Lots of folks are asking how they can help us launch JellyTelly, which is really awesome.  (And if you're saying "What's JellyTelly?" right now, start here at the beginning.  For the rest of you, continue reading.)

As I mentioned in the last post, JellyTelly is being designed from the ground up for "audience participation."  So how can you help?  Well, let's talk about a few things you can do.  In honor of Dr. Seuss, I'll call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."

  • Thing 1  – You can pray for us – for the people that are signing on as initial financial supporters, and for the people that are already creating content for our little mini-network.  We're trying to do a lot with a little, and it is challenging, to say the least.  (The fact that some of you are already organizing "prayer days" for JellyTelly is really overwhelmingly cool.  Kinda made me teary-eyed, to be honest.)
  • Thing 2 – This is a new thing, and it's something I love about the JellyTelly concept.  Are you good with a video camera?  Do you have kids – or know people who do?  Are you – or do you know – missionaries or relief workers around the world?  With video cameras?  We want you to shoot stuff for us!
  • If you know a missionary family with kids living in the field with them, ask if they can shoot an interview with their kids.  We want to meet them – have their kids say, "Hi – my name is ____ and I live in ____ with my family because _____."  We want to show kids in America what it's like to be a missionary kid living in Africa or Europe or South America – how cool it is to be "on mission" with God.  Shoot as much footage as you want – show us your kids rooms, friends, lives, neighborhoods, and then send it to us.  We'll edit your footage into 2-3 minute segments that we'll air on JellyTelly.
  • Are you – or do you know – a relief worker working with kids either overseas or in the U.S.?  Shoot some footage of them in action, talking about what they do and why they do it.  We think Hollywood has given our kids enough role models that look like Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton.  We want to show them some different kinds of role models – role models of Christian love in action.  Send us the footage, and we'll take it from there.
  • Are you going on a short-term missions trip this summer?  With kids?  Bring a camcorder and show us your trip.  Have your kids talk about where they are and why they're there, and what they think of the whole experience. If your church is sending someone along with a good camcorder to shoot video for your church, have them interview a few kids while they're at it and send us the footage.  We'll edit it ourselves, or if the church AV person wants to cut it themselves, they can watch some of our sample segments after we launch and then use those as a guide for their own editing.
  • Are the kids in your church engaged in any service projects?  Serving at a soup kitchen?  Cleaning up the neighborhood? Working with disadvantaged kids in your area?  Bring a camcorder!  Shoot it!  Interview your kids while they're working, and send us the footage!  My daughter's 5th grade Sunday School class recently spent a Saturday making sack lunches and passing them out to some homeless folks in our community.  I tagged along with a camcorder to record the event, and it will be one of the first segments we put up on JellyTelly to show people what we're looking for.

So why are we doing this?  Simple.  Kids need to see what God's love looks like in action.  If they watch a lot of television, they see pop stars, sports stars and celebrities.  They see kids driving around Hollywood in nice cars – recording albums and buying clothes.  They don't see a whole lot of missionaries or Christian relief workers or, even more vital, kids just like them sacrificing their time to show God's love to others.  So this sort of thing will be a major focus of JellyTelly.

This is one of the reasons I'm so excited about JellyTelly.  We couldn't do this sort of thing with VeggieTales, because when someone spent $15 on a VeggieTales DVD, they didn't want to sit down and watch video of missionary kids showing us their neighborhoods.  They wanted the tomato and cucumber to come out and put on a big show.  But with JellyTelly, because it feels much more like Nickelodeon than like a Pixar movie, we can stuff little things like this in the "cracks" between the more entertaining mini-shows.  We can educate in the cracks, and kids will ride right along to get to the next show.

Cool, huh?  I'm really jazzed about this.

Of course, there is the minor legal issue that we can't show someone's face without having a signed release form, so we'll have to give you some pointers and we'll need to post a release form online that you can sign on behalf of your kids and have others sign who will be featured prominently on camera.  (Or their parents, if they're kids.)

If someone in your church is already producing videos (and an amazing number of churches are now in the "video-production business"), this will be even easier.  Heck, I was walking through a church a few months ago and noticed they had their own green screen studio!  What a world we live in!  (And I was all excited when my childhood church put in a new drinking fountain…)

Anyway, this is how we can start.  Pray, and then start following your kids around with video cameras. 

This is going to be fun…