Become a Writer Today

Collaborative Writing And Creative Projects With Jared Geller of HitRECORD

April 22, 2020 Bryan Collins
Become a Writer Today
Collaborative Writing And Creative Projects With Jared Geller of HitRECORD
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Become a Writer Today
Collaborative Writing And Creative Projects With Jared Geller of HitRECORD
Apr 22, 2020
Bryan Collins

What is HitRecord?

HitRecord is a creative platform where writers can collaborate with illustrators, graphic designers other creatives across disciplines on short films, animations, scripts and more.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jared Geller founded the company in 2004. It claims over 900,000 users and employs 40 people in Los Angeles.

I recently interviewed Jared and in this interview, he explains:

  • How writers can use a platform like HitRecord
  • Why every creative project needs a leader
  • What it takes to start a creative project on HitRecord
  • Why successful creatives collaborate

And lots more.

I started by asking him how creatives can use HitRECORD.


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Show Notes Transcript

What is HitRecord?

HitRecord is a creative platform where writers can collaborate with illustrators, graphic designers other creatives across disciplines on short films, animations, scripts and more.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jared Geller founded the company in 2004. It claims over 900,000 users and employs 40 people in Los Angeles.

I recently interviewed Jared and in this interview, he explains:

  • How writers can use a platform like HitRecord
  • Why every creative project needs a leader
  • What it takes to start a creative project on HitRecord
  • Why successful creatives collaborate

And lots more.

I started by asking him how creatives can use HitRECORD.


Attention writers

Grammarly is one of my favourite proofreading tools. Now, claim a 20% discount with this Grammarly coupon

--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/becomeawritertoday/message

Support the show (https://becomeawritertoday.com/join)

Speaker 1:

Collaboration requires some form of leadership. There's usually an individual or a group of individuals who will take on a leadership role, whether that's a a story editor, somebody, a writer, a musician starting a project or is helping to guide a project or song that will put the pieces together.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the become a writer today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here you'll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Speaker 3:

Would you like to collaborate with other creatives across , you've written the script or story and you want to work with an illustrator or a graphic designer or somebody from a different discipline who can help you take your idea and remixes. Hi there. My name is Brian Collins and that's a topic we're going to cover in this week's podcast episode. I recently had the chance to speak to Jared Galler . He's the CEO of hit record, a platform he co founded with the actor Joseph Gordon lavish. But before we get into this week's interview, I was reflecting on the importance of collaboration during the creative process and I was thinking about what goes into writing a book. So if you write a book, you know you come up with the idea yourself, you will probably work on the first draft yourself. You know, you'll write with the door closed as Stephen King says, but there comes a time when you'll need to collaborate with somebody else. You'll need to edit with the door open to finish what Stephen King says. So that means finding an editor and even once you've found an editor, you will also need to collaborate with a proofreader on finding those two types of writing professionals will help you improve the quality of your book. And I know when I wrote my first book I taught, I could edit and proofread myself on. I didn't know how Rondo Roz till I started getting complaints from readers and had to rewrite the book in question. But of course it's not enough to just collaborate with those two people. You also need to work with somebody from a different discipline. You need to work with a book cover designer because the reality is most authors don't necessarily have the skills or the time to design a professional book cover. I'm not supposed to expect of you. If you want to sell your book on Amazon collaboration, it doesn't stop there because if you want to sell your book, you're going to need to learn how to use tools as software that other people have built. Let's say you want to get into email marketing, which is a fantastic way of building relationships with readers and selling your book. Well then you're going to need to use email marketing software. I'm not something that only a software developer can create. Alternatively, if you're considering taking your book and turning it into an online course, which is something I recommend, if you have written nonfiction, then you'll need to collaborate probably with a video editor who can help you turn your video or audio lessons into something that students are happy to consume and what's more, you'll also need to work with early our beta students so you can identify, find and fix errors in your course. And again, that's something that I've done, which has helped me improve the courses that I've created over the years. So the way I like to think about it is creativity is iterative. And it's not something that you can do alone. You can always improve the quality of your work. If you find somebody who has a skill set that you luck , and if you listen to their Frank feedback, and I know getting feedback can be difficult, particularly if you know a reader emails, you have to say, this book was terrible. Or if a student says they just didn't like the course, I want their money back. All of those things have happened to me. Well, what I say to you is there a criticism isn't necessarily about you as a creator. It could reflect where they're coming from. So perhaps they've had a bad day. If you'd like venting over email or it could be simply about your product and it's important to separate your book or your course or your product from you as a creator. It's not a criticism of you. And if you're going to get your work out into the world, which you should, then you will encounter this criticism. Ultimately worrying about what people think of you is less important than actually capturing the attention of the right people in the first place. So if you're working on something creative, I'd encourage you to consider who you can collaborate with to improve your project in question. And of course you don't necessarily have to, you know , go ahead and write a book that you're going to sell or start offering an online course. You could get started on something relatively small. You could just write a scene and upload it to a platform like hit record or a graphic designer could take it and re mix it. In this week's interview, jarred gallery gets into what hit record is and how it could help create us and he talks about how writers can use hit record, I want, they should expect from a platform. We also talk about why every creative project needs a leader. Somebody who will take charge of the project and question and get it over the finish line and he talks about what it takes to start a successful small creative project. We also get into collaboration. Of course there's lots more we call in this week's interview, but I started by asking Jared to explain what a hit record is and how it can help create those ad writers in the first place. Sure .

