“I want to be the underdog,” declared Jorge Flores when I first sat down with him, two weeks before 10-10-10 started. The San Marcos senior, a tall varsity water polo player who loves social justice, was ready to fight for the top this year. After all, he and scriptwriter Jillian Fisher were what she calls the “San Marcos Super Team”: both of them go to San Marcos, and San Marcos has not only won but dominated 10-10-10 for the last several years.
Fisher is a freshman, and that alone makes her an underdog in her own right. The skinny 15-year-old told me she’s been writing since fifth grade but — gasp! — this is her first screenplay. She was inspired by her English teacher to enter the daunting comp, but things turned out well when she was matched with a fellow Royal student. Fisher’s script is about an orphaned girl who, when placed with a new family that she doesn’t like much, decides to run away. And she has a thing for pennies — pennies which, according to Flores, represent themes like life and death, the representation of part of a soul, and wishes (as in, when you make a wish and throw a penny).
While Flores has already competed in 10-10-10 (he was a last-minute competitor in filmmaking last year when one of the other filmmakers dropped out and he was asked to replace him), this year was different. He’s a senior. He’s looking at college. And, he said, winning could make or break his decision about whether or not to study film. For the Super Team, a lot was on the line.
Flores was an underdog because he worked with no crew — just he and his camera. The only problem this presented was the sound, since he didn’t possess a boom mike. “I tried to make one,” he explained, “but I struggled.” Between the rain last weekend and the scheduling difficulties school presented, such as SMHS’s Winter Formal, things got tougher as the team moved forward.
“In comparison to my other movies, I feel like I had to spend some real time thinking about the script,” said Flores. “I think I was on a completely different page than my writer.” But things turned out okay in the end, he said. They turned their film in on time and, he says, as far as cinematorgraphy and acting goes, the Super Team’s still on top.