YouTuber Spotlight: Casey Neistat, Filmmaker

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Casey Neistat Chronicles Daily Antics As YouTuber Celebrity Filmmaker

Maybe you’ve seen Casey Neistat on one of his daily YouTube vlogs. Maybe you’ve heard of him through his recent antics with Vogue. Or Nike. Or Apple, defacing one of their iPod ads in Manhattan. Perhaps he’s one of the Snapchat celebrities you follow. Wherever you come across the enigmatic Neistat, you can rest assured his content will always be highly entertaining, perhaps a bit provocative, and carefully (albeit subtly) crafted to elicit viewer response.

A look into Casey’s varied content matter, yields two delineating traits: he’s got a daredevil streak. But he’s also got a love for humanity. He’s the daredevil humanitarian. Brands who work with Neistat can count on him to provide unabashed commentary juxtaposed with well-paced cinematography, and a refreshing onscreen offbeat personality.

Although Casey’s career exploits began well before 2012, Nike’s “Make It Count” campaign featuring Neistat rapidly slingshot the filmmaker’s notoriety into even greater international renown. Yes, Nike provided the global audience. But it was Casey’s gut intuition about the entire campaign direction that yielded a truly viral internet short. Whatever design Nike had for Neistat, he scraped in favor of a 10-day impromptu globe trot with his friend, Max.

Casey worked first as a dishwasher in his home state of Connecticut before finding his way as a self-taught filmmaker in New York. Before Nike hired him for their campaign, Neistat lost his grandmother. He created a YouTube video featuring his grandmother -- Louise "Nana" Neistat, a former Rockette, and her for-charity tap dancing initiative.


Casey Neistat filming for Mercedes Benz's CLA campaign

Like anyone who’s lost dear friends or family, and perhaps shaped by his unpretentious beginnings, Casey had a very well-defined personal interpretation of what it meant to “make it count.” When it came time to execute on what must have been a heavily planned and strategized Nike advertising campaign, Neistat listened to his inner voice, went "against the rules," and instead, decided to act on what truly mattered - just do it, right? For Neistat, making it count meant seizing the moment. Time is limited, borrowed, and it runs out as it does for all of us. If you are going to make it count, then get out there, see the world, enjoy it with those close to you.

Then be sure to film the entire thing, submit it to the execs at Nike in place of what they originally asked for, and breathe a big sigh of relief when it debuts to millions of YouTube views, passionately-fueled world engagement. It may be Machiavellian, but it's done with a conscience.

Now, top brands from every industry are seeking his collaboration, specifically his creative ability to tell a brand's story (with the "Casey Neistat aesthetic," of course). Here's a quick look at some of Casey's sponsored video brand integrations:

J.Crew - "Travel With Style"

Neistat's video features an "off-the-cuff" brand lifestyle showcase for the American clothing, accessories, and apparel retailer. The video presents Casey's "17 Tips To Travel In Style" wearing and featuring J.Crew's suit, the Ludlow Traveler. At a video length of 3 minutes and 20 seconds, a suited up Neistat boats, skates, fixes a flat and more (much more), ultimately demonstrating just how stylish and utilitarian the Ludlow can be.

Mercedes Benz - CLA Commercial

Neistat's commercial for German automaker, Mercedes Benz, features the new model launch CLA towing Casey on board his skateboard amidst multiple terrains, plenty of American imagery, and in his own words, "a crazy music video montage situation and a real narrative." Arguably more intriguing, Neistat details how he made the commercial in his own 4-part video trailer series (Part 4 is the final commercial), proceeds to wreck one, and discloses how Iggy Azalea was passed over when considered for a role in the commercial.

Vogue - Casey Neistat Has No Business Being At The Met Gala

Beginning with a call from Vogue's editor, the real-life "Devil Wears Prada" Anna Wintour (she asks if Neistat will behave himself), Casey's video generates brand visibility, engagement, and event awareness for Vogue's Met Gala. Neistat's own daily vlog "You're Not Allowed on the Red Carpet," shows snapshots into his prep for Vogue's event, including a few iPhone camera tips to Justin Bieber.

YouTuber Casey Neistat’s exploits, antics, daily snaps and vlogs teach us that life isn’t always about following the rules. Sometimes being a open-hearted renegade is about being true to yourself, looking out for your fellow man, and saying "f*ck it" (the original motto Casey intended for Benz's commercial). May we all have that inner voice that tells us to make it count.

...Just don’t get into his bike lane.

June 21, 2015 By Evan

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