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Screenplay Report Week one

August 31, 2013 by · Comments Off on Screenplay Report Week one 

Waterfall Victoria. from recent trip. Amazing enefgy

Waterfall Victoria. from recent trip. Amazing enefgy

Screenplay Update on Absolute Freedom – Week 1 of a 5 Week writing Process.

Once again I am sharing my experiences in creating the 110 minute feature film, ‘Absolute Freedom’.  I am not saying that my writing process is for everyone but maybe you can try some of these processes and see if they work for you.

I started to write the screenplay for ‘Absolute Freedom’ one week ago.  Today is Saturday, 31st August, 2013 and it is the end of Week One.  The Screenplay will be 110 pages long and I am currently at Page 25 with 85 pages still to write.  At an average of about 25 pages per week, I will complete and polish the script by the end of September, 2013.

I am finding the process very enjoyable as I have a 30 page plan called a Story Pillar Map.  Every story event has been worked out in advanced.  Therefore, the process of now expanding to a 110 page screenplay is exceptionally enjoyable.  I find it hard to stop writing at midday and would like nothing more than to continue writing the screenplay.  This detailed preparation has now made all the difference to the writing enjoyment.

The great thing about having the 30 page Story Pillar Map is that there is zero chance of getting writer’s block.  The reason for this is that all the story issues have already been worked out and resolved.  That part of the process took about three months working on it part time, before writing the first page of screenplay last week.

Why am I not writing more than five pages per day?  Firstly, there are corrections at the start of the morning on the material from the previous day.  This also helps me to get zoned into writing the scenes for today.  Four to five pages takes me about 90 minutes – two hours to write.

Yes, if I wrote six hours per day, I would write 16 pages per day making the writing process only 10 days.  And yes, its tempting to get the script written fast.

However, I still have to look after Sydney Film Base, Australian Film Base and International Film Base and oversee our 4 Month Film Schools and write the blog.  There is something productive anyway about writing five pages per day in that one can detail, take time and put everything into the morning session.

I am also very conscious and mindful that every scene is creating work for our crew and cast in March-April, 2014. Every car explosion, shootout and 100 extras is easy to write and rather challenging to produce.  Therefore, I want to make sure that every scene is quality.

We all find our own different processes.  When I am writing the screenplay, the scenes that work always make me feel elated and excited.  On the contrary, the scenes that are not working make me feel listless and frustrated.  This has only happened to me on one scene out of the 45 scenes I have written last week.  I believe that this is due to the intense preparation in advance of writing the screenplay.   When multiple scenes do not work, it is very frustrating and ultimately leads to writer’s block and a depressed mood and trip to the pub to medicate.

I believe the best way to avoid problematic writer’s block is to work on your story Creation and Story Pillars in detail till you feel 100%.  Work with a team of people or one other person that you click with.  Work together on the story. Question every story event till you have found gold.  Then place it as a Story Event in your 30 page treatment.

When we were creating the story for ‘Absolute Freedom’, a story event could sit on top of 5 other ideas for that story event.  That’s five ideas that we dished and excluded from the final story.  Over many a long country drive, walk in the country, Valeska Madrid and I worked tirelessly on the story creation from May-July this year.


Story conference Day

Story conference Day

One other technique I use regularly is this.  I recruit the actors to workshop a Story Event.  I describe the scene and then the actors improvise the scene.  I workshop the scene till I think it is right.  I then record the scene on my IPHONE recorder.  Then when I write the next scenes, I have a feel for the scene that I am writing.  I can even play back the impros and hear the scene.  I may even use some of the dialogue from the impros.

Also, I can check scenes that I have written and workshop them with actors.  Having actors working alongside the screenwriting process is invaluable for me.

My writing process may help you with yours.  Find what works for you.  In the end the goal is the same: a Great Screenplay that attracts finance and excitement and the very best cast.

To summarise my process.

1. Spend time with your creative team creating the story.
2. Story comprises story events and pillars and for a feature film will be approximately 30 pages. This document is called a Treatment or Story Events Document.
3. Write at least 25 pages per week and your screenplay will be completed and polished in five weeks.
4. Recruit  actors to workshop your story events in advance of writing the screenplay.
5. Also, actors can help you with your next draft as you perfect you screenplay.  The actors can workshop your scenes so you can actually see the scenes working.
6. You need an awesome screenplay to make a great movie, so put time and effort into creating one.


Screenwriters Master-Class starting soon Click for details

Now You See Me – Very enjoyable Film

August 27, 2013 by · Comments Off on Now You See Me – Very enjoyable Film 

UnknownNow you see me.  - Film Rave

My Score 8 out of 10 –   Critics 5 out of 10 –   Average Audience 7 out of 10.

