December 22, 2008

Hanukkah Around the World on ABC News Good Morning America



My Hanukkah video, Pass The Candle, featuring friend and fellow ROI participant Michelle Citrin, was announced on ABC News Good Morning America on December 22, 2008.

The video was made possible with a grant from ROI and support from The Jewish Channel and JTA.

December 17, 2008

SuperJews


Having just completed one of my most ambitious animation projects to date, I am pleased to present SuperJews - Episode 1: "The Package", part of the UJC Team Super Jews Color Wars campaign on Facebook. I worked with my longtime neighbor and friend, Bill Alger, who did the illustrations for all the characters used throughout the SuperJews.org website, Facebook Fan Pages, and the animation. This cartoon also features a music soundtrack I composed, inspired by the Peter Gunn Theme and Orbital's remake of the Saint Theme, mixed in with a little Tradition.

Voices by Jessica Wachsman, Jesse Epstein and me ... and special cameo voiceover by Meir Taub as "The Cough" ... long story, I had recorded Meir doing the lines of Captain Israel but gave poor direction and realized I couldn't use his audio clips when it was too late to rerecord.

Special thanks to campaign leaders Allison Weiner and Andy Neusner, and former leaders Naftali Goldsmith and Dina Garfinkel.

December 10, 2008

Pass The Candle


I am pleased to announce my third music video collaboration with Michelle "Rosh Hashanah Girl" Citrin. This one is called Pass The Candle, a Hanukkah celebration around the world. We received hundreds of submissions of video clips of our friends, families, and fans around the world, and compiled our favorites into a musical montage to our new song, "Left To Right".

Special thanks to ROI120 for honoring me with the 2008 ROI Small Grant to fulfill my "Music Videos for Jewish Kiddios" project. To fellow ROI120 participant, partner and friend, Michelle Citrin for her incredible talent, creativity and patience. And to Aryeh Goldsmith of Jewster.com for hosting the site and providing the inspiration for this music video over a year ago!

More thanks to Jesse Epstein for her help with the How-To video, and to Simon Weaver, who stayed up late at night editing the final music video.

Also special thanks to JTA and The Jewish Channel for their support.

And thank you, everyone, who sent in your video clips. We couldn't have done it without you! Including fellow ROI120 participants Marcus Freed, Harry Rubenstein, Esther Kustanowitz, Uri Levin, Josh Nelson, and Justin Korda. And friends Lisa Kingston, Andrew Krucoff, Ephraim "Ha'anak" K, Jesse Epstein and family, my niece Lola, Dina Garfinkel, Tova and Molly Gold, and Billy Weaver.

Song "Left To Right"
Performed by Michelle Citrin
Music, Lyrics and Production by William Levin and Michelle Citrin

November 25, 2008

Help Us Pass the Candle


Michelle "Rosh Hashanah Girl" Citrin and I are making our next music video for Hanukkah, and we need your help! Send us your video clips of you passing a candle and lighting a menorah, and it just might end up in our musical montage. Watch the demo video and visit PassTheCandle.com for more instructions.

But hurry, Hanukkah is almost here, and we'd like to have all the video clips by November 28! If you go home for Thanksgiving, get your family involved!

October 31, 2008

A Smear Campaign


Just a little cartoon I cranked out at midnight remind people to vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 4, 2008.

VOTE! A Smear Campaign
Created by a Jewish Robot
Cartoon and music by William Levin
Voice and co-direction by Jesse Epstein

October 27, 2008

Giant Jewish Robot


I never heard of Mado King Granzort, but if it came down to a fight, I'm pretty sure this Jewish robot would kick my Jewish robot's shiny metal ass. Does anyone know if the Star of David means something in this opening sequence?

October 24, 2008

Hit me, I'm Jewish


Hit a Jew Day! It's a lot better than the "Hit a Jew Year" that I endured in high school.

October 23, 2008

Let there be G-dcast!

Friend and fellow ROI120 participant Sarah Lefton pitched her idea for G-dcast, an educational animated cartoon series at the ROI120 Summit in 2006. The website has finally launched, and you can now catch the first episode for the parshat of the week, Parshat Bereshit, at G-dcast.com.

