Collaborative Writing And Creative Projects With Jared Geller of HitRECORD

A man wearing a suit and tie, with Jared Geller

What is HitRECORD?

HitRECORD is a creative platform where writers can collaborate with illustrators, graphic designers, and 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 start by asking him how creatives can use HitRECORD.

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Bryan Collins:
So, it's nice to talk to you today, Jared. I was wondering if you could start by telling me how exactly HitRecord works for people who aren't familiar with the platform.
Jared Geller:
Sure. HitRecord 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, whether those are song projects and they contribute lyrics or whether it's video projects and they contribute short form pieces of video that add up to something that they couldn't have necessarily done on their own. So, what we like to say is we break down the creative process into bite-sized pieces so that anybody feels like they can participate and then people contribute those little piece 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 and that's how it works.
Bryan Collins:
What type of creatives do you find are using the platform?
Jared Geller:
Sure. HitRecord isn't necessarily a place to come for professional opportunities. It's for really 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-sized pieces, it demystifies the whole idea of making things. So, anybody feels like they can participate. And what I mean by that is, if you were to say to me, "Hey, 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 do you want to take a photograph of a landscape or whatever the case may be?"
Jared Geller:
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.
Bryan Collins:
So, I'm looking at the HitRecord site at the moment and one of the banners talks about audio tales. So, if I had a script for a story, is that something I could share in HitRecord?
Jared Geller:
It's something that you could share. But, what we find is that when people talk about their own experiences, you get some really awesome stories and you get stories that you never would have thought 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.
Jared Geller:
People feel like that's not so big of a lift. But also, the stories tend to be more unique. What we've found is, like I said, the more people who contribute, you really do get that rich sense of storytelling. The more inclusive you can be about the opportunities of 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 the surprise and the magic comes out.
Bryan Collins:
So, the platform is quite big. Do you have any success stories that you'd like to point to or maybe collaborations that really took off and surprised everyone?
Jared Geller:
Yeah, sure. Look, there are thousands of projects on the platform. Most of the projects are people starting their own and rallying community. There's a project that someone started and ... Oh man, I wish I had all of this. I wish I had ... 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 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 had and or that they have and they would talk about how they got them, whether it was surgery from a cleft palate or a young trans man was talking about his transition surgery and giving. So, people were rallying around this idea of talking about their scars, whether physical or inte