Film Producer J. Chris Wall Talks about How "The Slugs & Bugs Show" Ministers to Children & Families

j chris wall

Dove Award-nominated singer/songwriter and family entertainer Randall Goodgame is set to star in "The Slugs & Bugs Show," a groundbreaking new series designed to help children and parents grow together in Truth, navigating daily life through the lens of faith.  Produced by veteran VeggieTales film producer J. Chris Wall and executive produced by Brock Starnes of Brentwood Studios, the series' first 13 episodes premiere on home video and streaming September 27. "The Slugs & Bugs Show" will also be available via RightNow Media, a faith-based streaming platform serving more than 18,000 churches around the country.   

Featuring the delightful hijinks of Goodgame and his co-stars-Doug the Slug, Sparky the Lightning Bug and Morty and Maggie Raccoon, along with Goodgame's wife Amy-"The Slugs & Bugs Show" is Gospel-centered fun for a new generation of families. Silly stories and memorable musical moments abound in each episode, as Goodgame and his merry gang of characters journey through life together, grounded in biblical principles.  

We are honored to be able to chat with the show's producer J. Chris Wall for this exxclusive interview.

Q:  Thank you so much for doing this interview with us.  Let's start with yourself, tell us how did you become a producer?

I've always had a love of stories and great characters. In high school, I found that I really loved the way the very technical work of filmmaking could come together in this magical experience of movies. I started professionally as an editor and then moved into cinematography before landing in producing.

Q:  You are best known for producing VeggieTales.  What led you to produce VeggieTales?

The head of the Big Idea studio approached me about producing some segments and I had never really considered that role. I'm so thankful he gave me that opportunity and saw the ability in me before I even did. My first VeggieTales production was one of Phil Vischer's scripts, directed by Brian Roberts, called "The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's," followed shortly after by "Saint Nicholas." I was a huge fan of VeggieTales in college, so to have a chance to contribute to the franchise for so many years was a true delight for me-and for my kids!

Q:  Now you have also helmed "The Slugs & Bugs Show."  What is this show about?

I wanted to capture the imagination and creativity present in the Slugs & Bugs songs from Randall Goodgame. So to that end, I created a workshop where he writes his songs as he addresses the silly or complex problems of the endearing slug, bug and raccoon friends he has in his workshop. Add to that some of the very talented musicians, authors and influencers that swing by to visit, and we think what results is funny, thoughtful and challenging. 

I have six amazing kids and I see the way they create, play and learn about God while following after Jesus. I wanted to create a show experience that expressed that beautiful relationship many families have in their faith journey. So, the audience gets to experience hilarious mishaps and heartfelt moments as episodes unfold around a theme and a specific adventure for each day.

Q:  Tell us about what's like to work with the show's host Randall Goodgame?

What a delight! He is so kind and gentle and his personality is a great fit as he relates to our characters. His musical abilities are amazing and his heart for children allows him to be completely authentic in the show.

Q:  You also have some special guests that appear across the series.  Who are some of them?

We had an idea to invite friends from all different sectors to visit the workshop and hang out with Randall and the other characters; people like author Sally Lloyd-Jones, musicians Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor, plus awesome leaders like Dr. Russell Moore. Delightfully, we have guests you might never expect in a kids' show and that made it even more special!

Q:  What are some of the issues these episodes bring out?

We use the songs from Slugs & Bugs as a springboard into our themes, which vary from how families might want to talk about collaboration and silliness, to adoption and creativity. It was important to me that we develop an entertaining story for each episode that would then be an engaging vehicle for the biblical truth we wanted to share.

Q:  How can this series help us teach our children about faith?

I think kids and family entertainment is uniquely positioned to model what discipleship actually looks like. Within this show, I hope families see themselves in their daily life and can point to these characters and say, "Hey, they are like us!" And as we read in Deuteronomy 6, we are equipped to share these truths as we walk along the road following Jesus.

Q:  How has producing all these shows taught you about ministering to children and families?

Sometimes when you think about entertaining or ministering to children, there is a feeling that you can lower the bar because they are kids and it is easier. I do not feel that way. I think it is a holy work and I want to only show children the utmost respect in how we talk to them and engage them with these eternal truths. That means we have to wrestle with ideas and find ways to express them in whimsical and winsome ways that can take hold in children's hearts.


Tags : j. chris wall j chris wall interview The Slugs & Bugs Show Randall Goodgame veggietales children's films family movies kids movies

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