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Phil Vischer Projects

What Happened to Big Idea? (Part 1)

Many people think Big Idea Productions died because of the lawsuit brought against it by Lyrick Studios over general market distribution rights to VeggieTales home videos.  While it is fair to say that it was the loss of that lawsuit that forced Big Idea into bankruptcy, it certainly wasn't the only factor causing Big Idea's downfall.  Others believe the money spent producing and marketing our first movie, Jonah, brought the company down.   Originally I had hoped to produce and release the film for less than $15 million total.  When the final production and marketing costs came in at nearly twice that, our hopes of recouping our investment vanished.   In the end our distributor got all of its marketing investment back, but not a penny made it back to Big Idea to recoup the money we had spent producing the film.   So surely that killed the company, right?   Not exactly.   These two factors were certainly the straws that broke the camel's back, but the camel was pretty sickly before Jonah even began production, and long before the owner's of Barney the Dinosaur and Bob the Builder turned a litigious eye toward Bob and Larry.

So what killed Big Idea?   Pour yourself some tea, and I'll tell you the real story.

We Americans love to be ranked.   People magazine keeps track of our “50 Most Beautiful People.”   Forbes tracks the “400 Wealthiest Americans” and the “200 Highest-Paid Entertainers.”   Not to be outdone, every year Inc. magazine puts out a list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America.   These companies tend to be on the small side, but for whatever reason, they're growing like gangbusters.   Inc. tracks and ranks them all, and then the entrepreneurs behind each company can hang the magazine cover in their conference room and beam like proud parents when their friends notice their amazing fast-growing-ness.

If I had put a lot of value on such lists or if Inc. magazine had noticed us, it's fairly likely Big Idea would have made the list a year or two.   Between 1996 and 1999 our revenue grew by 3300%, from $1.3 million to $44 million.  Pretty impressive by anyone's standards.  But by early 2000, just as Jonah was headed into production, the company was in serious financial trouble. How could that be, you ask?  Let me tell you.

It's interesting to note that only one-out-of-three companies that make the Inc. list repeat their appearance the following year.   What happens to the rest?   Many see their growth stall, never to fully recover.   Others simply cease to exist.   Vanish.   You see, when a small company experiences extremely rapid growth, it soon ceases to be a “small company.”   Yet just because it no longer qualifies as “small” doesn't necessarily mean it is now “big.”   In other words, just because you're no longer “Tim's Software Hut” doesn't necessarily mean you're “Microsoft.”   And somewhere in the middle, many, many companies fail.

Inc. magazine noticed this dynamic and had several business researchers look into it.   What emerged was a picture of a treacherous period in any business's growth when a company finds itself “too big to be small yet too small to be big.”   The researchers dubbed it “No Man's Land.”

The year was 1997.   VeggieTales was booming in a big way, and I was taken off guard by the success.   Frankly, I thought 1996 was amazing, yet here was 1997 making 1996 look like… well, 1995!   Every year since 1993 every VeggieTales video had sold more than the year before, and the trend seemed to be continuing.   I could remember the days when Christian publishers wouldn't return my calls, and now the Wall Street Journal was calling for an interview!

In the midst of this mayhem, I read the book Built to Last, a classic business study of what makes great companies great.   The analysis of the Walt Disney Company struck me as particularly relevant, and I found myself asking the question, “Do I just want to make a few films to leave behind when I'm gone, or do I want to build a company that can keep making great films for the next 100 years?”   The answer seemed obvious.   I wanted to build the next Disney.

By the time I finished the book I had a new vision for Big Idea.   We would attract top artists from all over the country. We would build a culture of biblical values and great storytelling.   And then, the big one: The book said you needed to pick a “Big, Hairy Audacious Goal,” or a “BHAG” in Built to Lastparlance. Golly gosh… what was my “BHAG?”   Hmm. I wasn't sure.  I had always felt that God wanted me to tell the stories and teach the lessons he laid on my heart, but he hadn't given me any particular big, hairy audacious goal.  But the book said I needed one to inspire and focus my employees. Okay… deep breath… “We will build a top-four family media brand within 20 years!”   Huh? Where did that come from?   I had no idea.   All I knew was that now I had my “BHAG.” And if it was going to come true, we were going to have to get a lot bigger. What I didn't know was that my new path would take us right smack through “No Man's Land.”   (Cue sinister score here.)

Continued in Part 2 >

118 CommentsLeave a Comment


  • Reply

    cheryl burns

    14 months ago

    Phil,
    Each morning I watch Life Today w/James & Betty Robison. This morning, I was blessed by your appearance on their show. I know God has many exciting plans for you! Thank you for your sheer honesty and humbleness regarding what you have gone through. I am going to share your story w/my husband who is going through something similar. He had a construction company that was growing by leaps and bounds, but they over hired – bought insurance for some of the employees and well things did not go as hoped for or planned. Your testimony will help many other people. Our God is a great! Phil, on the show I could tell you are bursting at the seams with many many ideas. Keep your eyes on God and he will direct your paths.
    In Christian Love,
    Cheryl Burns

  • Reply

    marina Guzman

    14 months ago

    Greetings Mr. Visher

    I am an Independent filmmaker and I am in the process of editing my short film title “Father Austin” will be in the film festivals by 2007 entry. I am learning from others Christian mistakes. I still learning. I never went to college. I did learn on my own to do film. I still need to learn about the more about law and also who to contact in the media and to trust I will say “Christ” for wisdon and knowledge. Question? is any book that teach you, your rigths when it came to film. I send to you a letter couple months ago about “Father Austin” I do understand now what happens. Nobody has replay to me. My prayers are with you.

    Blessings
    Marina Guzman

  • Reply

    Bob

    14 months ago

    creationscience.com)Dear Phil,

    Read your website and we have a Big Idea you might be interested in. It involves Noah and Dr Walter Brown (www.creationscience.com) We got the idea after we met your father in a copper mine in Ontonagon, MI….oh and we are fairly certain that we are related to you through your other Father. Our desire is to give this generation of kids the evidence to know that they were created special and God loves them very much.
    Yes we know you get a lot of people asking you to do stuff…and movies cost a lot but talk is cheap and what’s the harm with letting us pitch our idea to you…it isn’t like your this Big Idea Inc company anymore that doesn’t want unsolicited manuscripts. Drop us a line please…even if it’s just to tell us to go away. Thanks…

    We are your Antediluvian Vege-tailians
    Bob and Justin

  • Reply

    Justin

    14 months ago

    creationscience.com)Dear Phil,

    Read your website and we have a Big Idea you might be interested in. It involves Noah and Dr Walter Brown (www.creationscience.com) We got the idea after we met your father in a copper mine in Ontonagon, MI….oh and we are fairly certain that we are related to you through your other Father. Our desire is to give this generation of kids the evidence to know that they were created special and God loves them very much.
    Yes we know you get a lot of people asking you to do stuff…and movies cost a lot but talk is cheap and what’s the harm with letting us pitch our idea to you…it isn’t like your this Big Idea Inc company anymore that doesn’t want unsolicited manuscripts. Drop us a line please…even if it’s just to tell us to go away. Thanks…

    We are your Antediluvian Vege-tailians
    Bob and Justin

  • Reply

    Justin

    14 months ago

    creationscience.com)Dear Phil,
    Okay we did say this before but we wanted you to have justins email….sorry!
    Read your website and we have a Big Idea you might be interested in. It involves Noah and Dr Walter Brown (www.creationscience.com) We got the idea after we met your father in a copper mine in Ontonagon, MI….oh and we are fairly certain that we are related to you through your other Father. Our desire is to give this generation of kids the evidence to know that they were created special and God loves them very much.
    Yes we know you get a lot of people asking you to do stuff…and movies cost a lot but talk is cheap and what’s the harm with letting us pitch our idea to you…it isn’t like your this Big Idea Inc company anymore that doesn’t want unsolicited manuscripts. Drop us a line please…even if it’s just to tell us to go away. Thanks…

    We are your Antediluvian Vege-tailians
    Bob and Justin

  • Reply

    Marty Donnellan

    14 months ago

    So sad, but I feel your best work is yet to come, Mr. Vischer. You cannot recreate VeggieTales because you are a different person now. Your story is a cautionary tale to all creative types who hope to “make it big”. Me, I have vowed before the Lord that I will never try to make a buck off His name. Freely I have received, freely will I give. But my other creative work – He says go for it!
    Marty

  • Reply

    DPG

    14 months ago

    I believe in my heart that as Shakspeare said in one of his plays..

