Here's the link to watch the short film --

You may have of my production company, HITRECORD, where anybody can come contribute to our collaborative projects. Our community partnered w/ the ACLU to make this series of short films all about technology and democracy. This is the fifth and final one. They’re all here for your viewing pleasure --

When making things like this, my hope is always that it'll start a conversation. And I know you boys and girls like to talk. So...

Oh — and here's proof that it's really me:

Alright then ladies and gentlemen, I gotta get going. Thanks for talking with me. Til next time.. J

Comments: 1830 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

imnoobrofl1411 karma

Hey Joe, what is your take on Edward Snowden? How do you see him? Do you see him as a traitor? Do you see him as someone who did us a favor?

hitrecordjoe_3427 karma

I think it's not as simple as all that. One thing I've noticed as I've delved into the Snowden story is that a lot of people really try to over-simplify it. Words like "traitor" or "hero" are overly simplistic. But yes, I do think that what he did ultimately benefitted the country and the world.

candybomberz1401 karma

Wow, did you give snowden a theme or did you just edit a longer interview ?

Did you expect his relatively positive opinion ? Was it in anyway scripted or guided (in multiple takes rewordings ?)

hitrecordjoe_2441 karma

Thanks for watching!! (I'm down to answer questions about breakfast burritos and all, but it's cool when someone actually watches the thing we all worked so hard to make, hint hint, guilt guilt :)

Snowden answered the same question as everyone who contributed to the project: "Is today's technology good or bad for democracy?"

We did talk for a longer time, and then we edited it down to the three minute length.

I love that he was optimistic. I think a lot of people assume he's a pessimist because he revealed the truth about some pretty bad stuff that was (actually still is) happening. But I share his belief that ultimately the good outweighs the bad, and tech isn't something to shy away from, it's something to embrace.

rkyazmin987 karma

How did the information that Snowden leaked affect your life or attitude to the government?

hitrecordjoe_1827 karma

I tend to be really optimistic about technology. I was raised to like computers. I started a company that would be impossible without the Internet. I still feel positive about tech and the future, but I do think that Snowden's revelations made me take a good hard look at the potential downsides of our generation's new technology. Any technology can be used for good or used for bad, and usually it's somewhere in between.

Jake_68817 karma

Who is the nicest person you've ever worked with?

hitrecordjoe_1954 karma

John Lithgow tied with Bryce Dallas Howard tied with Don Cheadle, hmm also Ben Schwartz, and Robert Zemeckis, oh wait, I'm supposed to be promoting Snowden, Shailene Woodley is super nice also

girlism694 karma

Hi Joe, love you! Did you spend time with any cancer patients to try and better understand/prepare for your role in 50/50? Did they surprise you in any way?

hitrecordjoe_1270 karma

My friend Adam died of cancer in 1999. (Total coincidence that the 50/50 character was named Adam.) He made a lot of positive changes in the last few months of his life. One was he stopped watching TV.

Nicholas-Adams535 karma

One was he stopped watching TV.

Interesting response. Do you consider watching cinema a more noble or worthwhile venture?

hitrecordjoe_1284 karma

Good question. Not necessarily. Some movies are great, some are dumb, same goes for TV. Honestly there's less and less of a difference these days, right? I think for Adam, it was about being proactive about doing stuff with his mind, rather than just vegging out and channel surfing.

exodus1028587 karma

Can you describe Christopher Nolan to me please?
I'm a big fan of his films and always wondered what makes him so special.

hitrecordjoe_1114 karma

He never sits down while shooting. At lunch, yes. Otherwise, no.

iamspaceship506 karma

Hey Joe, it's spaceship. Regarding the Matrix trilogy: who's your favorite supporting character, and why? (Supporting meaning: not Neo.) :)

hitrecordjoe_1162 karma

Toss up. I love the key-maker. "We are all here to do what we are all here to do." Tied with Rama-Kandra the computer program he talks to in the subway in part 3. Yes part 3. "Love is a word. What's important is the connection it implies."

chicketnuggens496 karma

How's it going? :)

hitrecordjoe_1811 karma

dope dude dope

TheRavensRed384 karma

I have submitted to several challenges on hitRECord and found that not many people even look them over, mainly the writing submissions, do you have any suggestions for getting more writing actually read?

