On Fanciness and Neistat


Lately I’ve been watching Casey Neistat a lot — the past three days, to be exact. I didn’t know him before. I accidentally stumbled into his YouTube channel somehow when I was watching another video.

Boy, how was I smitten by his video blogs, or vlogs, and his films in general. I like his narrative style. It’s brutally honest, yet charming. It’s a social critic for many of its episodes, but not an under-appreciation of somebody else or something else. He’s a good human being, a bit reckless at times it seems, but things seem to work wonder for him and his family. What I love about his attitude is that he’s frank, adventurous, and appreciating little things in life. He’s into his life and filmmaking. He’s into his passion. He takes risks. He cares about process. He gets things done. He cares about the big picture.

He works hard and delivers.

This style of attitude is something I admire of. It also shines in the people behind Basecamp, the one company I also admire for their honesty, get-shit-done mentality and no-bullshit policy.

At one point in his vlog he says he is very annoyed when people ask him about what tool(s) he uses to do his videos or films. It’s such an uninteresting question, he said. Early in the days he used basic low-resolution DV camcorders and edit them through free iMovie app. Nothing fancy. I also saw in some of his vlogs that when he shows the computer monitor, he’s indeed using the iMovie app.

Yes, he might have used other “pro” gears and software to make films but that’s not the point. Achieving a good result in film is about storytelling and ideas. It’s always the men behind the tools.

This somehow correlates to digital design.

Digital designers fuss about using this and that as tools — they fail to recognise that the best solution isn’t always using the best tools. The best solutions are also not always the pretties, the fanciest.

Designers can have the best tools but if the idea sucks, it gets nowhere. Designers can have the prettiest designs and animations, but if it fails to tell a story, it gets nowhere.

Try to tell a story or have the best idea, get it out as fairly quickly as possible, no matter how bad it looks. It’s this mentality that’s missing in some of today’s digital designers. Being adventurous or making mistakes is hell of a world they won’t enter.