Sam Senser, Project Yellow Light Winner, has Dreams of Directing

May 22, 2015

With a pair of his grandfather’s prized deer mounts, a background in film and just a little help from his friends, Sam Senser of Louisville, Neb., captured first place in the college division of the 2015 Project Yellow Light video scholarship competition.

U-Haul International, Inc. corporate partner Project Yellow Light recognized six Hunter Garner Scholarship recipients recently for producing the best student videos aimed at educating young people on the dangers of distracted driving.

U-Haul distributed $16,000 in total scholarship prizes this year, which is awarded to the top three video producers in the high school and college divisions. The first-place winners also receive in-kind moving expenses from U-Haul, which continues to promote the perils of texting and phone use behind the wheel.

Sam earned a $5,000 prize for his fresh take on the old “deer in headlights” cliché and plans to share his scholarship winnings with his brother, Wrenn, and friend, Jacob Bruce, who assisted with the video.

In an amusing role reversal, Sam’s video shows two deer driving on the highway and slamming on their brakes as an oblivious teenager wanders out into the road. The teen, played by Bruce, looks up from his cell phone, much like a deer caught in headlights, before fleeing the scene.

Before the video concludes, the message, “Don’t text when on the road. It’s not safe for deer…or humans,” appears on the screen while three more teens, their faces buried in glowing screens, run across the highway in front of the car.

“I had no idea what we were going to do for the project at first,” Sam said. “It was during deer hunting season when my dad finally said to me, ‘What if you had deer driving the car?’”

After that, all it took was a quick text to Sam’s grandfather to get the go-ahead to use the prized deer mounts as film props.

PYL“You can’t really see it in the video, but we had to stick the deer’s antlers up through the sun roof so they could fit in the car,” Sam said with a laugh.

The video, which will become a public service announcement for the Ad Council, was filmed by Sam and Wrenn in one night on a lightly trafficked road near Camp Kitaki.

Visit to watch all of the winning videos and learn more about Project Yellow Light.

“The winnings are going toward new camera equipment and stuff for the future of Senser Films,” Sam said. “I hope to one day be a director.”

Senser Films is the self-made production business behind the Senser brothers’ successes. Just this year, the two produced a short film entitled “The Adventures of VanMan & TruckBoy,” which was shown at the Omaha Film Festival.

Senser Films also produces the annual campaign videos for their local YMCA as well as the weekly session videos they show at Camp Kitaki.

“It’s just word of mouth right now,” Sam said about Senser Films. “Ever since I was little, my friends and I have made stupid movies. It’s just gotten better over the years.”

Sam studies video and audio communications at Metropolitan Community College and is one step closer to his dream of becoming a director.

About Project Yellow Light

Project Yellow Light is a film competition designed to give high school and college students a voice and a role in reversing the number of car crashes in the U.S. This non-profit scholarship was created by Julie, Lowell and Alexandra Garner in memory of their son/brother, Hunter who died tragically in a car crash in 2007. Project Yellow Light proudly partners with the Ad Council, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mazda Motorsports, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and U-Haul.

What do you think of Sam’s winning video and U-Haul Company’s corporate partnership with Project Yellow Light to end distracted driving? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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