Casey Neistat

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Casey Neistat
Casey Neistat @ SXSW 2017 (33229303282) (cropped).jpg
Neistat at the SXSW Music Festival in March 2017
Born Casey Owen Neistat
(1981-03-25) March 25, 1981 (age 37)
Gales Ferry, Connecticut, U.S.
Residence New York City, U.S.[1]
Years active 2001–present
Spouse(s)
  • Candice Pool
    (m. 2005; annulled 2005)
  • Candice Pool Neistat (m. 2013)
YouTube information
Channel
Subscribers 10 million
(July 31, 2018)
Total views 2.3 billion
(July 31, 2018)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2013
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2015
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg 10,000,000 subscribers 2018
Subscriber and view counts updated as of July 30, 2018.
Website www.caseyneistat.com

Casey Owen Neistat (/ˈnstæt/;[2] born March 25, 1981)[3] is an American YouTube personality, filmmaker, vlogger, and co-founder of defunct multimedia company Beme.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Neistat was born in Gales Ferry, Connecticut on March 25, 1981.[5][6] He dropped out of high school during his junior year at age 17 and did not return to school nor graduate.[7] He eventually left his family and had a son named Owen, at age 17, with his then-girlfriend Robin Harris. Between age 17 and 20 he lived in a trailer park with Harris[8] and his infant son. It was during this time that Neistat decided to move to New York City.

Before moving to New York City Neistat worked as a dishwasher at a seafood restaurant[9] and was a short-order cook in Mystic, Connecticut.

He was living a few blocks from the World Trade Center in the Tribeca neighborhood during the September 11 attacks in 2001, which he later stated was the "scariest day of my life" in a vlog published on YouTube when media tenant Condé Nast hired him as a temporary model at their headquarters in the new One World Trade Center.[10]

Film-making career[edit]

Work with Tom Sachs[edit]

In 2001, Neistat and his brother began working with artist Tom Sachs, ultimately making a series of films[11] about the artist's sculptures and installations.

iPod's Dirty Secret[edit]

Neistat first gained international exposure in 2003 for a three-minute film titled iPod's Dirty Secret, criticizing Apple for not having a battery replacement program for their iPod line of portable media players. The film received national media attention and brought broad attention to the company's policy towards iPod battery replacements.[12] The film begins with a phone call to the Apple Support 800 number, and a conversation between Neistat and a customer service associate named Ryan. Neistat explains that his iPod battery was dead after 18 months of use. Ryan suggests that for the cost of labor and shipping to replace the battery, Neistat is better off buying a new iPod. To the music of N.W.A.'s 'Express Yourself', the brothers begin a "public service announcement" campaign to inform consumers about the issue. Using a stenciled sign reading "iPod's Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months", they spray-painted the warning over iPod advertisement posters on the streets of Manhattan.

The film was posted to the Internet on September 20, 2003, and quickly attracted media attention. Controversy surrounding the issue was covered by sources including The Washington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine, Fox News, CBS News, and BBC News. The film was praised as "wonderfully renegade" by the Washington Post.[13]

Apple announced a battery replacement policy on November 14, 2003,[14] and also announced an extended iPod warranty program on November 21.[15] The Washington Post incorrectly stated that both programs were announced "days after" the movie became public.[13] Fox News set the date of the policy change at "two weeks" after the posting of the clip and Neil Cavuto called it a "David and Goliath story" on Fox News' Your World. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Sequeira denied any connection between the film and the new policy, stating the policy revision had been in the works for months before the film was released.[13]

Science Experiments[edit]

In 2004, Neistat and his brother produced a film series titled Science Experiments. The 15-minute series featured a number of short films documenting various experiments. The series was included in the 26th São Paulo Biennial in São Paulo, Brazil.[16] The work was popular,[17] and was eventually featured in Creative Time's 59th Minute program[18] showing a one-minute excerpt from Neistat's film every 59 minutes on the Panasonic Times Square Astrovision.[19]

The Neistat Brothers[edit]

In July 2008, HBO purchased an eight-episode television series, The Neistat Brothers, for just under $2 million.[20] The series was produced by Casey Neistat, Van Neistat, Mason Daugherty and Tom Scott. Independent film producer Christine Vachon served as consulting producer. Written and directed by Casey and Van, the show is autobiographical and told in the first person. Each of the eight episodes is made up of short stories about the brothers' lives. The show premiered June 4, 2010 at midnight on HBO.

