Is Casey Neistat's Film School Any Good?
Well, the TL:DR is yes, I thought it was great and good value for money. If you are an aspiring creator or even someone who has been making videos for a while, then you are bound to learn something from it.
If you are simply a Casey fan, you’ll probably just enjoy watching him go through his process in much more detail.
The reason I decided to take the course is I wanted to be sure that my instinct about storytelling being more important than anything technical, was a sound assumption.
And whilst I was reassured by the course, I also felt I learned a lot too.
Studio learning platform
I have to say the structure of the course was very good. It didn’t overload you with information or projects and so was fairly digestible along side a full time job.
At the time, the platform was called monthly.com but has since rebranded to Studio.com.
- There were a series of lessons typically an hour long
- Written briefs
- A peer group that you had to submit your work to
- Feedback both ways
Our first task was to create something fairly spontaneous.
As someone who vlogged every day for something like 800 days, Casey couldn’t plan too much but would usually have an idea in his head. For this part of the course he set out with just an iPhone and captured a story.
For myself I set out on my bike with a GoPro and a phone.
The challenge was to create something on the fly and sort everything out in the edit
I found this really hard initially because I had no direction. I could have filmed anything! And I think from looking at some of the content others produced, they had the same problem.
I run an agency and so I’m used to solving a problem or answering a specific brief. For me this was so wide, I had trouble starting.
So I used the time to create some content for my cycling YouTube channel.
This part of the project was about telling a story in more detail. Something that meant a lot to you and you took more time to plan.
I’d always wanted to make a film about my dog and training her to ride with me.
The interesting thing is, this video has way out performed the first one.
This just goes to show that planning a story structure, creating a shot-list etc is a valuable thing.
The video below is the story Casey wanted to share:
What did I learn?
I have to say
I learnt a lot but more than that I felt reassured that someone as successful as Casey is a little scrappy sometimes.
The end results are always great, but the story is everything.
- Equipment helps but can get in the way – don’t focus on what camera you are using and focus instead on the story
- Cut away anything that doesn’t add to the film. Be brutal.
- Your ideas don’t have to be perfect, they can evolve along the way. Adding spontaneity to the filming and edit helps make it feel real – which is what we are all about!
- Filming in order helps in the edit. He referred to it as editing whilst filming. Make your life easier by thinking about the final edit as you shoot
- Things will change – embrace it
Was the Casey course good value for money?
Yup, I think it was. $249 (£189) was a solid investment.
However, if I just had my YouTube channel which I don’t have big ambitions for, I probably wouldn’t have done it.
That said, I really enjoyed it and I think I make better videos as a result, so actually, yeah, on all counts, it is great value for money!