From Sarah's newsletter:
It's basically low commitment learning! You can check out a different narrator for 4 minutes each week - some tell stories, some sing country songs, and some hurl some hip hop. Whether you already know the story, or this is totally new stuff, you can hear 54 new voices this year. New episodes drop Mondays.

How it works: we think of brillant speakers - teachers, rabbis, novelists, musicians, and poets - they tell the story in four minutes or less - and then we animate their words into a cartoon EVERY WEEK.

September 25, 2008

The Great Schlep


I love this video from TheGreatSchlep.com featuring Sarah Silverman encouraging us to persuade our Jewish grandparents in Florida to vote for Obama. And I've finally made up my mind: I'm voting for Sarah Silverman for President.

September 24, 2008

Rosh to Buy



Exactly one year ago, Michelle Citrin and I released our first music video together, Rosh Hashanah Girl. Now you can purchase and download the song, "I Gotta' Love You Rosh Hashanah", along with our second holiday hit, "20 Things To Do With Matzah", together in a double release, aptly titled "Rosh Hashanah Girl & the Matzah Song".

Now, what the Jewish Advocate calls, "The best parody songs since Adam Sandler's 'Chanukah Song'" are available for download on your iPod with the release of their double hit album "Rosh Hashanah Girl and Matzah Song", so you can listen all year round!


If you love Rosh Hashanah Girl (who doesn't?), show your support for the artists and download the songs from CD Baby!

September 21, 2008

Phone Atone


How do Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin celebrate their Jewish heritage during the High Holy Days? Check out "Phone Atone", my latest cartoon for Taglit-Birthright Israel, a JibJab-style animation featuring the 2008 presidential and vice presidential candidates exploring the tradition of making amends for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Atonement is just a phone call away!

Written and animated by William Levin
Voices by William Levin and Andrea Praet
Special thanks: Concept by Jesse Epstein

September 12, 2008

Todd & God Get Their Fruit On


I'm happy to announce my latest cartoon for MyJewishLearning.com, Todd & God Episode 2: Eat a New Fruit for Rosh Hashanah. This is the second in the Todd & God series, after the pilot episode "How to Light the Hanukkah Candles" was introduced last year. In this educational series, featuring a young boy who befriends God, we learn about the tradition of eating a new fruit on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. And, as an added bonus, remember the old Sesame Street bit where a stop-motion animated orange sings Carmen? It was arguably one of the creepiest things I was exposed to as a child. Were the animators on drugs? You might ask the same question when you see this Todd & God tribute.

September 02, 2008

I Went To Israel (I Liked It!)


Check out my latest cartoon music video collaboration with Michelle Citrin ... "I Went To Israel (I Liked It!)", a new recruitment piece for Taglit-Birthright Israel. This is a fun parody of Katy Perry's hugely popular hit, "I Kissed A Girl". Pay close attention and you'll catch a reluctant cameo appearance by friends Meir Taub and Esther K!

Music and lyrics by William Levin (me)
Sung by Michelle Citrin
Illustration and Animation by William Levin

August 25, 2008

Heeb Olympics


I found these kosher-style Olympic video clips by Heeb Magazine pretty entertaining. There are four Heeb Olympic events online:

The Yarmulke Toss

Penny Pick-Up

Gefilte Fish Wrestling

Disconnecta Yenta

And remember, it's only okay to make jokes about penny-pinching yarmulke-tossing gefilte fish-wrestling Jews if you are one.

August 03, 2008

I'm a Cool Jew

I just received my copy of Lisa Alcalay Klug's new book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, in which you will find a few of my Shabot 6000 comic strips. The book is available now, and you can pick up your own copy at Amazon.com

July 20, 2008

July 01, 2008

Big in Israel


While attending the ROI120 2008 Summit in Jerusalem, I had the privilege of being interviewed for a podcast with creative partner Michelle Citrin for the JTA, in a piece titled Rosh Hashanah Girl (and Guy) Come to Israel; as well as a one-on-one interview about the origin of my Shabot 6000 comic strip with the Jerusalem Post!
The weekly comic strip, which is updated anew right before Shabbat and has nearly 200 comics in its four-year archive, debates questions on - and routinely pokes fun at - Jewish religious observances and traditions through a contemporary 21st-century lens.

