“I wouldn’t be anywhere without the Internet,” says Issa Rae, the trailblazing digital maven of the popular Web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” While the Web turned Rae into a somebody, her online fame didn’t manifest overnight. “ABG” is Rae’s third Web series, after “Dorm Diaries” and “FLY GUYS present the F Word.” “I was able to learn from my mistakes,” Rae shares of her previous scripted forays, such as shortening the length of episodes and releasing new installments on a regular schedule, similar to a network TV show.
While Rae has accrued more than 14 million views on her YouTube channel, she still struggles with monetizing content, as advertisers aren’t quite sure how to navigate the landscape yet. But she is partnering with other content creators on her channel to give emerging artists a platform and an unparalleled audience online. (She’s also working on turning “ABG” into a film.) And for performers, a job is a job, and no matter where you start, you need to pay your dues. “A lot of actors think they’re going to get paid the first time,” Rae says, encouraging emerging artists to work for free. “Be in series and projects.… Pair up with people who are talented in areas that you’re not.”