Zenni Video Contest – Second Place Winner!

Michael Darling wrote and directed a video in which his longtime friend Jay Preston played a kind of latter-day Mr. Magoo whose myopia gets him in a lot of slapstick trouble, especially with an ending that packs a wallop that knocked out everyone who watched it – and him! Darling said the inspiration for his video was because his “natural vision is bad enough that I would never consider leaving the house without my glasses, but it was fun coming up with what could happen if I tried.” With his winnings he’s going to invest in a new camera, and he said, “I’ll probably be getting some new specs as well.”

Check it out below and be sure not to leave home without your Zennis!

Getting to know our winners:

Zenni: Did you write, direct, and perform in the video?
Mike: I’m Mike Darling, and I wrote and directed the video. I also performed the voice-over during the graphics. My good friend Christopher Bailey composed the music for us.

Zenni: Who were the actors in the video?
Mike: My good friend of almost 20 years (since high school), Jay Preston, is the actor.

Zenni: How long did the shoot take?
Mike: The production took place in an afternoon, with about 5 hours of shooting time.

Zenni: Did any funny or weird or troublesome things happen on the shoot?  
Mike: Jay was a little nervous about the script calling for him to fall down the stairs.  I had him ready to perform the “stunt” until right before we shot, when I let him know that it would be an editing trick that sold the gag.

Zenni: What were the special challenges you faced in making this video?
Mike: Of course the bus shot was one of the most difficult to make work.  I had Jay cross the street many times to make sure the action was just right, then waited for the bus to come by so we could have both shots cut together into one scene.  Also, editing was a challenge because we had many more gags that we shot, but that time wouldn’t allow.  The final cut came after hours of adjusting cuts frame by frame to make sure the comedy was well received.

Zenni: Have you won in other contests before?
Mike: I’ve won a few contests over the last couple years including 2nd place for the Pizza Hut Hut Hut contest and 1st place for the One Campaign’s “One Thing We Agree On” contest.

Zenni: How many Zenni Pair you own?
Mike: Actually, right after the contest I ordered my first pair of Zenni glasses!  They’re great!

Zenni: How long have you been shopping with Zenni online?
Mike: I only recently discovered Zenni thanks to the contest, but I’ve been telling everyone about you!

Zenni: Full-rim, half-rim or rimless?
Mike: That depends on the day.  I ordered full-rim, but I’ll definitely be buying a few more styles soon.

Zenni: How did you come up with idea for your video?
Mike: As a contact lens and glasses wearer, I know the pain of trying to do every day things without your corrective lenses.  My natural vision is bad enough that I would never consider leaving the house without my glasses, but it was fun coming up with what could  happen if I tried.

Zenni: Do you have other hobbies apart from filmmaking?
Mike: Yes, I love photography, camping, hiking, playing music, and I play on volleyball and softball teams.

Zenni: If you had only two words to describe Zenni Optical what words would you use?
Mike: Economical Quality!

Zenni: Why do you wear glasses?
Mike: Contact lenses are my go-to, but sometimes I need a change of look, or just a chance for my eyes to relax.

Zenni: How will you spend the money (Will  you spend your money on new glasses?
Mike: Well I’ve been looking to upgrade my camera gear for sometime, so with any luck I’ll be able to invest in a new camera I’ve had my eyes on…or maybe some new lights.  Either way, I’ll probably be getting some new specs as well. 🙂

Questions about the crew:

Zenni: Has any of the things you depicted actually happened to you?
Mike: Before my glasses are on in the morning, I’ve been known to trip over couches, drop things near  tables, and it must look pretty funny when I’m trying to read something.

Zenni: How did you do the hit-by-the-bus special effect?
Mike: The hit-by-bus effect is actually made from three different layers in the editing program. One is of Jay crossing the street normally, with no bus.  The next is of the bus driving through, with no Jay.  One more layer is Jay flailing his arms which i cut out frame by frame and pushed off the screen.  A little motion blur sells the movement.

Zenni: Has anyone told you that you remind them of Jason Lee (we think so!)?
Mike: I’ve only hear Jason Lee once before, but I also get David Grohl from the Foo Fighters, Johnny Depp when my beard is trimmed, but most of all I get Jesus.

For more info on Mike, you can visit his webpage here!