On a stormy second day of South by Southwest, indoor events were quite popular, but none seemed to draw the buzz of Casey Neistat's talk.
During the hour-long event, Neistat told the story of his eclectic career, beginning with his move to New York City after dropping out of high school and struggling to find his way as a filmmaker. He described the importance of taking risks even when you might not fully understand what direction the decision might take you.
To tell his personal story, Neistat used three of his most popular videos, each from a different time in his life. The first was an op-ed concerning bike lanes in New York, which, after it went viral, opened a door for him at the New York Times to make low-budget videos for the news source. Not only did the video serve as a short and entertaining blurb, but it also established Neistat's priorities as a filmmaker - he enjoys making simple film, prefers hands-on action, and carries a heavy DIY style in his movies.
Although Neistat went on to explain he eventually took his film talents into advertising, showing off his third film in a series of Nike promotional videos, his aesthetic was still blaringly obvious and made his second video even more engaging. The world he has built around himself is extremely impressive, only growing more with his most recent viral hit - a Samsung commercial during the Oscars.
Now that Neistat has moved on to start a tech startup and sell it to CNN, he's working in the world of news again to make an engaging platform for the future. During his talk, he teased a variety of upcoming releases, describing them as opportunities to see what people like, and completely get rid of the things that don't take off. And although he might not have a fully fleshed out idea of what exactly he and his team will focus on, Neistat's proven track record of success in the face of hardship is nothing to doubt, and whatever he creates will likely carry the personal feeling all of his films rely on.