We are absolutely floored by the support we have gotten so far. We cannot believe that we exceeded our budget goal in just a day and a half. We count ourselves very, very, very lucky.
If you still want to be a part of the project and haven't donated yet, please - join the party! We can most definitely put more money to good use. Every penny more will go into the kinds of things that will take our series from awesome to awesome-er.
- Better/ More Equipment. The way we're budgeted now is to have the bare minimum of equipment that we'd need to make the series look good -- but, boy oh boy, are there fun things we could do with more money. We could get more lights so that we'd be able to shoot at night, we could get a dolly, we could get a car mount... I could go on and on. It could be magical.
- Locations. We're only approaching places that understand that we can't afford much, but we'd like to offer them enough so that they would consider us a worthwhile investment rather than a pain in the you-know-what. We've approached some pretty cool synagogues -- one of which, especially, has been really generous and receptive to us so far -- and we'd love to return the favor and make them happy that they invited us into their world. There are also some locations that we'd really like to have that we can't afford as of now. Again, we can do without, but we're always eager to get the best production value we can get!
- More Time. As we've previously mentioned, the buffer of an extra shooting day or two would be ideal for all of us -- especially the actors, who would love the chance to get their best takes. :) As you've probably heard, time = money -- and that is very, very true in the case of making a web series.
Again, THANK YOU. We are so very grateful to all of you for your overwhelming support, and so excited to make this series!
Jewvangelist is a quirky comedy series about a young female rabbi desperate to save the synagogue that’s been in her family for generations. Faced with the reality that her congregation’s numbers are dwindling, Rabbi Leah Levy’s only choice is to get more congregants or close the temple for good. But the job won’t be easy between dealing with hypercritical congregants, a cantor who is all-too-easily distracted by his dreams of pop stardom, and a conniving twin brother who is poaching Leah’s remaining congregants for another synagogue. Leah is forced to get creative and exercises a little rabbinical license as she begins studying how other religions proselytize to acquire converts. And so, she begins to call herself a “Jewvangelist.”
Think of it as PARKS AND RECREATION in a synagogue. It’s the story of an adorably passionate rabbi as she goes through the trials and tribulations of stretching her limits while keeping her faith, dealing with her guilt-tripping family, happening upon love in the most inconvenient of places, and accidentally finding herself along the way.
Need to be further convinced? We'll hand it over to Alex for a moment...
THE MAIN CHARACTERS:
RABBI LEAH LEVY (THE HEROINE)
Leah Levy is the young(ish), single Rabbi of the small, old synagogue Beth Shalom in Los Angeles. Sweet, naive, and passionate about her role as a leader and a guide, Leah is up against some serious obstacles in the form of dwindling temple membership and widespread doubts about her ability to successfully lead her congregation. Determined to prove herself, Leah resorts to drastic measures to save her temple when threatened with its loss.
JAY KATZ (THE CANTOR)
Jay is Leah’s first cousin, the Cantor of Beth Shalom, and an aspiring pop star — and definitely NOT in that order. Leah’s flamboyant, somewhat irresponsible sidekick, Jay is always camera-ready. Or, at least, he thinks he is. Jay seems 99% self-absorbed and can be a little bit obnoxious, but at his core he is a deeply caring person who never gives up and always looks out for Leah as if she were his own sister.
ASHER (THE NEMESIS)
Asher Levy is Leah’s twin brother, younger by three minutes. A trained rabbi just like his sister, he was devastated when she was chosen over him by their father to lead Temple Beth Shalom. Now working as an associate rabbi at a popular, upscale congregation in Beverly Hills, Asher still dedicates his life to proving that their father made the wrong decision, reveling in any chance he can get to show Leah up. Always trying to appear sleek and polished, Asher is the man he thinks everyone wants him to be. Nice suits and a fancy car are a small smokescreen for the underlying insecurity he finds in needing validation from everyone — especially his family.
TRIPP HOPLEY (THE MORMON MISSIONARY)
Tripp Hopley is a young, friendly Mormon Missionary who aids Leah in her first attempts to learn how to proselytize. Bursting with enthusiasm, Tripp is very sweet, dorky and naive. He will always make you smile — as long as you don’t slam the door in his face first…. he has some trouble getting people to give him a chance!
