Thursday, November 12, 2015

Things I have learned from Casey Neistat

I have spent the last month pouring over Casey Neistats Vlog - or video blog. I have been enjoying it tremendously, and have started to adopt some of his techniques. For those of you who are unaware, Casey is a film maker. Completely self made - meaning no film school and no traditional film jobs -  he is a firm believer that if you work non-stop producing films good things will come. He went from shooting videos on a point and shoot camera to making a documentary series on HBO.

Casey first came to prominence with a short film about the battery in the iPod and it's inability to be changed.

The video went viral and shortly after it did, Apple changed its battery policy, of course claiming it was unrelated to the film. He continued to make films and grew a following. I am sure I saw other films before this next one, but this was where I was like "hey, I know this guy!"


I love this commercial/film for Nike. I love how simple, yet captivating it is. But what really made me fall in love with this guys work, was this.

Live your dreams. He was asked to make a video about living your dreams for the release of the film the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. He told them he wanted take the budget and go to the Philippines and spend all the money getting food to the people affected typhoon Haiyan. He did, and made a great short film about it.

Once of the reasons I stopped working in the film industry was the tremendous waste of money I saw as we made television commercials, when the money could have done some really good work. So to see a film maker take his budget and do something wonderful with it really touched me.

So I spent the last month pouring over his films and his daily Vlog, and I realized some recurring themes. Here is what I learned from Casey Neistat.

1 - Keep shooting. Always have a camera, and keep shooting. I have started shooting a lot of things, with no plan to use them. The use will at some point present itself. I essentially want to become my own stock agency - meaning I want to have my own library of video to use when I edit a project. You can see some of the time lapse videos I have been making on instagram.

2 - The gear doesn't really matter. While I wish I had a second GoPro (I have had 2 in the past!) but I have a GoPro and a DSLR and an iPhone. I can shoot with all those things and edit at home on my iMac which is more film making power than most of last centuries greatest film makers.

3- Don't quit. Just keep plugging along, maybe somehow I will make a difference.

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