Thirty-year-old Phil Vischer started his animation career as a nine-year-old in Muscatine, Iowa, filming his toy Batmobile moving across the family's basement floor. Today, his projects as president of Big Idea Productions are a bit more complex—it took two dozen full-time employees five months to complete their latest video, Larry-Boy and the Fib from Outer Space.
Riding high on the charts and fresh off the sale of its one-millionth Veggie Tales videotape, Big Idea Productions has become a very big player in the Christian video market.
Since 1993, Vischer and his cohorts at the Chicago-based company have created eight full-length computer-animated children's videos, featuring such characters as Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, Junior Asparagus, and assorted grapes, gourds, and carrots.
Big Idea has captured the top six spots on the latest Christian Booksellers Association sales list, representing almost 50 percent of all Christian video sales.
"The mission is to improve people's lives by spreading God's truth and do it through media that technically or creatively meet or exceed the best Hollywood is creating," Vischer says.
The videos appeal to both children and adults because of the entertaining way God's truths are told.
"They've really upped the bar in the quality consumers expect out of an animated children's video in the Christian market," says Jeremy Lees, assistant editor at CBA Marketplace, a trade publication based in Colorado Springs. "They give incentive to other suppliers to raise their standards."1
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