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Joseph Gordon-Levitt hits record at Ohio State

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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One canceled show. One year’s wait. One postponed show.

After all of these obstacles, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt finally found his way to Ohio State’s campus Monday as part of the Ohio Union Activities Board event, “hitRECord at the Movies with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.”

After a year’s wait, the audience soaked up every ounce of Gordon-Levitt’s appearance, which included the actor playing guitar and singing an original song, “Words We’re Wailing,” as well as R. Kelly’s “Ignition.”

Gordon-Levitt also showed a series of short films that artists from his production company, hitRECord, created and posted to the company’s website.

HitRECord allows anybody to shoot a video, create a song, write a story, draw a picture or just create art, then upload it to the website to allow other users to remix or recreate the original piece of art to create something new.

Gordon-Levitt describes it as an “open-collaborative production company,” and the actor participated in the creation of nearly every short film shown at the event.

One short film was even created at the event, unbeknownst to the participating audience member.

“I don’t want you to just come here, sit down and be passive couch potatoes,” he said to the audience. “We’re gonna make some stuff here tonight.”

The audience member, chosen at random, joined Gordon-Levitt on stage to read a short story. That voice clip, Gordon-Levitt said, will be paired with animation created by an artist from the site and made into a “tiny story.” That story will be shown at another hitRECord show in the future, he said.

Further audience participation was welcomed by Gordon-Levitt as he brought students onstage who were using Twitter during the show, responding to the question, “What is a unique experience you’ve had at the movies?”

One student recalled her story about watching the Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog’s Day,” for 24 hours straight at Gateway Film Center, which led Gordon-Levitt to recall his own 24-hour movie marathon.

“By the end, I was, like, hypnotized, like I had gone to a different world,” he said. “It was really liberating and kind of zen.”

One message the actor consistently put forth during the show was that there’s something special in going to the cinema.

“There’s something different about going out to the movies … sitting in a dark room with a bunch of people and sharing a movie together,” he said in a short video played on the screens.

For Gordon-Levitt, one goal of his was to bring the people watching cinema into the filmmaking process, much like he brought people watching the event into to the performance itself, and even having them create cinema for the future.

“There are so many people making great art … that don’t necessarily have those Hollywood connections. … With hitRECord, that was sort of my way to collaborate with all those people,” he said to the crowd.

However, not everybody in the audience knew about Gordon-Levitt’s adventures outside of acting before the event.

When asking who in the audience had or had not heard of hitRECord before Monday, more audience members cheered in favor of not knowing, and Gordon-Levitt didn’t mind.

“That’s why I’m stoked to come do these shows, is to turn you guys on to it,” he said.

The show and its format surprised some students in attendance.

“It wasn’t what I expected it to be,” said Caleb Mihalik, a first-year in marketing. “I thought he was just gonna talk (in a question and answer format).”

Another student was impressed with the unique way Gordon-Levitt promoted his company.

“I liked how personal it (the event) was,” said Solly Poprish, a first-year in exploration. “He was … interacting with us, he was talking about his company, and himself, (but) not just advertising.”

Both Mihalik and Poprish said Gordon-Levitt inspired them with the event and will possibly contribute to the website in the future.

For Gordon-Levitt, those words could not sound sweeter.

“Honestly, I need your guys’ stuff,” he said.

The actor performed to a nearly sold-out crowd, though some seats were empty toward the back of the room.

“After working hard to coordinate our availability with his busy film and production schedule … it was fantastic to finally have Joe on campus,” OUAB lectures chair Michael Niday said in an email.

Gordon-Levitt was originally supposed to appear for the OUAB event “Joseph Gordon-Levitt // RE:ACTING & RECORDING” last October, but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict and personal issues, The Lantern reported in a Nov. 1, 2010 issue.

The “Inception” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” actor was also supposed to appear on campus in October, but once again had scheduling conflicts.

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