- Big Idea Productions
name = Big Idea Productions
foundation = 1993
Phil Vischerand Mike Nawrocki
locations = 2
area_served = USA
Phil Vischer( CEO)
Big Idea, Inc., is an American
computer animationPRODUCTION COMPANY best known for its " VeggieTales" series of Christian-themed family home videos and sometimes in co-production with Warner Home Video. The company is a subsidiary of Classic Media, an American production company and distributor that has the rights to a large variety of children's properties. In January 2007 Classic Mediawas purchased by Entertainment Rightsof London, England.
Big Idea Productions was founded in 1993 by computer animators
Phil Vischerand Mike Nawrockias a way to produce 36 videos, being fun, some sillysongs, opening and closing countertop sequences, and also teaching Bibical values and lessons includes the first film ' as well as '.
On September 30th, 2008,
Big Ideaannounced that Mike Nawrocki has been appointed VP of Development. He will "oversee all creative and production at the Big Idea studio," "spearhead the development and launch of new series, brands and properties for Big Idea," will have the "initial focus will include developing an original new VeggieTales TV series," and "cultivate new strategic partnerships and alliances in the creative community to help expand the Big Idea portfolio." [ [http://www.ceganmo.com/2008/10/press-release-big-idea-inc-appoints.html BIG IDEA, INC. APPOINTS VEGGIETALES® CO-CREATOR MIKE NAWROCKI TO HEAD OF CREATIVE AND DEVELOPMENT] September 30th, 2008]
Big Idea originally started as a company in owner Phil Vischer's spare bedroom in July 1993. From there, the company moved to an old screw factory in
Chicago(location unknown). Later, the company re-located to 168 N. Clinton Street in Chicago.
Rapidly growing out of space, in 1997, Big Idea decided to re-locate out to the Chicago suburbs and purchased the
DuPage Theaterin Lombard, Illinois. (Lombard is located in DuPage County). Delays for the completion of the renovation resulted from initial discovery of the disrepair of the building and lengthy zoning battles. In a pinch, the company was guided by City of Lombard officials to rent space at the Yorktown Center, also located in Lombard. The space was a two-story retail space formerly occupied by a Woolworth store. The mall ownership had been procrastinating the eventual need to gut and redo the space to handle the typical mall store due to the scope of the renovation and was eager to have a short-term tenant fill the vacant space. (The Woolworth space was too small to hold an anchor store and yet too large to handle a typical shopping mall retailer). The space, at 206 Yorktown Center, was intended to be a temporary home until the theater renovation was complete.
However, Big Idea ran into numerous problems with their plan for the DuPage Theater. More and more disrepair was discovered in the building and kept driving the renovation cost up. At the same time, the company kept growing and realized that the location was now going to be too small. Big Idea tried to acquire additional land surrounding the theater. It was unsuccessful, however, as some Lombard residents began to wonder if Big Idea was trying to be sly and intended to buy up the entire downtown for its headquarters. Ultimately, Big Idea lenders (primarily
LaSalle Bank) refused to lend the necessary money for the renovation because it would require $20 million ($16 million of which the lenders were willing to provide - i.e. 80%) to renovate and would only be worth $10 million once completed due to the lack of parking space and uniqueness of the design which would detract potential buyers if the property were to be foreclosed on. Big Idea had no choice but to abandon its efforts with the theater, much to the ire of Lombard residents. They had at first rejoiced that the theater would not be razed for condominiums (the theater is across the street from the Lombard Metratrain station). Eventually the enthusiasm turned into disdain as residents began to complain that Big Idea had duped them and feared that Big Idea was going to sell the theater to the highest bidder once the issue of Big Idea being unable to foot the bill for renovation came to light. (Big Idea officially claimed that the theater site was too small for them, but that became apparent after the bank had already said "No go".) Big Idea wound up donating the theater to the city of Lombard and a Friends of the DuPage Theater organization was formed to help restore it.
Big Idea employees were unfortunately affected by this turn of events as some had already relocated from another part of the Chicago area to Lombard. Additionally, many of the new employees (many from California animation studios) had bought homes in Lombard when they relocated to Chicago. Because of this, Big Idea continued to search for a new location in and around Lombard. Their lease in the shopping mall had been written to be purposely short because it was hoped the company would soon be in the renovated DuPage Theater. The company entertained multiple sites in Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace, Lisle and Downers Grove, including the old
Platinum Technologyheadquarters located at 1815 Meyers Road in Lombard. Lease papers, in fact, where even signed with Computer Associates- the purchaser of Platinum Technology - for the 1815 Meyers Road building. However, the contract was declared null and void when property management at Computer Associates incorrectly assumed that the entire lobby floor's conference room multimedia equipment (computer and video display matrices, projectors and conferencing audio and telephone systems) should be removed and had all of the equipment removed the week before. The conference room multimedia capabilities was, in fact, one of the primary reasons Big Idea had chosen to lease the space since it was seen as a ready-to-go space for the animators to review their daily work. Fortunately for Big Idea, the leasing contract had been written to specifically provision for all of that equipment being included and thus Big Idea was easily able to bow out of the contract and continue searching for a new location.
Ultimately, the bankruptcy of the
Montgomery Warddepartment store (one of the four Yorktown Mall anchor stores) made the Yorktown Mall management realize that the entire end of the mall where Montgomery Ward had once been located would be useless until a new anchor store tenant was found and thus changed their minds and allowed Big Idea to renew its lease. (The Woolworth store was located immediately outside the Montgomery Ward store in the mall).
Big Idea never was able to move out of Yorktown Mall until it was relocated after being purchased by Classic Media to
Franklin, Tennessee, where it is still headquartered. Big Idea had maintained a separate office in the Nashville area since 1996 to facilitate its relationship with its video distributor.
Series produced by Big Idea
3-2-1 Penguins: 2000-2003, 2007-Present (New television episodes have been produced on qubo)
*: 2002-2003 (New episodes in 2008 on
2002) (co-production with FHE Pictures)
2008) (co-production with Universal Pictures)
* [http://www.bigidea.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.larryboy.com Larry Boy's Official Website]
* [http://www.philvischer.com/index.php/?p=38 What Happened To Big Idea?] article by Phil Vischer
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