Zenni Video Contest – Grand Prize Winner!

The $20,000 Grand Prize winner is the filmmaking team of Jesse Eisenhardt and Eric Wong, both of San Francisco, Calif., whose video of a baby stealing and abusing his father’s glasses impressed the judges with its implied message that Zenni Optical glasses are inexpensive enough that you can afford to lose a pair. Also, you can’t go wrong with a cute baby. Extra points for the drool.

“The baby is my son, Alex, who is 1 year old,” said Eisenhardt. “He constantly wants to grab my sunglasses off my face, and it terrifies me every time that he is going to break them.  So we figured, let’s make a spot that plays off that fear.” Wong, who played the father in the video, said, “When you give a kid a pair of glasses and let him play around, things get hilarious real fast.”

Eisenhardt said he’s going to use his share of the winnings to buy a new camera, “and a pair of Zenni glasses for my wife.”

Wong said that with his portion of the $20,000 grand prize, he plans “to buy every single pair of glasses Zenni makes!”

(With Zenni’s amazingly affordable prices, he’ll probably have some money left over.)

“Jesse and Eric really nailed what we were looking for,” said Zenni Optical Marketing Manager David Varnai. “We were completely won over by the edgy humor that conveyed how you can afford to lose a pair of Zennis to a kitchen appliance, since Zenni’s eyewear is so inexpensive. And we all loved that mischievous baby.”

Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Getting to know our winners:

Zenni: Did you write, direct, and perform in the video?
Eric: It was a total team effort.  Jesse and I wrote and produced it together.  Then I directed, acted and edited it while Jesse filmed and colored it.  Doing everything ourselves, we were definitely lean and mean.

Zenni: Who were the actors in the video?
Jesse: Besides Eric, the baby in the video is my son, Alex.

Zenni: How long did the shoot take?
Jesse: Eric and I shot this all in a few hours one day.  Originally we had two concepts, but once we started getting the hilarious footage of the baby, we completely scrapped the other idea.

Zenni: Did any funny or weird or troublesome things happen on the shoot?
Eric: This was easily the most I’ve laughed when shooting a video.  When you give a kid a pair of glasses and let him play around, things get hilarious real fast. He was also doing cute and funny things we couldn’t have predicted too.  We couldn’t stop laughing.

Jesse: We anticipated the possibility that Alex would freeze up on camera, but he actually had no issues at all.  Since we had no crew, he probably felt more comfortable to do his thing without being intimidated.  It all went very smoothly!

Zenni: What were the special challenges you faced in making this video?
Jesse: The biggest challenges we faced were trying to anticipate what Alex was going to do with the glasses next, and to keep from laughing off-screen during the take!  It also became very difficult to cut the video down to 28 seconds since we had so many hysterical moments to choose from.  Eric did a great job telling the story and keeping it simple and humorous with his edit.

Eric:  Jesse might have ‘forgotten’ all the challenges working with his son (oh the love of a father), but it wasn’t easy to get the kid to sit still.  For opening shot on the couch, he just didn’t want to be up there.  He kept getting down, we’d put him back up, and then he’d get down again.  It was a delicate balance to get him to do things that he wasn’t necessarily interested in doing at the moment while keeping him happy.  We’re glad that most things worked out and made for some great moments.

Zenni: Have you won in other contests before?
Jesse: We have never won a contest like this before.

Zenni: How many Zenni Pair you own?
Eric: I have 4 pairs I found out about the contest one day when I was browsing.

Jesse: I don’t wear glasses. Yet.

Zenni: How long have you been shopping with Zenni online?
Eric: I discovered Zenni in August of 2013 and was so refreshed to see glasses that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars, so I bought 4 pairs :).

Zenni: Full-rim, half-rim or rimless?
Eric: All full rim.

Zenni: How did you come up with idea for your video?
Jesse: We were throwing around different concepts and we thought, how can we bring my son into this somehow?  He constantly wants to grab my sunglasses off my face and it terrifies me every time that he is going to break them.  So we figured, let’s make a spot that plays off that fear.

Eric:  It’s the dreaded fear that all glasses wearers have.  And when your glasses cost hundreds of dollars, the stakes are high.  We wanted to play with that yet show that with Zenni prices, it’s not the end of the world if something catastrophic happens to your glasses!  On top of that, kids are undeniably cute and can make for some great laughs.  Add the spectacular death of a pair of glasses by blender, and we thought we might have something memorable.

Zenni: Do you have other hobbies apart from filmmaking?
Eric: The Brazilian art of capoeira.

Jesse: I enjoy still photography and playing guitar.

Zenni: If you had only two words to describe Zenni Optical what words would you use?
Eric: Fun and affordable.

Zenni: Why do you wear glasses?
Eric: To see, but adding some style helps too.

Zenni: How will you spend the money (Will  you spend your money on new glasses?
Eric: To buy every single pair of glasses Zenni makes!

Jesse: To buy a new camera!  And a pair of Zenni glasses for my wife.

Questions about the crew:

Zenni: Whose child is this? What’s the baby’s name and age?
Jesse: This is my son, Alex, who is 1 year old.

Zenni: How many takes were needed to get the baby to cooperate?
Jesse: We tried to film the play sequence in one fluid take because we knew he would get bored fairly quickly.  I basically ran around the kitchen and living room following him with the camera as Eric would encourage him to do certain things (all under my wife’s supervision of course).  We were all trying to contain our laughter as he would bend and maim the glasses.

Eric: Aside from the couch shot which we had to do a good handful of takes, Alex was surprisingly good at following direction.

Zenni: Was this something the baby normally did with the dad’s glasses?
Jesse: Usually we tell my son to “be gentle” if he grabs anything fragile like glasses.  So this shoot was a one-time exception to that rule.  Hopefully he won’t remember this behavior as he gets older.

Zenni: Did you have to audition a lot of babies?
Eric:  No, this was a role specially created for Alex 🙂

Zenni: Did the baby make any special demands during the shoot? No brown M&Ms maybe?
Jesse: Besides one brief temper tantrum, Alex was very reasonable to work with.  No special demands!  In fact, I am sure he enjoyed being allowed to wreak havoc without interference for once.

Eric: He demanded respect and he got it.

Zenni: Since Zenni glasses are so sturdy (we saw the baby pull the temple arms without breaking the glasses), did they actually go in the blender, and if so, did they stay intact?
Eric: We had a second pair of matching glasses so we would be safe for shooting when these became scratched or broken.  Despite the abuse, the glasses were still in near perfect condition!  There was only one minute scratch on the frame. We were shocked at how well they held up, especially when Alex was bending the temple arms more than I’d ever seen any glasses bend.  I thought for sure they were going to snap, but they didn’t.   I’m still wearing the glasses today.  For safety, we did not actually destroy the glasses in the blender (which wasn’t even plugged in).

Zenni: Now that the baby is a video star, is the baby wearing Zenni sunglasses? If so, which ones?
Jesse: Clearly we will have to buy some Zenni sunglasses for Alex.  He earned them!

For more info on Eric and Jesse, you can visit their sites here:

Eric – www.ericlwong.com

Jesse – www.cinema15.net