By COLlive reporter
Dovid Taub, a producer for the Chabad.org video site Jewish.TV, has launched a new animated show “Mitzvah Island” on Thursday that is geared for toddlers and young children.
Hours before Shabbos entered in Pittsburgh, the 30 year-old spoke with COLlive.com about the evolution of his work over the years:
Is this your farewell to Rabbi Itche Kadoozy?
He’s not gone!
We have a new series starting soon. Episodes were shot and completed and are ready to go.
Can you tell us what it’s about?
It’s about normal Jewish life, but as we know Kadoozy, there is nothing normal about his life.
The show started in 2003. Is there still a strong fan base?
I still get comments and there definitely seems like there are still people who are fans and want to see more. It’s interesting to see how it developed. When I watch the old Parsha Report, you can see how the quality got better with time.
So why the new show?
People asked me for a long time to do something like this. They enjoyed Kadoozy but little kids don’t get it.
What motivated you now?
Being a parent to 3 girls (ages 5, 4 and 1)!
How did you go about it?
I wanted to create something for them because although the Jewish video market expanded over the years, it’s still tiny and there is a huge need for more. I wasn’t completely sure when I created Mitzvah Island, but my children immediately connected to it.
What is the process of creating animation?
I first write the script, then record all the audio with my kids and edit the final track and use that to animate. I draw all the characters and backgrounds in flash.
How different is it from puppetry you did with Kadoozy?
I was animating before I discovered puppetry. What I liked in puppets is that you put it on your hand and the character comes to life. It’s much more spontaneous. But in animation you have more control. In Mitzvah Island, I incorporated puppetry techniques in the animation.
How is Mitzvah Island structured?
A weekly episode of an average of 8 minutes following a brother and sister named Avi and Sarah as they discover another Mitzvah or educational topic each episode. They travel by boat so the story develops by whoever joins them for the ride.
You had an animated series “Stick Figure Vignettes.” How different is writing for children compared to adults?
With Kadoozy and Stick Figure, I wrote what I thought was funny or interesting to me and that just worked. With Mitzvah Island I needed to observe the children’s reactions to it. What drives their excitement.
Why the 8 minute mark?
On one hand I needed time for the story to play out. On the other hand, there is a limitation to how long someone will sit down and watch things on the web (children tend to sit for a bit longer).
Why not produce this as a DVD for sale, rather than a web show?
It is not our job. My job is providing Jewish content for Jewish people on the web.
Some might worry over attaching toddlers to yet another thing on the screen…
I know the discussion on this topic exists. There are Jewish children out there, for whom the Internet is the best place to reach them, and my job is to get it to them.
VIDEO: Mitzvah Island Episode 1