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On the set of Chronicles of Narnia

October 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

What is happening at Australian Film Base:

Weekend Film School Sydney Saturday and Sunday 28th 29th November

One Week Film Directors Course  Brisbane ( 100% Practical)     Film Shot and Crewed by you   12th - 17th January  2010

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Last Monday, I was on the set of the Chronicles of Narnia at Warner Brothers Studios Gold Coast. This is the third episode in the series and is called "The voyage of the Dawn Treader". At first I thought it was a spelling mistake, but the Dawn Treader is actually a ship that the children sail on. The budget for the film is $150,000,000...Yes $150 million. It is the other end of Film Making where there seems to be unlimited money. What is the big difference between a big budget film and a small budget film?

Well lets start with the similarities. On any film set, it still boils down to Actors acting, two cameras recording and many extras blending into the background. All the audience sees is what is in front of the camera.

The First major difference is the Sets. The set I was on looked amazing. It supposed to be a town in Narnia. But it looked like a first century town full of men in desert costumes. It was massive and hundreds of people were involved in building this town. The detail of the facades were awesome.  I also visited the ship sets. Construction crews were busy creating the sets. The budget for the sets is around the $40 million mark.

The second major difference is the amount of people on set. The crew size is 220 and most of the people had very little to do. There was every conceivable role for different crew. I met the Dialogue coach and she said she only worked 20 minutes all day. Now for that 20 minutes she was needed but the rest of the time is hanging out on set. Every major crew member has a personal assistant and yes it felt crowded on set.   However, it still comes down to the Director, The Camera Crew and the Sound crew and the visual effects people.

The atmosphere was very cordial and generally there was a relaxed fun feeling on set. Everyone knew their jobs and they worked effectively and efficiently. I have to say that the catering was average and I am sure that they are paying huge money for food. On my "Day in the Life" set earlier this year, our catering was better and we were under a $1million dollar budget.

Post production. This is one of the most important parts of film making and the budget is huge in this part of the film.
For visual effects alone there is 35 million dollars budgeted. There is a one year schedule and there will be an army of people working on this most important part of the film making process. Post production does take time and productions do schedule a big block of time. Its one year in the case of Narnia.

The editor invited us in to see some early cuts of the film and his editing studio is very similar to mine. He edits on Avid which in my opinion is not as effective as Final Cut Studio. I would say that of course as I have edited on Final Cut Pro for years. But in the end editing is cutting clips together to tell a story. The editing application is just a tool. All the material is edited and graded on set and then sent to the studios online for the money men to see. The film is scheduled for a December 10th 2010 release in America.

The director Michael Apted is personal friend of my Producer and this is why we were invited on set. Michael has directed some major films such as Gorillas in the Mist, The Coal Miners Daughter, the 7 Up series and a James Bond Movie "The world is not enough". This is the second time I have met him and he impresses me a a very relaxed calm director. On this film he is about two days ahead of schedule on a sixteen week shoot. They are now on Week 14 and they are about to wrap shortly. This is the first Narnia film to stay on schedule and studios love directors who do this.

In any case I am sure all of us would love to direct a major Hollywood film where one is paid in the millions of dollars. I mean you could finance a couple of low budget films, shot on the wonderful Red Cameras with the fee or  live a lavish lifestyle.

What ever, the first steps start for an emerging Director is to make their own films and enter them into festivals. This is the key to establishing yourself as a successful film director.

Find out how on our film courses.

Producers Weekend Film School happening on November 29th 30th

One Week Film Directors Course in Brisbane
where you learn to make films by actually making a seven minute short film during the week long course.

Have a great one this week

Colm O’Murchu is the owner of Australian Film Base and has recently directed and produced The Makeover a 97 minute feature film and  directed another Australian Feature Film called A Day in the Life, Trailer is on the website link that follows Click here to learn more about Colm O’Murchu and Australian Film Base


Mao’s Last Dancer…. Highly recommended.

October 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

What is happening at Australian Film Base this week?

The Weekend Film School
2 Days Only
Saturday November 28th Sunday November 29th 2009

The Film Directors Course Brisbane
One Week After hours
Tuesday January 12th – Sunday January 17th

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Mao's Last Dancer is worth seeing. This is the true story of a Chinese Ballerina that is plucked out of an obscure rural town and trained to be a ballerina in Beijing. After a very difficult challenging childhood, he becomes one of the top students and then is sent on a summer trip to Huston USA. There he goes from student to star in one summer. Also he falls in love and then defects. He establishes himself as one of the worlds great ballerinas. There is a highly emotive scene where is mum and dad are reunited with him for the first time since he was a child. There was hardly a dry eye in the cinema. Yes I highly recommend that you see this basically Australian film in the cinema.

