Casey Neistat on the virtues of ignorance

Casey Neistat never went to film school – he credits his success to this and the “virtues of ignorance”.

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Casey Neistat has been creating movies since the late '90s, when the first version of iMovie came out. Today, he is a YouTube sensation with upwards of 100 million total views and he is redefining what it means to be a filmmaker.

With no prior training, he’s made films for the web, TV and advertising for over a decade now and surprisingly, he credits his success to the “virtues of ignorance". He believes that this “ignorance” has been his most valuable asset.

He describes this virtue as “the value of not knowing the right way to do something in the creative field” and he believes that this should be “nurtured and not corrected.”

The nature of creativity is rejecting what I know,” – Casey Neistat       

This attitude has led to create phenomenal films such as the Nike #makeitcount advert. Nike gave him a big budget to create an advert and instead of spending it on shooting a commercial for the Fuelband, he burned through it in 10 days on a trip around the world. That advert has over 15 million views.

He has also made a series – a reality show called The Neistat Brothers starring his brother and himself – and distributed it through HBO; he prefers the honesty and accessibility of YouTube. “It was in turning to YouTube I really found my voice and really found some success,” he says.

His talk on the Design Indaba stage is peppered with examples of this voice and success from his phenomenal YouTube page. His subject matter covers a plethora of subject, from adverts for Nike and Mercedes Benz to a daily vlog, beginning March 27, 2015, about his work, wife and young daughter Frankie. “I don’t know how to share a product but I know how to share an experience”

Most recently, Neistat co-founded Beme, a social media network that allows users to post successive 4-second video snippets without the opportunity to preview, review or even view the clips before they publish. The idea is to promote honesty and authenticity.