice over to lend the video a little "Caleb magic." And Dave Pelman graciously donated the music.

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  • What a great problem to have! If we far surpass our goal and raise enough money to put Dying to do Letterman in theaters, and then someone else wants to put the movie in theaters instead, the money will either go toward even MORE screenings of the movie, public appearances of Steve and/or the filmmakers at screenings, or special events designed to promote the screenings while doing good (for instance, we recently put up two comedy events which not only helped promote the movie, but all proceeds went to cancer research and prevention.)

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  • We chose Kickstarter for this campaign because we love it. Over the past year and a half, we've contributed to many Kickstarter funds, and appreciate the connections we've made with new filmmakers and interesting projects. Kickstarter is a great place to build real relationships around cool ideas.

    Plus, we want to take you on this incredible journey with us and include you in all the excitement. Kickstarter makes that easy...and fun!

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  • Yes! Here's a few:

    "...a nimble, uplifting film that celebrates life, love and friendship. Best of all, it's a riot...Letter Grade: A"
    Andera Simakis, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

    "...sidesplittingly funny..."
    "...a very moving documentary..."
    "...shades of Rocky..."
    "'ll treasure every moment of it."
    Steve Rhodes, Internet Movie Reviews

    "...raw, emotional, and laugh-out-loud funny."
    "...humbling, inspiring, and hilarious."
    Kelly Winger,

    "Inspirational Entertainment."
    Rob Hunter,

    "...effective, fascinating, an of course, funny!"
    Richard von Busack, Metro Newspapers

    "Utterly engaging and entertaining."
    "A love letter to perseverance."
    "You couldn't script a better story."
    Chip Street,

    "A truly poignant and inspirational tale."
    Sophia M. Papadopoulos, Helium Magazine

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  • Put it this way…A LOT more than we're asking for here :-)

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  • Held by the International Documentary Association, DocuWeeks™ was created to ease the financial burden on filmmakers who cannot afford the hefty fees and mandatory screen time associated with competing for an Oscar®.

    Those fees are no problem for the big studios, but when you're the little guy--like us--it's daunting!

    So DocuWeeks™ helps advertise and play films in theaters for one week in New York City, and one week in Los Angeles.

    A few DocuWeeks™ movies you may have heard of include Spellbound, Taxi to the Dark Side, Born into Brothels, Jesus Camp, and 22 other Oscar® winners and nominees.

    While DocuWeeks™ greatly lowers the cost of qualifying for an Academy Award®, it is by no means free. We still need to raise at least $37,000 to participate in a meaningful way.

    This helps cover the cost of:
    --co-op fees for renting movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York City
    --converting Dying to do Letterman to an Academy® approved projection format
    --hiring a publicist
    --travel and hotel rooms for us and our volunteers
    --printing posters
    --making flyers for our volunteers
    --co-op fees for Academy® mandated ads
    --and more...

    Further, we hope to surpass our funding goal so we can play Dying to do Letterman in even more theaters and bring Steve's story to a theater near you.

    If you’re doing the math, you can guess this is going to cost far more than the $37,000 we’re asking for your help with, and we hope you'll support us in far surpassing this goal so we can bring Steve's story to the world.

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  • There's a great book called Think Outside the Box Office by Jon Reiss. In it, he breaks down how you can take a movie and put it in theaters yourself.

    Not cheap, not easy...but it's what we promised Steve and that's what we plan on doing unless a big distributor comes along and wants to put the movie in even more theaters (and we hope that happens!)

    Learn all about it in the second video in this Kickstarter Update:

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  • Kickstarter is a terrific platform but it does have some very specific rules.

    Kickstarter is not designed for raising funds in whole or part for charity (we did ask.)

    We respect Kickstarter's rules, and while we can't give a portion of what we make here to charity, we do plan on finding ways to support cancer research and prevention, either through charity screenings, free comedy events, public appearances, or other creative ways to do good and give back.

    Cancer is something that has touched most people's lives in one way or another...and having spent these years with Steve it's impossible not to want to help find a cure and help those touched by the disease.

    That's not what Kickstarter is meant for, but feel assured, we'll find other ways (and already have...check out the updates section for more.)

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  • There are very specific rules when qualifying for an Academy Award® and among those is when and how DVDs or online versions of the film are distributed. Plus, if you've read about all the extras we'll be working hard to produce for the Special Edition DVD, you can guess that it's going to take a little while to finish. Our best guess in first quarter 2012, if not sooner.

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  • Aside from being our special way to share in your dreams, some claim that simply writing their dream on the button has made it come true. Sound crazy? Check out this Kickstarter update featuring a story about one woman's dream to meet Jimmy Carter:

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  • We're working on some tutorials to help you navigate the Kickstarter pledging process, in the mean time... you can call us with any questions! Seriously. Here's our number. Leave a message and one of us will call you back. Really. (323) 929-2562
    Joke and Biagio

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pledged of $37,000 goal
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  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    46 backers

    DYING TO JOIN THE FUN - - we're thrilled to call you a friend! Get a five-minute mp3 of Steve's stand up comedy and access to the exclusive update and behind-the-scenes videos in our "Backers Only" updates--please promise to tell 10 friends about our project!