    The Knave doth protest too much.

    Having seen It’s a new day and reading here, you lose your audience by what you are doing here.

    I will still find your new book for my ganrd children.

    Best Wishes and hopes this works for you.

    DPG

  • Reply

    DPG

    14 months ago

    Heh actually it was probably the Robisons…

    Oh well

    DPG

  • Reply

    Joey Potter

    14 months ago

    Dear Phil Vischer:

    Who would have thought that your speaking @ Youth Specialties for 1000′s of us/Youth Pastors & Youth Volunteers would receive God’s message this year from a video/animation dude! LOL…

    Thanks Phil for letting God use you! I have sat there in that seat ! NYWC for 20 plus years and listened to the most famous christian authors & pastor across the country, and wondered ‘what in the heck are they talking about’.

    But always during NYWC – God makes it clear through someone with His message, this year that was You!
    Thanks brother…

    blessings

    Joey Potter
    An Ole Youth Pastor
    Fayetteville GA.

  • Reply

    Gregory Warner

    13 months ago

    Well, it appears you taught an important lesson. One that each of us can also learn from. God doesn’t need help being God, but I guess each of us, in our own way, still want to lend a hand at times.

    See ya when I see Ya,

  • Reply

    Ginette Raymond

    13 months ago

    Dear Phyl:

    I read your story and simply you failed because God did not want a Christian Disney!!! It was your dream done in the flesh!!! Success got to your mind! You do not need to model on secular businesses. All you need is the power of the Holy Spirit like the first disciples who did not have all the multimedia and had great success!!! When God is in it you do not need to file for brankcuptcy. You need more revelation from the Word of God.
    Sorry it is a bit straight but I think that Americans have a warped idea about Christianity. In China Christians do not have all the Veggitales and house churches experience a tremedous growth… In Australia where Elijah prophet Mike Petro teaches revelation even poor Australian native children have revelation on their own and want more of it; they are growing tremendously in their faith and there is no Veggitales.
    I think that you need to hear this simple truth. Repent and God will direct your path in His Way not yours.

    Ginette Raymond

  • Reply

    Patrick Burke

    13 months ago

    Hi Phil,

    Wow! The book is quite a page turner. I read it in one sitting glued to my seat. I remember when VeggieTales first came out. I remember the Bible bookstores with college kids enamored with the toon in 1995. I myself was one of those college kids that had recently become married and was inspired by the ministry of VeggieTales. I am a 3d Environment Artist in the games industry who still has a passion to somehow use my talents for the ministry. However, I too struggle with whether the dream I have is from God or myself. Your book definitely helped me to see things more clearly and just be patient. Thank you for your book. I am looking forward to picking up the Jellyfish Labs books as well. Take care and God Bless you and your family.

    PS–Ginette…I think if you read the whole book you will see that Phil does find that “simple truth”. Please read it all, it really is a fantastic book.

  • Reply

    Kathy

    13 months ago

    Thanks Phil for the book. I laughed and cried my way through the whole book in one sitting. What some people fail to see is that God can and does work through ALL THINGS. I know many people were disappointed when Big Idea went under but maybe your work there was accomplished. Several years after my son was born we began to realize he had some difficulties. VeggieTales spoke to him and brought him out of himself in ways that can only be defined as a miracle. The Jonah Veggie boat that brought in no revenue led to words and communication so much so that when it broke we express mailed another one. I know that this was Gods work but in your moments of great failure He was using it to create a miracle in our family. For that reason you, your family and VeggieTales- Bob and Larry will always be in our prayers and a member of our family. I look forward to falling in love with the new characters you are working on. Thank You from the bottom of my heart!
    -A Mother

  • Reply

    Benjamin Winans

    13 months ago

    I will be praying for your in your new endeavors, Phil! I first “discovered” Veggie Tales when I was back in The States on a week’s leave from the military in 1995. I attended a Christian Music Association’s Gospel Music Week while job searching for a post-military job. I was in a roomful of Christian Bookstore owners / managers when the newest Veggie Tale, number 2, was announced. The place went wild! Not being a bookseller but a job networker, I turned to a person nearby and asked what’s the big deal. The woman said “Veggie Tales are great! Everyone loves them! They jump off the shelf and sell themselves!” After the convention I stopped at a Christian bookstore and bought the first VT and every one thereafter until my the-infant daughter outgrew them. Then we moved on to “3-2-1 Penguins!” Sorry you learned a financial lesson the hard way. I’ll pray that God continues to bless your creative work on His behalf!

  • Reply

    None

    13 months ago

    Veggie tales is absolute garbage and THAT is the true reason for the company’s downfall. The next Disney? Ha, give me a break.

    Disney produced quality entertainment, not ridiculous animated vegetables and their biblical propaganda.

    The sooner Veggie tales is gone forever the sooner life on this planet will improve.

    Ick.

  • Reply

    Tracy

    13 months ago

    Oh Phil,
    I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this, but I have just finished your book -”I laughed. I cried. It moved me Bob…er, Phil!” Thank you, thank you, thank you! I bought your book for my husband’s birthday in January (he is a BIG reader) and my purchase had God’s timing stamped all over it. Your words have generated much thought, and especially prayer, in our family. As a Veggies fan from long ago (my 31 year old bachelor brother in Australia first introduced them to me!!) there is so much I would like to say, so many emotions. But the moral of this tail is very clear…it all about God. As tears well up in my eyes right now, from the joy of knowing He loves us as well as anything else, my prayer is that we will ALL be broken by His love. I like symbolism, and I very much hope that my own mixing around with sand and sharp objects in the tumbler of God’s love, will produce in me and my household the beautiful, polished stone that God saw in our rough forms from the very beginning. And by the way, my husband is a professor at a Christian university. I think I may buy your book as granduation presents for all his students in the future! P.S. Lisa, you’re one VERY special woman! Thanks for the witness.

  • Reply

    Pat Burgess

    13 months ago

    My son (37) introduced me to VeggieTales and I love them. I have bought several for my granddaughter (2). When she is at our house, VeggieTales are on all day. She loves them and especially likes the songs. She sings along although we don’t understand her words. She always points out Bob and tells me his name. Thank you for these. I just finished reading your book and although I felt really bad for what you went through, I am glad that you have stayed strong for the Lord and have learned some lessons along the way. I’ll be praying for you.
    Pat

  • Reply

    Joy Irvin

    13 months ago

    Driving my daughter to middle school this morning – the same little daughter who sucked on her binky and drank warm chocolate milk in the cool upstate NY mornings of her early childhood – - we hear on the radio a blurb about “Just what ever happened to Phil Vischer and VeggieTales . . . ” More to follow tomorrow. My daughter cries out in frustration over the delay in information. . .

    I dutifully came home to find out on the internet.

    As I read through the story and then the blogs I realize that the question was truly phrased from a wordly perspective. The Godly question . . . the important question is . . . what ever happened to those people who heard the message of Veggie Tales.