This project came about when Becky realized she wanted to make her own dream happen. She pitched it to one friend, who pitched it to another, and it snowballed from there. They’ve been overwhelmed by the talent that has been attracted to this project – but you can see for yourself!
BECKY, the CREATOR and STAR of the series, won her first role at the tender age of six, when she appeared as the Littlest Daughter in a summer camp production of The King and I. Told to sit quietly on her bed while the play's director walked through her cabin to choose a little girl for the part, Becky instead sprang to her knees, clasped her hands in a prayer position, and wordlessly begged to be cast. This heretofore unseen flair for the dramatic led to years of musical theater performances before Becky discovered her love of acting for the camera while studying at the William Esper Studio in Manhattan. Jewvangelist developed as a result of Becky's desire to take control of her career and to create a real, quirky, funny, lovable character for herself to play. She has been stunned at the level of talent that this project has attracted and is so excited to share the team’s creativity and passion with the world. Becky kindly asks that you help her get Jewvangelist made in the most professional way possible; otherwise (not to be dramatic or anything), she will have no choice but to quit acting, pack her bags, and head home to Florida to live with her parents.
ALEX, one of the STARS of our series (he plays JAY, a cantor/ wannabe pop star), is a musician and songwriter originally from Studio City, California. He studied at the University of Miami (the one in Florida, not Ohio… jeez, how many times do people need him to clarify this) before making a brief appearance on American Idol in 2009, in which he, as a scrawny 19-year-old, made his way to the top-36 before woefully deciding that it might be a good idea to sing Elton John live on national television. But he’s totally over that. Seriously. No recurring nightmares or anything like that. He put out his debut CD with CandyRat Records last year before dusting off his old ITS membership card and stumbling back into the acting world. Like JAY, Alex takes great pride in his perfect hair and Streisand-esque voice, and might have a somewhat complicated relationship with reality.
MICHAEL, one of the STARS of our series (he plays ASHER, the conniving twin brother) has been acting since childhood, although back then it was mostly to get out of going to class. The child of a professional improviser and a rabbi, he was pretty much born to be in this series. A rare Washington DC native, Michael appeared on many stages, and a few screens, in the DC area and is a proud founding member of the Flying V theatre company and an artistic associate with Pointless Theatre Co. Michael is incredibly excited to be a part of Jewvangelist because of the fantastically talented team that’s been assembled. If you don’t donate you will make him cry. YOU WILL MAKE HIM CRY!!!
JAYME, one of the STARS of our series (he plays TRIPP, an enthusiastic Mormon), is pretty sure he’s currently the only actor/comedian in the Los Angeles area… which can get lonely. He graduated from the University of Maryland, majoring in theatre and specializing in sketch and improv comedy. Jayme could not be more excited to be a part of this project, partly because he has Hyperenthusia, a debilitating disease that prevents him from experiencing apathy in any form (Check our website [still in progress]! Donate to our Kickstarter!! Join our 12k run for the cure!!!), but mostly because he believes that the script is dynamite, the cast is dynamite, the production team is dynamite, and the Best Boy Grip (we don’t actually have one of those yet) is absolutely INSANE. Seriously, how did we get this guy?! He must have cost a fortune. You should donate for him alone because frankly, I don't know how we're going to afford him. But seriously, Jayme believes that everything about this will be so mega dynamite and you should do everything in your power to make sure you're a part of it so it can blow up in your face! Wait...blow up FOR your face. That's right. Donate and we'll love you!
CHRISTIAN, the WRITER of the series, grew up in a Baptist home in South Texas, which makes him eminently qualified to write a story about a female Rabbi in Los Angeles. He became fascinated with the Jewish people and culture after eating his first bagel and lox sandwich at the age of 12, and since that fateful day his love for all things Jewish has continued to grow (to the point where it's pretty annoying for most Jews that meet him). After graduating with a (supposedly highly lucrative) creative writing degree from Dartmouth, Christian moved to LA and has spent the last three years working through a wonderful process called ''development'' with a number of film and TV projects, including an original pilot currently attached to Fox TV Studios. He hopes more than anything that this series will launch a long and successful writing career, or at least help him find a good synagogue. If writing doesn't pan out, he plans on becoming a Rabbi, which will necessitate a name change, making his mother very sad, so he asks that you please donate, because even though Christian loves the state of Israel, he firmly believes the best nation is a donation.
AMY, the DIRECTOR of the series, works in Los Angeles as a freelance director and producer and owns her own production company, Kaleidoscope Productions. With a soft spot for quality and collaboration, Amy couldn't say no to being a part of this ultra talented team to tell this humorous and heartfelt story. Her first entree into comedy, Amy views this web series as a personal challenge to find out if she's funny. Come on people, help us laugh all the way to the bank! (You can see Amy’s Director’s Reel here).
KAITLIN, the PRODUCER of the series, currently works in television development in Los Angeles, and has been working in various areas of TV for the last five years. She went to graduate film school with Amy and Drew, where she learned to produce high quality projects on limited budgets, in collaborative environments. Kaitlin is probably the ultimate networker (read: the pushiest) of the bunch, having individually sought out each other member of the team and convinced them that this project would be worth their while (here's hoping she's right!). Kaitlin is passionate about this project both because she thinks it's funny and smart and because she thinks each of the people she brought on board are insanely talented people with the chops to make a difference in the television industry. So, not to be pushy, or anything, but... help a girl out and prove her right, won't you?
DREW, the DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY of the series, was born and raised in Sacramento, California, where he earned his BFA in Technocultural and Film Studies at the University of California, Davis. While there, he co-wrote, directed, shot, and produced the feature-length film “Samsara”. Drew relocated to Southern California in 2007 to pursue his MFA in Cinematography at Chapman University, where he studied under Bill Dill, ASC. In 2010 Drew completed his MFA and his thesis film, “The Things You Lose in the Ocean”, directed by our very own director, Amy Kernan Bennett. As a visual storyteller, Drew believes that story comes first. All elements of the image must serve the story first and foremost — to accentuate, clarify, and elevate the beats of the story. A careful eye must be given to experimentation and the exploration of new methods to tell each story uniquely, effectively, and specifically.(You can see Drew’s reel here).
JULIANNA, the PRODUCTION DESIGNER of the series, currently works in television development in Los Angeles. Julianna, fondly known to the team as “Jules,” graduated from UW-Milwaukee, WI where she earned a BA in Theatre and a BFA in Dance. She learned the fundamentals of design with the help of Aristotle’s Elements of Drama, her favorite being SPECTACLE (the whole shebang)!! In her free time she enjoys long walks at your local Flea Market, finding and buying your lost treasures! Designing and decorating have always been passions of Julianna’s, and with your help our set will be stunningly beautiful, or quite frankly…. DA BOMB DOT COM!
ADAM, the PROMOS PHOTOGRAPHER of the series, is a professional photographer based in LA who dreams about shooting all the promo campaigns for all of the hottest movie and television projects -- and what better way to get started than to JUST DO IT!? Passionate about TV, movies, and making people look generally badass, Adam is excited to be part of this awesome project, which truly is destined for greatness. Don't you want to be a part of greatness???? (You can see examples of Adam’s work here).
AARON, the GRAPHIC DESIGNER of the series, has worked in visual effects and motion graphics for the last 5 years, working allllll over the place. Movies? TV? Commercials? Web Series? You name it! Visual magic is his thing. He was approached by Kaitlin (the lovely producer) to help bring some visual life to just how awesome, hilarious, provocative and smart this project really is. Collaborative projects with team members this good come few and far between, and Aaron has the utmost respect for the passion the whole crew is bringing to the table. (You can see examples of Aaron’s work here).
We have seven 10(ish)-minute episodes written – which, in case you don’t know, is almost the length of a feature-length film! Our (tough) goal is to shoot the entire series over ten days. So, when you think of it that way, $5500 really isn’t much. Here’s where it’s going:
Locations. A lot of our series takes place in various houses of God. Because those locations are hard to fake with movie magic, we’re going to have to pay for the real deal.
Permits. The problem with living in LA means… we’re in the company of people who do this for their jobs every day -- and that means it’s a little harder to do this “guerrilla-style,” as we might be able to if we lived in different parts of the country. And we’re not so young anymore -- we’re not sure we can get away with being “dumb kids.” So, we’re going to have to do this the legit way and get permits for the places we shoot.
Production Equipment (lighting, camera, sound, editing). This will be the bulk of our budget. This stuff is expensive to rent!
Specialty Crew. While most of us are in this for free, some of our crew can only be on set if we at least pay them enough to turn down other gigs -– for example, a professional sound mixer for the best possible sound, and a makeup artist so our actors don’t look like zombies (just kidding, guys, you’re all gorgeous!).
Production Design. Most of what we’ll use will come from our own homes and lives, but some things, like a nice menorah, are things we’re going to have to go out and get.
Food. Our crew may be working for free, but they still like to be fed (so high maintenance, right?). We’ll be keeping everybody on set for 12-hour days -- the standard -- so we’d like to make sure they are well-nourished!
- Kickstarter/ Amazon Payments -- Together, these two guys take up to 10% of what we raise. That’s why we have the extra $500 in our Kickstarter budget goal. However, that’s a small(ish) price to pay so that we can have a way to reach you guys and convince you to help our awesome project out!
This is what we’ll do with any money we get over our $5,500 goal:
Two Extra Days of Shooting. The less rushed we are, the better each scene will be. If we can stretch our shooting days from ten to twelve, we’ll all feel like we have room to get the best takes for each scene.
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, here’s the bottom line -- we don’t get to use ANY of the money if we don’t reach our goal! So, even if you pledge a generous $100 (thank you in advance!), we won’t get the money unless the project reaches our $5,500 goal.
If you are unable to donate, or if you are able to donate and want to be even cooler than you already are, you can still help! Please help us to spread the word by sharing this page with all of your friends via social media. Not only will that help us to achieve this first goal of raising enough money to make the series, but it will ALSO help us to find viewers for our show! And that’s the whole point, right?
HOW DO I DONATE?
Here’s some awesome news -- Amazon handles the payments, so you can feel really good about the security of your information. :)
We know it can appear overwhelming, but follow these steps if it's your first time:
Click on the green Back This Project tab at the top.
Select your pledge amount and coinciding reward, then click Continue to Next Step.
Sign up for an account by entering your email and contact info. This is necessary so you can receive your awesome reward!
Enter in your credit card info and confirm.
WHAT IF YOU DON'T RAISE THE FULL AMOUNT?
If we don't raise the full $5,500, your credit card will not be charged. If we do, you will be charged once we reach our goal.
WHY DO I NEED TO ENTER MY ADDRESS?
So we can send you your rewards, if applicable. And because Kickstarter requires it. No personal information is made public.
WILL PEOPLE KNOW HOW MUCH I DONATE?
Donation information is confidential, other than us listing you as a donor/ giving you shout-outs. Feel free to let us know if you don’t want us to do that (just email us a heads up).
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us! You can reach us at Jewvangelist@gmail.com.
WHAT YOU’LL GET OUT OF THIS:
You mean, aside from the irreplaceable warm-and-fuzzy feeling of helping us create the project of our dreams? Well, look to the right to see the different rewards you can get for helping us out.
You may notice that we haven’t really included any tangible rewards (like t-shirts, etc). We decided not to do this for a reason -- we want you to know that your money is going entirely into the production value of this project, and that we won’t be wasting a penny on anything that doesn’t feel entirely necessary. Plus, we think the rewards we’ve offered are pretty cool.
The main thing you’ll get, of course, is the joy of WATCHING this great series!
Risks and challenges
As we’re sure you can imagine, any project of this nature comes with risks and challenges. Fortunately, none of us are new to this game and we are all prepared to do everything in our power to make sure this project gets made and that we make your donation worthwhile.
If one of our actors suddenly books a dream job, we may hit some roadblocks (and we should be so lucky!) – but our every intent is to figure it out, roadblocks and all. That’s what production is all about!
- (21 days)