Nothing lowers one’s own creative ego like watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The energetic 30-year-old performer can act, dance, direct short films, write songs, play the guitar and drums, and even sing in French.
All of Gordon-Levitt’s talents — plus those of special guests Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, and Neil Patrick Harris — were on display Monday night during the HitRECord Fall Formal at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. HitRECord is Gordon-Levitt’s online production company, where he and thousands of other contributors collaboratively create movies, music, and short stories. The Fall Formal was an opportunity for Gordon-Levitt to showcase some of their diverse output. (Check out the video below.)
If the quality of the entertainment varied from inspired to middling, Gordon-Levitt’s infectious enthusiasm never wavered. Sporting a blue striped suit and a polka-dotted bowtie, the actor giddily paced around the stage, barely able to contain his glee that he had control over a 2,000-seat former palace theater to do whatever he wanted. That included calling upon his The Dark Knight Rises costars Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman.
Hathaway joined Gordon-Levitt and HitRECord musician themetafictionist to sing a French song that had been written by another user called Metaphorest. (Apparently HitRECord members really like using “meta” in their names.) And Oldman read a short story that was also written by Metaphorest. Oddly, although HitRECord features the work of some 50,000 contributors, about one-third of the night’s offerings was created by this Metaphorest gal.
Neil Patrick Harris was also on hand to join Gordon-Levitt in a little sketch about how love resembles the various genres of film. The skit never really took off, though it did culminate with Harris shouting this memorable anti-romantic line: “Love is a Holocaust documentary!” And Sia lent her lovely voice to a couple of songs.
Gordon-Levitt encouraged the audience to record the proceedings, which many attendees (myself included) did. His hope is that those who attended the Fall Formal will upload their footage to the HitRECord site, allowing the site’s members to edit it into a definitive concert film. That’s the real charm of HitRECord — this collective filmmaking spirit that values the contributions of anyone who has something to say.
Gordon-Levitt has previously said he’d love to make a feature film in this manner, but I don’t know if such a collaboratively produced movie would be commercially viable. At some point, someone would need to step in and make executive decisions, which maybe Gordon-Levitt would be willing to do. For now, though, HitRECord is a charmingly indie alternative to YouTube. It’s a place where artists can improve on one another’s work and maybe, just maybe, catch the attention of Gordon-Levitt — or RegularJOE, as he’s known online.
Below, check out footage from the evening with Gordon-Levitt, Hathaway, and Oldman (some language a bit NSFW):