Don Coscarelli and Craig Mitchell wondered for a while if eight years spent nursing an obsession with film hadn't reared a truly gruesome monster: the first $100,000 home movie in history. It all started in '66 when Don and Craig—newcomers to the same Long Beach, Calif. housing complex—parlayed a mutual interest in movies into term projects for high school. Upon graduation, both enrolled in film schools—UCLA for Don, Long Beach City College for Craig—before realizing "there just wasn't any way to get into the film business without a feature film." Don's dad, an investment counselor, kicked in an initial $10,000 toward a $25,000 projected budget; $90,000 in deferred payments later, the boys were the owners of a rough cut which, to their horror, snapped four times as they attempted to screen it for a distinguished L.A. critic. Nonetheless, Universal's Stanley Sheinberg offered—on a tip from the same critic—$250,000 plus a box office percentage for Don and Craig's saga of brothers growing up in the shadow of a drunken father. Having reached the conclusion that "we're a little too indulgent for each other," Don and Craig, now 20 and 21 respectively, intend that The Story of a Teenager, slated for February release, will be their last collaboration.
Miguel "Mike" Ayala was taught by his father to box at age 3 "so he wouldn't be bullied when he went to school," says Mom Ayala. The lessons paid off, and at 16 the San Antonio native has been punched, pounded and poked at—but never bullied. Mike, 119 pounds, is the bantamweight on the U.S. AAU boxing team and the youngest titleholder of a national Golden Gloves championship, which he won at age 15. The serious ("I'd like to be either a pharmacist or teacher"), soft-spoken, high school junior also has been the South Texas AAU athlete of the year for '73 and '74. His national championship in Knoxville, Tenn. launched him on a one-month tour of Poland, where his three wins helped the U.S. boxers conquer Poland for the first time since 1934. His triumphs there, plus his victories against Russia and Great Britain earlier this year, prompted Roland Schwartz, U.S. AAU boxing chairman, to call Mike "the best 119-pounder in the world today." His local trainer believes he has Olympic Gold Medal material on his hands. Mike hedges that bet slightly: "I don't want to brag, but if I keep in shape, I think I have a good chance."