A few years back Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Looper) started an online production company he calls hitRECord. Described by him as an “open-collaborative production company” the site’s purpose is to bring together artists of every type to work together on projects that will turn heads and hopefully a profit as well. They’ve made short films, music, stories and art of various types; all of which they refer to as “records.” These records might become a book, a short film, musical release et cetera.
Instead of just showing off what’s been made by an artist or artists, their goal is to get people to both upload things they’ve created and also download things created by others to work on, remix, enhance. In other words, collaborate in creative ways without being hindered by exclusivity. Anyone who uploads something to hitRECord agrees to grant the site and its members the non-exclusive right to remix their content. If hitRECord makes money off something artists have worked on, they split the profits 50-50 after costs. It’s a unique business model that not only promotes creativity, but incentivizes those efforts with the possibility of profit.
Here is a particularly entertaining little short screened at Sundance 2010 called Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny. The video is done in a sepia-tone silent film style save for Gordon-Levitt’s narration and a musical score. The writing style and unusual use of language make this a very fun little short to watch…and re-watch. You may find yourself pausing and playing back bits of dialogue just to hear the unique ways ordinary things are described. It is a very enjoyable 5 1/2 minutes and I’m fairly certain you won’t mind taking the time to watch.
Description from hitRECord’s posting of the video:
This is the version of Morgan M. Morganson’s Date with Destiny that screened at Sundance 2010. Throughout the festival, this is the one we’d show as our example. Whenever anybody asked, “what is hitRECord?” this was my answer: “Here, watch this short film we’re making; you’ll never believe who did it and how!”
Albert proposed an off-kilter writing exercise, and then Metaphorest’s beautifully strange short story inspired it all. I read the story aloud, Jenyffer.Maria started drawing the characters, Tori animated Jen’s drawings, Lula and I did a live-action rendition, Lawrie Brewster took the project to soaring heights with his gorgeous visuals, and along the way there was the help, encouragement and roughly 180 contributions from throughout our community. We brought it to Sundance, and Nathan coaxed the lush and vast music out of the newly coined hitRECorchestra. (Good_Girl_Indie has written out a fabulously detailed timeline documenting what happened and when along this RECord’s progression.)
Not only did we close our (two) official hitRECord screening(s) in the New Frontier Microcinema with this piece, but the next day, Sundance added it as a short film to play before the award-winning feature HOMEWRECKER on a much bigger screen.
I actually watched the thing again just now. And I can whole-heartedly say that, besides the progressive methodology with which it was made, and besides the warm reception it received at Sundance, just purely as a little piece of art, as a short film, as a RECord — I’m as proud of Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny as I am of any work I’ve ever done.
Thank you, everyone, for making it all happen!
and thanks again…
To see more of their unique productions and for a short video explaining the “hows” and “whatzits” of the site, visit hitRECord by clicking here and watch the video on the home page. It’s only a bit over 2 minutes long and clearly explains the concept behind the site.
Oh, it looks as if things went swimmingly for Morgan and Destiny’s date that night. How do I know this you might ask? Why, because just below these words is video evidence of Morgan and Destiny’s Eleventeenth Date – The Zeppelin Zoo. That’s how! And everyone knows eleventeen comes after one…
Credits for Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny:
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Produced by: Jared Geller
Written by: Sarah Daly
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lexy Hulme, Lawrie Brewster
Music by: Nathan Johnson
Cinematography: Lawrie Brewster
Editing by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lawrie Brewster
Release date: January 24, 2010 (Sundance Film Festival)