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This paper is about the message Casey Neistat sends and the way people interpret his content. He’s able to construct these videos in a way that is entertaining, motivational, and even a bit educational. It talks about why this is important, who his audience is, and why is he doing this. It answers why his style is so popular and the importance of his message. As a creator himself, with his videos he is able to inspire other creators and to drive them.
He’s able to appeal to different media cultures, from tech to skate. His vlogs deviate from regular vlogs because while they are about him, his life, his challenges, at the end of the day he just wants people to create content and to challenge himself to create content everyday as well.
Casey Neistat is a filmmaker most commonly known for his almost daily Youtube vlogs. Within his vlog and channel there’s also other various types of videos like one of his most popular of all time is his Bike Lanes video.
Which complain about the unreasonable complaints from the New York City Police Department for bikers to stay in the bike lane at all times, even if there’s obstructions. While his videos can contain a vast amount of differing content, the format and film style stays the same. In his own videos, he talks about how the idea started when he decided that we wanted to make a short movie every single day with a simple story.
Casey takes the almost daily vlog approach and gives it a high production value, while making his own signature style and the amatuer feel that’s important in vlog style videos. While this film style wouldn’t work in a movie style or for a TV show, his approach and the approach that many vloggers that fits in perfectly with the shorter, more personal, and user friendly content of Youtube. Like many Youtube channels, while he typically only sticks to one style of video, vlogging, each video has diverse purposes, such as tech reviews, rants, and showcasing his life and what he’s up to currently.
Since the majority of Casey’s content centers around his life and what he’s doing, a bulk of his videos have an overall theme of his day. Daily vlogs in general in themselves are fairly amateurish. In the video CASEY NEISTAT: WHAT YOU DON’T SEE, the narrator gives a creat explanation on why this type of amateurism is important to the vlog style videos. (Nerdwriter1, 2016) These vlogs are meant to be very personal between the viewer and the creator. The more professional and high quality the video is, the farther and farther the raw video gets between the two. Editing is time consuming, and creating a fully edited, perfect vlog every single day would take a lucrative amount of work. Not only that, but it also makes it seem more personal, more real unlike the present day over the top reality TV shows. In His own video, HOW TO VLOG LIKE CASEY NEISTAT by CASEY NEISTAT he talks about the idea behind his vlogs. The idea behind each vlog is that it’s has a beginning, a middle, and an end. (Neistat, 2017) Once the intro of his video his done, typically he presents some sort of problem or idea that he has, even though it’s not explicitly said out loud. For instance, in his tech reviews, even though it’s not explicitly said out loud, the video begins with one simple question, ‘is this product worth it?’ The middle of the video is tests out the device, shows what he thinks of it, and gives some general information on the product. By the end of the video, you have your answer, if he personally liked the product or thought it was worth his time using. It’s a very simplified way to explain the structure of his videos, just like any film, many of his videos have ‘subplots’ and extra establishing shots. His vlogs are relatively crude and take lots of aspects that people would consider ‘bad filmmaking’ and makes it his own personal style. Things like semi-shaky cameras, slanted shots, interruptions, and sometimes even just unedited footage. Things that in the past would be seen as bad unusable footage, he takes another spin on into his own style daily vlog style. He combines various shots like drone shots, close ups, point-of-view shots, high-angle, low-angle, in jump cuts put to the rhythm of music. The bulk of the time of his videos are shot with handheld camera footage, stationary locked-off shots, and the establishing shots. The handheld camera is the to-go shots, when he’s outside, when he’s moving, or talking about what he’s doing during his vlog. It’s also used for his POV shots, whether be it on his skateboard, what he’s seeing, and a more fast pace, moving shot. The stationary shots are typically filmed inside his studio, with a few exceptions of when he’s travelling or simple when he films outside stationary shots. It’s more professional, has better lighting, and overall could be considered a more standard video shot. This is generally whenever he’s talking one-on-one about a number of issues, ideas, or to set up a narrative within the video. The final establishing shot he uses when there’s a significant change of environment, to show the audience where he is, typically with him then coming to the camera and talking. With these different types of shots, he’s not only able to keep the video exciting but give it a more polished quality that fewer amount of creators have. While on the surface his videos seem fairly simple, there’s lots of work going on in the background. One of the most common shots Casey uses, his skateboard shots. In the shot he’s holding an expensive, heavy camera in one hand, talking to the camera, likely holding either a drink or the skateboard remote in his other hand, all while speeding through New York City on an electric skateboard. A shot like this would typically be ridiculously difficult to do all at once, but Casey has got it down looking natural and easy. The majority of the time he’s able to use this type of shot to Another important aspect is not just the way he films, but the way he edits it. CASEY NEISTAT UNMASKED: His Editing & Storytelling is a video that showcases some of the types of editing techniques that Casey likes to put into his video. (This Guy Edits, 2016) One of the transitions that Casey does commonly is to cut something he’s saying off when the audience can interpret what he’s going to say next, instead of wasting time on that shot. He establishes important issues in the video with a stable inside stable shot that allows the audience to solely focus on him. As the importance of the issue increases, the space between him and the audience decreases. He usually zooms in with the camera or goes in closer when discussing a serious topic, to really make sure that the point he’s making narratively goes through to the audience. His videos continue this one narrative throughout his video, as his day progresses. This narrative continues through difference times and locations, until it reaches its conclusions at the end of the video. While it doesn’t have to be always very personal or very serious narratives, each video does have this idea in its mind. Each of his videos have a
