How do 'HitRECord on TV' contributors make money from their art?

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"HitRECord on TV" is a variety show unlike any other. The first episode of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-created TV series had 426 HitRECord artists to contribute to it, and yes, they all got paid.

Unlike a traditional Hollywood series where animation elements and voice recording and music production are outsourced, Gordon-Levitt only used his own pool of creators at HitRECord. The entire premise of the Pivot series is that it's made using that group of contributors, and as the HitRECord Accord makes sure that anyone whose work on the website makes money.

Gordon-Levitt set the TV show up the same way, with one difference: While the HitRECord Accord dictates that the money made by contributions on the website is split 50 percent to the site and 50 percent between those who contributed, he notes that it takes a while for TV series to start making profits. Because of that, Gordon-Levitt set aside $50,000 from the budget of every "HitRECord on TV" episode to split between the people whose work appears in each installment.

So who gets how much for each episode? "There is no formula. It just takes going through and one-by-one figuring it out," Gordon-Levitt admits to Zap2it during a group interview at the TCA 2014 winter press tour.

He and his staff come up with an initial proposal for each episode of a payment breakdown that is sent out to the entire HitRECord community. The community discussion is open for two weeks for arguments on tweaking the proposal, and then Gordon-Levitt and his staff ultimately make the final decision of who makes how much. "You have to trust us," he says. "You have to sort of believe that we'll be fair, and I think we have been fair."

Gordon-Levitt says that the reason why he is good to be the head honcho at HiRECord (beyond being the person who made the community) is that he only creates projects that he likes. He can make "great art and media with people I'm interested in collaborating with," and only uses constructive criticism with those who come to the site.

"It needs to be somebody, and I think that's a big part of it that there is one individual person that is directing the whole thing," Gordon-Levitt says of why he's the right person to head a project like this. "I always want it to have the voice of an individual driving it, because I think once you don't have that voice, it turns into something that feels like chaos, or just kind of corporate committee sort of boringness."

"HitRECord on TV" airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on Pivot.

Photo/Video credit: HitRECord