Spotlight On – hitRECord

Since the dawn of YouTube anyone and everyone has had the chance to become an internet star or moviemaker. Amongst the noise some work of quality has risen to the surface and brought success for their creators; Felicia Day’s The Guild web series is a prime example. A more collaborative effort was born three years ago from actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s blog at hitrecord.org and recently developed into a production company complete with a Sundance screening. The best thing about it? You can join in.

hitRECord works on the principle of its collaborators sharing and remixing each others “records”, a record being an image, some audio, a video or text. The idea being that one record can be remixed and added to by any number of other users until a finished product is produced. You may write a poem, someone could edit that poem, another could record a reading of that poem and others could make a video set to that reading; over time a cohesive video is born. Users from all over the globe can work together in this way, pooling their individual talents to produce something greater than a single person could produce. A recent record from Gordon-Levitt himself details the work ethos of the site.

This collaborative nature bucks the current trends of the media industry, both as an industry that seems near impossible to gain entry to and as an area where people fiercely guard their creations and issue copyright lawsuits at the drop of a trademarked hat. At hitRECord all content is given over to the community pool, no one person can claim ownership to the finished product as it is a true team effort.

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival hitRECord set up a REC room for people to come and collaborate, with users still collaborating over the internet. This event culminated in two screenings as part of Sundance that showcased the achievements of hitRECord. Two pieces that stand out for me is Nebulullaby and Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date With Destiny, which is embedded below. Nebulullaby moved from a song recorded by Sean Lennon at Sundance into an impressive music video with a global production team. Another record details how Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date With Destiny came to be, starting as a simple suggestion and over time snowballing into a short film so good that Gordon-Levitt (or RegularJOE) wrote, “I’m as proud of Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny as I am of any work I’ve ever done.” Sundance was a big success that brought profit for hitRECord, half of which went back into the business and half was split among contributors whose work was show at Sundance.

hitRECord is a great opportunity for anyone with an idea or creative spirit. If you have a photo, video, audio recording or piece of writing why not upload it and see if it sparks the next big thing? Or have a browse and see if another record grabs your attention, download it and add to it. Go on, hit record.

Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny:

Spotlight On – Felicity Jones

Every now and then I want to draw your attention to an up and coming actor so that if they ever get successful I can claim to have known all along. Today I bring you Birmingham’s own Felicity Jones who, after 14 years of working steadily onscreen, may well have her big break coming in 2010.

Jones’ first big TV role was as school bully Ethel Hallow in the children’s series The Worst Witch, followed a few years later by a co-starring role in BBC series Servants. After studying a degree in English at Oxford she went on to take the lead role in ITV’s Northanger Abbey and the short lived series Cape Wrath. Moving into the movie arena Jones took on small roles in Flashbacks of a Fool, Brideshead Revisited and Cheri, while continuing to appear on the small screen in The Diary of Anne Frank and Doctor Who. None of these films were very successful in the box office or critically well received so Felicity Jones remained mostly unheard of.

Alongside her work onscreen Jones was appearing onstage and since 1999 has played the role of Emma Grundy, now Emma Carter, in radio series The Archers so her lack of fame is not down to an absence of hard work. I really enjoy Felicity Jones, as you may have guessed by now, and she is often the only good aspect to a few otherwise horrible films. The reason I think 2010 is her year is Cemetery Junction, the new comedy drama, heavy on the drama, from Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant where she plays the female lead. The trailer was recently released and coming from this duo is likely to be a success; hopefully also a launch pad for the young stars within. The recent adaptation of The Tempest starring Helen Mirren, and Felicity Jones as Miranda, would have also been a good breakthrough film but for the fact that it was produced by the recently deceased Miramax, so its future remains in the balance.

I believe that Jones is an engaging, and not unattractive, young actor with a hopefully successful career to come. Look out for Felicity Jones in the future as she may well be the next big thing, and if she is, don’t forget I told you so.