It’s been going on for quite a while, but HitRECord took a mighty huge step in its evolution recently when it launched its very own television show — HitRECord on TV — on something called Pivot. Wait, wait, wait. Before we continue, we should probably make sure we all know what HitRECord is, right? Right. So let’s take it directly from the website’s own words, shall we …
“Writers, musicians, illustrators, photographers, video editors — artists of all kinds are invited to contribute their work to hitRECord. Once on the site, the hitRECord community collaboratively edits, builds upon, develops and remixes each others work to create songs, animation, short films, live shows, music videos — you name it!”
Got it? Good.
The one caveat missing from that description is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who with his late brother Burning Dan, founded the project in 2005. This matters because … well, because it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt, America’s version of Carey Mulligan, a sweetheart actor who always keeps a few toes in Cool Project Land (even if something like “Premium Rush” or the sequel to “Wall Street” exists) and is almost impossible to hate (unless you try really, really hard, which some people do). The site exists as one big open mic held within the confines of an afternoon flea market. Set up your stuff and do your thing. It’s very hippy-ish, yeah, but it’s also considerably endearing.
Reaction to the first episode, however, has spawned some fun commentary. And because we are nothing if we aren’t informative, let’s take a look at some of the best lines writers far more accomplished than I’ll ever be penned:
“On the show, all of the contributors are identified by the screen names they use at hitrecord.org,” Jon Caramanica of the New York Times, wrote Friday. “Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s is RegularJoe. That tells you everything you need to know about this vanity project masking as generosity, which plays like the intersection of ‘This American Life’ and the original version of Current TV.”
See. That’s pretty funny. Now on the other side …
“What the ‘Don Jon’ actor has done is develop a Kickstarter for creatives. … It could be the world’s first selfie TV show,” the Boston Globe‘s Christopher Muther opined. “This is, in a way, the intramural soccer of television shows. Everyone gets a chance to play! … Those moments when we see what a thousand people can create together are surprisingly inspiring.”
Me? Well, as we all know by now, no good deed goes unpunished, and it’s hard to think that if anyone other than Gordon-Levitt was behind it, these commentaries might look different, both for better and worse. He’s a bit of a polarizing figure — even the people who love his work tend to feel squirmy about openly admitting as much, while the people who are genuinely annoyed by him always end up back at the notion that “it could be worse; I could be watching Shia LaBeouf try to act.”
At the project’s core, however, is an admirable premise (thus the “no good deed …” analogy above). It’s a true variety show for the Instagram generation, and for that it should be applauded. You could argue that it’s nothing more than a vehicle for Gordon-Levitt to show off his supposed boy-next-door, absurdly charming level of dude-centric like-ability (much like Mr. Caramanica did), but I won’t be that cynical. Rather, I’ll just note that it’s inspiring to see so many people work on this stuff with one another. I mean, to pull 1,440 people together for a single story is pretty darn miraculous, no?
Plus, and maybe more importantly, it’s a way to keep the actor connected to a brother he lost far too young. Shoot your nose in the air if you want, All Mighty Critics, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to believe the intentions behind the operation aren’t pure. Oh, yes, and then there’s this — in case you haven’t already figured it out: It’s also the first entirely crowd-sourced-by-Internet television series running, is it not? If that doesn’t mean it has to be discussed in this tiny corner of the World Wide Web … then roll me into a ball and blast me to the Third Rock From The Sun!
Anyway, for those wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s the first episode. Have a look …