Steve and Faith Treague have a love for children. That is why both of them became teachers. Being teachers allowed the Treagues to develop a summer ministry of Reaching the Children or RTC. (See Living Stones News – Sept. 2006). In 1990 BURNNIE the Bunnie® made his debut.
Burnnie’s character was developed and born in 1990. Steve Treague said, “His personality grew as we presented him before live audiences and received feedback from children. They loved him. He’s a friendly kind of guy with a bit of an edge. He just says is like it is; or at least how he thinks it is.”
That is what gives Burnnie a life like and realistic personality. Burnnie teaches others as he learns from his own mistakes.
BURNNIE the Bunnie® has received two media awards. The Treagues were awarded a CINDY (Cinema in Industry) Award for “Burnnie Goes To The Hospital”, a video to help relieve a child’s fear of the hospital. For their radio program of BURNNIE the Bunnie®, they received the Covenant Award in 1997 which is a national award given for excellence in Christian media. Also winning the award that same year were James Dobson and VeggieTales.
Treague said, “After the first TV show in 1990, we went into radio. Many listeners thought the radio show would make a great TV series, but with teaching and live performance opportunities, we never even gave going back into television production another thought.”
When Steve left the teaching profession, the Treagues were left wondering what God had in store for them. It didn’t take long to realize that God had a plan for the Treagues. One that would require the Treagues to let God take the reigns and work out many of the details that seemed overwhelming. This road led Steve Treague into full-time ministry.
Treague said, “We felt God’s leading to produce what is now known as ‘BURNNIE: Tails from the LIGHT Side.’” After a year of discussion and raising financial support, we had the ingredients needed to begin the series. We now have the first program completed and are moving forward to being on the air in September. God is leading the project in a big way!”
You may wonder exactly what it takes to film a show and prepare it for television. The Treagues needed $80,000 to start production on the show. This money was used to purchase HD (high definition) cameras, sound, lighting and other necessary elements for producing a television show.
Each show is 30 minutes in length and is aired on a weekly basis as a series to over 250,000 viewers. It is seen in the United States on Direct and Dish TV. The United Kingdom airs the show on the UCB network which also reaches Australia and the Netherlands. The program is viewed in Jamaica on the FFTV Network.
The Treagues are targeting children ages 5 years to fifth grade with each episode. Treague said that the purpose is to help these children to know the Savior and make Him known to others.
This is where Burnnie steps in and comes to life on the screen. Treague said, “Burnnie tries his best to live his life pleasing to the Lord. But he makes mistakes along the way. Each program focuses on a specific Christian character concept which children are encouraged to develop in their own lives.”
“In addition to each story’s plot, conflict and ultimate conclusion, we have another very unique component to reach children with God’s message,” said Treague. “The character of BURNNIE the Bunnie® works at the TREGGLLUSIONS Shop where interesting puzzles, games, toys and tricks are demonstrated and sold. Each of these colorful and visual object lessons is presented with a gospel message.”
Treague said, “Live actors are used with BURNNIE the Bunnie® being the only puppet character in the entire series. Having only one puppet, along with Burnnie’s mischievous personality, helps to create a presentation at a fifth grade level and beyond, still maintaining the interest of a younger child.”
Each live filming has a need for about 150 extras to fill the auditorium for the TREGGLLUSIONS Show. Treague said, “It is necessary to call ahead (605) 988-4140 to be an extra in the audience for this segment. Individuals, families and groups are welcome. Be prepared to show excitement, clap loud, laugh a lot and share in the purpose to help spread God’s Word to children locally and world wide through this television outreach.”
Treague spent months adapting his 36 radio scripts into a format for television. He has additional titles in development, too. Treague is set up to film two shows each month. “We’ll need actors, extras, boom microphone handlers, assistant directors for various locations, make-up assistants, set-up and take-down helpers, lighting assistants and more,” Treague said. “This is a large production project with four to six set locations.” He also adds that they are always looking for more people to get involved with this exciting project.
Treague said, “Each location involves set-up, filming, and take down. For example, we filmed a segment which will take up six minutes of the program. We began setup at 12:30 and were finished filming by 5:00. It took four and one half hours to film this six minute piece of the 30 minute show.” This doesn’t include the additional time needed to edit and prepare for the final product to be complete.