February 10, 2015

10 minutes With The Producer of The Moth

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OMG THE MOTH.

So if you’re unaware of The Moth is, apart from those annoying things that buzz at your lightbulb, an amazing podcast listened to by over 30 million listeners. It’s official description is a” non-profit group based in New York City dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.” Sounds dreamy, right?

There was also a story collection (released in 2013) called The Moth: 50 True Stories that reached #22 on The New York Times Best-Seller List.

People LOVE a good real-life story. And for me, a highlight of the last few months has been discovering The Moth #StorySlam events in London because I love the feeling of connecting with other people in a room where everyone is being honest and open.

Every month, in a basement in Shoreditch there is a ‘theme’ of the evening (past themes have been “blunders or biggest regrets”) you write your name on a piece of paper and place it in a hat. If your name is pulled, you then go up onto the stage, check the microphone is working and share your story with the strangers in the room. *gulp*

I managed to grab some time from the amazing producer Polly Scates – if you ever want to get involved with the Story Slam in London, she’s your girl. (I volunteered at the last event, it was so fun).

Emma: Describe the Moth in 4 words?

Polly: Honest, fun, unpredictable, community.

E: How did you first discover The Moth?

P: I first discovered The Moth in my second year at University when, I won a bursary to go and intern with them in New York for a summer.

E: What was it like being part of the NYC The Moth scene?

P: Working at the Moth SLAMS each week in New York was a truly unforgettable experience. I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to listen to so many stories and meet and work with some of the talented people that make The Moth so special.

E: What did you learn there?

P: I learnt a lot about the extraordinary power of storytelling and the difference it can make to peoples lives.

E: Did you meet anyone famous at The Moth NY?

P: I was gutted to have to leave NY just as Molly Ringwald was about to tell a story…

E: What’s been your favourite ever Moth moment?

There are too many to count but telling my first Moth story is definitely up there!

E: Do you think the popularity of podcasts are on the rise?

P: Yes definitely… just look at Serial! I think the Moth’s huge podcast following is one of the reasons that the London SLAMS have instantly been so popular. We were shocked when the first London SLAM sold out in 3 minutes!

E: What’s the hardest thing about producing The Moth in the UK?

P: The British audiences can sometimes be a little more hesitant about putting their name into the hat than the Americans…

E: What are your plans for expanding The Moth here in the UK?

P: I can’t say too much now but there are definitely exciting things coming so, watch this space!

E: How can people get involved?

P: I am always looking for volunteers to help with production on the night. If you are interested in getting involved please email me at polly@themoth.org!

Follow The Moth on Twitter @themoth.

My Book

“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”

– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE

"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"

– The Debrief

“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic