How We Did It
Jewvangelist came about as a result of actress Becky Kramer's desire to take control of her career and to create a unique and compelling character for herself to play. Becky first came up with the idea of playing a struggling young(ish) rabbi fighting to save her family synagogue back in 2010, but put her idea on the back burner after receiving some feedback that she should stay away from the topic of religion in her work. However, three years later, and unable to get the character of earnest, quirky Leah Levy out of her head, she tentatively pitched the idea of making this web series to Kaitlin Walsh, a close friend of hers who works in television development. Kaitlin, who met Becky when she cast her in her thesis film at Chapman University in 2008, immediately encouraged Becky to make the series and swung into action, first recruiting Christian Ayers to write the project with Becky, and then reaching out to her friends and industry contacts to begin building the cast and crew. Before she knew it, Kaitlin was producing the project.
While Kaitlin started pulling a team together, Christian and Becky got to work on the script. While on the surface, a guy named Christian from south Texas might seem like an unusual choice to write the story of a female rabbi living in Los Angeles, Christian was the perfect collaborator for Becky, taking her original idea and expanding and improving upon it in every way. They worked closely together for months, talking out different scenarios and characters, which Christian then turned into hilarious and heartfelt scripts. In just months, Becky and Christian together took a little idea and turned it into six completed episodes telling Rabbi Levy's story.
And so, with a dream and a great story, the team launched a Kickstarter campaign in which they met their initial goal of $5500 within just a day and a half, ultimately raising $8733. In early October, after an unforeseen event (that ended up being a blessing in disguise), Aaron Milus saved the day by joining the team as Director (he was previously the Graphic Designer) with only two weeks to go before production began. With him, he brought a clear comedic vision for the series and an experienced and highly talented crew, including the Director of Photography, Aaron Hall. Over thirty actors were then cast in parts ranging from teenage skater boys to senior citizen congregants. Finally, Jason Moss of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys came on board as an Executive Producer, providing his location and expertise to help make a promising series into one that felt legitimate and exciting. The six ten(ish)-minute episodes of Jewvangelist were soon shot over 10 weekend days, beginning in October 2013 and wrapping just over a month later.
The making of Jewvangelist is the story of a collection of people in LA with big career dreams and lots of talent (we're all talking about each other when we say that, of course). We all believe in the story of Leah Levy and her eccentric team, and perhaps more importantly, we all believe in each other. We're incredibly proud of this series and we are beyond excited to be sharing it with all of you. Thank you so much for watching!