Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) students Carter Redwood, Jamar Thrasher, and Clarence Williams IV recently teamed up with Pittsburgh-based music video director and photographer Jordan Beckham to produce a new web series inspired by Redwood's life in the entertainment industry. Redwood Time is a throwback to popular sitcoms from the 90s such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, and Saved by the Bell, and as Jamar Thrasher, one of the executive producers of the series describes it, offers a more positive view of young African American males than is typically seen in modern media.
Redwood Time premiered to a packed house at CMU's McConomy Auditorium, a movie theater which seats 445, on September 8. The star of the show, Carter Redwood, warmed up the crowd before debuting the first episode chronicling his life as a drama student and aspiring actor. A native of Pittsburgh's historic Hill District, Redwood has been acting since the age of 10 and attended the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts before enrolling at Carnegie Mellon. While studying at CMU's top ranked school of drama, Carter met directing student Clarence Williams IV and reconnected with fellow School for Creative and Performing Arts alum and CMU graduate student Jamar Thrasher. Thrasher's friend and frequent collaborator Jordan Beckham, who has worked with the likes of hip hop producer Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, signed on to film the series.
Fans of shows like Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Curb Your Enthusiasm will appreciate Williams' well-written scripts and the superb comedic acting of Redwood and his school of drama classmates enlisted to show the life of college seniors seeking fame in Hollywood. The actors' comedic timing and line delivery showcases the level of skill these students have. Many of the show's stars, including Redwood, have credits in major motion picture and theatrical works, with Hollywood commonly being a destination for students graduating from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama. Some alumni include Ted Danson, Zachary Quinto, and George A. Romero, to name a few.
The first episode centers on unrequited love and has plenty of funny light-hearted moments throughout. Beckham's experience behind the camera also is apparent by the quality of the shots and scene switches.
Overall, this independent project looks and feels like it could have been a network production and has the potential to be picked up by a major network.
The remaining episodes have already been shot and will be released in the coming weeks as Redwood prepares for his semester long stay at London's prestigious Drama Centre. Redwood, Williams, and Thrasher are also working on a full length feature film, Love, You Can't Beat Death, which will also be independently produced.
You can check out the first episode below.