January 17, 2018

Watch: A Powerful 4-Minute Lesson on Filmmaking from Casey Neistat

This video from Casey Neistat is both a warm hug and hard slap to the face.

If there's one thing we all have in common, it's that we all have (or had) a dream of becoming filmmakers. You might've wanted to move out to L.A. and be the next Spielberg or marinate in a dirty motel room in Vermillion, South Dakota for six months to pen the darkest, weirdest, and greatest screenplay ever written. Regardless of the paths we take as creatives, we all share the same dream, but we also all share the paralyzing disappointment when that dream is crushed over and over and over again.

If you're in need of 1.) some inspiration to get you out of your creative deathbed, or 2.) a nice, hard kick in the chonies to get you out of said creative deathbed, then you need to watch this video by Casey Neistat now.

If there's one thing I know about dreams it's that, to achieve them, you have to stop at nothing.

Neistat is right on the money when he says that "the grind is not glamorous." It's not. It's not all red carpets and Chandon and director's chairs, award acceptance speeches, and press junkets. It's getting off work at 5 and shooting at 5:30. It's maxing out your credit card to fund your short film. It's making shitty film after shitty film after shitty film. It's being told "no" a million times. It's constantly trying to keep your head above water when your self-doubt rises high enough to choke you out. It's coming to terms with the reality that you may never be the filmmaker that you always dreamed of being, with the glitz and the glamor and the calling Martin Scorsese "Marty."

But most of all, it's understanding that, as Neistat says, "filmmaking is finally ours." You can make a movie with the phone that's in your pocket right now. The barriers to becoming a Hollywood big shot and making multi-million dollar Hollywood tentpoles may still be as wide as ever, but filmmaking is now something we can all do. There are no excuses anymore. If filmmaking is a sport, then you need to go out and play.      

Your Comment

9 Comments

Not only "Play" the sport but practice, practice, practice. Love seeing these kinds of videos. Definitely gets the creative juices flowing.

January 18, 2018 at 12:05PM

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Bryan Tosh
Director of Photography
483

It's really too bad the way NFS has gone, it's articles like this from contributors like Vanessa that make me hesitant to return to this site. Such shallow content. NFS is a skeleton of the once rich library of industry information and opinions. Now it's just a rehash of what's trending on YouTube. Such lazy managing on behalf of NFS. But who am I kidding, nobody reads the comment section on this site anyways...

January 18, 2018 at 12:54PM

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Chris Kas
Jack of all trades
377

I still read for some reason and I totally agree with you. Remember the days of great filmmaking articles and insights. Same with Cinema 5D...today everything is a rehash everywhere! That said, where else you guys getting your industry info???

January 23, 2018 at 12:22PM

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Arturo Dickson
WEAR ALL HATS
16

worthless article, worthless video

January 18, 2018 at 2:01PM

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this video is complete bullshit. filmmaking is not a sport and casey neistat is a dishonest manipulator. if filmmaking was a sport, then talent and hard work would trump luck and nepotism. if casey were honest, then he would admit that connections and luck got him to where he is. his rags-to-riches story is a complete lie. he comes from a well-to-do family and married a woman from a very wealthy family. his nice guy persona is just an act. off camera he is a pretentious, self-indulgent prick.

the world doesn't need any more youtubers and this video just fills people's heads with false hopes and dreams making them think they can be just like casey. nope, not gonna happen. the world needs more documentarians and journalists that will hold those in power accountable and call them out on their bullshit while telling meaningful, truthful stories in the process.

of course this is wishful thinking. we live in a world where advertisers rule the airwaves and corporate shills like casey are all too willing to do their bidding under the guise of filmmaking.

January 18, 2018 at 11:18PM

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Ekim Namwen
Wizard
67

January 19, 2018 at 6:32AM

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I'm all for the new genre/art form of web filmmaking--I've been doing it for 10 years--but I have to protest this video. Web filmmaking is not the same thing as being a traditional filmmaker. Let me rephrase Casey's argument to show how bad it is:

I wanted to be a concert pianist, but I didn't takes lessons or own a piano and I didn't really make the effort to figure out how.

But then I tried really hard. I spent a lot of time around other people's pianos. I helped concert pianists turn pages. I played little tunes on pianos in bars and at parties. I even won some local talent shows.

But I still wasn't a concert pianist.

So I bought a tiny portable synthesizer and went out on a street corner and played simple tunes on it--but I played tunes every day and a lot of people watched me and liked me.

So now I consider myself a concert pianist, and you can be one too! The art of piano performance is everyone's now because portable synthesizers are cheap and there are a lot of street corners!

Casey should just say he's a web filmmaker and be proud of that, but saying he's the same as a traditional Hollywood filmmaker just isn't honest and snubs an art form that takes a whole lot more care and effort than pointing a DSLR at your face and occasionally cutting to time lapses and drone footage.

January 19, 2018 at 10:45AM, Edited January 19, 11:01AM

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Sean Anderson
Video Production Team Member at Fotodiox
89

He does more than point a DSLR at his face and occasionally cut to timelapse and drone footage. considerable planning and editing goes into his work and its the reason why millions come back to watch regardless of his personality on or off camera. that said, i too believe that if you put casey in front of a full GE crew and actors, departments and the whole shibang he would probably not be any of his filmmaker mentors he wished he was in this video.

January 23, 2018 at 12:30PM

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Arturo Dickson
WEAR ALL HATS
16

Woww.. So energetic and inspiring...
Thank you so much...!!

January 21, 2018 at 3:06AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
1054