Little Airplane Productions
Company typeDivision
IndustryTelevision production
Animation
Founded1999; 25 years ago (1999)
Founders
DefunctJune 2023; 1 year ago (2023-06)
FateFolded into Studio 100
HeadquartersNew York City, New York
Key people
Josh Selig (former CEO)
Lori Shaer
Jennifer Oxley
Jeffrey Lesser
Sharon Gomes (former COO)
ProductsOobi
Wonder Pets!
3rd & Bird
Small Potatoes
Doctor Space
Super Wings
ParentStudio 100 (2017–2023)

Little Airplane Productions was an American television production company co-founded by Josh Selig and Lori Shaer (née Sherman)[1] in 1999. The company produced Oobi for Noggin, Wonder Pets! for Nickelodeon, and 3rd & Bird for the BBC. It also released independent short films. In 2017, the company was bought by the European-based Studio 100, which entered a co-production agreement to create the comedy series Doctor Space with Little Airplane.[2][3]

The company's main studio was located in New York City's South Street Seaport.[4] Filming, animation, design, and storyboarding work were completed in a 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) building. The studio also had a recording facility for voice-over and music. In mid-2007, the company opened new studios in London and Abu Dhabi, following the announcement of 3rd & Bird.

Lori Shaer left Little Airplane in 2002, but she continued to be given a "special thanks" credit on the second and third seasons of Oobi. Josh Selig left the company in 2020.[5]

In June 2023, Studio 100 announced that Little Airplane would be "closing shop" and that its studio space would be replaced by a new company called Terribly Terrific Productions.[6]

History

Both Josh Selig and Lori Shaer (named Lori Sherman until her marriage) worked for Sesame Workshop in the mid-1990s.[7] After being laid off, Selig partnered with Shaer to open a studio in New York City. For the first year, they both worked out of a "one-room office in Tribeca" and did not make much money.

Selig explained that they called their payment formula "a third, a third and a third, meaning every time we finished a small production job, we would split whatever profit was left in the budget three ways. Lori got a third. I got a third. And Little Airplane got a third. That first year we both earned less than the guy washing our windows."[8]

The name "Little Airplane" was derived from a 1994 short film that Selig had produced for Sesame Street called "I'm a Little Airplane."[9] At first, Little Airplane only produced similar live-action content, including Oobi and a film called The Time-Out Chair. The studio did not create its own animation until creative director Jennifer Oxley joined the staff. She developed a style of animation called "photo-puppetry" that was used in many of the studio's later works, including Wonder Pets! and 3rd & Bird.[10]

Productions

Television series

Other

Other work

Cancelled projects

The Wonder Pets! episode "Kalamazoo!" was intended to be a backdoor pilot for a spin-off series, centering on the character Ming-Ming and her brother Marvin. Selig pitched the spin-off to Nickelodeon after the final season of Wonder Pets! wrapped, but Nickelodeon did not pick up the spin-off or any additional episodes of the series.[24]

In 2008, Sesame Workshop hired Little Airplane to "produce a bible for a series in development," but the project did not materialize.[24]

The Little Light Foundation

In 2009, Little Airplane Productions created a non-profit initiative called "The Little Light Foundation". The Foundation's first project was The Olive Branch, a multimedia project about conflict resolution, tolerance and mutual respect.[25]

The Little Airplane Café

In the summer of 2009, Little Airplane Productions launched the Little Airplane Café. Laurie Berkner opened the restaurant in July 2009. Her performance was broadcast live on SiriusXM.[26] Guests included Jon Scieszka, Milkshake, and Suzi Shelton.

The Little Airplane Academy

Little Airplane Academy offered a three-day workshop twice a year at the company's South Street Seaport studios. Participants learned the fundamentals of creating a preschool series including pitching, writing, character design, directing and producing live action and animated shows. In 2009, the Academy ran a one-day writing workshop with Susan Kim. Little Airplane has also hosted workshops in Qatar, England, and Norway.

References

  1. ^ a b "Josh Selig: Article about Little Airplane". Kidscreen. August 3, 2010. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (December 1, 2017). "Studio 100 Takes Over Emmy-Winning Little Airplane Productions". Archived from the original on September 3, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (October 2, 2019). "Little Airplane, Fantawild & Studio 100 Blast Off with 'Doctor Space'". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "Recently Opened: Little Airplane". Time Out. Time Out Group. April 15, 2008. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Josh Selig and Sharon Gomes Exit Studio 100's Little Airplane Productions". Archived from the original on June 27, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  6. ^ "Announcement..." www.littleairplane.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2021. Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  7. ^ "Lori Shaer biography". Archived from the original on December 10, 2022. Retrieved December 10, 2022. she moved into children's television working at Sesame Street and then launched a children's production company, Little Airplane Productions.
  8. ^ "Untitled". Archived from the original on September 13, 2019.
  9. ^ "From animation to voice-overs, kids see how shows are made". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  10. ^ "Post Magazine - ANIMATION: 'THE WONDER PETS!'". Archived from the original on August 2, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Our Work". Little Airplane. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016.
  12. ^ Dobbs, Aaron; Oei, Lily (January 4, 2006). "Josh Selig, Little Airplane Productions". Gothamist. Gothamist LLC. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Clarke, Eileen (April 22, 2007). "Kids' Corner Q&A: The Wonder Pets's Josh Selig". Entertainment Weekly (Press release). Time Inc.
  14. ^ Clarke, Eileen (April 22, 2007). "Kids' Corner Q&A: The Wonder Pets's Josh Selig". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc.
  15. ^ "Kidscreen » Archive » Small Potatoes movie gets air date, DVD distribution". kidscreen.com. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Mercedes Milligan (October 25, 2016). "'P. King Duckling' Gets Quacking on Disney Junior US". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 3, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Dog & Pony Show". Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  18. ^ Germano Celant (January 2004). Tribeca talks. Progetto Prada Arte. ISBN 978-88-87029-30-7.
  19. ^ "Linny the Guinea Pig: Space and Ocean". Tribeca Film Festival. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "Marcia Gay Harden Joins YMCA To Help Parents Build Strong Kids, Healthy Families". PR Newswire. February 10, 2010. Archived from the original on February 5, 2023. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  21. ^ Goldman Getzler, Wendy (September 23, 2010). "Little Airplane's Tobi hits Scandinavia". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications. Archived from the original on September 15, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  22. ^ DeMott, Rick (May 24, 2010). "Little Airplane's Olive Branch Debuts June 1 On Nick Jr". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  23. ^ "A Laurie Berkner Christmas". Archived from the original on February 5, 2023. Retrieved February 5, 2023. Recorded at Little Airplane Productions, New York City
  24. ^ a b Dade Hayes (May 6, 2008). Anytime Playdate: Inside the Preschool Entertainment Boom, or, How Television Became My Baby's Best Friend. Simon & Schuster. pp. 199–. ISBN 978-1-4165-6433-1.
  25. ^ McLean, Tom (May 26, 2010). "Little Airplane Offers Positive Olive Branch to World". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 5, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  26. ^ Neumaier, Joe (July 10, 2009). "Little Airplane Cafe draws big crowd for kid-friendly concerts". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2016.