Casey Neistat was born on March 25, 1981 in New London, Connecticut. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and and shortly there after had a son named Owen. In 2001 Casey moved to New York City with hopes of making movies for a living.
Casey and his brother Van began working for artist Tom Sachs helping him create videos revolving around his various art installations and sculptures. It was because of Tom’s guidance that Casey and his brother began to form their style of filmmaking. If you go back and watch some of Tom Sachs’ older movies you can see where Casey and Van derived their style from.
In 2003, Casey and Van made a movie entitled “iPod’s Dirty Secret” in which they discuss how Apple made the iPod so that you could not replace the battery yourself when it went bad… which it was bound to do. They documented their experience trying to deal with Apple customer service and how much it would cost them to actually have the battery replaced.
‘iPod’s Dirty Secret” went on to to have millions of views on the internet, before YouTube was even a thing. This lead to lots of media coverage as well as Apple revamping their replacement policy for the iPod batteries.
In 2008, Casey and his brother Van created and sold a TV show to HBO entitled “The Neistat Brothers”. The TV show ran for 8, 30 minute episodes, and featured a collection of short movies created by both Casey and Van. These short videos are very similar to what Casey would continue to do on his YouTube channel after the show completed it’s run.
Casey has found most of his success in recent years from YouTube and the posting of daily vlogs, but we first discovered Casey when he released his 2012 video called “Make it Count” for Nike. This video featured Casey and his friend Max (from MTV’s Catfish), traveling around the world on Nike’s dime. They took the entire budget for the video and spent it traveling until the money ran out, and then made a movie about it. It was this video that turned us on to Casey and we have been fans ever since.
Casey has had lots of other notable videos throughout his career on YouTube, some of which include him snowboarding through New York City, chasing real-life Pokemon through the streets, or spending a movie studio’s money to go over to the Philippines to help provide food and water to those devastated by the typhoon. Casey has done a lot of interesting one-off videos throughout his stay on YouTube, but nothing has catapulted him to stardom like his daily vlog.
In March of 2015, Casey decided that he was going to start documenting his life and post it on YouTube as a way to force himself to make more movies and to better hone his craft. At that point in his career he had built up around 500,000 subscribers on YouTube from his previous videos. And as of August of 2016, he now has over 4 million subscribers. This is a testament to his style and his personality, and his discipline in making sure that he posts a video every single day. Take note, that just because Casey was able to grow his subscriber base so quickly doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone. But if you put in the time and effort, good things are sure to happen.
Outside of YouTube, Casey also started a technology company called Beme, which allows a user to document his or her experiences without having the distraction (or ability) of seeing what the camera sees. The idea is that you can still enjoy whatever it is you are experiencing, but still share that with the world without having to take your eyes off of what you are looking at. He has also produced and been featured in a handful of Hollywood movies.
Casey Neistat’s Camera Gear
Casey tries to make the point that camera gear should not matter when it comes to making videos. You should always use what you have available and focus on telling a great story instead of worrying about your equipment.
However, that being said, Casey was one of the first (if not the first) daily vlogger to use a Canon DSLR on the end of a Gorillapod tripod. He also uses a smaller point and shoot Canon G7 X as well as whatever cell phone he has handy, and a Phantom 4 drone. All of Casey’s current equipment can be found in the sidebar to the right.