hitrecordjoe_889 karma

One thing you could try is, rather than submitting your own complete piece to a challenge, to jump in on a collaborative writing process. Often, an established writer within the community will lead a writing project towards a goal. Like they might post a draft, and ask people to make revisions or additions. In many cases, those writers will read everything people contribute. And if they like an addition or revision you contributed, you might @message them, and ask them to read something else of yours...

articulate81363 karma

How was it playing those drums in the middle of the subway? Did you feel the least bit anxious?

hitrecordjoe_480 karma

Ha thanks, no I can't say I really felt anxious. It was fun as hell actually.

yolatrendoid338 karma

Joe, did you have any moral qualms or reservations about playing a real-life, still-living person many believe to be a traitor? (This isn't my personal view btw.)

hitrecordjoe_738 karma

I didn't have any moral qualms, no. There were definitely people in my life who advised me against playing a real-life person who, as you say, many believe to be a traitor. That advice had more to do with commercial career concerns, etc. Obviously, I didn't follow that advice.

noblenugget325 karma

Do you use conditioner?

hitrecordjoe_639 karma


Frajer264 karma

what was it like working with Brie Larson?

hitrecordjoe_433 karma

She's awesome.. we made a hitRECord piece with her too -

graphicbirdie235 karma

As a hitrecorder who loved watching the short docu film process, what was your favorte part of making the are you there democracy films?

hitrecordjoe_408 karma

One part I always love when making stuff on hitRECord is the surprises. When making the short film with Snowden that we put out today, we asked people to contribute illustrations and animations that visualized the ideas he was talking about. I had no idea what people would do. A lot of those contributions surprised me. There's this moment where Snowden is talking about holding minority opinions, and this one contributor made an animation of a see-saw with a whole horde of people on one side, and only a single person on the other side, and they send her flying. I never would have thought of that.

Snowbank_Lake225 karma

If you could live in any time period, which would you choose?

hitrecordjoe_606 karma

Definitely right now. Or perhaps the future...

godshaw1203 karma

How old were you when you realized that you would actually meet your goals?

hitrecordjoe_809 karma

Who said I have?

rynozoom197 karma

Hey Joseph!

You've been working in the film industry practically your entire life. Who were your role models as a kid, young adult, and now? How have they changed and have you gotten to work them at any point during your career?

hitrecordjoe_383 karma

Probably my first favorite actor was Dustin Hoffman. Still haven't met him, hopefully some day. Working with Daniel Day Lewis on Lincoln was a completely unique and extremely inspiring experience. And honestly, Oliver Stone (who directed Snowden) has been one of my favorite directors for a long time. I think the first thing I really saw of his was Natural Born Killers. Then I went back, of course, to see Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Born On The Fourth Of July, etc, etc, etc..

cfdurbin33172 karma

Have you ever thought of making a musical or acting in one?

hitrecordjoe_276 karma


Empyrios172 karma

Hey Joe, I'm a fan of your works and I've been trying to watch all of your movies. Do you have a movie bucketlist? Is there a movie you've been dying to watch but just don't have time?

hitrecordjoe_418 karma

Yeah we all have those movies we're embarrassed to say we haven't watched yet. I've never seen Lawrence of Arabia. I know, I know..

Oscarguti157 karma

What are your thoughts on the 360° video industry?

hitrecordjoe_495 karma

Very very interested in pretty much all things VR. Although I think 360 video is gonna be short lived compared to actual 3D immersive environments.

Dukavt156 karma

Do you have some recommendation for movie editors, just starting to get into move making?

hitrecordjoe_427 karma

Check this out -- -- it's called THE CUTTING ROOM, and it's an ongoing editing project on hitrecord. Every two weeks a curator picks a bunch of footage from the site, and people cut it together in all different ways. It's a great way to practice, and you'll likely meet some cool people you might wanna do bigger projects with.

underlavenderskies147 karma

Good sir, what is your favourite breakfast food?

hitrecordjoe_382 karma

Breakfast burrito

MrZIPBIZ130 karma

Hey Joe, I'm a huge fan of yours and for you to have an AMA on my birthday is just a great gift. =D

Two questions for you

  1. I've been wanting to participate on HitREC for the longest time but I'm not sure what to bring to the table. I'm a jack of all trades, master of none and my stuff probably won't be that great. So the question is, do other people feel the same as well before they post? Have you ever felt the same?

