Thursday 25th May 2017,
Televisual

That Was Fast: Web Series Remix “How to Make It In America”

Also filed under: “Things that make me feel old at the age of 25.” How quickly can one create a series riffing off a new HBO show? In a few weeks, apparently.

Smoke DZA, a rapper I’ve never heard of — excuse! This is a film and TV blog! I don’t do music — has crafted a web series called How to Make It in Harlem. Judging from the trailer, which I found thanks to The Rah Rah, it’s basing its concept heavily on HBO’s How to Make It in America. There’s a bit of inevitability to an independent artist taking HBO’s faux-grit and filming in an actually gritty part of town, Harlem (sort of; let’s be real, Neil Patrick Harris lives there).

The trailer’s a pretty faithful remix of the HBO show’s opening credits; same large white fonts, snapshot photo technique. Take a look:

The web’s always been about remaking and reimagining mainstream texts, and, especially as computers get faster and software gets cheaper and more accessible, the rate of turnaround gets faster. But still, an entire web series? My guess is the idea had been percolating and developing/in production for awhile and they reacted to the changing mediascape.

Some more info from Rah Rah:

With Samuel Rogers behind the shutter showing off Harlem and playing on the photo montage style of HBO’s ‘How To Make It In America’ I would say mission accomplished. Visually Inklined, who is also behind Hip Hop Confessions, is behind this video.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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