• News

Rolling Stone Story on ‘HITRECORD ON TV’ Sundance Premiere

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Launches ‘HitRecord on TV’ at Sundance
Actor premieres the first three episodes of his crowd-sourced variety show

By Logan Hill
January 18, 2014 10:08 AM ET

Last night at the Sundance Film Festival, Joseph Gordon-Levitt premiered the first three episodes of his innovative new variety show, HitRecord on TV, featuring short films, skits, songs, animations, live performances and stories that were crowd-sourced from hundreds of collaborators. But you could be forgiven for thinking that he could do it all himself: Not only does the star of Looper and (500) Days of Summer host the show with sunny, dapper, Fallonesque optimism, he plays piano and drums, tap-dances a musical number with Tony Danza, writes and sings song lyrics, is abducted by an alien Carla Gugino, interviews John Waters and does a backflip. At the boozy afterparty, he even played piano and sang a song with a performer from Finland, Peppina, who he had discovered online.

Premiering tonight on Pivot TV, HitRecord on TV builds on the online, collaborative community that Gordon-Levitt has been developing since he founded a scrappy little site in 2005. Over the years, it has expanded dramatically from a DIY venue for his own short film experiments into a thriving online community of about 300,000 members with real-world results: oodles of online films and songs, plus three hardback volumes of Tiny Stories anthologies and music collections available in the HitRecord.org store. At Sundance, he offered up the first three episodes, shouting, “This is the Netflix experience: The binge watch!”

Like a mashup of the open-source coding movement and old-fashioned variety shows, the nine-episode series builds on the next-gen, YouTube-driven innovation of projects like YouTube Symphony Orchestra, LittleBigPlanet, the Beastie Boys’ fan-shot Awesome, I Fuckin’ Shot That! and 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Documentary. For each episode, Gordon-Levitt puts out a call for a theme – the first three are “One,” “Fantasy” and “Trash” – and then poses specific questions. Gordon-Levitt calls in a few celebrity friends to help, from Elle Fanning, who acts out the story of a woman with failing vision, to John Waters, who talks about trash culture, and his Don Jon co-star Tony Danza. But the user-generated art is the focus.

Read more here