Tessa Films’ Toben Seymour takes Mr. World on a spin

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Mr. World stars in "Scuba"

Mr. World stars in “Scuba”

New campaign
by The Richards Group
stars a spokespuppet
who dances, ziplines,
and scuba dives while
touting the benefits of
Eyeglass World

A personable and highly adventurous puppet known as Mr. World trips the light fantastic, dives into shark-infested waters, and zips through the treetops with the greatest of ease in a new three-spot campaign for Eyeglass World from The Richards Group, brought to life by Tessa Films director Toben Seymour.

This is the second year running that Seymour has teamed with the agency on an Eyeglass World campaign. As with last year, all the spots feature a puppet born in the director’s own creative workshop, Seymour Creatures, which has created puppets for everything from music videos to Mercedes-Benz spots.

Titled Zipline, Shark Bait, and Dance, the new spots capture a full-bodied Mr. World enjoying lively pastimes.

 
ZIPLINE | EYEGLASS WORLD

 

The head-to-toe form and elaborate movements update previous work for Eyeglass Word, according to Seymour.

“We wanted to continue with the three themes of the brand’s message, which is speed, style and ease/quality of service,” explains Seymour. “We also wanted to continue taking puppets where they’ve never been before, but this time taking the action to the next level and featuring more moments and details from each adventure.”

This meant getting the puppet in the Pacific Ocean, building an animatronic puppet that was light enough to dance with and building animatronic legs that could kick and move while being remote controlled down a zip line, among other things.

 
SHARK BAIT | EYEGLASS WORLD

 

The director brought in a team of experienced puppeteers and builders to assist with these more-involved scripts. “I’m always working to improve my craft in creating puppets and creatures that look like they can live and move alongside humans in the real world,” he adds. “For me, that means shooting all the puppetry and creature effects on location. I love computer animation, but I think our eyes yearn for things that are real.”

The Mr. World puppet, whose skin is a bright blue, has a globe for a head, a face defined by eyebrow-sized continents, an expressive mouth, and various styles of
Eyeglass World frames for eyes.

“What I love about Mr. World is that his glasses are his eyes,” Seymour says. “They’re the lens through which he can see the world, and each set of frames is designed to match the adventure. His personality and character are always growing with each new thing he does.”

 
DANCE | EYEGLASS WORLD

 

“The biggest challenge is always figuring out how to get several puppeteers to perform Mr. World during these adventures,” he continues. “This is a creative brainstorming process between me, the producers and a puppet captain, as we figure out ways to get Mr. World into these complex scenes.”

Mr. World and Toben Seymour
Mr. World and Toben Seymour

Seymour and his Tessa Films team of EP Lisa Masseur and Producer Jonah Mueller devise multiple options for shooting the spots, but the main goal is to shoot everything practically, only using VFX to clean up any rigging or puppeteers.

“This is another fun and creative part of the process, when we come up with ways of getting Mr. World to do the kinds of things people do,” Seymour notes.

One example was building articulating hands for Mr. World, so he could fiddle with his scuba gear in Shark Bait.”

“The fact that Toben is involved in the puppet build, and is intricately involved in how these puppets are fabricated from the start, helps us plan for the crazy things the puppet ultimately has to do,” says Masseur. “Each spot had its own challenges this year, but no matter what insane position in which we put lead puppeteer Paul
McGinnis, he gave a fabulous and real performance.”

Preparing a scene for "Shark Bait"
Preparing a scene for “Shark Bait”

And the Richards Group scripts gave McGinnis, Seymour and the crew plenty of opportunities to put Mr. World through his paces.

In Shark Bait, he welcomes viewers from the back of a dive boat, about to take a plunge into “the world’s most shark-infested waters” wearing wearing fins, a wet suit and mask.

In Dance, he’s seen sporting designer frames at “the world’s most stylish dance competition,” where he does the tango with a sultry beauty whose own specs are pretty hot, too.

And in Zipline, he’s perched on a tree-mounted platform, about to ride “the world’s fastest zipline,” which he views with a slight amount of trepidation.

Mr. World in "Dance"
Mr. World in “Dance”

Seymour sees no limits to where Mr. World could go: “I’m still waiting to hear a challenge that can’t be done,” he says. “I love that this campaign is all about ‘keepin’ it real.’ Seeing Mr. World come to life in these settings, and capturing the moments we’ve planned and prepped for – as well searching for those unexpected, unplanned, and real moments – is what it’s all about.”

 
For more information on Tessa Films, contact Lisa Masseur at 312-757-4389 or lisa@tessafilms.com.

 
Credits | Eyeglass World
Client: National Vision, Inc

Agency: The Richards Group
   Creative Group Head / Art Director: Todd McArtor
   Creative Group Head / Writer: Danny Bryan
   Director of Broadcast: Greg Gibson
   Business Affairs: Sara Sax

Production Company: Tessa Films
   Director: Toben Seymour
   Executive Producer: Lisa Masseur
   President: Reid Brody
   Producer: Jonah Mueller
   Director of Photography: Travis Auclair
   Production Manager: Devon Wright
   Production Designer: Tessa Posnansky
   Mr. World Lead Puppeteer/Voice: Paul McGinnis
   Puppeteer Assist: Christine Papalexis, Greg Ballora
   Puppet Wranglers: Alison Mork, Kristin Charney

Mr. World Puppet Build: Seymour Creatures

Editorial & Post Company: Treehouse Editorial
   Editor: John McStravick
   Post Producer: Kim Estrada
   Flame Artist/VFX Supervisor: Bryan Bayley

 
Send your campaign updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.

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