Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a bright spot during these uncertain times. Amid the pandemic, the actor has continued to build an online community with his web series Create Together, which is currently in its second season.
“Honestly, we weren’t expecting to get a season 2! We always envisioned Create Together as a stand-alone series specifically about people being creative together during the pandemic,” he exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Because it was so well received (and, because unfortunately, we’re still experiencing this time of semi-isolation), we wanted to launch a new season — one where people could (safely) leave their houses and celebrate their natural surroundings! Getting outside in the fresh air can make us feel more connected to the world and to one another.”
Gordon-Levitt, 40, launched the show under his production company, HitRecord, and a new episode drops weekly on YouTube Originals. Fans of the actor can often find him asking potential collaborators to work on a variety of projects together via Twitter.
“People from all over the world have shared their stories and experiences, and they’re all combined into short animations, documentaries, music videos, and all sorts of other kinds of art,” the Trial of the Chicago 7 star tells Us. “One thing that really blew me away was that we had more contributions in the first day of making season 2 than we had in all of season 1 combined! That’s truly incredible. Getting more people involved means that more perspectives and experiences are heard and that’s great for the participants and the audiences alike.”
This season, Create Together’s theme is nature. “Because so much of season 1 was set indoors — and because so many people have rediscovered the beauty of the natural world around them — we thought a season focused on nature and planet Earth was a great theme to focus on,” Gordon-Levitt, who also hosts the show, explains. “As I hope you’ll get to see, this season is a celebration of nature, an ode to the beauty in our own (and each others’) backyards. Creativity is a human universal. Everyone everywhere has some experience with nature; everyone has a point of view. It’s so inspiring getting to see how people express their feelings and perspective about the natural world through art and creativity together.”
The platform “is really meant to include people of all creative skill levels and from all walks of life,” according to the star — and that’s exactly what it does. By connecting artists that perhaps would otherwise never cross paths, “rich visual art, music, photography, voice acting, music” and more have been created. He adds: “It’s really a grab bag of cool and sometimes weird stuff.”
For Gordon-Levitt, one highlight this season was getting the chance to discuss climate change “and its role in more frequent natural disasters.” He discussed the topic with Dr. Dalia B Kirschbaum, the Lead Researcher at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hearing what a young woman named Mitzi Jonelle Tan endured in the Philippines has also stayed with him.
“[She] experienced a devastating series of natural disasters in her country, which inspired her to become a Climate Justice Advocate. Not only does she tell her story, throughout the series she’s going to lead the audience in a music video collaboration. So, as you watch the seasons, she’ll tell you about the ways you can actively participate and become involved,” the Snowden actor tells Us. “It’s really fascinating to hear the science behind the personal stories like the ones we hear from people like Mitzi.”
Create Together won its first Emmy in 2020 in the Outstanding Innovation In Interactive Media category. But even with an accolade, the executive producer is more proud of “how inclusive” the Create Together series has become.
“This show has been an occasion for humans to connect with one another on a global scale and create something meaningful to them. More than 7,100 people from 189 countries contributed 12,672 pieces of art and music to make season 1,” Gordon-Levitt says. “Even people who don’t consider themselves an ‘artist’ get involved and work together! What better way to learn about one another than through collaboration?”
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