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Film Rave – Dallas Buyers Club – 10 out 10

February 24, 2014 by · Comments Off on Film Rave – Dallas Buyers Club – 10 out 10 

imagesToday, I saw “Dallas Buyers Club” and yes  I have to rave about this film.  I have seen all  of the Oscar Films now and in my opinion Matthew McConaughey’s performance deserves the Oscar.

The film is hard work at times and  very sad. However, the story of a straight man dying of Aids who is told he only has 30 Days  to live is exceptionally compelling. The story is also very uplifting  and without douth a celebration of the sprit. Be prepared for the Emotional Roller Coaster and a few well needed drinks after. Please see this film


  • My Rating 10 out of 10 
  • Critics Rating 9.5 out of 10
  • Audience Rating 9 out of 10


Matthew McConaughey stars in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracised by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands.

Six all important Areas an experienced Film Director focuses on

February 18, 2014 by · Comments Off on Six all important Areas an experienced Film Director focuses on 

Film Directing is such an important part of the film making process.images-2

Often, beginner or ineffective film directors destroy a really strong film script.  The effective Film Director should be the guardian of the story.  Strong Directors have a vision for the film and they have excellent communication skills so that they can inspire their crew to do their very best for the film.

Over  the next  few weeks I want to explore two aspects of film directing.

  1. What does an effective Director do? 
  2. The Importance of a really strong Film Director

The Film Director often will work with the writer on the screenplay.  However, in some cases, the Producer will take  that job and collaborate with the writer and work on the screenplay.  In this case, the Director will start his or her work in Preproduction.  The Director needs to be all involved in the preproduction process.  Here are a list of the various jobs a Film Director will be involved with early on.

Preproduction imgres

  • Casting
  • Shot Listing on Location
  • Working with the Art Department on Set Design or Dressing
  • Working with Wardrobe on Costumes
  • Working with Makeup on the Makeup Direction for the scenes
  • Rehearsal


This is one of the most important directorial process.

If there is any hint of bad acting in the film, the film will die with the audience.  The Director needs to find the very best possible actors for each role.  Whether it is a big budget film or a micro budget film, the director will need to maximise the choice of actors available at a casting and cast the very best actors available.  This takes work and a casting process system.  On my Four Month Film School, I have placed a big emphasis on Casting.

Shot listing on Location:

Many inexperienced directors leave this up to the DOP.  This is the best choice if you are imageshighly inexperienced.  A Strong Director should know how to cover a scene with shots and create a shot list or storyboard for every scene in the film.  This takes time and experience.  When one works on edits of their films, their choice of shot coverage becomes stronger.  In preproduction, it can be fun to visit sets with your DOP and collaborate on the shot list.  Make sure that you get all the shots that you need for your film and  make sure that your Director Vision for the story is served.

Working with Art Department:

A Strong Film Director will collaborate with the Production Designer and communicate exactly how the sets should look.  In low budget films, the film is shot on actual locations. However all real locations need set dressing and props sourcing.  On high end productions, often the sets are built in studios.  The Director will still work with the Production Designer on the look of the film set.

Working with Wardrobe on Costumes:imgres-1

The all important costumes are so important. The Actor needs to feel the character.  Therefore, it is important to work out how the character reveals himself or herself via hairstyle and wardrobe.  This can vary as the film progresses.  All of the wardrobe is worked out in Preproduction and the Director should be deeply involved in communicating the vision for the film to the Costume Designer.

Working with Makeup on the Makeup Direction for the scenes:

The Director will brief the Makeup Artist on the makeup requirements for the actors and how they should look in the sceneMakeup will help the story when an experienced makeup artist works closely with the Director on the makeup for each character at different phases in the story.

The all important Rehearsal:

On a high quality film production, rehearsal time is always budgeted for.  This gives the Actorsimgres-2 and the Director time to work on the performance and the dialogue.  If a Director works hard on rehearsal, the actors will become the characters helping the film story dramatically.  Always rehearse the actors and insist no matter what the budget is that you have at least a week of rehearsal for a feature film production or a full day for a short film.

Once you have completed to the best of your ability the above jobs, you are now ready for the all important Film Shoot.  Next Week: What does a Film Director do on set?  How should a Film Director work?


Colm O’Murchu      Director

5 Ways for the Film Director to Prepare for the Film Shoot

February 10, 2014 by · Comments Off on 5 Ways for the Film Director to Prepare for the Film Shoot 

Film Shoots are always the fun part of Film Production.  I have been on so many film sets over the years and to this day I find that people find the shoot the most intense and enjoyable part of the film process.

