This post was written by Avery Dohrmann.

My name is Avery Dohrmann, I’m a 20-year-old writer/director who just had his first feature film Our Final Days In Paradise released about a week or two ago onto streaming, and this is the story of how on earth I even made that happen.

The year is 2022. I sit in my dorm freshman year feverishly typing away at my computer, putting the finishing touches on the second feature film I had ever written.

The scene itself is something beautiful, poetic, and a perfect ending to the film. But that’s not what’s important here. What’s important was that it was the first feature film I had written that, at that moment in time, I could even plausibly make.

There weren't any big explosions or parts written for big actors. Instead, it was a simple, almost French New Wave-esque hang-out movie about two friends with terminal brain cancer coming to terms with death whilst also going on a massive bender in their final week alive. It had heart, it had a great soundtrack, and most importantly it was something that I could make on an extremely low budget.

I decided at that very moment that I was going to see this thing through to the bitter end. No matter what. I called my friend Tommy who was studying business at a different college a couple of miles away. “Hey man... you want to make a feature film?”

He told me I was insane.

Then he said "yes."

'Our Final Days of Paradise'

Credit: Amazon Studios

​Tommy and I then began to fill out our cast and crew. Our criteria was not based on credits like most independent films, but rather based on hard work, drive, and tenacity.

Our Director of Photography, Jonah K. Richards, was a man with zero film or short film credits to his name, but he was a hard worker. Our leading man Nathan Manriquez was working at a shipping company in rural Colorado while studying acting on the side through Zoom lessons and a book he had purchased on Stanislavsky. But he was a hard worker.

Our producer, Tommy Anderson, was a man studying business and planning on becoming an accountant. But he was a hard worker. Our only ACE in the hole at the moment was, regardless of our severe lack of credits, we were hard workers and we knew what we were doing.

I had been lucky enough before starting the pre-production process on the film to talk to a very reputable producer about what it takes to produce a feature film and all the steps you need to go through to get it done. We followed everything he said to an absolute tee. We were a bunch of hard-working nobodies, doing our best to follow step by step the tried and true Hollywood feature film production method that we had learned through a very tried and true Hollywood producer.

And we did it. Somehow, we were able to do it. He is one of the only reasons I was even able to get this movie made and released. The other reason is a man named Jeffrey Deverett, but we’ll get to him later.

Production of the film went remarkably well. Betting on hard work rather than credits helped take this production to a level I didn’t even know was possible. I learned through this that making a film is not about inherent talent, it’s about attention to detail, and being willing to give 110 percent every single day until that film is out and released into the world. There was one day after the shooting I was quite literally having a panic attack because everything was going so well.

“This shouldn’t be happening,” I kept saying aloud. “We’re teenagers, this shouldn’t be happening.”

Our lead, Nate, looked at me confused. “What's wrong with that?” I looked at him. “When on Earth has a teenager made a feature film?”

Then Nate told me something that has stuck with me to this day. “When I was in boot camp, my sergeant told me that... whenever you think something is impossible, or you have to go and do something that nobody has ever done before, just remember that the reason it’s never been done before is because there’s never been anybody like you.”

'Our Final Days of Paradise'

Credit: Amazon Studios

After production wrapped at the end of July 2022, we spent the next three or four months editing the film together.

By either September or October, we had what I felt to be the final cut of the film. During these three or four months, I had been lucky enough to be studying film business under the tutelage of the remarkable Jeffrey Deverett. This was a man with over thirty years of experience in film distribution, who I just happened to meet right before I had to dive into the world of distribution with my own film.

On the first day of class, Jeff shared a fun little statistic that shook me to my core. 95 percent of independent films never get distribution. These are films with bigger budgets, bigger actors, bigger crews, and far more credits than me that never got to see the light of day. And there I was, 19 years old, about to start trying to get my first film distributed.

However, that 5 percent meant I had a chance. It wasn’t a big chance, but it was a chance nonetheless. I knew that if I worked hard enough, somehow, some way, I’d be able to get the film distributed.

Eight months later, in July 2023, I did it.

Almost a year from when we started shooting the film, I had achieved something I thought to be near impossible. It was a labor, but a labor of love. Although the work was hard, I loved every minute of it.

So that’s my story. It’s not a road map by any means, but it should show that if you trust yourself and you trust the people around you, and you put in the time, effort, and work, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to achieve something that you didn’t even think was possible.​

This post was written by Avery Dohrmann.