The Hollywood Reporter said "the Neistat Brothers are to film what Dr Seuss is to literature".[21] Hank Stuever of the Washington post noted 'the Neistats exhibit an enthusiasm for life that you can't help but love'.[22] The show was not without detractors. The blog The Zeitgeisty Report called the show 'A cutesy, hipster-y, pretentious mess' and went on to suggest it was "the most irritating show in HBO's history."[23]

YouTube[edit]

On February 17, 2010, Neistat uploaded a video about when, and when not, to use the emergency brake cord on train cars in the New York City Subway.[24][25] Neistat criticised the way that the MTA did not make it clear when the emergency brake cord should be pulled. According to the video, one should only use the emergency brake system when the motion of the train poses an imminent threat to life or limb.[25][26]

On February 23, 2010, Neistat released a six-minute film on Vimeo about the Internet site Chatroulette.[27] It explains what the Chatroulette site is, how it works, and why people use it.[28] Various experiments are conducted in the video with the findings presented in stop frame animations. One experiment found that people on Chatroulette are much more likely to talk to a woman. While 95% "nexted" Neistat, his female friend Genevieve was clicked away by only 5%.[29]

On June 7, 2011, Neistat criticized New York City Police Department's ticketing of cyclists in New York City for riding outside of the marked bike lanes. In a video titled "Bike Lanes", Neistat encounters an officer and receives a $50 ticket for not riding within the lanes.[30] Neistat then proceeds to comically ride his bike in the lane crashing into various obstructions, supporting the argument that lanes aren't the safest at all times and are even sometimes unusable. In response, New York Magazine called Neistat a "Bike-Lane Vigilante"[31] and the film was covered by most mainstream media outlets. Additionally, Time named "Bike Lanes" number 8 on their Top 10 Creative Videos of 2011 list.[32] Neistat and the officer featured in the video are now close friends.

In 2014, Neistat was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #82.[33] Neistat has also begun to use Snapchat to capture moments of his life and add them to his "story". There is no main theme to these as they showcase all different parts of his life or feature whatever he is doing that day, including behind-the-scenes content to his YouTube videos.[34]

Daily Vlogs[edit]

Casey Neistat started to post daily vlogs on YouTube on March 26, 2015. On his May 16, 2015 vlog post "The Vice President, Outer Space and the Baby", Neistat stated that he sees his vlogs more as a forum as opposed to a daily journal.[35] On January 19, 2016 Neistat posted his 300th vlog.[36] As a result of vlogging every day, Neistat said he has chosen to refrain from making any feature length content. Neistat is frequently seen using and discussing his collection of Boosted boards in his daily vlogs, which are sometimes showcased in his other YouTube videos.

On January 23, 2016, during the January 2016 United States blizzard, which caused travel bans in New York City, Neistat, his brother Dean, Oscar Boyson, and Jesse Wellens filmed a video through the empty streets of New York City.[37] The 2-minute, 41-second video, titled "Snowboarding with the NYPD," showed Neistat being towed on a rope on the streets and through Times Square, after which a police officer pardons him. The video went viral,[38][39] and gained 6.5 million views on YouTube within 24 hours.[40]

On September 6, 2016, Neistat won GQ's "New Media Star" Man of the Year Award.[41][42]

On September 19, 2016, Neistat published a vlog titled "The $21,000 FIRST CLASS AIRPLANE SEAT",[43] in which he experiences Emirates' first class service, featuring amenities such as touchscreen monitors, a personal beverage compartment, and a shower available to guests. The video quickly gained media attention[44][45]

As of July 13, 2018, Neistat has released 936 vlogs including other films on his YouTube channel since its creation on February 15, 2010. The subject matter of the films varies greatly, and most feature Neistat. On August 23, 2015, Neistat reached 1 million subscribers which increased to 4 million by August 2016, 5 million by October 2016, 6 million by December 2016, 7 million by April 2017,[46] then 8 million by October 2017, 9 million by February 2018, and 10 million by July 2018.