    How do you measure success? In truth, we cannot see the extent of the impact now, but a message that was presented with perfect relevance in the nineties has surely impacted a generation. We gave the first Veggie Tales Christmas video to the little girl with parents from India who attended day care in NY.

    God’s Word is Truth and while its content is timeless – the presentation will change from time to time. Than-you God for the enormous gift you brought to the world by way of the Veggies. Please continue to bless Phil Vischer and his incredible imagination and ability to think big! Amen

  • Reply

    Barr

    13 months ago

    Phil,
    thank you so much for being so real in your book. I was moved deeply by the entire story. Your account of how God used Henry Blackaby’s book and other means truly meant alot to me and my wife. I recently went through an inner-company interview for a management position and the question was posed to me “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” I wish with all my heart I could have responded, “In the center of God’s will.” As it was, I spouted the party line. Thank God I didn’t get the job and now have the time I need to do what matters.
    I plan on having my 18 year old son read your book and get a truly Godly perspective before he heads off into the world.
    Thank you again and know I am praying for God’s hand to guide you daily.
    Barry

  • Reply

    Matt

    13 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    Just stopping back at your site to check on this story again. It was sad when I first read it. Now, seeing some people’s very self-righteous comments, it is even more sad. I hope that you are not taking the criticism of these people to heart. They could not have done better, had they been in your shoes.

    Many of the mistakes you made were made by people in the computer industry. They have great talents. They start a company. The product sells, because the founder and employees pour their souls into it. Then, invariably, the situation becomes big, and the founders realize they lack certain business skills to deal with paperwork, etc. They bring on an “experienced management team”. Said team proceeds to at least steal the soul of the companies products, if not driving the company itself into ruin.

    The only moral lesson from your experience, in my opinion, is to never cede control of your or your company’s affairs to someone else. Each of us is blessed with the ability to ask God for help, for the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, you have no control over what other people are doing, and often they are not looking to God for guidance.

    I look forward to your excellent productions, and note that many of the Christian folks that criticize probably also enjoyed “One Night with the King” and spent time lavishing praise on it in the IMDB comments section.

  • Reply

    Scott Yardley

    13 months ago

    Your book realy churned up my emotions. I was expecting a biography and ended with up with God smacking me in the side of the head. It’s what I needed to hear. I just finished your book this evening. Starting tomorrow I plan to toss out all my goals for ChristArt and wait on God. I have a list of tasks that I jot down during to my moring prayer time when I ask God what He wants me to focus on for that day. For a while now that list hasn’t been getting any shorter. And lately it seems God isn’t giving me anymore task. I really don’t need to go back to ChristArt. The newsletter can wait, the art can wait.

  • Reply

    Nancy

    13 months ago

    Phil,
    I just finished reading your book and was so inspired. I came
    to your website to read the unpublished chapter, but after
    registering and sighning in, the page did not show. How can I
    see “the rest of the story”?

  • Reply

    Brad Randolph

    13 months ago

    Phil,
    Thank you for writing the book. I have a four year old little girl that we let watch veggie tales. It is comforting to be able to trust a series like veggie tales for our children to watch. My friends and I have started a business and our CEO, bought your book as a required reading for the three of us. I read it in a week and I am just waiting for my other partners to finish the book. I was so moved and in awe of your humor and honesty. I pray those that worked with you have read the book and it helped relieve any strife. My partners and I get carried away thinking how our businsess will help us retire. We started the business to help children Learn the Word. And if we just break even, then that should be enough to motivate us in this ministry. If God chooses to bless us, then that is more than we deserve. You are a very motivating person and to see how God humbled you, like he humbled Joseph, just makes me look forward to seeing how He will bless you in your future endeavors. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I believe this book will help businesses like ours stay focused on what our purpose should be.

  • Reply

    Louise

    13 months ago

    I’ve ben a BIG VeggieTales fan every since working in a Christian bookstore. We continuously played these VHS/DVDs over every other company’s product. These “Veggies” have been a God-thing he has given to you, Phil. Thank you! for sharing this gift with all of us! I’ve always said the level of humor reaches so many ages that everyone enjoys them. (I’m in my 60′s!)

    Really appreciate you writing your story. That took a lot of courage, that I’m sure God helped you with. I have recommended the book to my sons who are in their own businesses, too.

    May God continue to bless your ministry as He sees fit. Will be praying for you.

  • Reply

    Marc Sauve father of 4 young boys

    13 months ago

    Mr. Vischer,

    If I may, I believe your greatest accomplishment was to make Sundays fun again for young parents who had now idea just how much was missing from their lives. I now have answers to my kid’s questions that eluded me prior. I’m sorry things didn’t turn out exactly the way you had hoped…. Things happen. You did however achieve what you set out to do. As a father, my children now have a viable, wholesome, smart, funny and well messaged show to watch. They haven’t a clue who owns what! Please keep your words and your hearts warm feelings in Veggietales.

    Marc Sauve
    New Brunswick
    Canada

  • Reply

    Cindy

    12 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    I appreciate your courage to be honest and transparent about the events concerning your ministry. It has helped me tremendously since I first read it back in January of this year.

    The Holy Spirit has used it to help me get through this trial/test I am having currently. Today, I handed the baton for my Sunday School Class to another. The Lord has asked me to bless her by giving her my props and ideas that he gave me.

    It has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I remembered your testimony so I came back here for encouragement to follow through with what he has asked me to do.

    I am learning, now, to focus on God and not ministry. Your new company name “Jelly Fish” reminds me what the Lord told me, that he is a light unto my feet in the darkness and as long as I stay on the path and follow him I will be ok.

    I thank you again,

    Yours in Christ,
    Cindy

  • Reply

    Dayl Yaun

    12 months ago

    Mr. Vischer,
    Lots of opinions out there. As with any message…chew the meat, spit out the bones. I am in my mid 40′s and get ministered to by Veggie Tales every time I rent one. People need to understand, it’s an MTV world out there that bids for the hearts of U.S. kids. We have the technology…let’s use it. I hear the heartbeat of your dream…God willing and intercessors in place……AMEN…..

  • Reply

    Liza Martone

    12 months ago

    Dear Mr. Vischer,

    I have already sent an email via your website, but want to concur with Scott Yardley, above: “I was expecting a biography and ended with up with God smacking me in the side of the head.” I ended up staying up until 2AM reading your book, while God smacked at me. :-) (Thank you to Scott for the words to really express what I was feeling that night not so long ago.) Thank you Mr. Vischer for your transparency and vulnerability. And thank you to your wife, Lisa, for her “silent” witness in the book.

  • Reply

    Suzanne McDonald

    12 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    I have just last night (well, the early hours of this morning) finished reading Me, Myself and Bob. I too have a dream which I have been holding onto tightly for more than 3 years. This morning I let myself fall. God caught me. I don’t know where to from here – but that’s none of my business….

    I want to thank you over and over for allowing God to use you to bring the gift of VeggieTales to the world…nothing else makes my heart sing so much as your characters. May you look back on your Veggie years with gladness in your heart, you have been faithful to God’s calling in your life, and I believe you will continue to follow His direction.
    I feel like I know you – you have been gracious in allowing us into your life through your books and videos ( I have all of them). Thank you to all who walked through this time with you, may forgiveness be found and healing be abundant. God bless your cotton socks! He’s used you to bless mine..

    Suzanne – Australia

  • Reply

    b

    12 months ago

    Well, you also had a pretty wacky HR department. I applied to work there – with feature film animation experience and an MFA from a major school – but was told I ‘lied’ on my resume. The recruiter never said why he assumed this – no calls were answered. I saw the writing on the wall for Big Idea – bad infrastructure.

