Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
We wrote in our last post about how we came up with the idea for the Talking Jesus Doll. But, having never made a toy before so I was in uncharted waters. It began by taking inspiration from the doll itself and the Bible verse above. I prayed that God to use me as his instrument in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ; and I asked for His guidance and direction.
Once we settled on the idea concept, it was to create some designs for the doll. The image above is summarizes the development from initial sketch to prototype. Note the smile and welcoming eyes were consistent from start to finish. We used basic shapes and the intersect feature in Microsoft Powerpoint to hack together the animated images above.
Once we were at the halfway point (above) we really honed in on what the face would look like. The eyes, their direction, the eyebrows are super critical to how children respond to the doll. We put together all the ideas and shared them with friends and family. I originally wanted D or J but based on good feedback, we landed on A.
Jesus speaks a lot in the Bible but its not all 3-year-old friendly. We read the red-letter Bible through many times to pull out His 10 phrases that are essential, timeless and suitable for young children. Kids will hear and learn and parents have a tool to explain and expand on the spoken word itself. So we have based scripture but added "I love you" because, - well the song says the Bible tells them so. The video in the 'the toy' section below demonstrates these.
The voice is make or break for this project. Should be easy - just hire a voice actor and off we go. We hired several but none of the voices ever connected. They over played the role and sounded super cheesy like Vince Vaughn in Four Christmases.
I always wanted my old pastor and friend, Justin Collett, to be the voice. Justin is an amazing pastor who was central my spiritual growth. He agreed to help and we met at after a service. I broke out the Yeti Blue microphone jerry-rigged it on a chair in front of the alter. We prayed, asked the Holy Spirit to fill Justin and speak through him for so many to hear. I think he nailed it.
With the voice done, chose two dollmakers to make prototypes based on the design. Their initial prototypes were scary looking. But through many iterations they were greatly refined. With one of the dolls, the hair wasn't realistic, the material wasn't soft enough, the color was awkward and the sandals came off. The other maker ended up absolutely nailing it.
Once the doll arrived, got some posterboard, a cheap ring light and pulled out the Samsung Galaxy and started taking photos. Through through God (and no skill of our own) we ended up with this beautiful Talking Jesus Doll.
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