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Casey Owen Neistat (/ˈkeɪsi ˈnaɪstæt/;[4] born March 25, 1981)[5] is an American YouTube personality, filmmaker, vlogger, and co-founder of the social media company Beme. Neistat and his brother, Van, are the creators of the HBO series The Neistat Brothers.

Early Life

Neistat was born in Gales Ferry, Connecticut on March 25, 1981.  His parents were real estate owners and developers in New York City.  He dropped out of Ledyard High School in the 10th grade at age 15 and did not return to school or graduate. From age 17 until 20 he lived in a trailer park with his friend, Robin Harris,and their son, Owen. It was during this time that Neistat decided to move in to New York City. Prior to moving to New York City, Neistat worked as a dishwasher at a restaurant  and short order cook in Mystic, Connecticut. His first job in New York City was as a bike messenger.

Film-making Career

Work with Tom Sachs

In mid-2001 Neistat and his brother Van began working with the artist Tom Sachs, ultimately making a series of films about the artist's sculptures and installations. This was the earliest work done by the brothers as a collective.

iPod's Dirty Secret

Neistat first gained international exposure in 2003 for a three-minute film titled iPod's Dirty Secret, criticizing Apple's lack of a battery replacement program for the iPod. The film received national media attention and brought broad attention to Apple's policy towards iPod battery replacements.The video clip begins with a phone call to the Apple Support 800 number, and a conversation between Casey Neistat and an operator named Ryan. Casey explains that after 18 months of use his iPod battery is dead. Ryan suggests that for the cost of labor and shipping to replace the battery Casey is better off buying a new iPod. To the music of NWA's rap song "Express Yourself" the brothers begin a "public service announcement" campaign to inform consumers about the batteries. Using a stenciled sign reading "iPod's Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months", they spray paint the warning over iPod advertisement posters on the streets of Manhattan.

The film was posted to the Internet on September 20, 2003. It quickly attracted media attention and the controversy was covered worldwide, 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.Apple officially announced a battery replacement policy on November 14, 2003[18] and also announced an extended iPod warranty program on November 21.The Washington Post incorrectly stated that both programs were announced "days after" the movie became public. 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's 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.

Science Experiments

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. The work was popular, and was eventually featured in Creative Time's 59th Minute program showing a one-minute excerpt from Neistat's film every 59 minutes on the Panasonic Times Square Astrovision.

The Neistat Brothers

In July 2008, HBO purchased an eight-episode television series, The Neistat Brothers, for just under $2 million. 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'.  Hank Stuever of the Washington post noted 'the Neistats exhibit an enthusiasm for life that you can't help but love'. 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."

Youtube

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. 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 when the motion of the train poses an imminent threat to life or limb.On February 23, 2010, Neistat released a six-minute film on Vimeo about the internet site Chatroulette. It explains what the Chatroulette site is, how it works, and why people use it. 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%. 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 entitled "Bike Lanes", Neistat encounters an officer, wherein receiving a $50 ticket for not riding within the lanes. 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"  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. In 2014, Neistat was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #82. 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.

Daily vlogs

Neistat started to post daily vlogs on YouTube on March 24, 2015. On his May 15, 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. On January 19, 2016 Neistat posted his 300th vlog. As a result of vlogging everyday, 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 Wellensfilmed a video through the empty streets of New York City. 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, and gained 6.5 million views on YouTube within 24 hours. On September 8, 2016, Neistat won GQ's "New Media Star" Man of the Year Award.

On September 19, 2016, Neistat published a vlog titled "The $21,000 first class airplane seat", 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 and is currently the most viewed video on Neistat's channel, as of November 10, 2016, with over 25.1 million views. As of November 10, 2016, Neistat has released 710 vlogs and 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 22, 2015, Neistat reached 1 million subscribers which increased to 4 million by August 2016, 5 million by October 2016, and 5.6 million by November 2016.

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.

Beme

In a July 8, 2015 vlog, and July 13, 2015 Neistat announced that he has been working with Matt Hackett on building a video sharing app called Beme. Designed as an alternative to highly edited content found in social media, the app enables users to produce unedited four-second videos, which are immediately uploaded and shared with the user's subscribers, without the ability to review the video. Users 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.  Shortly after the launch, BuzzFeed described Beme's minimalist design as "deceptively simple and decidedly weird. The New York Times explained that Beme's user experience is "as if the phone becomes a stand-in for one's body, the camera facing outward to capture what the user is experiencing." Within eight days of the app's release, Beme users had shared 1.1 million videos and logged 2.4 million reactions.

On November 28, 2016, CNN announced that it will acquire Beme, (reportedly for $25,000,000).

Advertising

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

Make It Count

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

Public speaking

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'.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." 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, gifts included an iPad, fake Rolex and cases of beer.

Personal life

Neistat had a son, Owen, when he was 17, with then-girlfriend Robin Harris. The first time Neistat was married was to Candice Pool; they had eloped in Houston, Texas in 2005. This marriage lasted about a month and ended with an annulment.  On February 18, 2013, Neistat became engaged to Candice Pool again, who is featured in many of his films. On December 29, 2013, Candice and Casey were married in Cape Town, South Africa. Together they have a daughter, Francine. Louise Neistat (born Louise Celice Grossman), Casey Neistat's grandmother, 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. 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. The video was tweeted by YouTube's official Twitterhandle 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; Casey wrote her obituary and delivered the eulogy.

Filmography

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

Awards and nominations

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

Gallery

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