Itai Lev & Tal Lev, Rising Multi-Talented Writers, Talk New Animated TV Series in Development: “Loli”

Itai Lev & Tal Lev, Rising Multi-Talented Writers, Talk New Animated TV Series in Development: “Loli”

We were excited to learn about this upcoming animated series in development, “Loli,” and had a chance to chat with the sibling co-creators – Itai Lev & Tal Lev. Itai graduated NYU Tisch’s four-year Dramatic Writing Program in just three years, and received “Special Award Across Media” for excellence in writing for multiple mediums. As a transgender teen, Tal has a unique perspective on the societal standards put on young women in the digital age.

The show takes place an alternate present ruled by eight corporations, a sentient sex doll, modeled after an underage anime girl, lives on the run from her neckbeard creator. Loli is a “nothing is sacred” satirical cartoon with tonal similarities to Rick and Morty and structural similarities to Tom and Jerry and SpongeBob. Loli’s biggest influence is from memes, the “Man-O-Sphere,” the E-girl/V-tuber phenomenon, and other internet culture. In short, Loli is the “Zoomer” South Park. The series combines rigorous structure with zany Gen-Z humor and cynicism Itai and Tal’s “Loli” pilot received a 98/100 from Nickelodeon’s fellowship application graders in 2020

After learning more about the creatives from our conversation which you can read below, it is clear that they have loads of potential in storytelling, for this world and beyond. They are multi-talented creatives who we recommend keeping an eye on. And be sure to check out their project further on social media — links are at the bottom of the piece!

Hi Itai and Tal! How have you been?

Busy, but excited. We wrote the Loli a year ago, and since then, we’ve been working tirelessly to produce the pitch deck and the promo. It’s been stressful, but we’re just as excited about the project as we were from the beginning!

What is it like working with your sibling as a collaborator? Tell us more about your working relationship and short hand with them.

We have a borderline telepathic relationship, we’ve grown up together, and have the same artistic influences. All someone has to say is “It’s like that SpongeBob episode where…” and we’re on the same page. We’ve been trying to make each other crack up for as along as we can remember; it’s kind of a competition. We couldn’t ask for better writing partners.

You guys brought a unique approach to Loli. Can you take us behind the process of your pitch video and how you decide the right way to approach it the visual style of this project?

We knew if we just filmed a talking-heads video of us pitching the show, nobody would care; Who are we, right? But if an anime girl is talking, maybe people will listen. 

Regarding the look of the show, we both love Rick and Morty, but we also feel too many animated shows emulate it’s

style. By having a more realistic, comic-book influenced world, but still keeping Lola authentically anime, Loli stands out, not just conceptually, but visually.

Itai, let’s talk about your past recognition at NYU – how did it feel to get this recognition and what was that for?

It’s funny, during the Tisch award ceremony, I was thinking how dumb awards are, but then I won one and was like, “Damn, we should give out more awards.” 

The “Special Award Across Media” was awarded to me for excellence in writing for multiple mediums. I love film, TV, and animation, so I spread myself wide while in school. I guess it paid off.

Did you approach the themes or characters in Loli in a specific way at all? Tell us more about how you’ve integrated LGBTQ theme as well

The show is about an anime girl being chased by a neckbeard, so gender roles are inherently a  part of Loli’s DNA

When it comes to LGBTQIA+ stuff, it was Tal’s idea to make the show’s villain, “Sweetheart,” a closeted lesbian. It made sense because Loli takes place in a cis-het, patriarchal, corporate hellscape, so that makes her an underdog, despite the fact that she’s a fascist CEO.

What were some of the other challenges you overcame with producing the Loli short? How did you overcome them?

Loli is undeniably  a crazy idea,  to getting funding, even just to make our pitch deck and promo, was difficult. We’re very proud of the ragtag team of young and hungry artists that helped us, but managing an international team was its own challenge. Loli should have been dead in the water many times, but Tal and I just believe so strongly that this is something that should be on TV, that we always managed to persevere.

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What are some of your other favorite past projects?

Tal: The most difficult, but rewarding piece of stagecraft I’ve built was a turntable set-piece for my high school’s production of Legally Blonde. It was challenging, not only because of its size but because it had to support the weight of four people while being operated by hand offstage. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and queers, but being responsible for the centerpiece of the show was extremely rewarding.

Itai: I’ve working on a revenge epic about Mary Magdalene since I was in tenth grade. I made it my original pandemic project, but working with Tal on Loli was just way more fun, especially during such a dark time.

What is your hope for this project? Where do you see it going?

Tal and I have worked hard to not just produce a promo and pilot, but a foundation for an entire animated series. We’d love to see Loli green-lit for streaming; it’s a weird idea, but it’s something everyone under 30 is going to want to watch.

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For more information on Loli, visit Itai and Tal’s sites below!

Loli’s Facebook 

Loli Instagram

Loli website  

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