ladyfalcon: (Felt up & feeling fine)
[personal profile] ladyfalcon
Here's the scene: It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, just last Tuesday. I am procrastinating on some papers that need to get written. The way I procrastinate is by trolling Twitter obsessively.

Suddenly, a tweet pops up from one of my friends on HitRECord - "HitRECord at the Movies tonight at University of Maryland - but that's 4 hours away. :("

And for a second I can feel nothing. The second after that is a flood of "HOLY SHIT THAT IS 15 MINUTES AWAY FROM ME WHY THE HELL DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL ME?!?!?!"

Because, see, I have been in love with HitRECord and the idea of HitRECord since I figured out what it was. And last October I had tickets to go see a HitRECord live show in New York that then got canceled. I mean, I got to go up anyway and met a lot of HitRECorders and made friends etc., but it's just not the same. And just the weekend before, there was a live show in LA that it seemed like every single person I was friends with was able to just up and attend.

I didn't have either the time or the money to hop a plane across the country. I might never have the time and the money again, was my depressed sad-is-me thought. Even getting the tickets to go to New York was the result of a pretty unlikely series of events, and I was pretty sure I was never going to get the chance again. I was happy for my friends but also deeply jealous.

So suddenly this little opportunity drops right into my lap. It is 2. The show is at 8. There is still time.

The one problem is that the show was only open to University of Maryland students, which I am not. There are also a VERY LIMITED number of guest spots, but even then you have to be with someone who is a UMD student. The first thing I did was send out a series of desperate Twitter messages basically promising everything from kidneys to sexual favors to anybody who might be able to take me. The second thing I did was put up Craigslist ads in every category that even slightly related, begging strangers to take me (although for strangers I offered coffee instead of sex).

Thirty minutes later, nothing has happened. I am freaking out. I feel as though I might die a little inside if this event goes down within walking distance from my house and I still manage to miss it.

That is when one of my friends, who is a UMD student but wasn't able to go, says, "I'd lend you my ID card to get in, but I need it to get into work tomorrow morning."

And I don't even have to think about it for a second before I am all DUDE I WILL DRIVE YOUR CARD HOME AFTER NO PROBLEM.

So that is how it went down. I ran around like a crazy person gathering up my two cameras and all their accouterments, I drove to the University, met Friend, got her card, bought her a coffee, and I was golden.

At this point it was like 4.45, and the instructions on UMD's website said we were only to start lining up at 6. This was bullshit. There was already a massive crowd of people loitering in the lobby area of the ballroom where the show was being held. I made a friend of a fellow HitRECorder named Yvette who likewise didn't know anybody. She wasn't a UMD student, and didn't have a friend, so it's good that we met because she was able to be my +1.

At 5.30, the event organizers finally gave up and made us form a line instead of the amorphous mass that had existed. For an almost-secret show, the crowd was ridiculous. At one point I took my video camera and filmed the line. It took me fully two and a half minutes just to walk it from beginning to end.

Then we were allowed into the show, and by luck Yvette and I got seats in the third row, close to the middle. There were photos and drawings from HitRECord being projected onto the screen as we waited, and it was astounding, amazing, unexplainably cool to see art from people I know. Interspersed with the art is a screen prompting everyone to Tweet about a cool experience they had at the movies using the #hitrecordUMD hashtag. I tweeted, "I missed 1/2 of Juno - guys next to us were taping & talking. Not the right kind of RECording!"

Then I promptly forgot about it.

Finally, the lights dimmed. The crowd lost their minds. I consider these shows the evangelical work of HitRECord. Some shows, like the LA one, are primarily for HitRECorders - They are announced on the site and tickets are bought through the site's store. Shows like these serve a different purpose. The idea is, a lot of people will go hoping to see JGL, and maybe some of them will leave inspired and join HitRECord and become productive makers of art.

The problem is that there are a lot of people who don't care about the message part, and persist in being crazy fans all over the place. Which is fine, it just trips my secondhand embarrassment trigger really badly. There was a lot of catcalling, a lot of trolling the Twitter hashtag for attention, that sort of thing. It's great that people love JGL's work, but on HitRECord he's RegularJoe. He's the bossman, but he's just a man. And I frankly don't get how people make the leap from loving someone's work to thinking they love them, and that goes for any celebrity. I don't want anyone to think I'm sneering at them for their feelings, I just don't get it myself.

So the show progresses. We watch a few short films, including some I thought I'd seen, like Morgan M. Morgansen's Date with Destiny, which had so many details I'd never seen before, watching on my laptop screen! Joe brought up a girl who tweeted that she'd brought her 8mm camera, and introduced the concept of tiny stories. I saw art made by friends, I saw their names in the credits. I was so happy. I took scads of pictures with my DSLR while Yvette manned my video camera.

Then Joe started talking about the question we had been asked to Tweet about while we waited to begin, about experiences we'd had at the movies. He called up two girls by their Twitter handles. Then he stumbled over one. "Avec une... cle? With a key?"

Joe speaks French, by the way. It's just that my Twitter name is avec_une_clef, which doesn't mean "With a key" but looks like it should, and is the way it is for reasons that don't matter.

So yeah. That was me. Like I said in my teaser post, at 2 I found out HitRECord was coming to a venue near me, at 8.30 I was standing onstage with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Joe even asked me if I was recording after one of the other girls had made a really poignant statement. I was (having snatched my video camera back from Yvette on my way up to the stage), and he said "That's awesome, that's exactly the sort of thing I want in my film!"

