Casey Neistat's Inspirational Message to Creators: 'Do What You Can't'

This might be the only inspirational message filmmakers need to hear.

For every filmmaker out there with a dream of making movies, there is a group of naysayers telling them they can't. Call them haters, doubters, or jerk-ass a-holes, these individuals douse the fires of countless creatives by telling them that their dreams are illogical/unattainable/insensible/stupid/impossible/irresponsible. And though these things are said most often with the best intentions, creators need to hear a message that inspires them to risk it all to make their dreams a reality—and you know—to make their critics eat their words.

Filmmaker and vlogger Casey Neistat teamed up with filmmaker and YouTube personality Max Joseph to deliver a simple call to action for creatives: Do what you can't. 

Though some of you may have people in your life telling you that your dream of making films is destined to fail, for most of you, the cynic with the loudest, most vicious words is you. That lack of confidence and self-esteem keeps many of us from taking the chances that lead to promising opportunities, to meeting people who will help us on our journey, to asking for help on a project that we believe is doomed before we ever speak about it out loud.

But Neistat and Joseph's message, simple though it may be, is exactly what a lot of us need to hear. Just—do what you can't.

"I can't write a screenplay."

"I can't afford a camera."

"I can't find time to make a film."

"I can't access this boy's club."

"I can't fund this film."

"I can't pay rent and make a movie at the same time."

"I can't find work because I'm [fill in the blank]."

"I can't succeed."

Yes—all valid points. I guess you're just going to have to do what you can't do. Neistat is exactly right when he says that no one knows anything, so giving so much value in other people's negativity, as well as your own, is so incredibly illogical. Films are not made with money and resources alone, but with passion, dedication, and tenacity. That's not saccharine fluff—I'm not a fluffy person—it's just the truth.

If you've got ambition, passion, and a deaf ear to naysayers, you've got everything you need to realize your dream of filmmaking. Now go out and do what you can't!

Name all of the things you or others have said you can't do down in the comments, that way you'll have a list of all of the things you will be doing in the future.     

Your Comment


Well like him or not, he does make stuff happen!

March 9, 2017 at 10:40PM


V Renée
you know what... every time I click on something which interests me here in NFS blog, it ends up with articles mostly shared by you!!! Thanks a lot for selecting such interesting articles for us.

March 9, 2017 at 11:47PM

Dibyendu Joardar
Director of Photography

Just don't forget the people who helped you create along the way, who also didn't have the time or money but did it anyway. (This is not a comment about Casey Neistat; I don't know him) just a thought to bear in mind that success is rarely a singular thing, the joy in making comes from collaboration.

March 10, 2017 at 12:52AM


This was a good video from Neistat.

March 10, 2017 at 9:11AM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

Gotta love Casey, he's such an inspiration !!!

I changed my lock screen earlier today, it now says : "DO WHAT YOU CAN'T".

To all the creators out there, you are truly special and you make the world a beautiful place. TY !

March 10, 2017 at 5:38PM


Then you too can have, "A life moving so fast, and so full, you won't even have time to process it"
Hmmm, is that really our guru?
Drive is vital and so is tenaciousness but I'm not sure the frenetic mania he's selling is going to get you to creative nirvana. The hardest thing isn't always the doing, it's the finding out what's worth saying, otherwise we're all just barking at once.

I can't slow down.
I can't get quiet.
I can't hear myself.

March 11, 2017 at 11:37AM

Paul fern
Film maker

I think he meant to say "you will be in The Zone".
When you are in The Zone everything just flows, you get things done, without even processing them.
But thats just my opinion. :-)

March 12, 2017 at 4:44PM

Kelvin Nhantumbo
Director, Screenwriter

So "self-help" gurus are now going niche?

"Do what you can't"
"Attitude, not aptitude, determines altitude."
"Action is the measure of intelligence."
"I'm okay, you're okay"


These silly turns of phrases have been part and parcel to the motivation genre for, well, centuries. Telling suggestible people how to think is a lucrative business. I guess since it's in digital filmmaking that's just our world now.

I'm not sure I buy into the hyper-prolific aspect of this guy's mantra. I get why being prolific isn't a bad thing for some careers, but is it really worthwhile as an artist? Depends.

There's already an overload of thoughtless-fast content out there. I'd suggest that the ability to disengage from that might be more beneficial to those wanting to be more meaningful creatives.

March 15, 2017 at 9:05AM, Edited March 15, 9:30AM