"The robot and the pious Jew represent my own struggle with Jewish identity and religion," Levin said.

"It is my self-exploration with Judaism."

Read the rest of the article, The Shabbos Goy That Wouldn't, by Etgar Lefkovits, archived locally from the Arts & Culture section of the July 1, 2008 issue of The Jerusalem Post.

And hear me stammer nervously in the JTA Podcast.

June 30, 2008

Rosh Hashanah Girl Power

My friend, fellow ROI120 participant and musical collaborator, Michelle Citrin -- known in some circles as "Rosh Hashanah Girl" -- is the topic of a nice article, "Jewish 'it' girl in the US", in the Arts & Culture section of the Jerusalem Post. Hey, they even mentioned me in the article :-) Keep an ear out for her new album hitting shelves and online retail soon!

June 24, 2008

Ha!Aretz

It's been surprisingly difficult to blog from Israel this time. I'm writing from Jerusalem, having participated in the ROI120 2008 Summit with 119 other talented Jewish innovators from around the world. More on the conference and travels when I return, but in the meantime, here is a funny article from Haaretz.com about the ROI120 Technology track I was in. My favorite quote:
The online animation that computer consultant-turned-cartoonist William Levine from Brooklyn put on for the group featured a computerized 50 Cents saying Chag Sameach - followed by a lewd obscenity.

Read the rest of the article, Getting Google to work for us, by Cnaan Liphshiz.

June 12, 2008

Israel or Bust

PresenTense founder Ariel Beery, Jewster founder Aryeh Goldsmith, and ROI121 founder Meir Taub

Today I'm leaving for Israel for two weeks, where I'll not only be attending the ROI120 2008 Summit in Jerusalem, but also traveling with my three good buddies, Ariel, Aryeh, and Meir. Ariel has moved to Jerusalem to devote his time to his PresenTense Institute, and will be meeting up with the rest of us in Tel Aviv for shabbat this weekend. After that, Aryeh and I will be attending the ROI120 conferences in Jerusalem, but that isn't stopping Meir from joining in on the action, and sharing his first time in Israel with us! You can spot Meir proudly wearing his ROI121 tee-shirt ... or his FROI shirt, depending on what kind of mood he's in.

And if you happen to be in Tel Aviv on June 18th, ROI is hosting a party, open to our friends and family, so come to the Gordo Pub in Tel Aviv at 121 Hayarkon Street around 9:30pm to join in the fun.

TJC on TWCNYC


My friend Steven I. Weiss of The Jewish Channel is proud to announce that TJC can now be ordered On Demand on Time Warner Cable of New York City and New Jersey. Last year I was pleased to work with TJC to air my Shabot 6000 "Head of the Year" cartoon for Rosh Hashanah, and I'm looking forward to see the great new content Steve has been programming for the station.

May 08, 2008

Happy 60th

Star-studded Hallelujah finale at the Radio City Music Hall

Last night I attended the Yom Ha'atzmaut Israel's 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Radio City Music Hall with my friends (thanks, Lindsay!). It was my first time in Radio City, and the show was really spectacular. An impressive lineup of Jewish and Israeli musicians, including Matisyahu, Idan Raichel, David Broza, Rami Kleinstein, John Zorn, and my favorite acts of the evening, Habanot Nechama and Yael Naim who performed her hit, "New Soul", made popular in the Apple MacBook Air commercials, as well as her cover of Brittany Spears' "Toxic". In addition to these wonderful musical acts, we were treated to special appearances by guest hosts Natalie Portman, Governor (and genetically Jewish!) of New York David Paterson, Paul Schaffer and Richard Belzer.

Alicia Post and Lindsay Litowitz share post-show shots

Esther K. and Doree Lewak descend at Radio City Music Hall

Steven I. Weiss finds his audience for The Jewish Channel in front of Radio City Music Hall

After the show, which ran past midnight, many of us ended up at Tavern on the Green for the Dor Chadash Yom Ha'atzmaut bash. I think every young Jew in New York was there, it was an impressive party!

