Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My Facebook status currently reads: Lauren is in love...with macs, photoshop, and the vision of Phil Vischer and JellyTelly. See www.jellytelly.tv.

The new header is the result of joyous time playing around with Photoshop while watching the Rangers beat the White Sox. But I'm really excited about what Phil Vischer (the guy who started VeggieTales) is working on right now.

After the bankruptcy of Big Idea and VeggieTales, and the collapse of Phil's dream, he realized that he had made his company more about him than God. He had lost sight of the original call. With the wisdom that only comes from failure and restoration, he writes a great book called Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables.

Anyways, he's doing a new thing now that is much needed and quite brilliant. With his new organization, Jelly Fish Labs - through which he's published two children's books and made several hilarious short mock news casts with a puppet named Buck Denver - he's creating an online Christian TV network for kids. He takes the premise that media influence is increasing in kids' lives even as Christians are producing less Christian kids media, and Vischer decides to do something about it. The average kid watches 22 hours of TV a week, and this might be countered by an hour of Sunday School. The worldviews of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel are basically raising a whole generation. 

Using clever storytelling, puppets, 2D and 3D animation, and live action, along with plenty of silliness that kids crave and hilarious wit that keeps adults engaged, Vischer proposes an online network called JellyTelly, which will combine short clips and new characters, the best of current Christian kids media, and the work of emerging young Christian film students and animators. What excites me most is not just the vision to give an alternative to families for entertainment or help teach kids Biblical values while partnering with churches to correlate curriculum, but that JellyTelly is also committed to training a new generation of young people to impact the media. No, the subscription online network with a pay-what-you-can policy will not be immediately challenging the likes of Disney or Viacom, but they will be creating a new generation of Christian storytellers, well trained and able to affect the arts and a generation of young children and families who know to expect better than either of the horrible quality Christian media or the indoctrinating trash of big television. 

PLEASE visit http://www.philvischer.com, http://www.jellyfishland.com, and ESPECIALLY http://www.jellytelly.tv for more information. 

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