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Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants to make a movie with you

August 29, 2011 |  9:00 am

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is doing just fine with that Hollywood day job -- he stars with Seth Rogen in the upcoming cancer comedy "50/50" and will reunite with "Inception" director Christopher Nolan in next summer's "The Dark Knight Rises" -- but it's an arty moonlighting venture that has the 30-year-old L.A. native most excited right now. Levitt owns hitRECord, an outfit that blurs the conventional separation of artist and audience. What exactly does all of that mean? Times staff writer Geoff Boucher caught up with Gordon-Levitt to find out and to also learn more about the hitRECord Fall Formal on Oct. 10 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Question: What is hitRECord?

Answer: It's my production company that I started, but it's a little different from a traditional production company. I didn't want to work just in Hollywood, I wanted to work with these great artists all over the world who are doing great work on their laptops. They don't live in Hollywood, they don't have those connections, but that doesn't mean they don't do great work. The idea was to put these projects up online on our website, hitRECord.org, and anybody can come and contribute to them. We call it an open collaborative production company. I direct things and curate things and we end up making short films, music, and art and writing.

Q: There's a live show component -- you've done events in London, San Francisco and Seattle and tickets have just gone on sale for the Fall Formal event in L.A., which is the biggest yet. What is the program like?

A: At the shows normally it's half and half, it's us playing and showing things and half making new things. At the Fall Formal it's going to be even more live performance; we'll still screen some of our short films, but there's going to be a lot of collaborative art-making. The audience is not just there to watch. Everyone is encouraged to bring cameras and record what goes on and then upload what they record to the site and we use those records to make new art that will go on our next DVD, or in our next show or go in our next book...there will be a big screen and it will be this grand environment to show some of these films that were made collaboratively by people from all over the world. This will be first time we'll have a full band to play some of the songs created. I'm inviting some friends and performers to participate...[At one event] Anne Hathaway came up and did a piece from a work called "Shadow Caste."  

Q: In the past there were times when technology was viewed as something that ran counter to art or that technology cheapened or undermined the artistic life somehow. It seems now that it is eliminating gatekeepers and inspiring digital tribe art.

A: I would argue that it is taking us back to the natural order of things. Throughout humanity, for thousands of years, communication and storytelling and music was a communal thing. Gather around the fire and sing songs and tell a story they heard last week or sing, but this time add a new line to a song everyone knows. This idea of intellectual property is relatively new. The Internet is allowing us to go back in new powerful way.

Q: So what's your role at the live events?

A: It's a variety show and I do a master-of-ceremonies thing. We just played two sold-out houses in San Francisco and Seattle, venues with 800 people, and we did events at the British Film Institute and at South by Southwest in Austin. This one coming up is by far the biggest, it's our big gala. It's the culmination of everything we done so far. We're putting out our anthology, it's called RECollection, it's hardbound with a DVD of our short films and a CD of rock music and a book of our art. It's a big milestone for us, and this show is a celebration of everything we've done so far. It's our gala and we're not enforcing a dress code, but I think a lot of people are going to dress to the nines. Or something more creative than that.

 

 

[for the Record, 11:50 Aug. 29: An earlier version of this post said that Anne Hathaway performed a piece entitled "Shadow Cats" instead of "Shadow Caste." ]

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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