ORANGE COUNTY -- An Antioch High School graduate is generating buzz with a homemade video that might be one of the commercials during next month's Super Bowl.
Amber Gill and her husband, David, are among five finalists in Frito-Lay's annual Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" contest after beating out more than 5,400 contenders from Israel and Denmark to South Africa with the promotional spot they created for the seasoned tortilla chips.
"I was just in utter shock," said Gill, 34, when she received the news. "We just feel very blessed and grateful to have made it this far."
The Gills, who now live in Southern California, drew on the collective talents of about 30 friends and acquaintances to develop the concept and film "Cowboy Kid" on a shoestring budget.
The 30-second clip features a young boy who, while practicing his cowboy skills, mounts a 180-pound English mastiff and gallops bareback across the lawn to yank a bag of Doritos away from his older brother with a lasso before hogtying him.
The two winners will have their creativity showcased before upward of 100 million viewers -- one chosen by Doritos' internal marketing team and the other decided by popular vote.
None of the five will know until the Super Bowl which of them has won.
"It's a lot of fingernail biting. It's going to be very tense and suspenseful," Gill said.
Both also will have the chance to work with Marvel Studios on the sequel of 2012 blockbuster "The Avengers." What's more, the winner who garners the most online votes will receive $1 million.
Gill spent part of her childhood in Antioch before moving to Oakley but continued attending Antioch schools and was enrolled in Los Medanos College's music program for a few years.
During that time she reigned as Brentwood's CornFest Queen and went on to earn the title "Miss Greater East Bay," which qualified her to compete in the Miss California pageant.
The stay-at-home mother of two young boys recently decided to try her hand at screenwriting and film production and entered the Doritos contest at her husband's suggestion.
Gill and her husband enlisted friends and networked to assemble the help they needed putting the commercial together.
A couple of those on the team have professional experience creating special effects, which they used to make it look as though Cowboy Kid was straddling the dog.
The Gills found the two youngsters through a casting call, and they found Ben, the dog, from an animal talent agency. The mastiff came with two trainers and a hefty transportation fee, which Gill says accounted for most of the approximately $5,000 spent on the two-day shoot.
She and her husband uploaded the final cut to Doritos' website the day before the deadline, and now all they can do is hope that Cowboy Kid's appeal will trump the competition.
"It's up to (the public) who wins," Gill said. "That's what's kind of awesome -- people get to decide what they want to see on the Super Bowl."
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/rowenacoetsee.
To vote for one of the five finalists in Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, go to https://www.doritos.com/us-en/youtube/finalists.