Phil Vischer

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Phillip Roger Vischer (born June 16, 1966) is an American animator, puppeteer, writer, voice actor, songwriter, and the founder of Big Idea Productions, the company best known for bringing computer-animated vegetables to life in the popular VeggieTales series, alongside Mike Nawrocki. His new company, Jellyfish Labs, develops faith-based creative media for kids and families.


  • An odd outlook on life is the beginning of good comedic writing.
  • We're all broken. We're all messed up pigs. When we can accept that, we're ready to become the new creations God intended us to be. And that's when the fun starts!
    • From the postlogue, About This Book, in Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs (2006) published by Tommy Nelson in association with Jellyfish Labs. ISBN 1-4003-0834-8
  • The messages our kids receive from teachers, coaches--and even, with the best intentions, from us — can push them toward pride or despair...toward self-righteousness or self-hatred.
    • From the postlogue, "Using This Book with Kids", in Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs (2006) published by Tommy Nelson in association with Jellyfish Labs. ISBN 1-4003-0834-8
  • The most important thing is not the work I can do for God. The most important thing is to make God the most important thing.
    • Keynote speech at Christian Management Association conference in Denver, Colorado (March 2006)

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie DVD (2002)

This 2-disc collector's edition includes commentary by Vischer, interviews with Vischer, and a tour of the animation studio led by Vischer.
  • When we retell a Bible story at Big Idea we will go through the Bible story very carefully. We'll figure out the key plot points, they key themes and we'll set those aside as, you know, sacred, cannot be messed with. And then, we'll mess with everything else. We'll just have lots and lots of goofy fun with everything else to make the story fresh even to grown-ups.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Jonah and the Bible (00:00:00-00:00:21)
  • It is pretty clear in the Bible story that the whale swallowing Jonah wasn't meant as a punishment from God, it was God saving him from drowning. So it was actually provision to give him a second chance. The whale itself was the start of Jonah's second chance.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Jonah and the Bible (00:02:59-00:03:18)
  • The ending of the film seems so bizarre. It is actually probably the most literal retelling of the story of Jonah from the Bible that you've ever bumped into.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Jonah and the Bible (00:05:17-00:05:28)
  • I'll very often just start humming my way through a scene. Say, OK the tempo should be about like this, it should pause here, it should pick up here. And very often I'll make up a little melody just to do that. About half of the little melodies in the score for Jonah are those little melodies that I made up just to use to kind of pace a scene and then we got kind of attached to them.
    • From Disc Two; The Music: The Score (00:00:17-00:00:38)
  • This is where we store our bicycles. A lot of people ride their bikes to work here. And, of course, there has to be a robot to protect them and make sure they don't get stolen like R2D2 in episode two where he did a very bad job in protecting Princess Amidala from those worm things. But this robot is significantly more effective as a theft-deterrent system than R2D2 was in that film. That's why the bikes are here.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Big Idea Tour (00:02:28-00:02:50)
  • As you can see, we're about to visit our lower level which is--for the most part--full of "Mens" and "Infants".
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Big Idea Tour (00:03:18-00:03:25)
    • Big Idea had taken over a former Wolworth's building in a mall in Lombard, IL. Apparently some of the department store signs were still in place.
  • That's right! You're watching the DVD! So, the coolness of what the bowing man is doing is self-evident to you!
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Big Idea Tour (00:05:58-00:06:06)
  • Say you've been to MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) Disney Studios in Orlando, you'll know that there's an animation studio where you actually walk out of the back door of the animation studio and you're in a theme park. Now you say, hey, that's pretty cool. Could any animation studio have a sort of situation like that that is any cooler? And you think not. Well, you're wrong, I'd say, because here at Big Idea when we walk out our back door, We have the Timework button, we push the button, we open the door[...] and, we're in a mall. Disney has nothing on this. You can be animating one moment, buying candy by the pound the next, or taking a ride on a little train, or going to the food court.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Big Idea Tour (00:08:57-00:09:36)
  • And for two years, we had this sign up saying we will finish this movie and we changed it to 'did' finish the movie.
    • From Disc Two; Behind the Scenes: Big Idea Tour (00:10:59-00:11:37)
  • Thanks for coming! And, I have to make another movie, now.

The Philosophical Implications of Talking Vegetables (2005)

Speech at Yale University (2 March 2005)
  • VeggieTales is something that, on paper, makes no sense at all. It is a series of children’s videos where limbless, talking vegetables act out Bible stories. Try raising money with that pitch.
    • p. 1
  • Telling the complete story of VeggieTales would require much more time than we have before us tonight. Since this is Yale, I decided to craft a shorter version of the story, using very large words. Remembering though that I was kicked out of Bible College before I’d had a chance to learn many very large words, I concluded that my only remaining option was to tell the story simply, using simple words, and chance the consequences.
    • p. 1
  • In truth, I sat down in 1992 to make a kids’ show that I would want to watch with my kids. That would work for me. That would have sincerity in it, but not too much. That would mix what I loved about Monty Python and David Letterman with what I hungered for from Thomas Aquinas and Mother Theresa.
    • p. 10

Me, Myself, & Bob (2006)

Subtitled A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables by Phil Vischer, published by Nelson Books, ISBN 0-7852-2207-3
  • Fairly early in life, I noticed my brain was weird. By that I mean that I noticed it had a way of looking at normal things from a slightly twisted angle--just twisted enough that it often made me chuckle.
    • p. 9-10
  • I never swore as a kid. Honestly. Never. I never smoked a cigarette and I never tasted alcohol until I got to Bible College.
    • p. 11
  • Why does God want us to let go of our dreams? Because anything you are unwilling to let go of is an idol, and you are in sin.
    • p. 236
  • I am growing increasingly convinced that if every one of these kids burning with passion to write that hit Christian song or make that hit Christian movie or start that hit Christian ministry to change the world would instead focus their passion on walking with God on a daily basis, the world would change.
    • p. 243
  • The impact God has planned for us doesn't occur when we're pursuing impact. It occurs when we're pursuing God.
    • p. 251

Quotes about Vischer

  • Have you ever been tempted to start your own business- First read this cautionary tale, especially if you think your ideas come from God.
    • Publisher's Weekly review of Me, Myself, & Bob, 2006-10-09
  • I expected Vischer’s story to be interesting, but I wasn’t ready for a thriller. The book begins with Vischer relating his childhood in a light and fun manner, but by the middle of the book when he was pouring out gritty details from his heart, I kept stopping myself from flipping to later chapters to see how exactly this story would end up.
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