Many Critics did not like this film. Audiences responded much better as you see from the score. I very much enjoyed the film and personally found the film very entertaining and compelling. The film had exceptional Film Sets and the cinematography and the editing was at a 10 out of 10 standard. Very enjoyable

Financing Feature Films

August 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on Financing Feature Films 

Steadicam 6It has been a big decision to make. The decision is this. Do I share all our confidental information about the financing of our film, ‘Absolute Freedom’? Do I publish to the world exactly how we are going about making our next film? Many film industry people have advised me not to share. I am going against their advise and sharing.

Why is this?
I believe that the internet has so dramatically changed the world and sharing what you know is part of that process. Yes, I hope you become fans of the blog. Yes, I hope you tell others about this blog who then gain education from my experiences. Yes, I hope that you are all primed for the release of ‘Absolute Freedom’ in late 2014.

I have to say I am very excited about our next feature film, ‘Absolute Freedom’, which at the moment, is well on the way to being completely financed. With about 60% of the $710,000 budget reached, the ease at which this film is attracting financiers is breathtaking. We have had two investors commit $100,000 each and there are multiple $15,000 investments. Also, IFB has invested facilities and time to the value of $120,000.

I believe that the main reasons for this is the quality of the story.
Also, we have our deadline. The fact is this: no matter what, International Film Base will be shooting in the first half of 2014. The Shoot is currently scheduled for March and April 2014. I have that certainty everytime I pitch a high net investor about the film. We are on the move towards that date.

Another reason is our great Business Plan.

You may notice I am setting up links to our Business Plan and that is to show you an example of what you can set up for your business plan for your future films. Also, maybe some of you will get excited and decide to partner me in the great adventure of making my next film.

Today in this post, I would like to outline the different ways of attracting finance.

  1. Government Direct Finance
  2. Market Attachments – Film Distributor Attachment.
  3. Soft Money borrowed against the Producer Offset.

What we are using in our financial plan is the following and none of the above:

  1. Producer Offset
  2. Private Investments
  3. Associate Producer Partnership
  4. Donations
  5. Finder’s Fee with Finders finding finance
  6. Attracting an international name Actor that audiences will recognise
  7. International Sales Agent

Each finance area requires a post in itself. Lets break down the six areas that I am using.

Cars OutbackAustralian Producer’s Offset: (Only in Australia).  I am going to write a post on this area very soon. In a nutshell, the offset produces a 20 – 40% guaranteed return of your approved production budget called the QAPE  (Qualifying Australian  Production Expenditure. That means that your investors are guaranteed that before any sales of your film. This means that your bottom line is here. Sales of the film will then recoup the rest of the budget and move you towards blue sky profit. This is different to the Soft Money option outlined above.

Private Investments: Investors invest as limited partners in your film production. They have no creative control or input outside of financing your film. They want you to look after their investment. The more you do, the better for your next film.

Associate Producer Partnership: We already have several people who have invested as Associate Producers.  For details, go to our Amazing Opportunity Page and you can see all the benefits for the Producer. This is great for investors who also want to be Film Producers and get their first producing credit. These opportunities only come once in a blue moon so the smart emerging film maker will grab this one.

Donation: This is usually for the small amounts of investment. We have a donation page on This is for people who would like to donate $5 to $2 000. Everything helps. We have as of yet not bothered too much with this area. But it’s there for people who want to donate.

Finder’s Fee: I need to write a post on this. The Finder’s Fee is very exciting and some of you may want to play Finance Finder for us.
A Finder’s Fee is 15% Commission on any money raised. This is great for money motivated people who want to make some extra money. Generally these people know wealthy people and they persuade them to invest in your film. This one is really working for us. More detail on this one in the future.

Attracting International Named Actors (INA) into your film: This is a major asset for your film and I believe every serious indie film maker who is making their feature film should look at attracting a named actor. Yes, we are looking at this for our film. With an international name actor, you will attract international sales for your film. This is so important. I will write a post on this later.

International Sales Agent (another post later…. Phew): Having a reputable sales agent attached in advance is of great advantage and will help attract a named actor.

Finance is energy and belief in your film. Make sure you have made three successful short films of your own, learn off the experience of feature films like mine and go for your own feature film as soon as possible. Indie Feature Films make your career.

Indie Film Making Passion from Colm O’Murchu – Director International Film Base

Colm O’Murchu is an indie film maker who loves making films. You can find out more on this page: Please spread the word for this indie filmmaking blog.

Story Creation first- Writing the Screenplay second. This is what we are doing on Absolute Freedom

August 13, 2013 by · Comments Off on Story Creation first- Writing the Screenplay second. This is what we are doing on Absolute Freedom 

One of the main reasons I have decided to keep a regular blog is to highlight the process

Sunday 11th August at the 12 Apostles Victoria

Sunday 11th August at the 12 Apostles Victoria

of creating our next feature film, Absolute Freedom. I want to include what works for the film production. I also want to include what does not work. The challenges are one of the fun parts of making a film and I am sure we will have many on our road to completing the film in late 2014.

