Jason Taylor is a media producer in Ontario’s Bruce County who is using the children’s program The Opus Joyous Show to teach kids about faith. Targeted at kids five to 12, Taylor is ready to release the first episode on his website (OpusJoyous.com) and will stream the first five episodes on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and FORMED. Photos courtesy of Jason Taylor

Canadian producer launches Catholic children's show

  • April 7, 2018

If we can teach children the importance of sharing and tidying up through a cheerful song on a TV show, then why can’t we use this same medium to teach them about the faith?

This is the question Jason Taylor hopes to answer with The Opus Joyous Show

“I really found that the best way to bring home a teaching is through stories and really interesting characters,” said Taylor, a Catholic media producer based in Bruce County, Ont. “I do plan to have little study questions with each episode, if somebody wants to use this as a teaching tool.”

The Opus Joyous Show, targeted for children age five to 12 years old, follows the adventures of a young boy named Opus and his canine best friend, Joyous. Together, the two puppet characters go on epic journeys to learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

Taylor is ready to release the first episode for digital streaming on Amazon and as a DVD on his website, OpusJoyous.com. In the summer, he plans to launch the first five episodes on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and the Catholic streaming service, FORMED.

In the first episode, Opus and Joyous find themselves on a sea adventure, with friends Claire and Sage, to stop Captain Barnacle’s plot to block out the sun. Along the way, the four friends learn about answering God’s call and the power of prayer. 

“I’ve gotten a number of people that have said, ‘Hey my kids watched it and actually like watching it,’ ” said Taylor. “A ton of people have said that their kids have asked when the next episode is coming out, so that’s been really encouraging.”

Taylor said the process of producing the show has been a dream come true. 

Before deciding to work for himself, Taylor was a youth minister and camp director at the Hamilton diocese’s Camp Brebeuf. He has also worked for a number of Canadian Catholic media organizations, including Salt + Light Television, Radio Maria Canada and the Archdiocese of Denver. 

In 2016, Taylor came across a Catholic parent’s Facebook post on a professional networking group. The post read, “Dear Catholic media producers, somebody please create a show that’s on par with something like Veggie Tales. Signed, every Catholic parent.”

opus joyous 02Taylor, a father of five children under the age of five, said he had been thinking about producing a children’s program since he was studying at Humber College’s multimedia program in the late 1990s. Reading the Catholic parent’s post made him realize that finally he felt equipped with the right technical skills and experience to give it a shot. He simply replied “Yes!” to the post and within weeks, launched a Kickstarter campaign on November 2016. The crowdfunding campaign raised more than $36,000 in 32 days.

“I’m ever grateful to all the Kickstarter people and the community,” said Taylor. “Even my local bishop, Bishop (Douglas) Crosby (in Hamilton) has offered support throughout the way.”

When the campaign closed, Taylor immediately got to work. He used the funds to set up his own production company, Opus Joyous Studios. In the past year and a half, he jumped into the deep end, writing songs and scripts, learning puppetry techniques and even 3D animation.

“I think with every episode I’m doing it’s getting better,” he said. 

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Taylor is in work mode but often times his young children are walking in and out of his home office. In a way, Taylor said having his children around his work has informed the tone and the characters for the show. 

“My kids surprise me. My oldest is four-and-a-half and it’s just fun to hear them tell stories about what happened to Jesus in the Bible, so I’d like to get their take on some of the stories,” he said. 

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