Written by David Flores

Confession time: I went to film school. I made films, while in film school—nine short films, to be exact. I did not make those films because of film school. I made them, in spite of film school. I was rejected from my school’s program that allowed students to do actual filmmaking. As a result, my film school consisted of me writing film essays.

The nine short films made during the film school years were made by me going rogue and adopting the “no film school” mantra to make films on my own. Shortly after graduation, I moved to LA, where I was confident my nine short films worth of experience would translate to me conquering Hollywood as a multi-hyphenate filmmaking wiz.

Cut to Fall 2021, 10 years later. I’m still in LA, working a day job. I haven’t made a film since the not-quite-film school, film school years. I’m married with a cat and we’ve just gotten news that we’re expecting our first kid.

That lit a fire in me that I hadn’t had since my film school rejection days.

I knew I needed to make a film.

That film is "Likeness." It’s about a young woman who, along with her A.I. generated mom, investigates the disappearance of her real mother. We filmed Summer 2022, a month before my son was born. After a successful 2023 film festival run that nabbed us some award wins, we’re now live on the YouTube channel, Omeleto. Please check it out below!

While "Likeness" isn’t my first film (technically my 10th) it is my first film that felt “leveled up.” Where it wasn’t built all on favors. Where people actually got paid. Where I didn’t ask my best friend’s girlfriend if she could star in my movie.

"Likeness" had a level of polish and professional sheen that felt like we were approaching the minor leagues of good ol’ Hollywood filmmaking.

How did that happen? Two ways:

Way #1 - Money. Sad to say, but it does make the world go ‘round.

"Likeness" is a micro-budget short film, but a micro-budget short film can still cost tens of thousands of dollars. A lot of money if you’re someone who doesn’t come from money.

It was a crowdfunded project, also a first for me. Biggest lesson learned is that crowdfunding really is just a hub, so all your family, friends, and acquaintances can donate money to you. It’s not a discoverability platform, especially if you’re just starting out with no built-in fanbase.

Thankfully, I think me going toliterally everyone I know and saying “Hey! Remember me? Remember I used to make movies? I haven’t done that in 10 years. Want to help me make a new one?” really helped. We surpassed our funding goal for "Likeness" and suddenly, we had a budget.

Way #2 - Shooting your shot. You never know until you ask.

I’d argue the entire 360 lifecycle of "Likeness" was me shooting my shot, hoping for the best and really not having a solid plan if no’s came around.

Thankfully, the no’s didn’t come. From our talented Director of Photography to our actors to the locations we shot in, to the post production team we had, it was a continual process of me showing my cards, asking if folks would be willing to work and get paid not what they’re worth and to take a chance on me and this project.

Eternally grateful for those yeses.

I think, for extra credit, I’ll throw one more in there:

Way #3 - No one gives a shit about this more than you.

If you don’t give it 200 percent, why would you expect anyone else to give it 10 percent? For me, "Likeness" was a now-or-never endeavor. It had personal stakes. I needed to be its ultimate champion, because I knew no one else could champion it like me.

My hope is the trickle down effect worked enough to where we made a pretty great little film. I’m biased, absolutely, but I think we did.

LIKENESS | Omeletowww.youtube.com

Follow David at:

Website: davidfloreswrites.com

Instagram: davidfloreswrites

Twitter/X: dfloreswrites

Watch "Likeness" now on Omeleto.