I Can’t Write Real Good

Not knowing how to do something is hardly a reason not to do it.

I dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, never went back. I should’ve failed sophomore English but Mr. Gabordi passed me with a C- I didn’t earn. He knew my parents were getting a divorce and didn’t want me to have to repeat the year. So no, I never learned how to write.

In my last post, also my first post, some readers gave me a hard time for grammatical errors. I handle criticism pretty well, there’re about 200,000 comments on YouTube about me and my work, I’ve gotten used to people pointing out my shortcomings but I never like hearing it. Long form writing is new to me and I found this negativity discouraging, touched on some of my insecurities in never having finished school.

My least favorite question as a filmmaker is ‘what did you shoot that with?’ The question sucks because the answer shouldn’t matter. The gear doesn’t matter. The approach, the style, the method, the technique — none of it matters to me. What matters is whether or not it was good, whether the story touched you, whether it made you think. This is how I quantify everything, by the outcome not the process.

Bike Lanes is a movie I made in 2011 after being unfairly ticketed for riding my bike in New York City.


I made this movie on my cell phone and with a $179 point and shoot camera. I edited it in iMovie. Technically this movie is garbage but it tells a story that people relate to. I consider it one of my best movies. Last year Disney made The Lone Ranger, it was a technically perfect movie. There are all kinds of amazing effects, every shot was flawless and I am sure it was filmed on a camera I couldn’t figure out how to turn on. The movie lost 161 million dollars. It didn’t have a heart and that is what matters.

I don’t know how to make movies, I never learned, but I do it anyways. I do it wrong, I do it the way you’re not supposed to, I do it my way. Not knowing proved to be a virtue for me. It forced me to figure it out and through that process I found my voice. Inventive spelling is a technique used in early education. It encourages kids to spell wrong so long as they communicate their message. Writeng lake this is totlee OK. It keeps kids from being intimidated to use words they can’t spell. I subscribe to something I call Inventive Living. I try and do regardless of knowledge or lack thereof. This is how I learned to make movies, this is how I parent, this is how I build, this is how I create and this is how I live. And yes, this is how I write.

So to the detractors who, say, I, use, too, many, commas and those who say I use ‘and’ too many times and everyone who was kind enough to take time of of their busy schedules to correct my grammar in this, a casual blog, I say; you’re wrong and those of us trying despite discouragement are right.

follow Casey Neistat on Twitter & Instagram