Jewish Robot flanked by his Israel Girls, Lindsay and Sydney


More photos on Facebook

May 06, 2008

Remembering Dave

Gabby Sirner and Lindsay Litowitz remember Dave

Last week I attended a memorial at the Australian in midtown Manhattan for Dave Burnett, my Australian friend who died in a landslide accident in Petra in January. I met Dave at the ROI120 conference in Jerusalem in the summer of 2006, and I remember how charismatic and funny he was, and how I was surprised I was to learn that he was the youngest participant, because he was so confident and outspoken. I'll be returning to the ROI120 Summit again next month, where many of Dave's friends will be gathering, and it won't be the same without him.

Sydney Henning and Esther K. share a bittersweet moment

Aryeh signs the guest book

Tagging Michael Findling ... because that's what Dave would have wanted

April 29, 2008

Matzah Response


I would have approved this creative short as an official Video Response to our "20 Things To Do With Matzah" video, but it would scare my niece Lola if she saw it.

April 23, 2008

Honorable Mention

After just a few days online, our "20 Things To Do With Matzah" Passover music video is definitely making the rounds: It was a featured Viral Video Hit on Yahoo! Video and even made it to the main Yahoo.com home page, bringing in over 120,000 views to date. And on YouTube, with about 90,000 views, the video has received the honor of being the #40 Most Viewed Music Video This Week (#49 Most Viewed in Canada, and #78 in Australia).



You can also find mention of the Matzah Song in The Jewish Daily Forward, YNet News, and CNET News.com!

April 22, 2008

Matzah MIA!


According to an article in the New York Times, there is a nationwide shortage of matzah this Passover, especially on the West Coast! Maybe it's because Michelle and I used all of it for our music video?

Also reported on News.com, where they also linked to our video, "clearly made in anticipation of a more plentiful matzah environment".

April 21, 2008

Product Placement


Looks like Michelle and I aren't the only ones doing product placement for matzah in YouTube videos. Beating us to the punch by a day, the young comedy duo Eric and Ben posted this hilarious take on advertising and product placement approximately 24 hours before we announced our own "20 Things To Do With Matzah" music video. Their video, Advertisements, which features Matzo Meal (repeatedly described as "Jewlicious!") in the form of subtle product placement, is just one of many entertaining shorts produced by the talented pair. I think these kids are going to be famous one day.

And when Passover is over, be sure to check out their chametz short, "Bagels".

April 17, 2008

20 Things To Do With Matzah


Passover's over, and wouldn't it be neat
If you could use all the matzah ... that you didn't eat?


I am pleased to present "20 Things To Do With Matzah", the new Post-Passover music video I produced with Michelle Citrin, a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah Girl! We're just a couple of crazy matzah-eating kids who grew up on Streit's Matzos for Pesach, so when Streit's learned we were making a video for the holiday, they were more than happy to give us 35 boxes of the stuff to use in our video.

Song "20 Things To Do With Matzah"
Performed by Michelle Citrin and William Levin
Music, Lyrics and Production by William Levin and Michelle Citrin

Video editing by Simon, and camerawork by Jesse Epstein.

Like the tight tees we wore in the video? You can get them at PopJudaica.com

Also available on Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo! Video

Chag Sameach!

April 14, 2008

Let My People Vote

Back in January you may have seen the promotional video I did for Taglit Birthright Israel's "Let My Parents Go" video contest, in which the winners' parents get a trip to Israel. Now the finalists have been chosen, and you can vote on your favorite videos to help decide whose parents win the trip.

So take a look at these great videos and vote today!

April 08, 2008

Speaking in FutureTense

PresenTense founder Ariel Beery, Daniel Cipriani of AZM, and discussion moderator Todd Schechter

On Sunday, PresenTense Magazine hosted a roundtable discussion FutureTense on Culture for Jewish artists, raising questions about innovation, changes in cultural events and productions, and the future of the Jewish cultural space. One dominating theme was "Is it good for the Jews?" Aryeh "Jewster" Goldsmith explained that it depends on your perspective, which is so true that we had nothing left to discuss, so we all went home.

Guest speaker and rocker Naomi Less, Maya Wainhaus, Cool Jew author Lisa Alcalay Klug, and guest presenter, Leslie Ginsparg of Girls Night On

Jewish Robot and Alana Shultz

Aryeh "Jewster" Goldsmith answers "It depends who you ask" when Stacey Menchel asked if it was good for the Jews.

