The Maneater

Joseph Gordon-Levitt woos crowd with night of short films

The "Inception" actor urged students to submit original art for collaboration.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt records a video of himself with his audience in the background during his presentation Wednesday at Jesse Auditorium. Gordon-Levitt started hitRECord as a world-wide collaborative film company open to photographers, filmmakers, video editors and writers.

As actor and artist Joseph Gordon-Levitt walked onstage in Jesse Auditorium, he was met by the screams of hundreds of fans. Known for his roles in the hit films “Inception,” “500 Days of Summer” and “50/50," Gordon-Levitt brought his boyish charm to MU to host a promotional event for hitRECord.org, his web-based collaborative production company.

Contributors to hitRECord typically submit audio, film, writing, illustrations, music and photographs to create a variety of small projects, some of which Gordon-Levitt showcased in his presentation. Many of the short films he showed elicited laughs, while others elicited "aww"s from audience members.

The first short film shown was titled “Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny,” and drew laughs as the young actor comically portrayed a nearly disastrous romantic date with a woman named Destiny. The film is the result of nearly 180 collaborations from hitRECord.org.

By putting together different pieces, he said, the company has released several short films, music and stories in book, DVD and CD form, all featuring contributed work.

“The universe is not made of atoms,” he said. “It is made of tiny stories.”

HitRECord aims to capture these tiny stories and create small productions, Gordon-Levitt said. For example, the actor has previously asked contributors to send in a big idea expressed in a “tiny way.” The resulting writings and illustrations were compiled in "The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories," which he previewed for the MU audience.

As the director of the initiative, he encouraged everyone in the audience to contribute by providing original artwork for the open-collaborative projects, including recording the events of the night and uploading the results to hitRECord.org.

If a production makes a profit, hitRECord will compensate the contributors.

“We split the profits,” Gordon-Levitt said. “So (for) any profits we make, half goes to hitRECord and half goes to the (contributors).”

With his camera in hand, he invited audience members on stage to participate in the filming of “short stories” to potentially be used in future projects, including the narration of a tiny story and a new live project, the pocket autopsy. For the pocket autopsy, he called audience members on stage to empty their pockets and explain what was inside on camera.

Gordon-Levitt also asked audience members to Tweet during the event about their memorable theater moments. The most interesting contributors were called up on stage to elaborate on camera about their adventures at the movie theater.

The event ended with a display of Gordon-Levitt’s vocal and guitar talents, as the 30-year-old sang two songs, including “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson.

Gordon-Levitt said that he is passionate about creating projects through hitRECord and encourages others to get involved.

“I really love acting,” Gordon-Levitt said. “I hope I do it till I die, but this is really my heart.”

Many who attended the event had not heard of hitRECord before but responded positively to the presentation.

“I didn’t know anything about (hitRECord) before coming here,” sophomore Madison Krause said. “Now, I wish I were artistic enough to contribute.”

Sophomore Jessica Moore said she wanted to hear Joseph Gordon-Levitt speak because she is interested in film.

“I loved listening to him,” she said. “I’m a film studies major and (hitRECord) is so cool.”

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