05/2004 – Big Idea, Phil Vischer, and Mike Nawrocki


PGF Honors Big Idea, Phil Vischer, Founder, and Mike Nawrocki, writer, producer and voice actor.

You may have never heard of Big Idea but you probably heard of VeggieTales. If you have not, we encourage you to learn about these wonderful movies, videos, books, and other products that focus on what is the best in each of us. VeggieTales is a children’s’ video series that teaches values like honesty, kindness, and forgiveness in a delightfully wacky way! Hosted by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, each video in the series teaches a life lesson — without ever being preachy. In a world full of kids shows that teach your kids to be better toy buyers or kick boxers, VeggieTales is a show that helps teach your kids to be better kids. We would add that the message is not lost on adults.

We honor Mr. Vischer as the visionary behind the idea of a corporation that puts values, family, and children first. Big Ideas’ company values and mission counteract the “profit before anything” philosophy and focuses on the responsible use of media and the positive impact it has on families and societal values. We honor Mr. Nawrocki for the artistic talent that has brought VeggieTales to life from the very beginning.

The message of Big Idea and VeggieTales is the message PGF consistently espouses – values founded upon mutual respect, human dignity, and our call to grow as a people.

You can visit the Big Idea website for more information.

About Big Idea:

Big Idea was founded in a spare bedroom by computer animator and storyteller Phil Vischer in July of 1993. With one computer, little capital and no connections, Phil set out with the goal of creating values-based family media products.

Working with two young art school grads and friends volunteering on weekends, Phil completed the first half-hour episode of VeggieTales, Where’s God When I’m S-Scared? before Christmas, 1993. It was the nation’s first entirely computer animated video.
After selling 130,000 videos through 1995, word-of-mouth began to kick in. By the end of 1996, 750,000 videos had been sold. With friends telling friends about the video series, “Veggie-mania” really exploded! Big Idea shipped its one millionth VeggieTales video in March of ’97, then passed the 2 million mark in November of that year and the 3 million mark in March of ’98, making VeggieTales one of the most popular children’s video series in the world. By the year 2001, the company had sold more than 20 million videos.

Following its success at Christian retail stores, the first two VeggieTales titles were released to mass market stores like Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart on March 31, 1998 … and all other titles have followed in the months since then! No matter where you shop, Big Idea continues to teach kids valuable lessons.

About Phil Vischer, Founder

Phil Vischer

As Chief Executive Officer, Phil Vischer oversees the entire Big Idea team. As Chief Creative Officer, Phil writes many of the VeggieTales stories and songs, and voices more than a dozen characters, including Bob the Tomato. Phil’s wife, Lisa, is the voice of Junior Asparagus and serves as a creative consultant for the VeggieTales series. Phil and Lisa live in the western suburbs of Chicago with their three children.

Phil first started developing ideas for a new kid’s show as a computer animator back in 1991. He had little money, zero connections and only one computer. But he knew that he wanted to create media that would be part of the solution, not part of the problem; films that would help kids to be more thankful and kind, not more sarcastic and disrespectful; films that would make a parent’s job easier, not harder.

Working out of a spare bedroom, Phil started out with some money he borrowed from friends and family and a big idea. Given his limited resources, Phil decided the characters for his show had to be extremely simple: no arms, no legs, no hair and no clothes. And what exactly did Phil want to accomplish with these bald, limbless vegetables? This question is best answered in the Big Idea mission: “To markedly enhance the moral and spiritual fabric of our society through creative media.” From the start, Big Idea has done this by making the values and the lessons of the Bible relevant and accessible to our culture.

In December of 1993, Phil’s three-person team completed Where’s God When I’m S-Scared?, the first episode of America’s first 3D computer-animated video series. Attracted by Big Idea’s mission and commitment to creative excellence, artists from major studios like Disney and Dreamworks have moved to Chicago to join Phil. A visit to Big Idea’s studio today finds more than 200 people working on a broad mix of creative projects, ranging from direct-to-video films to Big Idea’s first theatrical feature film to books, music and a live touring stage production.

About Mike Nawrocki

Mike Nawrocki

Mike Nawrocki has been involved with Big Idea Productions from the beginning, working on the first VeggieTales® episode, Where’s God When I’m S-Scared. Since then he has created, written and directed all but one of the extremely popular “Silly Songs with Larry” VeggieTales segments. His directorial credits include several VeggieTales episodes, including Madame Blueberry, King George and the Ducky and Esther … The Girl Who Became Queen.

Mike is the voice of many of the VeggieTales characters including the silly yet lovable Larry the Cucumber and his superhero alter-ego, Larry-Boy. He also contributes to the writing and development of the 3-2-1 Penguins!(TM) series.

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