On November 19, 2016, Neistat announced that he was cancelling his vlog permanently to focus more on short-films, which he plans uploading to YouTube in place of his daily vlogs on a regular basis.[47][48]

After just over 4 months, on March 27, 2017, he posted a video, named; 'THE VLOG IS BACK!', in which he stated that he felt the purpose of vlogging has returned to him because of his new project with CNN and that he will be vlogging on a regular basis.[49]

On April 5, 2018 Neistat announced the daily Vlog will be returning again in new, more collaborative form. The new project will be called 368 in reference to the address of his newly acquired space for the project at 368 Broadway, New York. This is not the first time he has used this space, as it was owned and operated by his former company Beme.

Beme[edit]

Beme logo

In a July 8, 2015 vlog,[50] Neistat announced that he had been working with Matt Hackett on building a video sharing app called Beme.[51] Designed as an alternative to highly edited content found in social media, the app enabled users to produce unedited four-second videos, which were immediately uploaded and shared with the user's subscribers, without the ability to review the video.[52] Users could respond to shared content by sending "reactions", photographs of themselves, back to the video uploader.

Beme released the first version of the app on July 17, 2015.[53] Shortly after the launch, BuzzFeed described Beme's minimalist design as "deceptively simple and decidedly weird."[54] The New York Times explained that Beme's user experience was "as if the phone becomes a stand-in for one's body, the camera facing outward to capture what the user is experiencing."[53] Within eight days of the app's release, Beme users had shared 1.1 million videos and logged 2.4 million reactions.[55]

On November 28, 2016, CNN announced that it would acquire Beme,[56] reportedly for US $25 million[57][58] and on November 29, 2016, Matt Hackett, co-founder of Beme, announced via an email to its users that the app would be shutting down on January 31, 2017.[59][60][61]

On Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 8:50am, Casey Neistat published a YouTube video entitled "Beme Update" in which Neistat announced that he and Beme CTO and Co-Founder Matt Hackett had severed their ties with CNN and Beme. Neistat stated that he was not fired nor did he quit, simply that he and CNN had reached a mutual agreement that they would no longer continue working together. Neistat admitted his frustration with working in a team environment and as a manager and stated he began to remove himself from a supervisory role beginning in the summer of 2017. Neistat went on to state that he blamed himself for the failure and was sad that there would be members of the Beme media team that would no longer be employed by CNN. Neistat removed the video from his YouTube channel at 9:30am. [62] Neistat then uploaded a much shorter and revised video to his YouTube channel, "Moving on from Beme", in which he downplayed the previous references to his frustrations and shortcomings in the previously uploaded and removed video. [63] [64]

368[edit]

On April 5, 2018, Neistat announced a new project: 368, a creative space for creators to collaborate.[65] On April 12, CEO of Patreon Jack Conte announced a potential collaboration with Neistat on the project.[66]

Advertising[edit]

In addition to his career in television and film, Neistat also directs television commercials, having worked with clients such as Samsung, Nike,[67] Google,[68] Finn Jewelry,[69] J.Crew,[70] and Mercedes-Benz.[71]

Make It Count[edit]

"Make It Count" is a video written, directed, and starring Casey Neistat for Nike. The video begins with scrolling text that reads "Nike asked me to make a movie about what it means to #makeitcount. Instead of making their movie I spent the entire budget traveling around the world with my friend Max. We'd keep going until the money ran out. It took 10 days."

