Zachary Borst is ready for his close-up -- on Super Bowl Sunday.
Borst, 26, an aspiring filmmaker from Merrick, will be living the dream when his ad for Chevrolet -- selected from among 200 submitted in an international competition with a top prize of $25,000 -- is broadcast to a national audience estimated at more than 170 million people.
"I love laying in bed at night and visualizing something and making it real," said Borst, a graduate of Adelphi University and the City University of New York's City College of New York. "I love telling stories."
And in Borst's ad, titled "Chevy Happy Grad," which he wrote and filmed in Floral Park with friends and a rented Camaro, he tells a whopper.
A young man wearing a blindfold and still in his graduation robe says to his mother, "A blindfold, Mom, really? Is this necessary?" She removes the blindfold, saying, "Happy graduation, sweetie." The camera shifts to the street and a shiny new yellow Camaro. On the sidewalk next to the car, the young man's father, with a big smile on his face, opens a mini refrigerator with a big red bow tied to it. The exuberant grad completely ignores the appliance and only sees the Camaro. Dashing to it and screaming at the top of his lungs, "I can't believe you got me this car," the grad then celebrates with a group of his friends.
In the commercial, the mother whispers to her husband, "Should we tell him?" The father replies, "No, let him tire out first."
Cut to a neighbor carrying his golf clubs, who looks to the parents before getting in and driving away in his car. "Hey," the grad tells his parents, "Mr. Johnson just stole my car."
The ad was produced in 30-second and 60-second versions. It stood out for its humor, said Steve McGuire, Chevrolet's manager of marketing strategy. "Everyone who's seen it laughs."
His youth was marred in 1999 by the death of his art-teacher mother Linda Borst at age 45. "Every day, I try to make her proud," Borst said.
His father, Alan Borst, a retired New York City police officer, moved upstate but let him remain on the Island with his aunt, Alicia Borst, in Merrick.
Zachary Borst said he's never had an ad on television -- until "Happy Grad" aired on last Sunday's Giants conference championship game.
Borst's idea sprouted last September, when he decided to enter Chevrolet's contest.
Finding the Camaro was not easy. He called rental companies, but most couldn't guarantee a Camaro. "I was like, 'No, no. It can't be a Dodge Neon.' "
He found the car at Newark Liberty International Airport and traveled there by Long Island Rail Road and other trains. From there, he drove to Manhattan and Brooklyn for two of the actors. Then they drove to Floral Park, filmed the spot in four hours and reversed the trip.
Finally, he arrived back on Long Island about 10:30 p.m., he said. "And it was raining."