    I then got a job at another major studio working on feature animation of higher qualifty.

  • Reply

    Lawrence

    12 months ago

    Phil,

    I just read “the rest of the Veggie Tale Story”. I am shocked, and I am amazed. And I have something to say about it. First, I think you’ll get there…not a Christian Disney, but exactly where God wants you to be. (You may already be there by now.) Secondly. I love Veggie Tales, I was introduced to it when I was 18 (That was quite a while ago.) With the hairbrush song at a singles bible study. We laughed so hard, we cried. Now, my daughter, who is 2.5 years old, watches Bob And Larry EVERY SINGLE DAY!! She knows the theme song, goes around the house singing songs from the DVDs, it’s amazing. And a day without her Veggie Tales is like a day without sunshine. She’s gotta have her fix. The funny thing is, it’s not so much for her about the story line, as it is about the verse at the end of the show. She goes around singing “and so what we have learned…” My 2 and a half year old daughter already knows she doesn’t have to be scared, and many other things that we didn’t teach her yet because of Big Idea and Veggie Tales. You didn’t fail, man, you succeeded. All I have to do is look at my daughter to know that. What man sees as success, is not what God sees, and you know that…What God sees as success is that the ones who are willing to take a step of faith do so, and they may fall on their faces, but, they did it. it’s not about us, anyway, it’s about HIM, and in that you are very Successful. May God Bless you, Lisa, and the Pirates who don’t do anything movie!! Way to go!!

  • Reply

    Rick

    12 months ago

    My wife and I took our kids to see The Pirates That Don’t Do Anything movie and guess what? It’s just another cute animated movie with a watered down positive message. It doesn’t touch at all on THE message it is supposed to as a “VeggieTales” movie. The vision of what VeggieTales is supposed to be was lost long ago. Too bad. Time to support a real Christian product.

  • Reply

    Pam Howard

    11 months ago

    Last night I finished reading “Me, Myself, & Bob.” I had a very sleepless night. It’s unbelievable what you, your wife, Mike and Big Idea’s went through. A bit naive too. Sorry, not trying to judge.

    I’m a mom, grandma and christian. Veggie Tales has been in my life since it’s beginning. My kids and grandkids love it. I do too! I use it in Children’s Church frequently, especially the Silly Songs. I know the Lord has His hand on all of you but I feel a bit sad with the outcome.

    You didn’t say in the book how or where Mike ended up. Hoping you are still friends and that he is still using his God given gifts.

    By the way, I loved the Jonah movie!

    How did your family fare in all of this?

    Praying for you and your family.

    By the way, It would be pretty awesome to have a christian Walt Disney! I feel your dream.

    Pam

  • Reply

    Minko

    11 months ago

    Phil

    It was great having an interview with you last week at the conference. It was great to hear your story as you shared with 3000+ ministry leaders and workers. May God continue to pour out His blessings upon all you do.

    Minko & Mark

  • Reply

    April Carlson

    11 months ago

    Phil (and Lisa, too)…

    I bought your book last week at Willow Creek Dupage (where Bob and I have been attending for the last several months.) It was good to hear you talk and I love the “Jellyfish” concept coming off the “Big Idea” concept. Last week was particularly busy for me (lots of crazy stuff going on in Spring at a big high school for a social worker)…but I could not WAIT to get back to your book which I started last Sunday night. It was just plain wonderful! I can identify with so much of it in terms of a family business that Bob and I tried to ressurect…the confusion, the immense sense of responsibility to those who are most loyal, the appalling fact that not all were (nor had never been) pulling with the same purpose in mind. What I appreciate most is your honesty and the learnings that can be applied so specifically to my life as well. In some ways our sojourn at Willow is a time of respite and leaning back into the Everlasting Arms that we have needed desperately.

    Bob is reading your book now (laughing outloud often!) and today at Willow I purchased three hardcovers for my son and two son-in-laws for Father’s Day. I am also going to recommend it to one of our grandsons who is making movies and has a lovely inventive mind not unlike your own.

    Thank you so much for telling your truth for the benefit of so many, not the least of whom is me! God bless you and Lisa and the kids so very much.

    April

  • Reply

    Joy Norton

    11 months ago

    All things work together for good…for those that are called according for His purpose.

    Dear Phil,

    I just want to say that “Veggie Tales” is in my life everyday. It’s the only thing my one year old will sit still for and watch, it gives me 30 minutes a day to get work done or relax.

    No matter what the movies and videos that you and our team have worked so hard on are out there blessing many many families! May God have all glory for your success and your triumphs!

    ~Joy

  • Reply

    Sarah

    11 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    I found your story amazing. I had no idea what Veggietales went through, but it has always been such an inspiration to me. I love your humour and I love your animation, and i have always said that if I ever became a great animator, I would hope that I could do what you have done with Veggietales.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think you are an incredible man of God and I know that you are going to continue to do big things and reach the world for Christ. I can’t wait to see what happens with Jelly TV! It is going to be amazing!

    I’m praying that God’s favour will bring Bob and Larry back to their father one day.

    You are an inspiration. Thank you!

    Sarah

  • Reply

    dana,brent and jarrett hagelund

    10 months ago

    bob and larry will always have us!

  • Reply

    Phatcat

    10 months ago

    Phil, As I write this, there is staggered giggling coming from my husband in the next room. He is in the first chapters of the book. I giggled first too. Then I cried- probably around the part of the story where you would have cried in real-time. I have loved the Veggies for us and the kids, but truly, your book (which has been read now by my sister in law, two sisters, and a long list of their friends) was exactly what I needed to read this Advent. What an amazing story about being willing to let go of everything but God. I too have had big dreams and the direct sales company that I sell through has lots of training and some of it of course talks about those darn BHAGs. It was good to take a step back and realize that while I can be very successful at what I do, that it isn’t my own vision that I should be seeking. Thank you for letting all of us in so that we could grow from your experiences as well.
    God Bless,
    Cat

  • Reply

    CyranoSmith

    10 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    It’s been a long road for you. I discovered, while reading your book that I’m about ten years older than you. Yet, for all of your troubles (perhaps because of them), you are farther along this journey of being in God’s will than I am. Not ‘Finding God’s will’, or ‘Making my desires substitue for God’ will’ or even ‘Setting a five year goal to be in God’s will…’. The list goes on. But being in God’s will? A challenge of the highest order for those of us who have been told to ‘make something of ourselves.’

    I’m finding that I’ve been missing the boat. I’ve been looking, searching for the way to do the things I ‘need’ to do (I’ll spare you the list), when I’ve needed to let Christ take the wheel, and do the work He puts before me.

    Some time ago I wanted to talk to you, to have you teach me about pictures and drawing and animation, y’know, the good stuff. I read the book and found some of it. Then I found the best of it, and it had nothing to do with art, animation and associated whatnot.

    I suspect it won’t be easy, but a while ago I determined to learn how to walk as a child of the King. Your book came at just the right time to shake me up enough to take the next step in trusting. I’ll be recommending it to friends.

    Thanks, Phil,

    Dana E. “The Madman” Hansen

  • Reply

    Roger

    10 months ago

    Phil,

    Got your book for Christmas. Stayed up all night last nigth reading it cover to cover. Thanks for sharing the story and your strong faith. I once had an Internet company, sold it (twice) to other companies, and then watched them all die. Thanks for your inspirational story!

