Meet Mr. “Nice-Tat”. No really. Film extraordinaire Casey Neistat is often approached about the pronunciation of his last name. “When asked how to pronounce it, I point to one of my tattoos and say ‘see that? That is a nice tattoo, it’s a nice tat’,” he says. And while Neistat dons an array of unique and motivating ink, he is probably more well known for his roles as a film director, producer and creator of a variety of popular YouTube videos. In his web exclusive interview, Neistat talks to Inked Magazine regarding the motivations behind his ink, his films and his life.
Inked Magazine: Tell us about your most recent collaboration with Nike.
Casey Neistat: I have worked with NIke a lot in the past. I have a great relationship with them. This project was far more out of the box then their traditional stuff, it was also much lower budget. I am excited about how the film turned out. It’s tough having 30 hours of great footage from traveling to all these great places then trying to distill it all to a single idea and just a couple minutes.
Inked: In the video you actually get a tattoo – “Do More” – who did it and where? Why did you decide to have it done on this particular occasion?
Neistat: I got that tatttoo here in New York CIty. it was during the editing of Make It Count. We were really struggling, working around the clock and that was a tattoo i had been wanting to get. I wandered into Fun City Tattoo and had Big Steve do the tattoo before coming back to the office after a couple hours of sleep. I filmed it because I film everything and it just worked with the theme of the video. It also provided a nice break.
Inked: This isn’t your only tattoo. You seem to have a very particular style that you like, tell us about that.
Neistat: I have a bunch. All notes. Things I don’t want to or can’t afford to forget. It says work harder on my left hand, that’s the one I read the most. I dated a girl who said that tattoo stressed her out, she didn’t like reading ‘work harder’ all the time but the reminder means a lot to me. I owe everything to hard work.
Inked: Let’s talk about your films. Some of them are as simple and fun as a DIY pornographic butter carton and some are more elaborate, like a trip around the world for Nike… Where do most of your concepts come from?
Neistat: Concepts are easy. Ideas are everywhere. It’s the execution that I focus on. Running around the world is not an original idea, the butter box trick has been done for generations. It’s not the story, it’s how it’s told.
Inked: You even have a movie where you follow renowned tattoo artist Scott Campbell around Manhattan as he makes his own tattoo machine and inks a friend.
Neistat: Yeah, Scott is a good friend. He and I run together everyday (unless one of us can conjure a valid excuse, something that happens at least a couple times a week) and a running partner is as close to a therapist as I’ve ever known. We run for an hour plus, no music, no phones… you talk a lot.
Inked: What are you working on now?
Neistat: A movie about my studio. I spend more time in my office than anywhere else, it’s where i make all my movies. It’s the factory. This short has been taking forever to make, i am worried it won’t do the place justice.
Inked: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment(s)?
Neistat: Having a smart, handsome, well mannered, totally fucking unapologetic kid. He’s amazing and socially comfortable no matter what situation i bring him into. I’m still not sure he grasps what it is i do for a living, although i am not sure I understand it so well either. I had him when i was 17, I remember life feeling so hard before he was around. Life with him though has been a pleasure. Tough to call it an accomplishment. It’s more like luck, I didn’t deserve that. He’s my hero.