Casey Neistat (make a whole bunch of stuff, but be deliberate)

Podcast Notes from "How I Built This with Guy Raz"

Podcast: How I Built This With Guy Raz • Video Artist: Casey Neistat
Episode links: Apple Podcasts • Google Podcasts • Spotify

🎬 Make movies, not family videos (Then make movies, not vlogs). Casey set himself apart from other vloggers with the quality of his videos. He always looked at them as movies. He played with his brother’s iMac and then wanted to get one for himself. He got a few low-limit credit cards to get an iMac. And he always, always looked at it thinking he was making movies. It wasn’t family footage. A decade later he could then separate himself from vloggers with editing quality.

🔊 Pick a piece of yourself (and turn the volume up). Guy asks Casey if he’s the person in the videos with the glasses with the mirrored lenses. Casey says he picks a part of himself and focuses on that for a video. He can be a wise-ass, he can be a curious adventurer, he can be a family man and a romantic. Each video can focus on one of these aspects of his personality. This reminds me of how Stone Cold Steve Austin talks about his WWE character: “(As Stone Cold) all I'm doing is grabbing the volume knob and turning it up. What you see is what you get.”

📚 Create a body of work (and insure yourself against becoming a one-hit wonder). A throughline in Casey’s life seems to be that he just always, always made movies for himself. He (and his brother, earlier in his career) worked on that craft enough to get paid to make work for other. But it was mostly to buy more time to continue making his own movies about things he enjoys. Some hits he talks about are (1) a $5000 video for a birthday party, (2) iPod’s Dirty Secret, (3) his NYC bike lane video, and (4) the $80,000 Nike commercial. When people saw these things and thought, Hey this looks great, have you made anything else?— he could always say yes and point to a huge library of work. (Even before he had an audience of millions.)