Casey Neistat Inspires UNT Students to Do More

Casey Neistat’s path to success where his daily vlogs easily reach a million views within 24 hours is not able to be duplicated. But that's okay. “There are no defined paths to succeed in a creative space. There are no 2 rock stars that took the same fork in the road,” Neistat said in the latest lecture organized by the UNT Fine Arts Series.

The audience, which included a few GoPro recorders, welcomed him with a standing ovation as he entered the room with a camera of his own. The self-taught filmmaker lent inspiration by describing his experiences in figuring out his style of storytelling. It took a lot of failures to achieve the amount of success he has had. “Failure is what reminds you you’re human, and it makes you better,” says Neistat.

Before appearing on stage, a select few had the opportunity to meet Neistat in private. The self-taught filmmaker spoke with UNT Short Film Club and MFA documentary students for insight on the possibilities of finding success. Neistat says "Succeeding in video has never been as open-ended and undefined as it is now, which is both wonderful and terrible"

UNT also held a VIP pass contest in which students were asked to make a video on how Casey Neistat inspires them. One winner, Maddie Gallant, decided to pursue a degree in Radio, TV, and Film thanks to Casey Neistat. She says, "It's not just his creativity that inspires me, it's also his outlook on life. People who watch Casey knows he's a hard worker... His 'do more' attitude is something I really admire and look up to."

Seated comfortably next to the host Christopher Lee, Neistat credited his honesty for the success of his vlogging. His experience with YouTube taught him there’s no time for BS. A vlogger who starts bullshitting in order to manipulate their public image won’t stand up to the scrutiny of social media.

When asked if he has ideas planned for the next two months, Neistat admitted he has no idea. He says, “when I try to think about the future my head starts to explode.” He related to the feeling college students have when they try to plan their careers and relationships after earning a degree. It’s better to stay in the moment. It’s the act of creating that yields worthwhile content. There are days where there is a concept he really wants to focus on, but for the most part his vlogs are driven by his immersion into the world. It’s his ‘do or die’ attitude that keeps his energy up. It doesn’t hurt that he constantly works out, and maintains a healthy diet.

Those who have watched his vlogs know it appears that Neistat has explored every nook and cranny in the world. Neistat gave the obvious answer when Lee asked, “what’s the one place you’d like to go that you haven’t been to yet?”

“Outer space.” Neistat lamented that he had an opportunity to make his dream come true, but it fell apart. He assured the crowd, “it will happen.”

Photos by Emily Cline and Brian Doore
Header image design by Sara Button