The video then begins in earnest with Neistat and his collaborator Max Joseph traveling to the airport.[72] Fast editing of their travels with interludes of inspirational quotes make up the film ultimately ending with Neistat returning to New York City where the story began. On April 8, 2012, Nike launched the video on their official YouTube page titled "Make It Count". The next day Neistat launched the video on his official YouTube. Neistat's posting went viral, as within the first three days the film garnered over one and a half million views.[73]

Mashable's Zoe Fox commented that it was "The Best Branding Story Ever Told".[73] A number of mainstream outlets referred to Neistat's production of the film as 'going rogue' including CNNGo,[74] Fast Company[75] and Conde Nast Traveler.[76]

Public Speaking[edit]

Neistat has lectured on topics related to filmmaking and his life experiences.

On October 15, 2010 Neistat spoke at the South Carolina Arts Education Association Fall Conference. He was the event's 'special feature media artist'.[77]

On February 2, 2011 Neistat lectured in the Celeste Bartos Theater at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The lecture was described as "Casey Neistat will show and tell you how he taught himself everything from design to film making since he dropped out of high school. His tools are simple; a camera, a marker, paper and scissors and anything that surrounds him, which he incorporates into stories on topics such as the subway's emergency brake and Facebook's privacy settings."[7] Tickets for the event were $40 and it was sold out. Neistat concluded his lecture by inviting Q&A participants onto the stage to choose a gift from his large cardboard box labeled Party Favors,[78] gifts included an iPad, fake Rolex and cases of beer.[79]

Neistat spoke at The Nantucket Project on October 2, 2011. Described as an event experience that brings together a select group of eminent and accomplished visionaries, thinkers, innovators and performers to one of the most storied places in the United States.[80] He spoke for a predetermined 20 minutes along with presenters such as politician Rahm Emanuel, American businessman Eddie Lampert, former United States Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and stage director Julie Taymor. Neistat's lecture was described as a 'witty explanation of how he chooses his topics and his methods of production gave hope to every potential filmmaker, at any income level'.[81]

Neistat spoke at the TEDx Parker School in Chicago on March 24, 2012. The event's theme was 'The Eye Opening Experience'.[82]

Personal life[edit]

At age 17, Neistat had his son, Owen, with his then girlfriend Robin Harris.[83] In 2005, Casey Neistat eloped with Candice Pool, marrying her in Houston, Texas. This marriage lasted about a month and ended with an annulment.[84] On February 18, 2013, Neistat became engaged to Pool again, who is featured in many of his videos. On December 29, 2013, Candice and Casey were married in Cape Town, South Africa.[85] Together they have a daughter named Francine,[86][87] and are expecting another baby in October 2018.[88]

His grandmother Louise Neistat (born Louise Celice Grossman), was a tap dancer and one of the Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes during World War II. In 2004, Casey directed a video in which his grandmother made the "world's greatest french toast" and delivered it to his son, Owen.

On October 31, 2011, Casey Neistat posted a four-minute short film on YouTube about his grandmother.[89] The video opens with Casey asking his grandmother how many more years she thinks she will put on her annual tap dance show, then inter-cuts various press clippings from her accomplished life with footage from her most recent tap dance show; the focus of her accomplishments being the money her tap dancing has raised for cancer research-related charities.[90] The video was tweeted by YouTube's official Twitter handle and appeared on numerous news and viral video websites including the Huffington Post. 22 days after the video was posted, Louise died of natural causes at the age of 92; Neistat wrote her obituary and delivered the eulogy.[91]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Actor Role
2008 The Pleasure of Being Robbed No Executive No No [92]
2009 Daddy Longlegs No Yes Yes Yes
2011 3x3 Yes No No No
2016 Nerve No No No Yes Himself [93]

Television[edit]

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Actor Role
2010 The Neistat Brothers Yes Yes Yes Yes Himself [20]
2011 Alter Egos No No Yes No 1 episode
2018 The Untitled Action Bronson Show No No No No Himself 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Notes
2010 Independent Spirit Awards John Cassavetes Award Won with Tom Scott
2016 Shorty Awards YouTuber of the Year Won [94]
GQ Men of the Year New Media Star Won [95]
Streamy Awards Entertainer of the Year Won
Best First-Person Series Won
Cinematography Nominated
2017 Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Nominated
First Person Nominated
Cinematography Won
Editing Nominated

References[edit]

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