Speaker 1:

Is a creative platform where people from all over the world participate in all sorts of creative projects where they contribute individual elements like little ingredients. You know, whether that's what those are song projects and they contribute lyrics or whether it's video projects and they contribute, you know, short form pieces of video that add up to something that they couldn't have necessarily done on their own. So a , what we'd like to say is like we break down the creative process into bite sized pieces so that anybody feels like they can participate and then people contribute those little pieces and the community that's on our platform, they work together, they collaborate to create, like I said, finished songs, videos, animation, short form documentary, tiny stories. That's how it works. What type of creatives do you find are using the platform? Sure. Hip record isn't necessarily a place to come for professional opportunities. It's for anyone. Creativity is a human universal. So anybody who has that inclination to want to express themselves can and does participate in the process. When I mentioned that we like to think that by breaking down the creative process into bite size pieces, it sort of demystifies the whole idea of making things. And so, so anybody feels like they can participate. And what I mean by that is if you were to say to me, Hey, you know, do you want to write a song together? I wouldn't necessarily know what you meant. But if you said, Hey, do you want to write a few lyrics about the feeling of loneliness or do you want to draw a picture of the sun or you want to take a photograph of a landscaper , whatever the case may be, by breaking down the creative process into super bite sized pieces that anybody feels like they can do, that's when people join in and become a part of our community and participate in all sorts of different creative projects. So I'm looking at the hair rack arts side at the moment and one of the Bonner's talks about audio tails . So if I had a script for a story, is that something I could share on here ? Records ? It's something that you could share, but you know, what we find is that when people talk about their own experiences, you get some really awesome stories. Stories that you never would have because everybody's experience is so unique to them. So what we have found is if people write about themselves or if they record audio talking about their own experience, one, it's easier for people to do. People feel like that's not so big of a lift, but also the stories are tend to be more unique. And what we found is, like I said, you know , the more people who contribute, you really do get that rich sense of storytelling. The more inclusive you can be about the opportunities, the creative opportunities, the more interesting the results in our experience are. And that's not just for audio stories, that's for music, that's for illustration, that's for photography, for video. When people are actually contributing their own experiences, that's when sort of like the surprise and the magic comes out. The platform is quite big. Giovanni success stories that you'd like to point to or maybe collaborations that really took off and surprised everyone? Yeah, sure. So , uh , you know, right now what we do, look, there are thousands of projects on the platform. Most of the projects , uh , are people starting their own and rallying community. Uh , there's a project that someone started, I think her name is Sabine , started a project called tracing scars. This isn't something that we would have started on our own or I would have even thought about, but she had this idea that like everybody has scars , whether they're physical or internal or whatever the case may be. And she started a project where she said, let's all talk about the different scars that we have. And people started recording videos of different, they would point to scars that they'd had or that they have. And they would talk about how they got them, whether it was, you know, surgery from a cleft palate or a young trans man was talking about his transition surgery. And so people were rallying around this idea of talking about their scars, whether physical or internal. And Sabine has made a series of this project thematic, like what are the scars that we have, whether, you know, talk about whether they're internal, external and she's created a series. And you can imagine, well one, this isn't an idea that we would have had. So the surprise in that and the power of inclusivity is getting people to participate in something that they wouldn't have necessarily had the opportunity to do in the first place. Providing a platform for people to create and lead projects leads to these surprising results. But also I think one of the things that that's surprising and really wonderful about the platform is people make themselves really vulnerable to talk about, especially with this project. And that's a really beautiful thing about creativity and also human connection and understanding is that when we talk about our experience, especially with subject matter, that is so personal about like, you know , the experiences that I just mentioned. I mean, look, if we're talking about humanity, it's like what better way to think about human understanding than to share stories like the scars that we have, you know? And , and do you find the stories on projects tend to live on hit record or they take a life of their own outside of yeah. You know , uh , we have all sorts of different kinds of project . You know, we've made TV shows our , our television show hit record on TV, won an Emmy award, multiple projects that we've done have been seen by a lot of people. You know, we work with brands and we did a series of TV commercials for LG that ran on the world series and all over television. And right now we have a partnership with Zappos that's gone really, really well and we'll be continuing that where we create all sorts of of art that is syndicated throughout social media and their platform. We have an awesome relationship with Ubisoft where people from all over the world are creating content, music, visual assets, stories that will actually go into AAA video games. We were just at Sundance actually and got to share some of the art and creativity that our community creates at Sundance. And that was actually, I think it was our fifth time there. So we have, we have a , a nice home at Sundance. It's a really beautiful thing. So yeah, I mean there's all sorts of ways that the art that our community creates has gotten to reach a larger, our more mainstream audience. And we're , you know, we're always excited to get to share our stuff with a wider audience because not only are we proud of what we get to make and what our community has created, but when people see the stuff that making, then more people participate because they see, Oh, I could do that. I want to participate in that. So it serves as a, it's a, it's a real symbiotic relationship that we have with our distribution partner .