  • Reply

    Lori E. Mazzola

    10 months ago

    Dear Mr. Phil Vischer,
    I saw on your website at ultimateveggie.com that your company will be moving beyond Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber exploring characters with limbs! There are many characters with limbs in my series Tales of the Tree People! The main characters Mars and Venus learn facts and uses from the trees in a poetic Christian manner. I am currently working on the fifth book. Some characters include…Reverend Redwood, Weeping Wendy, Sister Sequoia and more… Please let me know if you would be interested in using them.
    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Lori E. Mazzola

  • Reply

    Ken Kolter

    10 months ago

    Brother Phil,

    I have a deep desire to remind you that your calling to share Good News that God himself seeks relationship with each of us and that he places tasks in our lives and burdens on our heart has been fulfilled. I can scarcely imagine the rejoicing and the grieving that must have resulted in this turn of events that was Big Idea.

    Further I offer a prayer for you and praise to the Father that he continues to work in, through, and around you, and that you make yourself available to his continuing redemptive work of the whole creation.

    Your story is not singular. One need only turn to our childhood and the story of Moses and David to find other examples of a task that took on personal importance and a servant who was human, with all the potential failings that implies.

    Your stories are captured and the wisdom of their teaching will indeed pass from this generation into the next. Who can say what creative genius you may have inspired along the way, and what families directly or indirectly you have affected in a positive way.

    This is the day that The Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad for the opportunities. Keep him as the lamp unto your feet and light unto your path. And remember when requested to find ways to “speak to the rock”.

    With wishes for continued blessings,

    KK

  • Reply

    Joni Byrd

    10 months ago

    Hi, Phil! I just finished your book, Me, Myself & Bob, today. It is now one of my very favorite books! I am so impressed with your story, the sense of humor you use to tell your story, and most importantly, with the way you let God’s character shine through.
    I am familiar with the lesson you have learned–it’s about revelation, not vision!–but it is rare to see it written about so clearly. I am thankful that you went out on a limb and shared this truth with all you have encountered. It is possible that this message is the more important one, the primary one that you were meant to share. Wouldn’t that be cool, and just like God?! :)
    Take care. Sincerely, Joni B.

  • Reply

    Renae

    9 months ago

    Dear Phil,
    I once was told “what didn’t kill you made you stronger” I beleive that you were following God’s plan. I as an adult and sunday school teacher find your Veggie Tales show helpful and understanding of God stories. I really love the behind the scenes. Not only to match face with voice but to hear interesting tidbits about the movie.

    Keep your head up and your eyes fixed on God and no matter what hole you might fall into God with reach down pick you up and dust you off. Keep up the good work!

    Renae

  • Reply

    Renae Neil

    9 months ago

    No moderation

  • Reply

    Renae

    9 months ago

    Dear Phil,
    I once was told “what didn’t kill you mades you stronger” I beleive that you were following God’s plan. I as an adult and sunday school teacher find your Veggie Tales show helpful and understanding of God stories. I really love the behind the scenes. Not only to match face with voice but to hear interesting tidbits about the movie.

    Keep your head up and your eyes fixed on God and no matter what hole you might fall into God with reach down pick you up and dust you off. Keep up the good work!

    Renae

  • Reply

    Renae

    9 months ago

    I once was told “what doesn’t kill only make you stronger”. I believe that God had a plan for you. If that was then plan God had for you you would not be where you are today. I, as an adult, love to watch Veggie tales. It make the understanding of the Bible simple. I a great tool for Sunday School lessions (especailly 2-3 year-olds). I really enjoy the “behind the scenes”. Not only does it match voices with faces it has all those little tidbits (gossip if that what you want to call it) about the movie.

    To keep it simple and short. Keep your head up and your eyes fixed on God and now matter what hole you might fall into God will reach down pick you up and dust you off. Keep up the good work.

    Renae

  • Reply

    Ron

    9 months ago

    I just finished reading your book, Me, myself and Bob, and all I can say it is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in years. I laughed, I cried, and I even argued with you a time or two. But, in the end, I said “Thank you, Lord, for Phil Vischer”. I continued that prayer by asking Him to continue His work in and thru you.

    Phil, He has given you a gift that is not meant to be kept to yourself. In some ways, He has made you an evangelist and missionary, just like your grandfather. However, your message and mission field is just not what would be considered a traditional one, which is a good thing. This world, and His Kingdom needs people like you. This is what He created you for.

    I pray that you will continue to seek Him and that He will pour out blessings on you as you wait on Him and He directs your path. I look forward to seeing what new and wonderful things He will do thru you. Maybe in another 40 or so years, you’ll write another book, detailing those wonderful things He did.

    Blessings to you, your family, and your ministry,

    Ron

  • Reply

    mj

    9 months ago

    I just finished your book–EXCELLENT. I’d never seen Veggie Tales before last week, when I decided to watch an episode on TV to see what it was all about. I think you’re going to help a lot of people from your failure, so congratulations and good luck with your new projects.

  • Reply

    Ken B

    9 months ago

    Phil:

    I was in Barnes and Noble last week, and asked for guidance on a book to read. I turned the corner and my eye caught a strange book named “Me, Myself and Bob.” I was immediately interested in the story, but resisted the idea of reading a Christian book. I am a Christian, but turned off by the self righteous and critical nature of so many “Christian” writers. Anyway, decided to yield to the guidance I had asked for and bought your book. I was so engrossed I finished it in a day.

    God spoke to me through your words. I am sure you are reaching so many people due to your willingness to be open about both your failures and successes. There are so many of us who are battered by life, but still standing. We are looking for answers and seeking direction. We also carry pain and guilt from our shortcomings and the impact on others in our lives.

    Thank you, Phil, for allowing God to use you. Your humility and honesty will be a blessing far beyond what you have imagined.

    Sincerely,

    Ken

  • Reply

    Mark Dudley

    9 months ago

    Phil,

    I just wanted to let you know that your book will be required reading for my boys when they reach the point of deciding what they want they want to be “now that they’re grown up”. Thank you for showing me that the pursuit of God in my daily life is what is most important. I pray that my boys will see what I saw in your words.

    Mark

  • Reply

    eccassarro

    9 months ago

    Hi Phil. I just finished reading your book and I cannot begin to express how I feel. I am glad and thankful that you had the courage to share your experience and to let God work in your life. At the same time, I am so sad to know that everything you’d dreamed about was taken from you. How hard it is to let God control our lives when we feel in our hearts that our dream is to serve Him. My own marriage came to an end when my partner would not take an ‘no’ from God. He is still pursuing ‘his dream’; now living a life that does not please his God. As I read your story, so many of your experiences remind me of my own. My son and I are big fans of your masterpiece and as he finished watching an episode tonight, I could not help but feel sad to know that all of that was taken from you. May God continue to bless you and your family in your pursuits. I am inspired by your faith. I pray that, one day, I may surrender my life to God as you did.

  • Reply

    Jack Flinsbaugh

    9 months ago

    Phil,

    Thank you for making the effort to replay this painful history. I’m sorry that some of the response has been chiding – kind of indicative of never having had such a responsibility else they’d be the last to offer such a critique. But when it’s inferred that you left God’s direction, it’s hard to not get angry.

    LET ME SHARE THE BIG IDEA IMPACT ON OUR LIFE:

    My 4 y/o Joshua sits on my lap as we watch the “Where’s God…”, “Dave and the Giant Pickle”, etc. as I did with my others (David, Mary, Caleb 16,14,12) when they were 3-10y/o (97-’03). I get to explain to him about faith, God’s love, TV monsters are just actors paid to scare, God’s protection, etc., etc.

    We played VeggieTales on special nights at our church for the 125+ AWANA children’s program. You made something precious which has blessed so many lives with something far more than an entertainment alternative. You spread God’s Word and Truth in a captivating, beautiful series.

    How many parent/child discussions followed the millions of viewings that clarified and expounded the points of the videos? From gossip, greed/contentedness, forgiveness, bullying, not feeling special, fear, etc. Words cannot do justice.

