A frenchman named Maxime Barbier copied one of my movies, the concept, the idea, nearly scene for scene, and in places line for line. Then he sold that movie to Coca Cola. Then he thanked me on Facebook for the ‘inspiration’.
New Years Eve 2012 I embraced my inner romantic, spontaneously bought a plane ticket and flew to South Africa to surprise my girlfriend who was there for the holidays with her parents. It was exciting, I filmed it, as I do everything, and made a 6 minute movie about the adventure. Her mom loved the movie. Last month I married that girl, our wedding was in South Africa of course.
The 6 minute movie I made was called The Surprise in South Africa.
This morning I found a few emails that had been sent to my website and a handful of tweets bringing my attention to a video called ‘For Love, I Traveled 8500km To Spend 48 hours With My Girlfriend’. One such email from a man named Esteban Merlin eloquently read;
I just wanted to tell you that a parisian asshole just copied your video “The surprise in South Africa” and sold it to Coca-Cola in Paris.
Have a nice day my friend. Sorry about french people.
I watched the movie, it really upset me.
It’s hard to pin point why this upsets me so much. Copying is part of the game. This is not the first, certainly won’t be the last, time something like this takes place. Maybe it’s because my movie was made purely out of love and happiness. I wasn’t explicitly making a movie, that wasn’t the motivation to surprise my girl. I was just stuck on planes for 27 hours so I filmed everything. It was only a few weeks after the trip that my friend Max Joseph helped me steer it into a movie after I showed him the footage of her screaming when she saw me standing at her door 8,000 miles away from home. Or maybe that I’ve never made any money off of my video, I don’t even have it monetized on YouTube. It’s a story that has made me so happy to relive again and again by watching my movie and watching this interloper’s shitty Coca-Cola rip-off just ruins it for me.
Like this experience that was so intimate and pivotal in my life can just be reproduced and sold in 12oz red cans.
As a filmmaker the greatest compliment anyone can bestow on me is that my work inspires others to create. I love seeing videos, often made by young students and new filmmakers, that emulate my style. I spend time working with kids showing them how I make movies teaching them my techniques.
Here’s a great video by my friend Jack, he’s 11 and after seeing my movie about relief in the philippines he was motivated to do something and he did. Then he made this rad movie about it.
I watch and draw inspiration from my favorite filmmakers, Kubrick, Anderson, Tarantino, Charles and Ray Eames all of their work influences mine.
That’s the magic of art. Great ideas promote more great ideas.
What this Maxime character did was different. He didn’t act out of inspiration, he wasn’t influenced and motivated to create his own work. He took something that wasn’t his then exploited it. He should be ashamed.
Rarely ever reblog, but Casey Neistat is a fantastic filmmaker and says some good words about being inspired versus stealing.
You could say I’m a fan of Casey Neistat. I’ve been a fan since his New York City Bike Lanes video and since then I’ve written about him on Supersonic, and I always tweet his new videos which are always as enlightening as they are enjoyable. (Honestly, he’s an artist more than anything else.)
Any follower of Neistat would recognize that the man is terribly opposed to not being able to help or do anything in the wake of disaster. He’s covered hurricanes, visited sunken cruise ships, and thoroughly investigated bike theft (which is certainly a disaster of it’s own kind).
But the best quality of Neistat here is his desire to give back and his die hard drive to do so. (I think this comes from his years of living in poverty before just going for it, moving to NYC and beginning to make videos.)
So when 20th Century Fox emailed Neistat about making a film to advertise their upcoming feature “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Neistat instead suggested that they give him the entire budget and let him spend it on helping people affected by the strongest recorded typhoon in history in the Philippines. The video above is the result. It speaks for itself.
The YouTube Films of Casey Neistat.
I first came across Casey Neistat’s video work perhaps a year ago when I watched “Bike Lanes by Casey Neistat" on YouTube, his anger driven video on New York City’s bike lane laws inspired by receiving a ticket for riding his bike outside the lane. His way of dealing with the issue was creative, humorous and hooked my attention, so I watched a few others. I said to myself, "this guy is really good at this."
After my video watching binge the videos and name settled in the back of my mind and I went on with my art posting and Tumblr antics. Until a few months later when I came across the video above: “Make It Count.” According to the video Nike asked Neistat to make a short film about how to “make it count” and in turn Neistat took all of the money Nike gave him and flew around the world for ten days, “making it count.” The video is fantastic and is a perfect commercial for the product Nike is selling. It’s also beautifully shot and edited and the narrative really hits home. It was at this point I said to myself, “who is this guy?”