Speaker 3:

So that's fantastic. Like I didn't realize you guys have won an Emmy. That's amazing. Who would all like the final creative project because some creatives will be definitely be open to collaborating, whereas other creatives might have a few reservations.

Speaker 1:

Sure. I mean, I think we, you know, from the very beginning, we always wanted to make hit record a safe space for anybody who, for anybody, you know, people who don't have any professional aspirations to be a creative professional or, or, or people who do make a living doing it. So I think every few years we see a terms of service update on popular social media platforms and we all take a step back and say, Oh no, what are , what are they going to be able to do with our content? We were very upfront with our terms of service, which, which are when you upload any piece of content, you provide us with the nonexclusive license to the content. And when you do that, you provide us with a license to monetize that content. We will share any of the profits with the individual contributor. But to note people aren't uploading their finished song, they're not uploading their screenplay, they're uploading individuals , small ingredients, very bite-sized sort of building blocks that create a greater whole. So I think that dynamic has made people feel super comfortable. Because look, you know, if , if you're an aspiring creative professional and you have your screenplay that you're shopping around, don't put it on hit record, you know, because that's just not the place for it, you know? But if you want to express yourself creatively and you want to participate and collaborate with other people and sometimes uh , have that work may be licensed to a larger audience, that's a great thing. Then come to hit record.

Speaker 3:

You find somebody will naturally bring together all of the different pieces that have been uploaded, like dilemmas become the show

Speaker 1:

