Little Airplane Productions has been spreading its wings in the UK for seven months now and the big payoff came this week with the premier of its co-pro 3rd and Bird on CBeebies.
The 26 x 30-minute musical photo-puppetry preschool series features the exploits of Samuel Lovebird, a young bird learning about his world. Josh Selig, president of Little Airplane, credits his company’s dedication to adapting research in early stages in part for the success of previous series, including The Wonder Pets! and Playhouse Disney’s Go, Baby!.
‘We do show-and-tell research on the second draft of all our scripts,’ he said. ‘We are sharing with children prior to going to storyboard and I think that is unique. For us, anytime we put into research is worthwhile. None of the shows are duds because everything has been tested.’
With a prime slot on CBeebies Tuesday at 5 p.m., distributor and licensing agent BBC Worldwide’s plan for the series is to build momentum in the UK and then sell to international markets with merchandising and licensing deals expected to be inked later this year. BBCW is also gearing up to pitch the series internationally for the first time in the next few weeks.
The premiere of the 3rd and Bird comes just a few weeks before the New York City head office of Little Airplane hosts its annual three-day Little Airplane Academy.
The course entitled How to Make a Great Preschool Series begins on Saturday, July 26 and will feature a who’s who of children’s television experts that will discuss everything from pitching and writing and research to development and legal protection.
‘It’s a very rare thing to have companies walking people through making a show and getting it on the air,’ says Selig. ‘But, we like to believe that a high tide raises all ships.’
This year’s edition will feature Kay Wilson Stallings, executive in charge of production and development at Nick Jr., Adina Pitt, VP of content acquisition and co-productions for Cartoon Network, and Andrew Beecham, SVP of programming for PBS Kids Sprout among others.For more information on Little Airplane Academy visit www.littleairplane.com