The reason for this is  team work.   A group of people bond and make a creative endeavor.  There are many laughs, intense moments and character tests.  The satisfaction of creating a film that will be seen by millions of eyes in the future also adds a sense of purpose and excitement to the shoot.

However, the emerging film maker can make a mess out of a Film Shoot and end up having a very challenging time.  How can a Film Director make the most of a Film Shoot? Prepare!  Prepare!  Prepare!

How does one make a Film Shoot fun and memorable.  Here are five areas that one can focus on.

  1. The Script
  2. Actor Rehearsal
  3. Plan the Blocking in Advance
  4. Shot list and/or Storyboard
  5. Pushing the Standard High


1 Know your Script: 

This is so important.  Know your script intimately.  It is called Script Analysis.  What imgresthis means is that you break the script down and work out exactly what the characters in the scene are doing.  Generally speaking, the characters will have objectives and they will have different ways of playing the actions in the scene.  A Director needs to work out the game plan in advance of a Film Shoot.  The Director needs to know how he wants his actors to play the scene so that when he or she is directing on set, they can communicate succinctly and deliberately what they want.

2 Actor Rehearsal: 

It really pays to have an actor rehearsal prior to the Film Shoot.  What this means is that the actors and the director can discuss the script and the scenes.  When one is on a film set, there is too much happening.  The Director usually is peppered with questions and other on-set problems.  Therefore there is no time to rehearse in detail.  Have an actor rehearsal prior to a shoot.  You can weed out cluncky dialogue through improvisation.  You sometimes will find a better way of playing the scene.  If one can rehearse on the actual set prior to the shoot, this will save time.  The director can lock down the Actor Blocking in advance of the shoot.

3 Plan the Blocking in Advance:

Blocking refers to the movement of the actors on the set.  The Director needs to know exactly where he wants his actors to move on the set.  If left to the actors to move on their own, the movement can be very limited and will probally not fit in with the shot list.  So one of the key Directorial tasks, is to work out the actor’s blocking.  This takes training and that is why you should look at a really good Film Course to learn all of these film director skills.

4 Shot List Storyboard:

A Director needs to work out  their Shot list in advance of the shoot.  This is one of the areas that definitely requires training.  Working out the coverage of a scene, is so important.  A great shot list will create the building blocks for the edit.  Learn all about this on one of our practical film courses.

5 Pushing the Standard High:

Working on a film requires commitment.  However, the very best directors always push for the very best.  They motivate and cajole their actors and their crew to push for the very best.  If the actors and the crew feel that the director is pushing for a great film, they will try 10o times harder.


One needs to learn how to make films professionally and that is why it is very important to get the very best training available on the very best film course .  Remember, learn from the best and when you are shooting prepare, prepare, prepare.


Philip Seymour Hoffman – What a loss to the film world

February 3, 2014 by · Comments Off on Philip Seymour Hoffman – What a loss to the film world 

imgresI woke up this morning and heard the very sad news that one of America’s best actors Philip Seymour Hoffman had died of an apparent drug overdose.  This is such a loss to the acting world and the film world for that matter He was only 46 years of age and had always delivered powerful performances on screen.

I thought today as tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman,  I would add in a trailer for his most important film role as Capote. He won an Oscar for Best Actor for this film.

Capote Trailer 


Film Rave Wolf of Wall Street – Scorsese back to his best

February 1, 2014 by · Comments Off on Film Rave Wolf of Wall Street – Scorsese back to his best 

Happy new month and we are looking forward to a great February at International Film Base with our 4 Month Film Course starting in Melbourne 

Last nights  I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. This  is a Film about Excess. And it is a blast. imagesIts also meant to be a cautionary tale about  greed.  However, it seems more a tribute to parting to excess. It is a shame that the film forgets to highlight the remorse and  the transformation that Jordan Belfort feels for this crimes.

However, this film is worth seeing for powerhouse performances and Scorsese back to his best.


  • My Rating is 8 out of 10 
  • Critics Rating  7.5 out of 10 
  • Audience Rating 8.5 out of 10

(Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes)

Martin Scorsese directs the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. From the American dream to corporate greed, Belfort goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 80s. Excess success and affluence with a smorgasbord of sex and drugs  in his early twenties as founder of the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont warranted Belfort the title “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Synopsis and Rating courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes


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