  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    83 backers

    DYING TO KNOW IF STEVE IS FUNNY- - mp3s of every joke Steve sent to Letterman while trying to get on the show, the special track from above, and access to the exclusive videos in our "Backers Only" updates--please promise to tell 10 friends about our project!

  • Pledge $25 or more
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    84 backers

    DYING TO DREAM - - all of the above PLUS your own I'M DYING TO... button with YOUR dream personally hand-written in by Steve (see rewards section of Frequently Asked Questions--these buttons are SPECIAL. Some claim they are magic. Seriously. Watch Jimmy Carter story in said FAQ.)

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    152 backers

    DYING FOR THE SPECIAL EDITION DVD - - all of the above PLUS the KICKSTARTER ONLY version of the physical DVD. Includes over an hour of bonus materials: feel how nervous we were before our festival screenings, see the graphics Joke and Denise made us yank from the movie, catch outtakes from our Kickstarter video, enjoy a VERY SPECIAL comedy routine from Steve (see our $250 reward for a hint) & see the video thank you message from Steve, Denise, Joke and Biagio. You can only get this limited edition DVD here at Kickstarter (delivered after theatrical release, ETA early 2012)

  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    35 backers All gone!

    DYING FOR TRULY COOL SWAG - - all of the above PLUS the movie personally autographed to you by Steve (you can tell Steve what to write) a physical copy of the CD featuring all the jokes Steve sent to Letterman while trying to make the show, an original street team flyer from our festival screenings, and ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING world-premiere tee-shirts from our Cinequest debut (we'll do our best to get your size, but these are the last ones -- without an owner -- on the planet.)

  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    62 backers Limited (188 left of 250)

    DYING FOR TRULY COOL SWAG -- THE SEQUEL -- all of the above PLUS the movie personally autographed to you by Steve (you can tell Steve what to write) a physical copy of the CD featuring all the jokes Steve sent to Letterman while trying to make the show, an original street team flyer from our festival screenings, and a special edition "DYING TO DO LETTERMAN" tee-shirt...uniquely numbered by Steve. ONLY available here on Kickstarter. (Get it while you can -- the other swag package sold out in 36 hours!)

  • Pledge $150 or more
    You selected

    10 backers

    DYING TO READ THE BOOK -- all of the above PLUS the BOOK personally autographed to you by Steve (you can tell Steve what to write.) The book has just been announced today (August 10) and is being published by HCI -- the publisher of the original CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL series. This will be an autographed 1st edition of the book -- don't miss out.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    20 backers All gone!

    DYING TO BE PART OF THE ACT - - all of the above PLUS Steve will include your name in a one-of-a-kind comedy performance. See it as one of the featured extras on the exclusive KICKSTARTER ONLY special edition DVD. Let Steve immortalize your support of his life story as only he can...with a laugh and a smile.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    DYING TO DO OUR NEXT DOCUMENTARY -- 10 of you will be featured in a one-of-a-kind short film documentary written and narrated by Steve, directed and edited by Joke & Biagio, celebrating your patronage. We'll hop on the phone with you, gather some cool materials (photos, video, your voice, more) and weave those together into a mini documentary featuring those of you who joined the Dying to do Letterman journey in a big way. Released on the web and Special Edition DVD (included with this package and autographed by Steve) plus up to five I'M DYING TO...buttons hand written by Steve.

  • Pledge $2,500 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    DYING TO BOOK STEVE -- Steve performs a night of stand-up comedy, including a short routine customized just for you! (Travel/lodging/venue not included.) Includes all the photos you want to take with Steve and plenty of I'M DYING TO... buttons written out by Steve at the event.

  • Pledge $5,000 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    DYING TO HAVE A PRIVATE SCREENING -- your own private screening of Dying to do Letterman. Wherever you like: your home, a theater, a community center...wherever. Steve arrives with the movie, does Q&A after, & writes out all the I'M DYING TO buttons you want. Impress your friends, use the screening as a's all up to you. Steve's yours to use and abuse. Steve's travel/lodging and any venue costs not included.

  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers

    DYING TO HAVE STEVE FOR THE WEEKEND -- let Steve host your weekend event--company retreat, family reunion, whatever the event, it's your own weekend of Dying to do Letterman fun. A stand-up comedy show from Steve one night, a screening the next, wherever you like...your home, a theater, a community center, camp grounds, a hospital, a garage...your call. Impress your friends, use the screening as a's all up to you. Travel/lodging and any venue costs not included.

Funding period

- (60 days)