    Thank you, Phil Vischer, and all of those who were a part of this beautiful thing we came to know as Big Idea. You’ve made a lasting change in the lives of millions. Your efforts to grow it were an obvious attempt to bring this Light to all children and it met with the inevitable resistance of the secular media and was resisted as the salt it is. God can uphold what He will – and He did for you to have done the amazing and huge thing you did. He also can leave the veil where He will. Who is to say that it would have/could have been different?

    A grateful parent and admirer (& former missionary in the Great Commission),

    Jack Flinsbaugh
    jack

    further to tried no doubt against the resistance of the world to

  • Reply

    Daniel Hawkins

    9 months ago

    Dear Phil,

    I read your book Me, Myself, and Bob and thought that it was amazing and what I got out of it was God will give you a dream and make it happen but it’s up to you to use it to glorify Him and to not be so pridefull. There is so much secular media today and my theory is if the media isin’t used for God then He will crush them. I know Big Idea wasn’t used for secular media but God shut it down anyway yet we still need to worship Him.

    I remember sitting in the theature for the Jonah movie when I was younger and I loved it! I also don’t belive 3-2-1 Penguins was a fail, I loved (still do) that video series. I also loved The Cartoon Adventures of Larryboy. I remember my sister and I singing the songs from Veggietales and owning all kinds of stuff from the seiries: VHS movies, DVDs, pencils, clothes, a big Bob eraser (still have it), a talking Larry plush toy, books, cassette tapes, a Silly Songs with Larry CD, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember right now. I remember going to a Veggietales themed VBS a long time ago. As you can see, I was pretty much raised on Veggietales. I remember learning about Jonah in Sunda school and the teacher asked “What is in Nineva?” and I said “Mr. Twisty’s Cheese Curl factory!”

    In closing (wow that sounded official I think I’ll end all my letters that way now) I just wanted to say that I’m praying for you and Big Idea that youguys are very sucsessful and to have a great time doing what you do. Bye!

    Sincerally,

    a 13 year old kid who lives in the middle of no where named Daniel

  • Reply

    smartmeg

    9 months ago

    Hi,
    I’m Megan and I’m 13. I have four little brothers and we all love Veggie Tales! When I need inspiration I watch a VT video. My mom told me to read Me, Myself and Bob. It’s one of my favorite books now. I once read it at night when I was supposed to be asleep, and I started laughing so hard I woke my parents up!
    Now I’m doing a book report on it. He really inspired me!
    Signed (well, not exactly),
    Megan the Potato from Kentucky

  • Reply

    Konnie W

    9 months ago

    ‘If you like to talk to tomatoes,If a squash can make you smile.If you like to waltz with potatoes up and down the produce isle.:-)dont we have a show for you!!’
    Hi phil..my whole family still loves the veggies..all the way in Nairobi, Kenya.My son Especially loves Bob..
    God has a show for you and the best is yet to come.

    blessings..

  • Reply

    The Waterman

    9 months ago

    Your message on Focus on the Family came at a good time for us. We are waiting to see what God has in store and it is very stressful.

  • Reply

    Tuesdae

    9 months ago

    Phil,

    I just heard your story on Focus on the Family. I have loved VT since my oldest daughter was a little girl, and she is 20 years old now. I am sorry for what you had to go through, but I rejoice that you were able to hear the voice of God and resist the temptation of the flesh. I have never had a dream of this magnitude die, but I have lost things and people that I loved to circumstances that were not my fault, so on a small scale, I can relate to your pain. Praise God for what He bore through you. Generations of children will be blessed by the theologically correct VT movies. We have a whole rack of them, and my favorite is Rack, Shack, and Benny!
    I am praying for JellyTelly to be a success! My three youngest saw it on the internet yesterday.

    Prayerfully yours,
    Tuesdae Morgan Dean

  • Reply

    cecesjoy

    8 months ago

    Just a comment: I heard the message you presented at Founder’s Week 2009 which aired on Today In The Word (Moody Radio) on Jan 7-8, 2010. Any way, I just wanted to let you know how very blessed I was by “your story.” It seems that while God used you as a sacrificial lamb, he simultaneously birth new life in you and prayerfully in the lives of the many thousands of people who heard it. For me, it unearthed the spiritual depths of my misguided soul – forcing me to consider my motives and my masters. Although a painful realization, I am grateful for the awakening. What especially stuck with me was the story of the widow and her son. When you recalled how Elijah stretched himself over the widow’s dead son, limb-to- limb and nose-to-nose (I Kings 17:21-23), it so arrested my spirit. I had read that story several times but the way you said it compelled me to go back and read it again. Then, the Lord led me to Romans 8:9-11 and he reminded me that my body is dead when I am in Christ but God has given Life, or rather has breathed Life into our dead bodies, limb-to-limb and nose-to-nose, through Christ who now lives and dwells in those of us who are no longer controlled by our sinful nature. What an amazing revelation! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing a piece of your life’s journey. I know it hasn’t been easy but I’m sure that in hindsight it has certainly been worth it…to the glory and honor of God. I know that it has changed me and I plan to share your story with my family and friends.

  • Reply

    Sara

    8 months ago

    My brother is an animator, a creative dreamer and a fun guy, very much like you Mr. Vischer, I think. He is trying hard to make something of these gifts down in Quito-Ecuador where he lives. Your life, example, story and honesty are an inspiration to people like us who struggle in the “real” world. Thoughout everything you have touch more than one generation with the simple and amazing truths of the Gospel. Your work is not in vane. In the end the most important thing is to keep trusting and keep walking because God gave us our gifts for His Glory and for this same reason He made us so very special and loves us very much. This we learned from a very wise Tomato.
    Sara

  • Reply

    Ash

    8 months ago

    I love all the videos at my treehouse but “Lord of the Beans”, and “Wizard of Ha’s”, I left “Lord of the Beans” in the attic, and the “Wizard Of Ha’s” in the kitchen.

  • Reply

    Bill

    8 months ago

    I enjoyed “Lyle” a lot.

  • Reply

    Jeff

    8 months ago

    Phil,

    I was delighted with a wonderful evening tonight that brought back fond memories of my daughters growing up with Veggie Tales. My daughter took the laptop into the kitchen to play ‘her’ music while doing dishes; she keeps a web-based music playlist.

    During a string of her favorites, along comes Larry singing the Hairbrush song. This sparked a series of requests by the family in the living room for other Silly Songs that we love. I must admit that we spent the next hour hearing Silly Song clips and watching some videos that have made their way to YouTube.

    I sat on the couch fondly remembering my children in their younger years and treasuring the present moment.

    As my children have gotten older, we haven’t kept up with the Veggie Tales as much, so I started reading postings on the Internet to see what is up with the company. That’s how I stumbled onto this web page.

    It’s interesting reading your article and seeing the BHAG you set for your company. I remember when my company set a BHAG to grow to the size of 1000 employees by the year 2010. It was an eight year goal for a company of about 300 people.

    That vision gave us all strong vision for the first couple of years, but as time went on managment found that the goal wasn’t compatible with some of their strong convictions and values. They wanted to be responsible – building a company that would last, and also wanted to maintain the culture and values that had brought them to where they were.

    I was pretty disappointed at the time. It seemed that management was forsaking the goal, and we had worked so hard to help the company achieve it.

    In hindsight – I think it was nobel of the company to redirect it’s attention and hold on to ideas that were important to it – some of those core values where still being learned.

    Whatever misfortunes have come your way, I hope that you know the strong positive impact that Veggie Tales has had on my family. I am grateful that we were introduced to those talking vegitables who did skits on the kitchen sink.

    I wish you much success in the years to come.

