The Academy Awards is the second most watched televised event, behind the Superbowl, and each year, millions of viewers tune in to see which of their favorite actors and films will take home the golden statue. This year, Moonlight, after a mess up with the announcement cards, won Best Picture, a huge achievement for the independent film industry, as well as the black LGBTQ+ community. However, this community within the film realm was not the only group given well deserved recognition.
Casey Neistat, famous vlogger and Youtube sensation, highlighted the achievements of the underdogs in the film industry, the creators and makers like himself, by starring in a Samsung commercial to bring attention to and celebrate the YouTube community, as well as content creators of the millennial generation.
The commercial opens to a dark, stormy setting in an empty, dimly lit parking lot. Neistat walks up to the microphone, stands in the center of the frame, and says “allow me to introduce the rest of us.” Here’s a behind the scenes vlog Neistat published on his channel that traces the production process of the commercial.
By “the rest of us” he means the other side of the film industry that doesn’t have huge budgets, high quality cameras, major sets and production accessibility. Most of the time, the “others” just have their creative ideas and a smartphone. Of course, the commercial is intended to encourage viewers to purchase a Samsung phone, however the main message is that content creators and filmmakers who are seen as the outsiders to the industry should be better acknowledged.
“We have ideas that we need to share, we know it’s not the size of the production that matters, it’s what you make. We don’t create because we have to, we create because we love to…when we’re told we can’t, we all have the same answer. Watch me,” Neistat said in the video.
Filmmaking in the millennial era has completely revolutionized the meaning of traditional filmmaking. However, the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and others still only recognize films and movies within the traditional sphere.
Two of the more prestigious awards for those who create social media content are the Shorty Awards and Streamy Awards, of which Neistat has won both: the Shorty for YouTuber of the Year, and the Streamy for First Person Series in 2016. Although both great honors, Neistat’s content is changing the definition of filmmaking. At the Oscars this year, Amazon’s film Manchester By the Sea won Best Actor, and other streamed films were also nominated, so who knows, maybe YouTube and vlogging will become its own category at the Oscars some day.