or our director or take shape. Yeah, no collaboration requires some form of leadership. There's usually an individual or a group of individuals who will take on a leadership role, whether that's a , a story editor, somebody, a writer, a musician starting a project or is helping to guide a project or song that will put the pieces together. You know, oftentimes somebody who's really great at visual effects will take individual illustrations or you know, a series of illustrations and put it together. And in fact, what we've been developing over the last year and we've been beginning to launch in the last three months are project tools that will help people who want to lead projects, be able to do that. You know, using technology and using feature sets that allow people who want to lead projects to get them completed. Because collaboration, especially creative collaboration oftentimes does take leadership. Yeah, I agree with that. And you've got some interesting projects as well, would be helpful. And where the community are creating soundtracks for computer games for watchdogs , that's a pretty, pretty interesting project. So it seems like it'd be a great way to make a name for yourself if you wanted to as a creative. Uh , yeah. Like I said, you know, most people who are coming to hit record, they're not coming for professional opportunities. People, you know, it has happened. There's an artist who started tiny stories is a huge project on our platform that was created by an artist, awesome artist named Waro. And we have a , had a book series with Harper Collins called tiny stories. You know, there's I think four volumes of that book that it's a really popular project. Tiny book of tiny stories. And that's a great example of , of you know, somebody who is really from a creative standpoint created a project that's super popular and has gone on to be distributed by a major publisher. And that artist has collaborated with the report community to get that are out there. But you know, what we find is, and this is based on surveys and conversations for years because our community is over a decade old at this point. And what we have come to understand, and it's not necessarily intuitive because I think most media tech companies place the emphasis on the finished product and there's a monetization plan that's exclusively tied to the content itself. But what we find, and like I said, it's not necessarily intuitive, is the reason why people come to hit record is because they love the experience of being creative together. They like making things together. You know , we asked our community, Hey, should we be doing more TV shows? Should we be doing more branded content? Should we be doing more? You know , fill in the blank and the number one response was, we don't care where it goes. Like that's cool that we're making all this stuff, but what we really want is just to make stuff together and, and to have those whatever we're making be finished and be celebrated in some way. And that's when we thought, okay, we really, you know, we'll continue to make, you know , TV shows and partner with brands and you know, make projects with, you know, you'd be soft and things like that. But what we really want to lean into is optimizing the experience of being creative and really support the creative process, which is why, you know, we're really investing in project tools. So if you're a project leader, how can we really create an experience that'll allow you to collaborate with more people and make that experience really great. And the key part of that is figuring out how to help finish their project. Because if you keep on asking people to participate and nothing feels like it's getting done frustrating and want to participate. So yeah, you're talking about the tools. Could you give me like an example of some of the tools that you've rolled out? Like I understand Hey Ricard completed a funding round last year and you've used it to build out the platform. Could you talk a little bit about some of those tools? Yeah, so a couple things. One is one of the questions that we would always be asked is I want to start a project but I don't know what to do next in what sequence. So we've created tools for people who want to start projects and we have all sorts of categories. Whether you want to make a song, music, video, documentary, a short , short form, documentary, video, things like that. Creating a little bit of a template to say like, Hey here, in our experience, collaborating with people from all over the world, here's what we think the steps are, here's what you know and here's a basic template for how you can do this. And of course it's all customizable and it's all, there's tools for people to lead projects. You know, you can have all the tools in the world, but sometimes not everybody feels like they can make uh , an animated short film or a music video, but they want to lead a project. So we're also developing simpler format , like an audio tale . For example, I couldn't lead a project for animation cause I'm not an animator but I know how to tell a story. I know what makes a good story and I could probably identify different audio stories and put them together. So we are also starting to create and at least propose to the community simpler a create a format so that more people feel like they can participate in leading projects. On the mobile side. What's super interesting is, you know , you carry a phone in your pocket every day, all day and there aren't a ton of collaboration tools out there with a community attached to it. So we've developed some really super simple contribution flows and it would say creator slash contribution flows . And what that means is let's say an audio tale project and there was a a bit of writing that you were looking for people to voice, like you were looking for people to do voiceover. Just the simple user interface of having the script and the audio record button and a way to contribute your audio file directly to that project. All in the same screen is so huge. It sounds like such a simple like of course idea. But if you use the writing and you have to toggle between your mic and then you have to find , it creates actually some friction. And we've seen, we just rolled out this new contribution flow for voice acting and it's gone. Like the contributions have gone through the roof. I mean in the last like two weeks. I can get you the stats because I only have them at my fingertips right now, but it was like, it's something like 10 X in just two weeks. And so what we're really, what we're doing is developing tools that will, you know , make it way easier for people to contribute to people's projects and collaborate. If you had a song and you said, I want to have a chorus, I want everybody to sing this chorus. What if you were able to listen to the click tracking your earbuds thing into the your phone's microphone and it automatically contributes to the project and isolated your isolated vocal STEM. So the project leader has all of these things and then they can put it into their , into their pro tools session. And you know , it makes super simple. So those are the kinds of tools that we're creating. I looked at how many people work in hit record at the moment. Right now there's 40 people. Okay. It's the quite big on a day around the world are based in Los Angeles and we're all in Los Angeles. Um , you know, we're able to work remotely of course during this time, but we find that , um, it's important for us in terms of creative to , to sometimes really come together and be under one roof. We find that that works for us. And is Joseph Gordon Levitt still involved in the day to day? His desk is right next to mine. So if somebody wants it to get started created on hit records , where should they go? What I would say to do is download our mobile app and you'll be provided with a few very simple creative prompts that hopefully will inspire you to participate immediately. And the app will start to get to know the kinds of projects that you like to participate in and serve you up with creative prompts and little projects for you to participate in and to get you started. And then maybe one day you might want to start your own project. Actually just one last question. One thing that struck me is the role of constraint in a creative project. Do you find it that that's important? Like did you take creativity blank? Canvas syndrome is a real thing, you know , I think a lot of people want to express themselves, they just don't know how. So, but if you said, what's your experience, tell us about your first experience behind the wheel of a car or how do you stay active or what does the color green make you think of? You know , if you can get really specific people have ideas they want to express themselves, but um, they don't necessarily know how if you give them the opportunity and the occasion if you give them a creative prompt and then also you know, Hey, we're doing this thing right now and you only have a week to do it really motivates people to participate. And finally, you're quite busy obviously, but do you have an ideal already morning routine and early morning ? Me personally? Yeah. Or even an ideal morning routine if it's not an early morning routine . Uh, my morning routine, it's pretty regular. I just , uh , I need an iced coffee. That's it. Wake up, have a nice coffee. I'm pretty active but I do most of my like physical activity like most of my physical like workout stuff at night. But uh, you know, try to roll into the office nine or nine 30 and then it's off to the races. Okay . Okay . Talk to you today George . Thank you. It's great to talk to you too.

Speaker 4:

I hope you enjoy this podcast episode. If you did, please leave a rating on the iTunes store, and if you want to accomplish more with your writing, please visit, become a writer today.com forward slash join and I'll send you a free email course. Thanks for listening.