In the GIF-strewn landscape of Internet culture, everything seems to be getting shorter and faster. Brevity is no longer just the soul of wit—it’s insurance that people will actually watch your thing, whatever it may be, knowing that it won’t take up too much time. Being able to tell a story fast has become nearly as important as telling a story well. While it’s not exactly is fast as One-Second Films, the animated series “What the Hec?” is pithy enough to live on Instagram.
The length of each episode varies, but it must be less than 15 seconds long, in accordance with Instagram’s video length limit. The first animated series on the photo-sharing behemoth, “What the Hec?” takes on various pop culture figures (most often rappers) and tweaks their image ever so slightly. A recurring theme, for instance, is finding different contexts in which to insert gruff-voiced Rick Ross so as to modify his signature watchword.
“What The Hec started as a simple brain fart like most rants and comments on social media, except I decided to animate it,” says the creator of the series, Brooklyn artist Hectah. “I thought of it like a throw away, you know, disposable media, however I was quick to learn that these ideas actually had social value as illustrated by the fact I started gaining followers and inquiries.”
The artist soon teamed up with the folks at street culture hub Mass Appeal and began putting out episodes on a platform that is relatively untested as far as series go. Since featuring “What the Hec?” on its official Instagram page, Mass Appeal has seen a 107% increase in “likes” and 3,552% increase in comments for the top videos.
“There's not really a blueprint for me to follow,” Hectah says. “I have a list of things that I want to do, and I choose what feels right on the morning of. I allow "X" amount of time for different things that go into making the animation, in order to meet the deadline. Sometimes the likeness of a person is hard to nail, though, so I draw 10 versions of them. “
Just because you want to tell a story fast, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be quick to produce.
Watch some more episodes of “What the Hec?” in the slides above.