More photos of the FutureTense meeting on Facebook

April 03, 2008

Join the Seda' Club


My animated Shabot Passover special "Seda' Club" is now easier to share and embed on your blog than ever. It's available on YouTube, as well as MySpace and Facebook.

April 02, 2008

Seth's Bar Mitzvah


On September 4, 1993, Seth became a man. And his family became a legend.

April 01, 2008

Shabot Spotted

L to R: Ariel Beery, Skye, Kyle, Jewish Robot, and Vanessa

Yesterday I met with PresenTense Magazine founder and friend, Ariel Beery, during one of his rare social visits to Brooklyn. Always making connections, Beery stepped outside the Tea Lounge on 10th St. briefly to take a call. When he happened to mention to his acquaintance on the phone that he was in Park Slope with the creator of Shabot 6000, an unsuspecting young fan who was sitting outside with her friends perked up. That's how I met local uber-fan Skye and her friends Kyle and Vanessa. Getting recognized for my relatively obscure comic strip doesn't happen often ... thanks for making my day!

March 19, 2008

Share Shushan Shabot


Now you can share the Shushan Shabot Purim cartoon with your friends on YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook!

March 17, 2008

Shabot Sunday Strip

My friends at PresenTense Magazine have done it again, and released Issue 4 to the public. I am pleased to have a special "Sunday Strip" style Shabot comic — complete with color and longer format — featured as the "Shabot Spot" on page 32.

Click to see the full comic strip, "Antisocial Networking", which is about Jews on Facebook. While you're at it, become a Facebook Fan of Shabot, too!

March 07, 2008

Let Their Parents Go!

Last month I produced a promotional video for Taglit-Birthright Israel's Let My Parents Go contest, in which past participants submit their own videos explaining why their parents should win a trip to Israel. Here are some of the latest entries:

Emily Shelton clowns around with her family.



Rivka and Mati, full of Jewish guilt



Jessica and Hollie put on a Miss Jewmerica pageant.



The Brooke Schneider Chronicles



Good luck to all participants!

January 28, 2008

Let My Parents Go!


Attention Birthright Israel alumni: Do you wish your parents could experience Israel the way you did? Now is your chance. Enter the Taglit-Birthright Israel "Let My Parents Go" video contest, and your parents might win a free trip to Israel!

This is the promotional video I produced for Taglit-Birthright Israel, to encourage Birthright alumni to participate in the contest. It was by far the most fun project I've worked on so far, having my friends with me in front of and behind the camera. I even rented a green screen and professional lighting to make the Israel scenes possible.

Cast and Crew in front of the green screen: "Daddy-O" Meir Taub, "Ema" Esther Kustanowitz, and camerawoman Lindsay Litowitz


When I wasn't in front of the camera, I was playing the role of teleprompter.

Cast:
Josh - William Levin
Mom - Esther Kustanowitz
Dad - Meir Taub
Nice Jewish Girl - Michelle Citrin
Dog - Cooper

Camerawork by Lindsay Litowitz
Edited by Simon Weaver at Snip-Snip

Written and directed by William Levin

"Home" by Shi 360
other music by William Levin

Special thanks to Paul Barnett for the use of his apartment, and Ariel Beery for Israel background video footage.

Produced by JewishRobot

January 23, 2008

Dave Burnett

Dave Burnett, 1985-2008

Fellow ROI120 and Leading Up North participant and friend, Dave Burnett, 22, of Sydney, Australia, died in a landslide accident in Jordan yesterday. Dave was a really funny guy, and professed to be my biggest fan. I'm glad I got to know Dave!

January 04, 2008

Standard News


We made our mark in 2007! "I Gotta' Love You Rosh Hashanah", the music video I produced together with Michelle "Rosh Hashanah Girl" Citrin for Taglit-birthright israel, made it on the New Jersey Jewish Standard list of Newsmakers of 2007:

Amber Lee Ettinger’s "Obama Girl," a tribute to Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama, was already a parody of music videos about unrequited love. But Will Levin and Michelle Citrin decided the genre needed a little Yiddishkeit. [..] As for the future, Citrin says more Jewish videos "are in the making. Expect more."

Looking forward to making more music and videos with Michelle in the new year!