Jason Taylor, with his puppet characters Opus, left, and Joyous, are out to fill the void in Catholic children video series. Photo courtesy of Jason Taylor

Producer out to fill video void for Catholic kids

By 
  • December 8, 2016

Jason Taylor logged on to Facebook one June afternoon and found a post that triggered an idea he long carried in his mind.

“Dear Catholic media producers,” it read. “Somebody please create a show that’s on par with something like Veggie Tales. Signed, every Catholic parent.”

Without hesitation, Taylor simply replied, “Yes!” It reminded him of an idea for a Catholic children’s program that he has been thinking about since his days studying media production at Humber College. Now that he has his own children, it finally seemed time to take on the challenge.

The Opus Joyous Show is a Catholic children’s video series about a boy named Opus and his dog Joyous. The two characters are live-action puppets that are set in front of a 3D animated background.

Together, the two friends discover a Bible in a treasure chest. As they begin to read the verses, they are transported into biblical times where they can witness the sacred stories first-hand.

“My goal is to produce something that is well done,” said Taylor. “I’m trying to create something that resonates with my kids.”

Taylor said as a parent of three-year-old twins, a one-year-old and another set of twins on the way, he wants to see more options for Catholic programming for his children.

“The three best I’ve seen out there, and what I mean by best is the most highly produced ... are the Brother Francis series, Cat.Chat and The Saints & Heroes Collection,” he said. “But that’s the funny thing. I can only think of three.”

As a Catholic media producer, Taylor said he feels it is his responsibility to create more of the programming he seeks for his own children. Right now, his children are watching shows like Mighty Machines and The Wiggles.

His goal is to incorporate the fun and sillyness of those shows with the joy of the Gospel within it.

Taylor said the Veggie Tales series is a good model for the kind of show he wants to build.

“It’s not directly like, ‘Today we’re going to learn about the catechism,’ ” said Taylor. “It’s going to be talking about life sometimes. ... And hopefully, it can create a bridge for some parents to talk with their kids about some of these things.”

Taylor has more than 20 years experience in Catholic media production with organizations, like Salt + Light Television, Radio Maria Canada and EWTN.

He has also worked as a marketing lead at Camp Brébeuf and a creative production specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver.

In May, Taylor started his own production company called Jumping Guy Productions. The Opus Joyous Show will be his company’s first project.

“It’s my passion. I consider it my vocation,” said Taylor. “Over the years, I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been discerning it. Now I feel like I have the skill set and the experience. ... I’ve even gained some theology knowledge along the way, so I feel like I have a great combination of skills that will allow me to do this.”

Taylor and his co-producer and wife, Marie, are writing the storylines, recording all original music and giving life to all the characters on the show.

Within five months after answering a call to action on Facebook, Taylor launched a Kickstarter fundraising project in November. His page features some demo footage for the opening scenes of The Opus Joyous Show along with the outline for the first five episodes.

The pilot episode opens with the story of how Opus and Joyous discover the Bible in the treasure chest. The episode combines puppets, real locations, 3D and 2D animations.

“This is what I’ve never seen anybody do in Catholic media,” he said. “There hasn’t been a show that’s combined all these mediums. Sesame Street did it for years and it works well, right?”

Taylor hopes to raise $33,000 on Kickstarter to fund production fees. For more information, visit opusjoyous.com.

opus show web‘The Opus Joyous Show” is a Catholic kids video series created by Jason Taylor. (Photo courtesy of Jason Taylor)

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