Bruce Beresford, an Australian veteran director, directed this film
Many of the American scenes were shot in Sydney and most of the Key Creatives are Australian. Jan Sardi wrote the script and there are strong parallels with Shine, Jan Sardis big hit film from 1998

I still love watching movies in the cinema. I honestly believe you are missing half the experience if you are watching films at home. Nothing beats seeing a movie with an audience with the best quality sound and picture. If you are a budding director producer, it is an imperative duty to see movies. I have locked out Friday nights as my night that I always go to the cinema. It is a great way to end the week and catch up with friends. I see about 60 movies a year in the cinema. I try to vary the styles but mainly concentrate on the movies that show in the Dendy or Verona cinemas. Some weeks I see two. I believe that it really helps your directing and scriptwriting skills.

Any of the movies I love, I will then buy on DVD when they are released and then I will study them in depth and watch all the extras. Novelists read books. In fact all writers read lots of books and it should be no different for Directors. Watch at least a movie a week and learn as much as you can from the process. If you can not get to a cinema, at least hire at least one DVD per week.

Also if you would like to become a Film Director, our film courses are the fastest way to become a Film Director. Please check them out on

Find out how at our Producers Weekend Film School November 28th, 29th
or
The Film Directors Course Brisbane

Beginners and Experienced Film Makers will benefit from  this weekend

Have a great one

Colm O’Murchu is the owner of Australian Film Base and has recently directed and produced The Makeover a 97 minute feature film and  directed another Australian Feature Film called A Day in the Life, Trailer is on the website link that follows Click here to learn more about Colm O’Murchu and Australian Film Base

Article can be published  if one includes  link above

Distributors in the Australian Film Market.

October 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Upcoming Event at Australian Film Base    Do not miss out.

Weekend Film School     Great for anyone who wants to make  Short Films, Documentaries, Feature Films   November 28th 29th

What is your best strategy for making it in the film world?  Having a business strategy.
Movie Distribution  Australia November 2009.

A friend of mine works for Village Roadshow. I met him last night to talk all about Movie sales in the Film DVD Market. At this time, there is huge supply of movies in the marketplace. He handed me the REM (Retail Entertainment Monthly) guide. This guide lists all the new releases that are scheduled for each month. It made for fascinating reading.

As most people know there are about 20 - 25 releases into the cinema every week. That is about five per week and about 300 per year. However there are thousands more films released straight to DVD. Here are some of the companies and their scheduled releases.

November Releases

Anchor Bay Entertainment 10 Releases
Beyond Home Entertainment 20 Releases
Duke Home Entertainment 9 Releases
DV1 29 Releases
Eagle Entertainment 7 Releases
Gryphon Entertainment 9 Releases
Icon 4 Releases
Madman Entertainment 59 Releases
Magna Home Entertainment 14 Releases
Paramount Home Entertainment 18 Releases
Roadshow Entertainment 122 Releases
Reel DVD 7 Releases
Shock DVD 57 Releases
Sony Pictures 16 Releases
20th Century Fox 24 Releases
Universal Pictures 19 Releases
Visual Entertainment Group 11 Releases
Walt Disney Studios 21 Releases
Warner Home Video 15 Releases

Total Releases 471 Releases for the month November 2009

The above are the list of all the main players in the Film and  DVD Market in Australia.
They sell everything from Hollywood Blockbusters to old episodes of TV comedy. This is where money is made for the distributors and also the Film Maker.
Of course it all depends on the deal that the Distributor signs with the film maker.

Now it is a fact that none of them sell Short Films. Thousands of shorts films get made in Australia every year and not many people see them.
The main outlet is Film Festivals and sadly film festivals rarely if ever pay money to the film maker. It is a limited field and no chance of financial return.

My feeling totally is not to get stuck making short films. Use short films as a means to an end. Make them till you know how to make a 7 - 20 minute film comfortably and you know that you have made a really good short film.  Then move on to making feature films cheaply on the weekend.
A Feature film shot on the weekend is like making 8 Short films over a six - nine month period.

With Final Cut Studio you can post your own feature film cheaply, then enter film festivals and sell sell sell your film. If you make a film for under $50 k ,
you still have a chance at Theatrical cinema release. If this does not happen you can sell your film in the DVD market and
have a very good chance of making a profit on your film selling it all over the world. Always keep the rights to sell your film off your own website
because this is worth $10 - 15 every sale.  Of course with both my feature films for 2010, we are aiming for the maximum return on our feature films. If you our on our site check out our  promotional trailer for A Day in the Life.

Yes you can have fun making your film on the weekend and make a profit from your film productions.

Find out how at our Producers Weekend Film School November 28th 29th

Beginners and Experienced Film Makers will benefit from  this weekend

Have a great one

Colm O’Murchu is the owner of Australian Film Base and has recently directed and produced The Makeover a 97 minute feature film and  directed another Australian Feature Film called A Day in the Life, Trailer is on the website link that follows Click here to learn more about Colm O’Murchu and Australian Film Base

Article can be published  if one includes  link above

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