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Casey Neistat Celebrates Creatives by Reminding Us to Do What You Can't

People who pursue creative endeavors have to endure a seemingly endless barrage of static from those telling them they can't. This video is for them.

About seven years ago, I made an abrupt turn: I had experienced some major personal loss, and the kind of forced clarity of perspective that brings about made me realize that I wasn't happy with what I was doing. I was good at math, but I didn't love it; music was what was in my heart. It just so happens that Cleveland is home to a world-class orchestra and music conservatory. I decided I was going there for my master's come hell or high water. Naturally, I received a ton of pushback: "You don't have an undergraduate degree in music!" "You can't start classical music at 23; you have to have been doing it since you were a child." "Pick a more reasonable school." Instead of listening, I said, "watch me." Now, I'm a year from getting my doctorate from that same school. 

That's why I love Casey Neistat's latest video. Even those of us with the toughest skin can have moments of doubt from the constant struggles creatives face. It's great to see such a a glorious celebration of what we do, no matter how unlikely or misunderstood, particularly by someone who has become such a success in doing it. Keep grinding.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Casey is getting all of the love, but his partner in this video, Max Joseph, deserves a lot of credit as well. I believe he was also the editor behind Casey's Make It Count video.

While it is always laudable to hear encouragement, there is a much more important video somewhere buried under the mountain of Neistat's work where he talks about the work that is involved in getting from point A in a career to point B. That video should precede or closely follow this one, because it is the working person who makes the difference, not the dreamer.

Yep. This is the one you're thinking of:


The gold starts at about 2:10

I agree. This video was a fantastic production, one of his best. But his message here is far inferior to many of his previous efforts on this topic.

Similar, but it was different, more recent. I think.

Without a very heavy sprinkling of salt, this message is complete BS. Just ask wannabe rooftopper Connor Cummings, risk taking heli flier Richard Green or Everest summit dreamer Shriya Shah-Klorfine. Except they're no longer around to ask - they all died because they swallowed this message whole. https://fstoplounge.com/2016/02/photography-a-deadly-undertaking/

Casey has done much better in the past when he talked about risk and hard work - this video is extremely well put-together marketing bs for mine.

I think it's implicit that there's a Maslow's Hierarchy here, but that's just my opinion. I certainly would never condone anyone doing anything that endangers their life or the lives of others for the sake of creative success.

I think your article had a much better take on the issue than Casey Neistat's video did. It's a pity that such videos need others to point out the qualifiers, because to many people, those qualifiers are immediately ignored because they sound like "you can't".

Why thank you! But yes, I agree; it's sad that we live in age where such qualifiers are needed and then not heeded for what they are. I always appreciate your perspective, Simon!!

Cheers Alex - I always appreciate your perspective and articles, too. (Y)