So where are we at now in the development process? We have completed the story creation and are about to start on the 2nd draft of the screenplay. Up to recently, my main focus was creating the story for the film Absolute Freedom. We have finally completed the process after months of diligent work.

Creating a story for a 120 minute film is an exceptionally challenging process and many film makers fall down at this very important part of the process.

Its very important to recognise the difference between creating a filmic story and writing a screenplay. There are big differences between the two.

Some writers take on the challenge of writing the screenplay as they are making up the story. This is exceptionally challenging and generally the writer will end up with a very weak story or even worse, end up with writer’s block.

With Absolute Freedom our new 120 minute film, we have spent many a day working on the story. We have what I call Story Pillars. These are  story events that move the story forward.

This is how we train our students to write: breaking the Sreenwriting process in two:

1 Create the story first, story event by story event.  In other words, create your characters and the story plot and movement. Make sure there is strong objective and create extreme obstacles and blocks in the way of the success of the character.

2 Then, after you have spent an exceptionally long time preparing your story, only then write the screenplay.

For example on Absolute Freedom, we have 28 pages with 93 Story Events. When we start to write the second draft of the screenplay, the 93 Story Events will expand to a 115 page Screenplay. Working on the Story first and writing the Screenplay second is an efficient way of working on the story.

When I start to write the screenplay, one of the ways I work is that we cast actors in the12 Apostles Sunset 11th August 2013 roles and then improvise the scenes. We actually record the scenes and then write the scenes and the dialogue from the improvisations. This is a very effective process and really guides the writer to write scenes that work.

This is the process that we are working on at the moment with our script. I have just placed a casting in Star Now and with the help of the very best actors we will now workshop and write our screenplay over the next five weeks.

This process saves a dramatic amount of re-writing and creates exceptionally real screenplays.

Everyone has a different process for writing their screenplay. There are no rules or guaranteed formulas to make the screenplay work. However, it is advisable to work on your story first before actually writing a 120 page screenplay.

Indie Film Making Passion Blog launched on Monday August 5th 2013

August 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on Indie Film Making Passion Blog launched on Monday August 5th 2013 

ColmO’Murchu.Com  launches as an official blog today,Monday, August 5th.  Colm Sing

For some years, I have regularly written to people interested in my film courses and I have found that I have enjoyed the process immensely. Finally, I am expanding and creating a blog for the indie film world.

The Blog is about Indie Film Making Passion. Please feel free to take a preliminary preview. The blog content will be updated once per week over the future.

The content I intend to cover will include the following:

  • Case Study: the Making of our $710,000 feature film, “Absolute Freedom”
  • Indie Film Making Advice
  • Film Raves – My favourite Movies of 2013 and beyond
  • Podcasts with other film makers and film experts (Yet to be started)

Yes, it will be a great place to visit once per week. Of course, as you are on our mailing list you will be the first to receive our weekly content.

Please feel free to pass on the details to your friends and network as this will be a great source of information and content for the Indie Film Maker and the film enthusiast. I will also be very happy to make the site interactive with your comments on the bottom of each entry. Please feel free to comment.

Here are the details of the Blog Breakdown.

1 Indie Film Making Advice
This will be advice for the Indie Film Maker. Whether you are a short film maker or a feature film maker or a film enthusiast, this blog will clarify the indie film making process and the sales process.

2 “Absolute Freedom” Case Study
This will be a blow by blow account of my experience of making “Absolute Freedom.” This is our new $710,000 feature film for the world market. The film will be shot in the USA and the Australian outback. This will be a film worth following. This part of the blog will be excellent for the future film maker who wants to make feature films that sell. Also for fans of the film or the film making process, this case study will be a wonderful education in the film making process. You can find out more about “Absolute Freedom” on both theses pages. 

3 Film Raves – my favourite films of 2013 
This section will be updated when ever I see in the cinema an awesome new film. I will not update films I do not like or I think are average or only luke warm fare.

I will need to score the movie at 8 out of 10 or more. Of course there is subjectivity in every choice of film. However, I believe that you will be guaranteed to love about 80% of what I love. Please have a look at some of the films I have liked in the last few months.

4 Podcasts  (starting soon)
The podcasts will be great to listen to while you are doing some activity such as the gym, exercise or  driving. The podcasts will consist of interviews  with successful film makers or a podcasts directly from me about the film making process.

I look forward to your comments and feedback on the content on this blog and I hope I can inform you about the process, challenges and best practices of Indie Film Making over time.

Colm O’Murchu

Director International Film Base

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