    Jeff

  • Reply

    Jonathan

    7 months ago

    see http://tinyurl.com/2eknflp for an interesting article around the time Jonah came out. I was reading between the lines- !

  • Reply

    jane

    7 months ago

    Phil,
    I loved the book. My husband and I bought your book after our pastor used a quote from your book to illustrate what happens when God is not the center of your life and how God can restore you when He is.
    My favorite part of the book was the lessons that God taught you. They are universal truths and very simple to understand.

  • Reply

    Jami

    7 months ago

    Phil,
    I’m sorry you had to go through this. As a parent, I really liked Veggie Tales (and may have watched it even when the kids weren’t in the room). My favorite was A Snoodle’s Tale. I think you did a wonderful job, making those films, and I don’t think they will ever be forgotten.

  • Reply

    Barbara

    7 months ago

    Mr Vischer, I’m currently copying my Veggie Tales from VCR to DVD, and in the process I’m again enjoying the talent and comedy you helped create. I’ve seen these videos so many times and yet they still make me laugh. (by the way my son was a teenager when he first asked for these videos) They were really wonderful works of art. The professor making the helicopter out of coconuts- Larry Boy and Alfred- all of them, they were just great. The sense of humor is really unique. My daughter told me your company was “taken over”, so I was researching to find out the truth and that’s how I found this site. I’m sorry that the company is no longer what it was. I just wanted to thank you for what you did make. I pray that God will bless you and lead you.

  • Reply

    John Richardson

    7 months ago

    I hope you’ll forgive me for interjecting this, Barbara. I like the fact that you’re affirning Phil’s earlier work. (It was brilliant, I agree.) But as an artist, I can’t help notice that you’re making illegal copies of his videos, all of which are available for sale on DVD. That’s part of how he makes a living. People who see value in his creations pay money for copies of them. He takes care of his family that way. I know it’s “accidental” stealing in your case, but it is stealing his livelihood from him.

    As you can afford it, please go but new DVDs instead of pirating low quality copies. Help fund Phil’s new brilliant works… and maybe his kids’ college tuitions.

  • Reply

    Chris Johnson

    7 months ago

    firstly:
    @John Richardson, don’t be lame dude, she already owned those videos but just converted them. Barb already OWNED them…
    *clears throat*
    I am a digital animator and an artist working in a studio near where Big Idea is currently located. I was not raised as an Evangelical Christian, but my parents decided to start going to an Evangelical Church when I was a pre-teen.
    When I first went to one of the Bible studies for youth, Veggie Tales was all the rave. Veggie Tales was what the cooler Christian kids knew about, those really in the “circle” , the ones destined to be future “leaders”, the ones REAL tight with “JC”. Everyone of them knew every song, and I was somewhat out of the loop apparently.
    -It was as if I had stumbled upon some entirely different sub-culture (& I had) of Christian Products & merchandising, including music, film, animation, and every media form..
    Here was the world where I learned names like DC Talk & various other marketed, packaged, & sold christian stuff.
    Over 10 years later I remember it all & try to forget. It all seemed completely shallow and air headed, completely sensational with no depth of characters or story. Veggie Tales was marketed remarkably, aimed at scared crapless conservative angst ridden parents terrified of loosing their children to the ghost of this age. (Wickedness like MTV & so on..) This is a similar mindset of how parents reacted after the Columbine shootings. A large consensus view was “this is South Park’s fault!, or violent games!)..
    It seems that all too often parents point the finger at media, when in fact it is their own lack of good parenting, & sometimes truly just having psychologically or intellectually damaged & unstable children. Or just have children stupid enough & not presented with enough options from their parents or piers, relying on a weak outlet like 1990′s MTV to stimulate them. It would also not surprise me if Big Idea saw a rise in sales months following that horrid shooting in Colorado. ..That was a rant..

    Though it hinted heavily on Biblical Judeo-Christian values, I have to say that a deterrer for me seriously considering the Christian faith was how Christianity in the west tends to be just as marketable as “secular” films & so on.. Kind of similar to a Mac Donald’s, or ESPN entertainment, Americans are apparently so f-ing stupid that we need some bright animation or visual stimulus to keep us interested and amused (perhaps distracted) for something to seem “Relevant”.

    But I respect you in how you sold your “Big Idea”. You took advantage of middle class ignorant religious right wing America & they treated you & your product as King. Many of those same people who are the most conservative give you a hard time on here about that.. Calling you a sell out more or less..

    Phil, you are a brilliant businessman, but it would have perhaps been more profitable for you if you had been equally brilliant selling something that (may or may not) have some effects on where you spend time in the after life (haha joking).. The Bible thumping soccer mommies & daddies were ticked at you when you broke your promise to them.. Yes, it was a promise, when you made all of the Veggie Tales films. A promise to only sell them their worldview, their values, their identity. They are white, middle class, very religious, Christian, & have plenty of money in their back pockets that is burning for the next big “Christian Product”. It’s just Like Pokemon or Furby, with the Holy Spirit, God the father, & Jesus Christ’s holy stamp of approval.

    I am a humanist & I do not believe in Christ. I think that if your fans were born in Islamabad and Islam somehow became as worldwide and stagnant as Christianity, they might perhaps have some similar show (but maybe Larry would be a pomegranate named Mahmud or something)..
    If you want to start making money again, make a show like veggie tales but market it for the Adult Swim audience perhaps. Maybe you could find a way to tell funny honest stories about society, responsibility, & not use religion or the Christian Christ as a vehicle to personal gain & success.. Or geez, even go viral or social man, that’s the way to go today.. You are marketing to a demographic that hides in cheapness, cheap faith with a price on it with little to no sacrifice involved…

    Companies & faith usually don’t work out too well, just look at the Catholic church lol.. Misplaced motives proceed corruption. (for you Christians “pride goeth before a great fall”)

    P.s. They know this deep inside, & still love you for it :)
    Kudos to you, Phil
    Chris J.

  • Reply

    Josh Koch

    7 months ago

    Phil, I just called the bookstore after hearing you on Focus on the Family this morning, and they had a copy and are holding it for me. Your testimony and life story are very compelling, and your ‘success’ with Veggie Tales as well as later destruction of your dream, are both obviously being used by God in major ways in people’s lives (with perhaps the exception of a few cynical posters here and there). I believe God has even ‘bigger’ plans for you as you learn to do God’s work God’s way. If you read the life story of Walt Disney you will see that he failed numerous times, went through long periods where nobody but he saw the ‘dream’, and kept coming back, and didn’t give up.

    Learn what God wants to teach you, but don’t give up, and don’t stop dreaming big dreams, I just know God has a great plan for you. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply

    Josh Koch

    7 months ago

    Man, I just finished your book and I have a much better understanding of the whole situation, and the influence Disney had on your vision. I still believe God has some more cool things in store for you, and I’ll be anxious to see what he does with the ‘new’ Phil.

  • Reply

    Michelle Glover

    7 months ago

    Phil,
    I have just recently discovered Jelly Telly through a friend from church and my kids enjoy it. I am very sorry to learn of what happened to Big Idea productions. My family really enjoyed watching the wonderful stories with great messages. I especially loved being able to show my young children the videos and they could understand the message and the fun characters made it an educational and fun time for all:)
    God Bless,
    Michelle

  • Reply

    Carl Douglas

    7 months ago

    @Chris j.

    You are a sad person.

  • Reply

    John Richardson

    7 months ago

    Carl Douglas-
    Just a reminder: plenty of people say that about christians, too. Heh. It ends up just sounding like a condescending insult, to me. What good does that do? Why not actually address what’s been said?

