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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Amanda Oliver is part of StyleFree Crew, who won the WingStop commercial contest of $10,000. Photo Courtesy of WingStop’s Facebook page.

Most people would not shun a prize of $10,000 unless they were wealthy enough to hire small children to serve them around their mansion
and pay the officials to ignore the indiscretion. It’s a prize worth driving all over Northern California to gather friends and family members to shoot a video in San Francisco. Which is exactly what Amanda Oliver did.

City College photography student Amanda Oliver, 26, won a $10,000 cash prize for shooting a commercial for the fast food chain, Wingstop.

“We were super excited,” Oliver said after winning.

After a friend told her about the contest, Oliver went and gathered some close family members and called upon her experience with film and video production to make a 30-second commercial worthy of the cash prize.

“I first started learning video production in high school,” she said.

After attending Downey High School in Modesto, the San Jose-born videographer attended the Art Institute of California in Sacramento for four years, where she focused on documentary filmmaking.

“I want to do documentaries for athletes, artists, and musicians,” Oliver said.

For the Wingstop commercial, she and her crew drove across Northern California. They left Modesto and grabbed wings in Emeryville, because their shooting location, San Francisco, was devoid of a Wingstop.

“We did not have a shot list or a storyboard,” she said. “It was all in our minds.”

Her brother, Elias Esquillin, already had a song written about Wingstop for a couple years.

“He’s a big Wingstop fan,” Oliver said.

The song started out as just a joke, but Oliver used it anyway. Esquillin performs it in the video, rapping alongside his cousin. Oliver’s friend and assistant, Maricela Vela, 19-year-old criminal justice major at City College, explained that the song’s delivery was highly entertaining.

“My favorite part of the video was that it was all in an English accent,” Vela said.

Working with her brother aided the experience, as their past experiences with each other, which allowed the project move along smoothly.

“We’ve worked on hundreds of projects together, so we’re good at just following each other’s directions pretty well,” Oliver said.

Esquillin already knew the lyrics and how to perform from experience in theater and as a recording artist. Performing in the video was natural for him.
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“It’s his own song, so he already knows the emotion in it. He wasn’t learning how to act it, because it was something that he wrote,” Oliver said.

The process of making the commercial was long, yet condensed, as they worked under a tight schedule. Oliver found out about the contest the week it was due. She edited two hours of film footage, shot with a Canon T3i camera, and three minutes of audio, into one 30-second commercial, she said.

“We filmed for about six to eight hours, and I edited for about maybe another 12 hours,” Oliver said.

After filming and dropping off Oliver’s cousin, they found themselves in San Francisco at midnight, where they experienced a slight snag.

“We ran a stop sign, and a cop pulled us over,” Oliver said. “And he towed the car.”

This strengthened their resolve to finish the project and win the contest.

“[We thought], ‘We have to win this contest, [so that] this whole car-towing thing is worth it,’” she said.

Oliver said the cash prize will be split between herself and the StyleFree Crew, her brother’s music group. She envisions it can help StyleFree Crew gain better prominence.

“They’re more the stars of it, because they’re the faces of it,” she said. “I hope it leads somewhere.”

Oliver already has plans for what she’ll do with her share.

“I need a new car,” she said.

Oliver’s photography professor, Dick Fleming, 74, extols her skill shooting video.

“To shoot video and create a complete piece in a very short period of time is a high skill,” he said.

Fleming says he has taught Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy Award nominees, and various other people of esteem, and that Oliver has a bright future ahead of her.

“She’s got a really good future because she has good skill already,” he said.

To watch the video, visit

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