The actor, director and the all-round force of creative nature on the force of cooperation.
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There is no right or wrong way to fight the isolation and fear that comes from the time we live in. (Well, OK, we can probably all agree that plowing through a Costco shipment of Oreos in one session isn't the most ideal way.)
However, research shows that there are two important components to maintaining mental health and well-being: human connection and the feeling of doing something positive. And both come into play to create something with other people. A study in Art Therapy magazine found that participants' cortisol levels (a stressful chemical in the body) were dramatically reduced after only 45 minutes of art making.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a star in films like The Dark Knight Rises, 500 Days of Summer and Inception, has long understood the positive power of creating together with others. That's why he founded HITRECORD, an open online community for creative collaboration. HITRECORD has been connecting creators – experts and beginners – to passion projects since 2004. And this month, Joseph publishes a six-episode mini-series called CREATE TOGETHER that shows the results of these connections and the people behind them.
For an upcoming episode of the podcast "Get a Real Job", I spoke to Joseph about "CREATE TOGETHER" and the more general joy of doing something with it. Below are some edited highlights from this conversation. Read it – then create something!
The joy of inventing things
“In this strange time of quarantine and isolation, I found it very helpful to just stay creative and do something creative every day. But doing it alone can be difficult. Just to stare at a blank page and say, "Now I'm going to write!" Or, you know, "Now I'm making a song!" I grew up in collaborative environments on film sets and shows and really feed on other people's creative energy. Years ago I founded this community called HITRECORD, which is about creative collaboration. And so we decided to document only one show titled CREATE TOGETHER for YouTube originals. "
The film biz vs. biz biz
“I really enjoy building this company, HITRECORD. It's very different from doing a movie or a TV show. Sure, there is some overlap, but creating a product or service is different from creating an artwork in which you bring it out and then never change it again. Companies are constantly changing and developing. You are never done! We have received amazing advice from great business leaders in places like Casper, Masterclass, and Postmates and have improved our business over the years. It was really fascinating, funny, challenging, discouraging – and sometimes frustrating. But I really enjoyed it. And yes, it is different. It is different from making art. "
Social media doesn't have to be evil
"The call to collaborate is different from doing something and posting it on social media and saying," Hey, look what I did! "For me, social media is kind of a recipe for fear. I find it kind of scary. We all know what it's like to get something out and get no likes, but I'll tell you, even if there are lots of hearts and likes and retweets , it still doesn't feel good. To me, it's just like this: "Is that all? There should be more! The guy over there has more than me! “It's all toxic to the creative mind. Our platform is therefore about working together and not just reacting to a finished product. I love making films – making. It is a challenge to be with other people on the set and to find out something. It is these moments of the process itself that I really love – finding creative solutions. "
The ultimate reward
"From my experience, I can say that if you're lucky enough to get involved in something that's a" hit ", it's never really satisfying. I've never felt," Oh, OK, Great! I did it! I am satisfied! "This kind of success can never be compared to the satisfaction I get when I distract myself from these external results and concentrate on the inherent rewards of the creative process itself. Then I get really excited. I try something and then I find it and like, ah, there it is. It works. And for me, it happens a lot better when I do it with other people. "