And then it was my turn to talk, about the first time I saw Juno, when Krystle and I were the only people in the theater except for two guys who sat right next to us and laughed and talked through it the whole time, while filming the movie for bootlegs, and I missed a lot of the dialogue. I told them how I couldn't do anything, because there were only four people in the theater, so if I left and then the usher came in, it would be pretty obvious who had snitched, and I didn't want to get beat up in the parking lot.

"Would you have still been distracted if they'd been quiet through it?" he asked.

"I'd still have been angry," I said. "Because... There's a difference between recording when someone wants you to, and recording when they don't?"

Which is pretty much the least eloquent way to say that that I could have done. But I was flustered. I was in front of a lot of people and I've never spoken into a handheld microphone before and it was all just A LOT to happen from something that was thrown together so quickly on my end. I've watched the video since, and actually I don't sound too deeply ridiculous except for that one part. Also, I learned that I am taller than Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

And then I sat down. I didn't trip down the stairs, but I did get lost finding my way back to my seat because the lights had gone back down and it was very dark.

I think I'm a pretty with-it HitRECorder, I check the site regularly and try to stay abreast of developments, so I was astonished how many things there were in the show that I'd never seen. I tried to get pictures of everything, as Yvette very calmly selected only the important bits to videotape.

Some parts kept reminding me that this wasn't a show for insiders - there is one part where Joe asks people who want to sing to come up for the Garden chorus. The Garden song started as a little minute-long clip of a girl singing a simple refrain in kind of an eerie voice, that then blossomed with the help of musicians and vocalists and one amazing conductor into a true tour de force, a real example of what community-based art can become. The recent shows have included Joe conducting people from the audience in a sing-a-long, in the hopes that it can be added to what's already there and make the final product better.

At the LA show, about a dozen people stood up to sing, and the tape that came from it is lovely. At UMD, so many people rushed the stage that there wasn't really room for them all. Again, my secondhand embarrassment was acute, but I clearly survived.

There were amazing audience participation parts, too. At one point, Joe collected five audience members to all read the same tiny story, but in different voices and moods. The first reader was this guy who was just so clearly delighted to be involved, and the audience applause he got after obviously made his day. So that was great.

In any case, no matter what else happens, the evangelical work is important. Hell, I myself found out about HitRECord because a year ago someone sent me a link to Joe singing Bad Romance at one of the shows. The HitRECord logo was projected on the screen behind him, and I checked it out, and then my life (and in some small way the site) was changed forever. Also, 99% of what I do for HitRECord is talk about it to people who are more talented than me, so I have to believe spreading the word is worth something, since it's all I normally do.

When the show was over, a lot of people were sad, but I was elated. Everything had worked out! I got to see a HitRECord show despite my lack of money and ability to travel, and I came away with bucketloads of pictures and videos and inspiration.

The comedown came when I was driving home, when I managed to convince myself that I had sounded like an idiot in front of hundreds of people, but as I said I've watched the videos since and I actually didn't come off as so much of an ass. Also, my statement, however badly stated, allowed Joe to segue into explaining how we make the site work by not posting anything that doesn't belong to us, with the understanding that anything there can be used to make anything else.

But you don't care about that (probably). You (probably) care more about pictures!

This one is very exciting for me because the Shadow Beings collab was started by two friends of mine, and in the way these things do, it just caught the attention of the right people (including Joe) and is now the next big thing the community is working on.

The deal with HitRECord is you can't put up copyrighted material - that way, everyone can use anything they see or hear on the site to make whatever they want. But because live shows should be unique and special, Joe always plays a cover song that is NOT for the site, but just for the event. This night it was "Who's Lovin' You", originally by Smokey Robinson. I have video, and if it isn't up on Youtube already I'll put my copy up.

Also I learned from Twitter that Joe only decided what song to sing on the way from the airport, and had to figure out the chords in the darkened theater while the movies were playing. Which is a level of last-minute I can appreciate, having been in similar situations so often myself.

And then of course if you are so inclined you can see the RECord I made with the footage. If you click the link, you should probably also join HitRECord so that you can 'recommend' it, which is that sites version of 'liking' stuff on Facebook. Also, if you do that you can join the community and start making stuff! Or just curate (going through everything that's posted with an eye to what has potential to become something bigger is a huge part of what HitRECord needs)!

So that is my story of my Luckiest Day Ever (with HitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

The best (or very important) part is that I got all the work I had originally been procrastinating on finished the next day, in plenty of time! So basically every single thing went my way that could have.


Date: 2011-04-29 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is a fabulous story and you should feel fabulous. <33

Date: 2011-04-29 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is amazing! I didn't really know anything about HitRECord and still think it was awesome you were called up to talk. HOW COOL IS THAT! This sounds like it was just meant to be and I am glad you got to go.

Date: 2011-04-29 05:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, in keeping with my evangelical role on the site, I can just say that the very best way to figure out what its deal is is to go poke around on the website, but if you want more this vid: of a talk Joe gave at Stanford this week, should answer any other questions you could possibly have.

I really hope you give it a look! The company needs talented people like you!

Date: 2011-04-29 08:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow! I'm so glad you had such a fabulous time!

This is the first I'm hearing about HitRECord, though, so either you haven't posted about it on your blog, or I missed something?

Anyway, I'm going to peruse the site (but perhaps on Sunday, since I'm awake at work I might as well watch the live stream of the wedding, no?).

Date: 2011-04-29 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I joined hitRECord a little while ago, but haven't had much time to contribute much to the site. I love the idea of it, though. I was using it as an absolutely no-pressure place to write, which was, hmm, kind of a... relief? (My brain is so not working yet. I got back from a concert at 3am last night.) Anyway, when I've got fewer writing projects on my plate, I want to check out the site more, maybe find ways to get involved more. I miss having a community of artists to play with!


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October 2011


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