Is "First Stars I See Tonight" The Future of Filmmaking? Proof That Crowdsourcing Can Create Powerful New Works of Art and "Give Us The Stars"

In January 2010, Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt relaunched his website,, as an experiment in crowdsourcing. 

That experiment is now yielding some spectacular results.

The short film embedded above, "First Stars I See Tonight", (now available on YouTube) came together thanks to collaborators from around the internet. 

The contributors worked with text from roswellgray (United States) - telling the true story of the first time she ever saw the stars when she was 16 years old. 

According to info that accompanies the YouTube posting of "First Stars I See Tonight," Joseph Gordon-Levitt adapted the story into a script and KatSmash (Scotland) RECorded narration: "We shot the actors Elle Fanning and James Patrick Stuart in front of a green screen and a ton of visual artists on the site began to illustrate the world around them. The animator 12.42 (United Kingdom) took visual contributions and animated them all together. megancarnes (United States) composed a beautiful musical score and musicians from all over the world played along."


The hitRECord experiment has been so successful (since adding professional quality collaboration tools in 2010, they've created a number of fascinating works, see video below) that a traditional television show, “HitRECord On TV,” based on the website will premiere January 18th, 2014 at 10 p.m. EST on Pivot. In addition to crowdsourced short films, “HitRECord On TV” will also "feature live performances and other projects created by musicians, animators, artists and regular people just like you from around the world."

I may be guilty of overhyping it, but for me "First Stars I See Tonight" is one of the best examples yet of what many filmmakers have been working toward, a way of creating and circulating meaningful and beautiful work outside the studio system.

If you want to find out more, here's an example of how hitRECord works:

No comments:

Randy Finch's Film Blog:

Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.