By the summer of 1999, the network had launched about 15 of the shows it planned. Half of the building was staffed with 25 or so 'interactive' team, and the other side was filling up with the production crew. It was an uneasy grouping at first. The production people had come from the world of large budgets, monitors and cameras. Now they were dealing with digital technology, some for the first time. You heard the phrase 'Well can't you just make it work??" thrown around a lot.
I was working as an illustrator and animator on a few shows wielding my new found enthusisam for Macromedia Flash (3.0). We were actually creating some great simple interactive games and animation. All the while I'd been pitching a few show ideas myself. One involved Hip Hop, and , partnered with a friend and engineer, Jon Bauer, we set out to make it happen. After weeks of nagging some of the higher ups, they eventually gave us the green light on creating a show of our own. It was called Hip Hop Massive.
The idea was to host a different city a week, and focus on the talent from that spot and the aspect of Hip Hop they represented (graffiti, breakdancing, rapping, etc.) The fact that it was a documentary style show helped a lot. Most of the other narrative shows being produced screamed low budget due to the limitations. The budget lent itself to this show by letting the talent host themselves and we hired a 'wraparound' host named Eric Cubiche.
We built a site with tons of features to encompass the show and we were off. We ended up becoming one of the more popular shows, featuring the likes of Melle Mel, KRS-1, Wyclef Jean, Gangstarr, all of my heroes as a kid, and getting to meet them, all in a days work.