Omeleto acts as a curator and marketer for award-winning short films.
As we look at the work of director Nour Wazzi, I noticed that nearly every one of her short films was hosted on a channel named Omeleto. Digging a little deeper, I was excited to find another curation service for finding great short films. While it offers tons of polished content, it comes with a catch.
Omeleto bills itself as not just a curator of top-tier short films, but as a service for film makers that is willing to play “moneyball” for the films they accept:
At Omeleto, we don’t just take your film and upload it. If accepted, our engineers and data scientists will spend time in A/B testing your film through countless iterations to optimize its online success. We analyze viewer metrics at real-time speeds and compare the engagement signals — such as total watch time, audience retention, like-to-dislike ratio, click-through rate, social media shares, etc. — against a proprietary dataset of successful films we’ve pushed in the past.Omeleto: About Section.
Omeleto costs viewers nothing. Similarly, it does not charge film makers a fee (they do however suggest you support them by buying merch!) Normal films are made available on You Tube ad-free. If the film is successful enough to be monetized, the film maker is invited to join the Elite program, where ads are enabled and the resulting profit is split 50/50 between Omeleto and the film maker.
There’s not much to break down here. All of the video on Omeleto are hosted on You Tube and Facebook Watch, and therefore conform to their specifications – up to 1040p (HD) on You Tube and 2160p (4K) on FB.
I did find a glaring omission of Closed Captioning on both platforms. Facebook did not seem to offer the option at all, and You Tube either did not have it enabled or used auto-generated captions for some films. Not a great feature for a service that offers foreign films.
Understandably, the selection is both wide-ranging and high-quality. This is both a feature and a flaw. It certainly acts as a selling point for cinephiles: you know that you’re going to get a polished product, usually from some of the bigger names in the industry. There’s even a curated playlist specifically showcasing well-known talent such as Steven Yuen, Maisie Williams and Guy Pearce.
I say it’s a flaw because it kind of gives a lie to the platform’s selling point of helping struggling film makers. The first paragraph in the about section bashes the insular, sell-dealing world of film festivals and offers Omeleto as an alternative…but if you go to submit a film, you quickly find that you have to have qualified for a prestigious festival to get on Omeleto! With the exception of MFA thesis films, Omeleto is only going to “moneyball” films that already have the clout of having played at important festivals. Not exactly the power to the people approach they were touting at the top.
As for depth of field, Omeleto does offer a tremendous variety of films, all curated six ways to Sunday. There are sub-channels for every major genre (horror, comedy, animation, etc.) sub-channels aimed at format (Omeleto TV, Omeleto VR) and sub-channels specifically for source (i.e. films arranged by which major festival they premiered at.)
Omeleto certainly simplifies the hunt for well-made short films on You Tube. Fans of the medium can easily subscribe to the channel or channels of their choice and rely on Omeleto to crank out the material (they upload one new short a day, so even if you’re only interested in one niche genre, you’re pretty likely to get something new every month.)
My reservation towards the system is that there’s a lot of questionable sausage-making going on under the hood here. I’m sure other You Tube-based curated channels such as DUST pick and choose winners and go after big names (not really a coincidence that DUST launched with films by Neill Blombkamp featuring Sigourney Weaver!) But those channels don’t really market themselves as a leveler of the playing field…and they don’t specify that submissions have to come from established festival-accepted films, meaning real indie and niche creators can get in the door.
The moneyball analogy fits: it’s a cut-throat, capitalist model where you spend little to acquire over-looked talent for a big payoff. Omeleto’s metric-based curation (don’t get the views, you may get the boot) is looking for potential moonshots, not necessarily a shot for everyone.
At the end of the day, Omeleto is yet another useful arrow to have in the quiver of short film fans. Just don’t drink too heavily from the kool-aid about empowering marginalized film makers.