THE FUTURE OF FILMMAKING?
I recently discovered Casey Neistat on YouTube. It wasn't through one of his viral videos popping up all over my social media (although they did, I just didn't really take note) but from once again the guys over at Good (goodthepodcast.com). Actually, backtrack further - I was at a meeting last week and a friend had put tape over the logo on his camera, so I asked why he felt the need to cover it up and found out he just kinda wanted to be like this guy on YouTube called Casey Neistat.
Thats how I first heard about him.
So on Monday the Good podcast came out where Casey was mentioned a fair bit and I thought "I may as well check out this guy, I'm always up for finding good content on the tubes". I finally got around to it last night.
I literally spent about 2-3 hours watching his vlogs. I could not stop. I went to his friends Indian themed wedding, watched him penny board around airports, learnt that he showers before a flight, understood his approach to filmmaking, met his two kids, wife and mother in law. I had unadulterated full access to his life for a whole evening.
There's something weird that makes me uncomfortable about that. I was, and really enjoyed being, a voyeur. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it feels like I was overly intrusive into his life even though there was one hell of an open invitation.
After watching a good hour more of Casey's vlogs today I hopped onto Twitter to catch up on what's going on in the world (I use it as my go to source for current affairs now) only to come across Ryan Booth's new blog posts on Exposure that give weekly check ins and a compilation of the photos he's taken. And all of this got me thinking. So, here we are.
Blog post #4.
Question: are vlogs as effective a way to tell a story and create an emotional response as a movie?
After having my 24 hour obsession with Casey's vlogs in which I actually managed to persuade myself to buy a penny board to be a bit like him, I messaged my girlfriend to see what she thought of them.
Here's what she said.
And her response got me thinking - can a vlog create an emotional response or communicate a message as powerfully as a narrative/doc film?
After watching Casey go about his daily life for all of half an hour he'd managed to inspire and motivate Florence to pursue her ambitions. Now to me that's pretty powerful because hundreds if not thousands of filmmakers spend years of their life and hundreds of millions of dollars and can't achieve what Casey did in 3 days and 30 minutes. Just through living his life, he's managed to impart a powerful emotion. He's been inspiring.
What is your goal as a filmmaker? To make the film you want to see in the cinema? To make a film other people want to see in a cinema? To create an emotional response in an audience? To communicate a powerful message to a generation? Or maybe all of the above and then some?
Now let's say you've achieved all of that and made the best film you possibly could. Could it be argued that Casey achieves this everyday by vlogging? I'm not sure I can actually answer that myself right now and maybe it's a far fetched question, but I'm asking it.
So is this the future of filmmaking? I'm not sure, it's not the filmmaking I'd want to be doing for the rest of my life, but I'd be very open to the possibility that it could become a large part of the industry. The direct freeway between the creator and the consumer with no limitations or manipulations in between.
I guess a final point to end on is this. I found so much enjoyment in dipping into Casey's life over the last year and seeing what he did, and because of that it's made me want to share more about what I do. Not because I think that I could vlog or would want to, but because it seems like such a cathartic release when pursuing a career that is so so so full of creativity. I can't make the films I want to make as quickly as I want to make them but I can talk about them, take photos that'll inspire me to create them or even talk about the daily struggle and journey into a creative career. So that's what I'm going to do.
Check out Casey on YouTube if you somehow like me haven't yet heard of him, it's some good stuff.