"A Day In the Life of Zak Roé" takes viewers through an intimate trek to the Court Street Subway with Ohio University 2016 Homecoming King, Zak Roé. (

The Incredible Importance of Positivity: the Zak Roé Philosophy

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A Day In the Life of Zak Roé is a 16-minute, real-time trek to Athens’ Court Street Subway sandwich restaurant with 2016 Ohio University Homecoming King, Zak Roé.

“How’s your day?” Roé asks the camera a few minutes into the video, which was uploaded onto Youtube in early February. “Wow!” he says, feigning, in the friendliest possible way, interest in the imaginary conversation he is having with his viewers.

Roé, bearded, big-eyed and cheeks pink from the cold, appears steeped in authenticity. Or, at least, seems to display an honest lack of cynicism.

“I don’t know,” he says, continuing to make his way down the path that connects South Green to Baker Center, which provides an escalator to Court Street. “I probably like ya. Or maybe I hate ya, but if I hate ya I don’t know why you’re watching this video.”

(Robert McGraw/WOUB)
(Robert McGraw/WOUB)

A Parma, OH native and senior in the Ohio University Integrated Media program, Roé has been crafting humorous videos for almost two years, starting with 2015’s entirely-cell-phone-shot A to Z with Abdalah and Zak, which features his friend and fellow OU senior, Abdalah El-Barrad.

“We made the episodes like Sesame Street; you know, with the main story punctuated with random skits and music videos,” said Roé in an interview earlier this year, pre-dating his October crowning as Homecoming King. “The premise revolved around Abdalah and I being whacky roommates.”

A to Z episodes weigh in at about 30 minutes a pop, as opposed to Roé’s most recent creations, his 10-minutes-maximum Good Morning Texts, which he began crafting after receiving a camera for Christmas last year from his mother.

“Nobody would really sit through the 30 minute videos, so that was my mistake,” said Roé. “I try to make the Good Morning Texts videos nice and short.”

Good Morning Texts, which Roé releases daily throughout the workweek, tackles various goofy plots, such as a contest for a “fake girlfriend” for Zak on Parent’s Weekend and a series of health tip videos earlier this year which included an interview with El-Barrad – concerning his daily consumption of Peking Express for a number of weeks this past spring semester.

On average, Good Morning Texts garners around 300 views a piece.

The series is littered with a few similarities: a wry sense of humor, a seriously self-deprecating streak, Disney-girl-pop tunes and cartoons. Lots of cartoons.

“I always watched cartoons as a kid – and I still do. Animated movies are great – that’s what I want to do,” said Roé, who hopes to ultimately go on to work at a large animation studio post-graduation. “There’s a sense of magic in those movies; a sense of hope. I believe in that. Everybody wants that perfect Disney world, but it seems like everyone else is ready to settle without it. I’m not at that point yet. I believe that it’s a reality that you can live in if you try. There are a lot of haters out there; but I’d rather be positive and fail than just settle and be okay.”

Roé said that Disney movies, in particular, have always served as an escape for him – the creation of characters being an especially important part of that experience that he wishes to recreate with his work.

There are a lot of haters out there; but I’d rather be positive and fail than just settle and be okay. – Zak Roé

“I’ve always watched a lot of movies and TV and I relate to the characters in those films and programs; it gives me hope,” said Roé, comparing his social woes to those of hilarious bossman Michael Scott of NBC’s The Office. “(Michael Scott) is trying to be friends with everyone; he’s the most tragic character on television, really. Nobody understands that he just wants friends. When I watch something, I want to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I love to feel connected to a character; and I just want to create characters like that. Even if someone can only relate to them for 30 seconds, it’s worth it.”

For Roé, maintaining a positive outlook is more than just a way to get by.

“Life can be miserable. But you’ve got to spin it,” said Roé. “You are what you eat in so many ways. If you try to be happy, there is a chance you’ll be genuinely happy. That’s all I’m trying to do. It’s worked so far.

Roé has temporarily taken a break from Good Morning Texts due to issues with his equipment, but he plans to take up the series again after OU returns from winter break in early January. You can watch a number of Roé’s videos on his YouTube channel, as well as his Facebook. Follow him @ZakRoéShow on Twitter.

(Robert McGraw/WOUB)
(Robert McGraw/WOUB)