Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt promotes production company at Jesse Auditorium

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | 11:07 p.m. CDT; updated 11:55 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 27, 2011
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks to students on Wednesday evening at Jesse Auditorium. The event was about hitRECord, Gordon-Levitt's online production company.

COLUMBIA — Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt never used the stairs to get onstage.

Instead, he used a variety of jumps, rolls and climbs after combing the audience for volunteers during his Wednesday night performance at Jesse Auditorium.

Gordon-Levitt, 30, presented his production company, hitRECord, through improv activities, film screenings and musical performance to a crowd as loud as the freight train roaring through his 2010 film "Inception." 

"Are we recording?" he asked the audience as he whipped out his own camera, stamped with the hitRECord label.

Between him, his cameraman and the myriad cameras lighting up the seats, it was clear that yes, indeed, they were recording.

"We didn't want to put on a show where you sit and passively watch," he said, still holding the camera. "My angle and (my cameraman's) angle are only two, ... but with all of you we will have thousands of angles."

Gordon-Levitt is known for his roles in "3rd Rock from the Sun," "(500) Days of Summer," and the recently released comedy "50-50." He started hitRECord in 2004 to help writers, musicians, filmmakers and other artists collaborate on multimedia projects.

Throughout the evening, Gordon-Levitt brought a variety of audience members on stage, doing impromptu story readings, talking about favorite experiences when at the movie theater and participating in "Pocket Autopsies," where audience members were brought up on stage to explain why they had various items in their pockets.

Gordon-Levitt is promoting hitRECord across the country as a way for people to get involved in the filmmaking process. As the crowd gathered outside to sneak a glimpse of him leaving through the stage door, it was clear he got his message through to Kelly Strope, an MU sophomore.

Strope and a group of friends brought their digital cameras to record the event, but after listening to Gordon-Levitt speak, she felt encouraged to turn the camera on her friend Ellie after the show.

"She had told this story and it was really funny, and tonight it was like, 'Record funny things!'" she said. "And it was like, 'We're going to record it!' And boom, it happened." 

Gordon Levitt said that encouraging collaborative projects through hitRECord is his passion.

"This is me, this is really my heart right here," he said. "I love acting; I'll do it until the day I die, but there's a difference between acting out a role which someone else conceived as opposed to this. This is really like my life."

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