Josh Selig is a writer, producer, and filmmaker. He founded Little Airplane Productions, the studio that made Oobi. Selig has also created a variety of other preschool-oriented shows, including Wonder Pets for Nick Jr. and 3rd & Bird for the BBC.
Oobi was the first show that he made. The original Oobi shorts from 2000 were made as an experiment to see if Josh wanted to start his own studio. When they were successful, he decided to found Little Airplane.
In addition to working on his own preschool shows, Josh has made independent short films, most notably The Time-Out Chair in 2003.
As a child, Josh appeared in the first two seasons of Sesame Street. He returned to the show as a writer in 1988. While there, he also wrote songs, created short films, and worked as a producer for Sesame Street International. Josh was the resident producer of Shara'a Simsim, the Israeli-Palestinian version of Sesame Street.
In 1999, he founded Little Airplane Productions. He named his production company after "I'm a Little Airplane," a song featured in a film insert that he produced for Sesame Street. He called fellow Sesame Street crew members Martin P. Robinson and Tim Lagasse to help him develop his own show, Oobi. Lagasse was selected because of his former work as a bare-handed puppeteer for Nickelodeon. Robinson was selected to design the puppets' eyes, having been the designer for Little Shop of Horrors.
Josh Selig was inspired to create Oobi after watching puppeteers audition for the Polish adaptation of Sesame Street in Warsaw, Poland. The puppeteers were being trained to lip-sync with their hands and a pair of ping pong balls in place of a puppet. This training method is common among Muppet performers, as it helps them focus on their puppet's mouth movement and eye focus. Josh noted the amount of expression conveyed by the more skilled actors' hands, and it gave him the idea for a series centered on the most basic form of puppetry. The idea stayed in the back of his mind until the opportunity came for him to pitch a show idea to Nickelodeon's Noggin.
In addition to creating Oobi, Josh worked as a director and executive producer on the show. He didn't write or perform in any of the episodes.
"I honestly believe that human beings peak at about age 4. The average 4-year-old is more creative, more interesting, and has a better sense of humor than the average 40-year-old -- me included!" (Child interview, 2004)
"When I began working at Sesame Street, I used to observe pre-school classrooms so I could learn more about this age group. I was — and still am — amazed by the creativity and decency of very young children. I think adults have much to learn from them. Including this adult." (Big Apple Parent interview, 2004)
On licensing: "My fear and loathing of licensing goes back to my early days at Sesame Street where I was taught that a preschool series and its educational curriculum was paramount. All the rest, the amusement parks, the live shows, the closets full of swag that were protected like gold in Fort Knox, meant nothing compared to the Holy Grail that was the show itself. We, the makers of Sesame Street, felt our show to be the sun around which everything else in the company (if not the world) orbited and, quite frankly, the wider their orbit the better. We were the caretakers of Sesame Street, the undisputed Barbra Streisand of all preschool shows."