In his award-winning short video, Tanner Stevens peers into the mind of an athlete obsessed with four square.

In his award-winning short video, Tanner Stevens peers into the mind of an athlete obsessed with four square.

Or not.

The eight-minute spoof, "Four Square," is what came to the Coffman High School senior's mind when tasked to film a video on an athlete for the Arnold Sports Festival.

Stevens admittedly is not into sports, so he filmed classmate Nathan Schuman aggressively training for a four-square tournament at a local elementary school.

"The theme was on the inner-workings of an athlete," he said. "I'm not really interested in sports. I thought (the assignment) was dreadful. Most people actually interviewed athletes. I made a fictional story about a friend who was really into four square. He's very overly dramatic about it. The idea came to me the same day the project was announced."

The assignment was given to students in the fall, but Stevens said he had put it off.

"The day before it was due, I had literally done nothing. I had nothing shot," he said. "That afternoon I grabbed my friend and for the next four hours, we filmed. One hundred percent of the script was ad-libbed."

Stevens spliced shots of Schuman training and talking about his love of four square and finished the assignment at about midnight. When he took it to school the next day, he wasn't sure what kind of reaction to expect from classmates.

"I showed it to everybody, and they loved it," he said.

Despite laughs from fellow students, Stevens wasn't sure how well it would be received at the Arnold Film Festival.

"I'm pretty sure mine was the only one that was fictional and humorous in any way," he said. "That made it stand out. For the first minute or two, you think it's serious, but then it goes on and you hope it's not real."

Still, the film was chosen to play at the film festival, and when teacher Virginia Bicknell suggested that he submit it for a statewide contest held by the Wexner Center, it bested more than 60 other entries to claim the top prize.

"I talked to people afterward at the Wexner Center, and they said the judges watched it a few more times because they loved it," he said.

"Four Square" won first place in the Wexner Center's 2011 Youth Shorts division, netting Stevens a $150 gift certificate.

Bicknell said several students had sent videos for the contest, but "Four Square" was the only one shown, let alone to win an award. Two videos from Dublin Scioto students Zac Craver, Joey Kish, Chris Dahdah and Sam Ehret also were shown at the Wexner Center.

"I think it was the music," Bicknell said of Stevens' win. The music used in "Four Square" is original and recorded by a band Stevens is in.

"The fact that I was able to do that was because of my dad. He plays in two bands, so we steal his stuff on the weekends," he said.

Stevens is in his second year of broadcast taught by Bicknell and Jamie Pearson, but he's been making videos for years.

"I can remember when I was 7 or 8 and had my first Sony high-8 camera," he said. "It was like the greatest thing on earth. It was like holding the Holy Grail."

Stevens is a fan of YouTube and said a lot of his inspiration is from the early '90s skateboarding videos. He and his friends often make short videos. A hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail over spring break yielded a video.

"My friends and I would pick up a video camera and just do stuff," Stevens said.

Making videos will be part of Stevens' future. The senior plans to attend DePaul University in the fall to major in computing and digital media.

"I like making my own short films," he said. "But the whole Hollywood life doesn't appeal to me."