Dec 9, 2014

HitRECord: What a True Collaboration Looks Like

HitRECord is one of those few things that I accidentally stumble upon, and then stare at stone-faced until a cheshire grin breaks out on my face and I think, "oh my God, I've hit gold."

Here's what it actually is: an "open collaborative production company" that produces music (vinyl records), publishes books (really tiny short stories), short films (that get screened at film festivals), and recently, TV episodes. It runs on a system where anyone can upload media--audio, video, photo, text--or remix what's already uploaded by other members on the site. Collaborative projects work as long as there is an internet connection, and grow to become episodes with greater themes under the show's director and creator, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And if your contributions get chosen or featured in a production, then you get paid for it. Literally anyone can join, from all over the world, all that has to be done is hit record.

Front Page of the hitRECord website
And to me, that's the genius of it.

Some of these projects take months to develop, which is a given once you witness the production process. In the episode Re: The Other Side, HitRECord features a short music video titled Adieu. To be honest, that video is what first got me into this whole collaborative system. It's a song about death, something genuine and moving, juxtaposed by fast clips of all the different ways people die. It's a French song, and though the words may be difficult to understand, one thing stays constant. And that's "Adieu" (Goodbye).

So many different artists, musicians and a crazy amount of animators, were involved in the making of that video--you can tell. And when you stop to think about it, you realise that magic is being created and served to you in a TV show. In any single episode, you witness the collaborative efforts of people with different talents, coming from different parts of the world, to contribute different perspectives and somehow manage to work on the same project.

In that same episode, Joseph Gordon-Levitt sums up the reason for the whole show perfectly. "I think when we tell each other stories, and we sing each other songs, and we pass those things around from one person to the next--that's a basic part of what makes us human. And I think it's natural for everybody, not just a few people, but for everybody to be a part of that."

What he says actually comes alive in the behind-the-scenes stages of HitRECord. At the end of the day, the celebrity actor becomes just a regular person, a "RegularJOE" as he calls himself. There's transparency between the director and the content creators (as well as the audience). That's a move not many shows make, a move--I think--is the reason why this show should make it big.

Frankly, I already like Joseph Gordon Levitt. But now, I like him even more. Mainly because of his part in creating HitRECord. Unlike some of the people in Hollywood, he isn't focused on commercialised entertainment or money. Instead, he's focused on art and them feels.

Okay.

In all seriousness, he's giving people a way to connect, providing them with a medium to communicate through, and showing the world something magical. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm completely won over. Because when something screams "worldwide" and "artistic collaborations" at me, I can't help but scream "yes!" back.