  2. The second question is have you ever had any doubts of your abilities as an actor? I want to become and I've had some success with independent movie in development but sometimes it feels like I'm pretending that I'm an actor. Have you ever felt that way? If so, how do you get rid of it?

  3. Kind of related to the second question; how can I become a better actor? I've taken classes and I know I have grown but how do I progressively get better?

Thanks for doing this AMA and I hope you can answer at least one of my questions!

hitrecordjoe_316 karma

Happy birthday!

  1. Yes, I think everyone (including me) worries to some degree that their stuff won't be good enough to put it out into the world.

  2. Yes, I definitely have doubts on a daily basis about my abilities as an actor. And yes, I often feel like I'm pretending to be an actor.

  3. Keep pretending! That's what we're all doing anyway :)

loboexplosivo92 karma

i often procrastinate ideas, any tips on how to get back INTO the habit of writing?

hitrecordjoe_242 karma

Shameless self promotion here, but also genuine. HITRECORD is perfect for that. When you're by yourself, it's easy to procrastinate. But there's a ton of people in our community who know exactly how you feel. And we like helping to motivate each other...

yolatrendoid90 karma

Also, I know Oliver Stone has a reputation for being "difficult," but what was your impression after working with him? (if you can say so without him beating the shit out of you or something)

hitrecordjoe_249 karma

He probably could have beat the shit out of me. Forty years ago :)

iamjamels89 karma

Hi Joe! Such a big fan of yours! How do balance maintaining all the aspects of Hit Record while also pursuing outside acting opportunities?

hitrecordjoe_167 karma

I work with lots of very cool, very smart people, and I owe a hell of a lot to them..

Ari-elle61 karma

Will the analog ambient music album HR was working a few months ago on see the light of day at any point?

hitrecordjoe_127 karma

Yes! I really want it to, anyway. We're figuring that out. Ambient music isn't exactly a commercial slam dunk, but I really love the way that music turned out, and I definitely want to put it all together into a finished piece.

You can find the analog ambient project right here:

McCormick199735 karma

Hi Joe,

Can you please walk us through a video collaboration on HITRECORD and how there comes to be a final product?

Thank you! :) Andrew

hitrecordjoe_68 karma

I think this video will explain best --

theghostplot16 karma

I can't wait for your new movie to come out about Edward Snowden, who's become a big-time hero to me. This may be a weird question to ask, but as a well known person in the media, and playing Edward himself, do you ever feel like your life is on some sort of watch list concocted by the state, especially now with your own segment on HitRecord about democracy in media? Do you feel like you have to watch your back more cautiously or have you gotten warnings? Ever since wiki leaks and Edward's whistleblowing, I've been extremely paranoid about my own actions and whether I'm being watched. I can only imagine the possible anxiety you may feel if you thought if of this too. Sorry if this is too personal or you're not allowed to say anything. I just don't want to hear you mysteriously disappeared! Also, sorry for formatting, I'm on my mobile.

hitrecordjoe_146 karma

Personally, no, I don't feel that I'm in any kind of danger of the US government disappearing me or anything like that. And while I think our government deserves the criticism it's getting post-Snowden, I also think it's worth remembering that those of us living in the US are very lucky relative to a lot of other people who live in places with governments far more oppressive. To me, what's important about standing up for government accountability right now is to make sure our government doesn't BECOME the kind that will actually justify that kind of paranoia in the future.

nancydrewskillz2 karma

Hello Joseph, may I offer you a parsnip?

I really liked the HITRECORD series on Netflix, it must feel good to work on projects you are very interested in and passionate about. Do you have any upcoming projects with outside studios or production companies? Or do you plan to focus on more personal projects in the near future?

hitrecordjoe_5 karma

Parsnips and Coffee? Cauliflower and Yams? (I'll be very impressed if anybody can guess which Prince song I'm singing those words to)