Fans know Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s work as an actor, but in recent years he’s also carved out another role as executive producer of small-screen content, such as the YouTube series “Create Together” (which he also hosts).
On Friday, Gordon-Levitt participated in VidCon Now’s inaugural Creator Tentpole discussion, focusing on how the challenges of producing content in the midst of a pandemic also created new opportunities.
Other participants in the discussion included: Reggie Hudlin, producer at Hudlin Entertainment; Reed Duscher, CEO of Night Media; and Kristen Wong, co-executive producer at Done+Dusted Productions.
The panel discussion offered a behind-the-scenes look into how producers of YouTube Originals pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with producers tackling quick-turn projects, and they shared the lessons they’ve learned from the experience.
As Gordon-Levitt explained, he had just started to shoot a dream production he’d been working on “for years” when the pandemic hit, and production was forced to shut down.
“At first I was deeply frustrated and upset about it,” he admitted. “But it didn’t take me too long to realize, like, oh, a lot of people are dealing with real, actual problems. This is not really a problem. This is a minor annoyance, a mild setback.”
Ultimately, he came to realize that “rather than being frustrated I should be focused on being grateful… I can still be creative, and that’s what I started doing.”
As someone used to collaborating with others on projects, he admitted that being creative on his own “can be hard.”
It was watching others collaborate via Hit Record, his online creative collaborative community, that led him to come up with the idea for “Create Together”.
When he brought the concept to YouTube Originals, he “couldn’t believe how fast you turned it around — I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The entire discussion can be viewed in the video above.