do it meme shia labeouf

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The ‘Do It’ meme, explained

Actor Shia LaBeouf gave a loud—and deeply intense—motivational speech to internet users in 2015.

 

Alexandra Samuels

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Posted on Dec 14, 2023   Updated on Feb 5, 2024, 9:31 pm CST

During the workweek, we could all use a little pick-me-up, right? But what if that came in the form of a celebrity screaming inspirational messages to you? Could that work? 

Maybe, maybe not. But that didn’t stop actor Shia LaBeouf from giving an extremely loud—and deeply intense—motivational speech to internet users in 2015. To this day, we’re not 100 percent sure why LaBeouf did this, but it seemingly continues his journey as a performance artist. Here’s everything you need to know about the speech and the backstory behind the ‘do it’ meme:

So what’s up with the speech?

Most people know LaBeouf from the Disney Channel or the Transformers movies, but he’s since moved on to other ventures. In this particular video, LaBeouf is seen yelling a clichéd motivational speech at the camera, enhanced with extreme gestures.

For those who haven’t seen the video, we’ve embedded it below. And transcribed it: 

Do it. Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday, you said tomorrow. So just do it. Make your dreams come true. Just do it. Some people dream of success, while you’re gonna wake up and work hard at it. Nothing is impossible. You should get to the point where anyone else would quit, and you’re not gonna stop there. No, what are you waiting for? Do it! Just do it! Yes you can. Just do it. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

Did LaBeouf undertake this alone?

The speech was actually part of an excerpt from a larger project, where LaBeouf filmed several short monologues. But he didn’t do this project alone: he paired up with undergraduate students at Central Saint Martins in London for their 2015 degree show. And the impassioned ‘Do it’ speech, which inspired the meme we all know today, was actually produced by student Joshua Parker, according to the Independent

In an interview, Parker said he believed his segment of the project resonated so widely because LaBeouf’s emotional response was “sensational.”

“It had such a wide response in comments of the YouTube videos from people loving it, listening to it in the morning and getting really pumped to saying it’s for a Nike sponsor, even to thinking Shia has just gone crazy, so the reaction has been overwhelming,” Parker said.

How did the meme emerge?

According to Know Your Meme, the video reached virality, in part, after an internet user uploaded a video to YouTube titled, “Shia LaBeouf delivers the most intense motivation speech of all time” in 2015. The video amassed over 1.4 million views before it got deleted. 

But its upload spurred several other creatives to start making parody videos, like the ones below:

Is this the only LaBeouf meme out there? 

LaBeouf is somewhat of a human meme, actually, and there’s tons of other material about him out there. Remember when the actor announced that he’d be watching every single one of his movies in a row over three days and the internet absolutely lost it? Though raw and emotional, that video spawned some great memes.

Then there was the time where, as part of another performance art piece, the actor took to a red carpet event wearing a paper bag over his head. Written across the bag in large black letters was the phrase, “I’m not famous anymore,” likely a reference to LaBeouf’s prior announcement that he was “[retiring] from public life.”

Can I make my own ‘do it’ motivational meme?

Of course! Like most memes out there, there’s an opportunity for users to customize their own using generators like this one. Don’t let your meme dreams be mere meme dreams.

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*First Published: Dec 14, 2023, 9:33 am CST