    Chris Johnson-
    I guess it’s natural for a thinking person in a youth group to be suspicious of what the shallower members are into. My own youth group was pretty full of bluster sometimes, and not all of it really reflected much of Jesus’ teachings. Teens can be pretty shallow. (Me, too plenty of times.) Veggie Tales, it turns out, *does* have a good bit to do with Jesus’ teachings. If you were made to feel like you were on the outside, that’s not good. That wasn’t fair. I just don’t see that as a good reason to assume that a philosophy is bankrupt, you know?

    And as for the popularity of Veggie Tales: plenty of us just really think it’s funny, and also like it because yes, it reflects what we believe about the world. Are you gullible for liking things that have a message you totally agree with? Are you being “tricked” if you love a movie that faithfully portrays your humanist worldview?

    Also, I notice that you’re talking as if Phil doesn’t know that pride comes before a fall, or that his motives might not have been pure at every moment. Actually, he’s critiqued himself pretty honestly – and unflatteringly – on that topic in his own writings and in interviews. Some of those can be found on this site. (… I think. Now let me see…)

    Lots of people, young and old, name Christianity as their religion. If some of us misuse that name, it doesn’t seem rational – to me- to reject the philosphy that they’re hypocritically ignoring.

    And, oh yeah: Who you callin’ lame? Actually, I guess maybe that was an over-reaction with the DVD dub thing. I’m just an unknown artist who knows too much about copyright law and intellectual property. My wife would agree with you, I think.
    Sorry for being legalistic, to you and to Barbara.

  • Reply

    John Richardson

    7 months ago

    Just to clarify: You could probably guess this, but when I was talking about those who misuse the name “christian”, I didn’t mean Phil. (Heh.) I was talking about whatever church people you seem to have had such negative experiences with.

    Hear that, Phil? No need to swoop in and “moderate” me, heh. (Oh, wait… he doesn’t really seem to squash all opposition like that that, does he?)

  • Reply

    Mavian

    7 months ago

    Wow, John, wow. After hearing a million and one online arguements where people just scream at each other and call each other names, finally hearing a firm, polite, evenhanded statement of somebody’s opinion was a breath of fresh air! Awesome. : )

  • Reply

    Josh

    7 months ago

    LOL, what a great response to Carl Douglas’s ‘sad’ comment!

  • Reply

    John Richardson

    7 months ago

    Oh, well, thanks, Mavian. Actually, I’ve seen lots of civil-and-evenhanded conversations on this site.
    And I wasn’t trying to silence Carl or anything, Josh. I just don’t think we realize how we sound sometimes.

  • Reply

    singingkate

    6 months ago

    Mr. Vischer, I just finished reading your book “Me, Myself, and Bob”. It’s times like this I wish God had given me the gift of expressing my thoughts in words so I could convey to you how empowering the message of your book made in my spirit.

    Like you, my husband and I too had a dream; granted it wasn’t to have such a fabulously creative and inspiring idea such as yours but none the less, a dream. We are now at the point you were at immediately following the bankruptcy proceedings of Big Idea…our dream has died and we literally have nothing except each other, our children, and above all else, GOD.

    I don’t know why but I was compelled to write to you and let you know I was touched and encouraged by your raw honesty throughout the book. I’m sure you hear it all the time and the words are so small but please know they are sincere: Thank you! Thank you for allowing God to break you and then use you again.

    I close with a song that I sang in church as a child…I believe this is what God has and is doing through you!

    God Bless,
    Kathleen

    “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me;
    Break me,
    Melt me,
    Mold me,
    Fill me.
    Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.”

  • Reply

    edfishing

    5 months ago

    You have created a permanent impression on me and my two daughters, who are now 11 and 8. We just today sang some of the silly songs from memory and dusted of the VHS tapes to replay them. I found your story of Big Idea online today and will share it with my wife. I just want to say THANKS so much for the great work.

  • Reply

    shanydan

    3 months ago

    Dr. Mr. Vischer,

    I don’t know if you’ll ever read this or not, but I originally read this story in a Christian publication a few months ago and it touched me very deeply. I was so saddened by the sense of loss conveyed in the retelling of the facts. I didn’t know any of this had even happened, and I usually am up on things like this! I cannot imagine pouring my heart and soul into something and having it affect so many as you did and then having it taken away, it would be like the loss of a child.

    I just wanted to tell you how much your creations have touched our lives. Unfortunately, in order to do that, I have to paint a rather bleak picture, but bear with me, it has a happy ending! I suffered pretty horribly with postpartum depression with both of my children. I was in and out of the hospital three times, and they never could tell me exactly why, except that I had a hormone imbalance that prevented my hormones from rebounding after delivery. After the birth of my second son, they told me not to have any more children, which was hard, because we really wanted three.

    I was scared to death something terrible would happen to my children, so I became hyper-vigilant and overprotective of them. At times, I would be paralyzed with overwhelming thoughts of not being able to take care of them. I lived a nightmare for a year with my first child and two and a half years with my second. The medications that are available are hit and miss, mostly miss with me, so to say I was living in purgatory would be an understatement. I tell you this to let you know that there were times in all this that the only reason I know God was there was because He said He would be, and I choose to believe Him. I would sometimes scream out to Him to help me, but it was as if the windows of Heaven were closed and locked and boarded up to me. I also tell you this because I want you to know how profoundly your creations touched our lives. You see, in the midst of all of this, I went to see the movie Jonah in the theater with my first son and some friends from church. Well, when it got to the part of the movie where he was in the belly of the whale and they sing the song “Second Chances” I actually, for the first time in a long time, felt joy bubble up in me. As soon as we could buy the movie, we got it, and my child, and later both of them (when I went through the postpartum again) and even my husband, would dance to that song (as only REALLY white people can) and sing along. I would praise the Lord for even just a few minutes of joy in the midst of the blackness. Sometimes we would play that song two or three times in a row!

    I know you probably get thousands of letters like this, but I just want to thank you for Jonah, Bob and Larry, and all the other movies, from a Mom and her kids and Husband who didn’t have much joy at that time. I am two years out from the postpartum and, in the immortal words of John Cleese, “I got better.” I don’t know why I had to go through what I did, but I reach out to others who suffer, because I truly believe the only time we suffer needlessly is when we suffer silently. As strange as it is to say, it is good that you are sharing your story, to let others know how to handle loss and pain and come through it with a renewed sense of who God is. I too learned many things about who God was in the midst of this suffering. In America, we are so indoctrinated to believe we don’t deserve to suffer, and that is just not true. We deserve so much worse. It is through the precious blood of Christ, and only through that blood that we don’t suffer endlessly! I am so thankful God has revealed to me what it truly means to BE thankful. “Counting it all joy…” means so much more when you have actually fallen into trials. Once again, Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the laughs, all the joy, and all the “Second Chances.”

  • Reply

    ReggieRice

    3 months ago

    Phil,
    I just read all 10 posts in one setting and just want to say thank you for your transparency and honesty. As a church planter whose church ultimately failed, reading your story was a healing experience for my heart. I admire your integrity and impact you’ve had on the Christian community. As a 30 year old, Veggie Tales were a major part of my growing up and I have loved introducing them to my kids.

    Today, I am the Children’s teaching pastor at a large church in AZ. I want to let you know that your humor, engagement, and most of all Love for Telling God’s Story have played a major role in my writing for the kids I am entrusted to teach today. Thank You for all you have done for the Kingdom. I just ordered a copy of your book, and I am looking forward to gleaning more insights into your journey. Thank you again for everything!

    Reggie

  • Reply

    kweinhold

    3 months ago

    I do not understand why people are upset with Phil Vischer. It is as if they were following him instead of God and had a wakeup call. Hopefully those who did will realize we are all imperfect and only God can meet our needs.

  • Reply

    moido

    2 months ago

    I was in awe of how he could afford such a piece of land.

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