10-10-10: Ally Shiras and Aija Mayrock

Laguna Blanca and San Marcos Teens Making Movie About Surviving Suicide

Ally Shiras and Aija Mayrock
Courtesy Photo

Ally and Aija are the outliers of 10-10-10. Aija is 14, making her by far the youngest scriptwriter. And Ally is working entirely without a crew, recording and filming all on her own.

Yet the two teen girls have the closest filmmaker-screenwriter relationship I have seen so far, partly because actress-writer Aija is starring in the leading role of a script that goes far beyond her age. At Aija’s Montecito home, the Laguna Blanca freshman debated the aesthetics of her character’s clothing choices with Ally, a junior at San Marcos. The script is about a teen girl who loses her older sister to suicide and later impersonates her on a suicide prevention website.

While Aija didn’t write her script with the intention of playing the role of Vera, she seemed a natural choice to Ally. There are smaller parts, but the girls kept their actors close by casting friends.

By Saturday afternoon, the small group has been whittled down to the two of them, each equally involved in the filming process. Aija would never pass for a high school freshman, and her maturity makes her role as Sister of a Dead Girl a lot more believable. An aspiring actress, she also has been studying under local acting coach Laezer Schlomkowitz. Ally got her start on her own in junior high messing around with built-in editing software on her computer; since then, she’s been filming decidedly low-budget pieces with her friends.

Although they lack in numbers what some of the other crews have, the dynamic duo make up for this with their creativity. Ally said she thought about having a crew, but the process of finding other filmmakers to work with seemed too laborious when they were working under such tight time constraints. She prefers to work on her own, as she always has — boom mic strapped to the top of the camera, headphones around her neck to check the sound, one hand adjusting the camera tripod. From what I’ve seen of their footage, they’re some tough competition.


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