Do you know what time it is?
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times — and now it’s Redwood Time.
Last week marked the launch of Redwood Time, a YouTube comedy series produced by Carter Redwood, a senior acting major; Jamar Thrasher, a master’s student in Heinz College; and Clarence Williams IV, a junior directing major. Written and filmed during the past few months at Carnegie Mellon, Redwood Time is a comedic dramatization of Redwood’s life as an acting major.
The first episode is already on YouTube and features Carter’s encounters with a crazy “girlfriend” who doesn’t seem to notice that Carter is not all that into her.
Much of the series production is Carnegie Mellon-based. Many of the actors in the series are Carnegie Mellon students, and the theme song was written and performed by senior business administration major Kai Roberts. Redwood, Thrasher, and Williams also worked with Jordan Beckman, a local Pittsburgh videographer who has directed videos for Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller.
The series has been well promoted on social media under #RedwoodTime, and its creators held a showing on Sept. 8 in McConomy Auditorium to a large audience. The teaser for the series has already accumulated over 900 views in one week.
Redwood, who is currently studying abroad at Drama Centre London, talked about why he and his partners decided to start a YouTube series: “It started as a way for myself and some of my partners to push our creative energy and ideas. The funny thing is, it wasn’t even my idea to make it about me. I was working with Jamar Thrasher and Clarence Williams IV, and we sat down and came up with the idea to make a web series as a precursor to a later film that we planned to make in the summer of 2014. So we said in order to build a fan base and get our names out, we thought that a web series would be a good way to get people to know about us and get our creative work out there prior to the film.”
He also spoke about the ideas and inspiration behind the series: “Our inspiration for it was ‘90s sitcoms, including The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Martin, Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. We created this character Carter Redwood in this world, and we created the Redwood Time universe as well as other characters in his life.”
“It’s based on my true life as an actor,” he said. “Carter, like me, is in school, trying to pursue a career as an actor, to make it from Pittsburgh to Hollywood, but we also created fictional situations and characters that are in his world.”
When asked about his favorite things about the series, Redwood replied, “I think it’s fun that stories that happened in my life can be turned into these over-the-top stories, that they can make people laugh, that Clarence’s words and Clarence’s writing can heighten it and give it that extra oomph to make people engaged in it. The stories and foundations come from a real place; the character Carter deals with things that I dealt with in real life.”
Redwood also discussed the creative process of writing the web series: “As an artist, there is nothing like creating your own work. I feel, as an actor, people are constantly trying to impress other people in auditions. There are so many people vying for one role, and as an artist it gives you a sense of freedom to say, ‘I can create my own rules for myself. I can collaborate with a team of creative teams and artists, and we can create something of our own to give ourselves that freedom to make our own work and our own art.’ ”
“I’m interested to see what happens next, if people tune in, how this will continue to grow, how it will expand,” he said. “We had the idea, and it’s satisfying to know that we got it out there on the web. We’ve been successful no matter how many people watched.”