Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

21 August 2009

Jelly Telly... Phil Vischer ... and Platform Agnosticism

Phil Vischer is really interesting, thoughtful, cool guy. He's Mr Veggie Tales if you didn't know. Well... Phil WAS Veggie Boy. Then they made the gigantic Jonah Movie that was released widely in commercial theaters. Phil recalls, "We laid off half the studio the morning after our premiere party. I don't know if you could soil a memory more than that. It was brutal."

Big Idea... one of the most cutting edge Christian companies/ministries around went bankrupt. In Phil's new book called "Me Myself and Bob" he talks about how this collapse actually deepened and enriched his faith in God. REALLY fascinating that he's humble enough to actually continue to write Veggie stuff and voice Bob the Tomato for the new owners of the company he gave everything to build.

Well... since leaders lead and you can't keep a good man down... Phil's passion for teaching kids about Jesus has now taken the form of an amazing new website that I played around with tonight with the kids for the first time called "Jellytelly.com." This is how he communicates his passion...

Great heart, passion AND mind. There is a terrific interview with him in Christianity Today called "Platform Agnostic". He's got some fantastic things to say about kids, culture and media. Here are the highlights for me:

"I've learned the hard way that movies are not a great teaching medium. If you want to engage people emotionally, great—but you can't ever turn to the camera and say, "Now I have three points I want to make about parenting." You can do that on TV.
Sesame Street does that. Dora the Explorer does that every day and nobody says, "That's not filmmaking! That's didactic!" The difference is that people do not go to the movies to be preached at. That's the bottom line. The more you preach, the fewer you reach. What frustrates me with the film business is how much time, energy, and money you have to spend to have the opportunity for two sentences of real transparent meaning.

As Christians, we need to be platform agnostic: "No, I am not in the tv business or the internet business. I am in the content business." We need to get our content out in as many ways as possible: iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, Comcast Video on Demand, etc. There are so many ways to transmit storytelling and teaching into a household, you can't say there is one way. They are all how we can reach people. It's an interesting and quite tumultuous time in media.

The world of entertainment is splitting into two directions: 1) The ultra-high end. This includes the $200-million films like
Iron Man and the Pixar productions, which are becoming more and more common. 2) The ultra-low end. This is everything from YouTube videos to the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network to $10,000-per-episode reality TV shows. What's dying is the middle. What was once the bulk of the industry—prime-time television and high-end kids' shows—is just withering because the economics don't work anymore. So what we're looking at is not how Christians can make $200-million movies—I'm not sure that is a viable pursuit—but how can we be in the daily flow of ideas. No longer is the plan to work five years to tell one story with all the resources of a small Asian country."

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