The Power of the Black webseries

“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”, created by Issa Rae, is part of Pharrell’s i am Other channel on Youtube. Watch the latest episode HERE.

In between drooling over all the Comic Con tweets across my feed this weekend, I also had webseries on the brain. Two shows in particular caught my attention once again. I’ve even written about them before – “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and “The Couple”. Do I watch them because I’m Black? Maybe. More likely, it’s because for the first time, I’m watching dynamic characters in interesting predicaments that just happen to look like me. I’ve heard time and time again that the people making the most money from Youtube aren’t old white guys sitting in executive offices, but young people of color with a handy DSLR and something to say. They speak to a hungry diverse audience that is often ignored by mainstream media. If you can provide quality content on a consistent basis for these folks, they will come and probably bring a few friends. Both “ABG” and “The Couple” have gained a following of hundreds through Youtube and their success is worth taking note.

Let’s start by getting in touch with our #awkward. Last week, “ABG” creator Issa Rae and her show were featured in both the New York Times  (the print edition!) and TIME Magazine’s online edition . Two spotlight articles published in major publications all within one work week? Impressive with a capital “I” and just in time for Episode 2 of the second season, which premiered this past Friday. From the looks of their recent Facebook post, it appears the ABG crew is answering fans’ prayers by switching to a biweekly schedule instead of one show a month. Awesomesauce.

“The Couple”, co-created by Dennis Dortch, is part of the Black and Sexy TV series on Youtube. Watch the latest episode HERE.

For the love birds out there, filmmaker Dennis Dortch and crew are dishing out episodes of “The Couple”. The series, which has brilliantly secured viewers for their “Black and Sexy Sundays” also had a big announcement.  The official news came from my favorite blog Shadow and Act that “The Couple” is being adapted into a movie. Since their Valentine’s Day premiere earlier this year, the series has struck a chord with romantics everywhere. How can you not with a tagline like  “There’s dating…and then there’s living together.” Black & Sexy TV (the show’s host Youtube channel) provides a variety of full episodes and minisodes of both “The Couple” and a sister series titled “The Number” (which has featured cameos from ABG‘s Issa Rae). I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for any more details about the film version of the series coming soon.

It’s no secret I’m in admiration of these two production teams. Lead actress/co-creator of “The Couple” Numa Perrier has been vocal about the importance of balancing family and production, while the “ABG” crew all work full-time jobs in addition to the show. Both great inspirations for an indie at any point in their career.

Of course, the ultimate pro and con of making a webseries is that a person might watch a show on broadcast television that they’re not a fan of because nothing else good is on, but if you can’t hook them with your online series…umm they have the whole internet at their disposal. This is where research plays a key role. If you’re contemplating creating your own webseries, check out a few episodes from the smartest folks in the room like Issa Rae and Dennis Dortch. Study up on how to make your show stand out above the rest!

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