His videos are so popular and entertaining because of his personality and filmmaking ideas. He’s able to make his videos entertaining creatively and visually as well. In an interview with CNBC, Casey says ‘It’s about this idea of grabbing on to whatever’s in front of you and running with it, without having much understanding of where it’s going to lead you,’ (Castillo, 2017). The quote describes the style that Casey is able to create with each best, it’s brash and reckless. The style that’s constantly copied, unique, and hard to nail down, because as a filmmaker he understands what type of shots would look appealing from an audience’s perspective, and what type of shot would look like poor filmmaking. He’s able to combine these more rapid outside shots with stable, shots and establishing shots to give it a more professional field. In an area that was mostly made up of fairly younger creators, he used his experiences to give each of his videos a more polished feels, without giving up much of what makes a vlog so special. Because of this he’s able to make a fast paced and exciting vlog that appeals to the viewer, and some vlogs can even feel very suspenseful. In what Casey dubbed as his best video yet, ‘MY ALL TIME GREATEST!!!’ is a fantastic example of how perfectly this idea can go. (Casey Neistat, 2016) It’s relatively short, but establishes three things. The beginning or the problem: the drone being stuck on the roof. The middle of the story: Casey finding ways to retrieve the drown. Finally, the end of the story: In a suspenseful final act, using a wire he retrieves the drone from the roof. It’s a simple idea, executed perfectly. He uses multiple camera angles to change the scenery consistently, uses both action and stable shots, and even adds a nice black screen right before he retrieves the drone just to add more suspense. With this method, able to tell a story a message and story through every single video. A recurring motto of his is “Do what you can’t,” and that quote encompasses the message that Casey tries to send. He wants people to create, be it videos, games, books, art, and just put out what’s on their mind at the moment. It’s the attitude he brings to each and every single video; that you don’t need to listen to people that say that you can’t, all you need is a good idea. His attitude is as important as the video itself. “Neistat lives with the mentality that the only finish line in life is death; anything besides that is a halt on self-improvement.” (“An Analysis of Casey Neistat”, 2016) He has a very rebellious attitude, in his videos and real life. He wants to keep improving not his content and himself, and will go to great lengths to get it. Because of this, he’ll do anything to be able to get a certain shot, even if it means that sometimes he has to break the rules. A large part of his audience is made up of people interested in spreading their own message, idea, or thoughts, and he wants to help inspire them to create and spread their own message in their own unique way.
His videos are well paced, well made, and more importantly, entertaining. He’s been able to create his own vlog style, upping the bar for other creators. His use of transitions, cuts, and montages in shots are a great way to tell a story as he progresses throughout his day. His videos are visually appealing and take a simple idea like the vlog to a whole new level. With his years of productions background and various different projects, he was able to give the vlogs a more mature and quality feel to them. He has very strong ideals throughout his videos, and has a clear passion about what he does, making the videos even better, because it’s not always something that’s well thought out shot or masterpiece of a shot, but he sticks to his guts to be able to tell his own narrative.
A significant part of what Casey does is engagement based. The bigger his channel is, the more people he can reach, the more opportunities he has, the bigger his audience is and the farther his message goes. According to Socialblade, he has over ten million subscribers and over two billion four hundred million channel views, he’s one of the biggest channels out on Youtube and has massive success with companies. (Socialblade [APA], n.d.) He’s partnered with the likes of Samsung and even CNN to help promote his app, Beme. While the app later failed once he left the project for personal reasons, the news channel is still up on Youtube with just under 300,000 subscribers (Perez, 2018). He’s engaged with companies that he uses personally, including Boosted, the company that makes the iconic electric skateboard that he rides around. Casey constantly puts on an ant-establishment and rebellious attitude, and has put out his opinion even if he knows it’ll be a controversial one.This has led to mixed attitudes to him in the past, and even some controversial videos. Youtube, he can commonly be seen in the comment section on videos about him, and interacts with fellow colleagues, even if it’s in a smaller way like a Youtube comment. He tries to interact with fans and creators outside of his videos in various ways. With fans, there’s the people that he meets going around his life in New York City, but he also does talks in various film festivals and conferences, giving him a special way to interact with fans. He’s said several times in the past that he’s not a very social person, he’s very work driven. Because of this these talks are a different way to interact with fans outside of creator-based conventions like VidCon. Another important way he’s been able to interact with creators and fans is his newest project, known as 368. The idea behind 368 is it’s a studio with everything you could possible want as a creator, large amounts of space, a kitchen, an office, and even a DIY gaming area so that these creators can come together and create content. The idea behind is is so that people with ideas can have the tools and space to be able to create the projects that they’ve been urging to make.
Casey is unique in a way in that in a field that’s very fundamentals, he’s been able to add a sense of professionalism and polish. Instead of the typical personal vlogs that were made when he first came onto Youtube, he used his experience as a producer to create a new culture of more professional and cinematic movie-like vlogs, with a set narrative and story. He pushed the genre further and created a new subculture that many have tried to copy and take inspiration from. He’s a great example of the type of success someone with experience and a craving can achieve on Youtube. While he wasn’t unknown prior to popping onto the platform, he achieved a new level of success with his vlogs, and is able to show different chapters of his life through Youtube. He’s able to achieve success through this narrative with his shorter ‘movies,’ and the audience goes through his struggles, successes, ideas, and projects. He’s achieved this success not necessarily because his life is always interesting, but because he’s able to live everyday through this vlog and make it interesting.
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