All right… time to let the cats out of the bag. I haven't been blogging a whole lot lately because #1 – I'm really not all that talkative in general, and #2 – we've been really busy with some fun stuff. What fun stuff, you ask? Let me tell you!
First, we have a new partner for JellyTelly. That partner is Focus on the Family, the giant Christian ministry that sort of started the whole Christian kids media movement with projects like McGee & Me and Adventures in Odyssey. They believe JellyTelly is a wonderful way to serve families in our web-savvy age.
So starting about a month ago, we've formed a partnership with Focus to build JellyTelly over the next 3 years, at least. Focus is taking on marketing and funding responsibilities, and Jellyfish Labs is overseeing the site and the programming. Yipee! We've got money to make new stuff!
Second big news – we're also launching the most ambitious educational project I've ever been involved in. I've always wanted to try to teach Christianity in the same way Walt Disney taught America about space travel and "Our Friend the Atom" on TV in the 50s and 60s, or the same way Carl Sagan taught America about "The Cosmos" on PBS in the 80s. But going bankrupt with VeggieTales and other things kept putting that goal off. But no more! (He says, rising from his desk and thrusting a finger up into the air.)
We have begun production on a 13-DVD series starring all the characters from JellyTelly that will walk kids all the way through the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – and explain our faith and what it means to live it. The project is called "What's in the Bible?" and we will bring it to market with Tyndale House Publishers, the folks that brought us the Living Bible, as well as all those early Focus on the Family videos like McGee & Me and Last Chance Detectives.
I am monstrously excited about this project, because we're attempting to do something no one has really done before. We taught a lot of Bible stories over the years with VeggieTales, but we never really taught the Bible. I mean, the whole thing. Where did it come from? What does it mean? How does it affect our lives? And that's what we're going to do with "What's in the Bible?" – hosted by Buck Denver and friends, as well as, ahem, yours truly. (Yes, I'm going to be in it, too. It seemed like at certain points we need a real person talking about God.)
I've just finished writing the first two DVDs, which are now in production and will, God willing, be out in Christian bookstores next Spring, just before Easter. So mark your calendars! (In sort of a vague, "Spring-ish" way.)
This project really has the potential to change how we teach our faith to our kids. I can't believe I'm finally getting to do it. Tyndale is making this their major effort for kids over the next few years, and Christian retailers are starting to line up to get involved as well. I think everything recognizes how badly we need something like this to keep our kids engaged in our faith.
The cool thing is that Tyndale House and Focus on the Family have worked together extensively over the years (on McGee & Me, Adventures in Odyssey, etc.), so they're already coordinating their marketing efforts between "What's in the Bible?" and JellyTelly.
As for those of us at Jellyfish Labs, suddenly the next few years are looking VERY, VERY busy!
I'll give you more news – and hopefully some sneak previews – as it becomes available. Whee! What fun!