Want to catch someone’s attention? Cat videos almost always work.
That’s what Garon Seaux and Mckaela Wilson did with “Supercat,” their humorous take on cats bedeviled by a dreaded laser pointer — a cat toy portrayed as a mind-control device — and how one “super” cat heads to the local library to gain the knowledge needed to defeat the device.
Seaux, 13, and Wilson, 12, both patrons of Lafayette Public Library’s North Regional Branch, are the Louisiana winners of the 2015 Teen Video Challenge, a national competition hosted by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.
Not bad for their first time making a video.
The Teen Video Challenge asked teenagers to create a 30- to 90-second public service announcement that could be used at any library to promote reading and use of the library.
Seaux found out about the competition after attending a library program on stop-motion photography.
Using his experience volunteering at the local animal shelter, Lafayette Animal Aid, and his love for cats, Seaux decided to make the award-winning feature dedicated to the felines.
He knew Wilson from the shelter, where she also volunteers, and asked if she would like to join him.
The biggest challenge the duo faced was trying to persuade the star of the film, Glover, to keep his costume on, Wilson said.
“It was really hard because he wouldn’t keep it on, especially his mask; he just kept using his paw to smack it off,” Wilson said.
“Though, out of all the cats, he’s the only one who we managed to keep it on,” added Seaux.
The kids found that catnip did the trick, making Glover dizzy enough to allow Wilson put the costume on him.
“I like to watch all the cats freaking out from the lasers; that was my favorite part,” Wilson said.
To create the scene of chaos, they used a laser tower that was donated to the shelter. The tower has two lasers at the top that rotate, catching cats’ gaze and causing them to chase the lights in a frenzy. It took a few hours over the course of two days to complete filming.
“I thought it was something from a sci-fi movie,” Seaux said with a smile, wearing an astronaut cat shirt that melds his interests in sci-fi and cats.
Most of the cats in the short film are from the Lafayette Animal Aid shelter.
Wilson’s mother, Nichole Wilson, works at the shelter as the cat coordinator.
Glover, the star of the film, has since been adopted into a good home, Seaux and Wilson said.
Along with volunteering with the felines, each of the kids has furry friends at home.
The students, both home-schooled, said they would like to keep working with animals when they’re older.
Seaux wants to continue with cats, while Wilson said she would like to work with dolphins, horses and dogs.
Their video, “Supercat,” is featured alongside winning videos from contestants in 25 other states on the CSLP website, cslpreads.org.
The filmmakers will be awarded $150, and their home library also will receive $50 worth in prizes by CSLP, a multistate group that provides materials for summer reading programs.
Seaux bought a GoPro camera with his share of the prize money. Wilson said she can’t decide whether to buy an acoustic guitar or a friend for her pet rat, Tornado.
Perhaps that’s another video for another day.