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MovieRaves Two Films that I very much enjoyed in the cinema

August 26, 2014 by · Comments Off on MovieRaves Two Films that I very much enjoyed in the cinema 

The last Melbourne 4 Month Film Course of 2014  starts today Tuesday August 26th 2014  and the final  Sydney Film Course of 2014 starts soon on Thursday October 2nd 2014.  We do have a social event for film networkers and interested people next Tuesday September 2nd

In This weeks post,  I feel like raving about two films that I saw in the cinema

Lucy Action Thriller121436_gal  

  • My Score 9 out of 10   Yes See it. 
  • Critics 7 out of 10  
  • Audience 5 out of 10 

Lucy – An Action packed film starring the wonderful Scarlett Johansson and directed by Luc Besson. The Film is short for a Hollywood action film at only 90 minutes but the film delivers an exceptional entertainment. I very much enjoyed this film.

Here is the official Synopsis

From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.


The One Hundred Foot Journey    118213_gal

  • My Score 9 out of 10
  • Critics 7 out of 10  
  • Audience Score 9 out of 10 

This is a feel good film that is a highly enjoyable film that delivers on emotion and story. You may think that this could be boring but the film is definitely the opposite. I highly recommend this film

Here is the official Synopsis

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award (R)-winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own, escalate to all out war between the two establishments – until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing. (c) Disney


Three ways to produce a great edit and make your film work.

August 20, 2014 by · Comments Off on Three ways to produce a great edit and make your film work. 

I am writing about editing a film today because it is close to my heart.  I feel so many times aimages-4 film is made or broken in the edit.  In my personal opinion, it is the most challenging and difficult area to teach and for the emerging filmmaker to learn.  Most arguments between producers, directors and actors occur in the edit room.  Most student films depend on the quality of the editor who edits them.

I, myself, have at times been given such poor source material and somehow managed to save the scene and make it work.  However, if the material from the shoot has only one shot that is poorly executed, no editor can save it.  There is a limit, and today I want to talk about three ways you can really help your edit succeed.

Firstly, get substantial coverage, shot well during the shoot.images

This means you get your wide shot, your medium shots, your close ups, your POVs.  So many times, the shoot has been poorly executed.  The scene is sparsely covered with poor shot choices.  In fact, this is the easiest part to get right and it is something I am currently drilling our film course participants on.  Namely, how to get the best coverage for your scene.

So many people have these amazing shots and visuals in their head but they throw the baby out with the bathwater and have lousy blocking.  Blocking is the movement of the actors on the set.  Essentially, it is the choreography of the actor’s movement and it is directed by the Director.  You work out the movement that looks natural and in most cases dynamic for the scene.  Then you cover the scene with shots which is your coverage.  If this occurs, you will have set up the foundation of a great edit.

Secondly, hire or find  the very best editor that you can source, or become a great editor. 

Yes, this is where you should spend some money finding the very best editors.  Editors can beimages-2 found on the awesome Top Tech Website or Aus Crew website or Star Now or sometimes, there will be great student editors that you network with on an awesome film course.

How do you know that they are good?  Watch their previous work and see what they have previously edited.  Watch the film without the sound.  Mute that sound and watch the edits.  Is it smooth and flows and tells the story at the correct pace?  Does the film have continuity?  If so, hire them.  Or is the edit too long with rough cuts and blotchy editing? If so, run a 100 kilometres away from this person.  If you hire the best person who is committed to making your film great, you will only have to work in with the editor as Director.  A Director Editor combination is a great collaboration and often helps the film move to a higher realm.

Many film makers these days learn how to edit their own films and this works if the film maker is a talented editor.  It takes time to become a really good editor.  Yes, you can learn how to use an editing software package in a matter of weeks.  Make sure you use a professional editing package such as Premiere Pro C6 or Avid.  In fact, at Sydney Film Base, we now train specialist editors in how to edit.  We only have two people in the edit class and the film instructor then teaches them how to edit.  This is only open to people who are on the ‘Four Month Film Directors Course’.  It takes time to learn how to be a really good editor which brings me to point three.

Thirdly, be patient and take your time when editing.images-1

Even if you find a really good editor and the edit is rushed, the result will be a poor quality film.  I am surprised at how so many people think that a fast editor is a good editor.  Often this is not the case.  Fast editors lack patience and often do not enjoy the process.  Think of food that is prepared by a chef who hates the process and just wants to get the food cooked as fast as possible.  The food often is tasteless.

Imbue your edit with love and detail and enjoy the process of editing.  It is not a sprint. When I personally edit, I edit a scene at a time this way:

  1. I watch the source material in detail.  I take time with this and I cut my phone off and do not take calls or texts.  I watch and mark out the best parts of each take.  For a typical 2 – 3 minute scene there may be 45 minutes – 1 hour of material.  So this will take 90 minutes to watch and mark and observe the material.  When this is done,  I will have a short ten minute break.  I will think over the footage in my head and then get ready for the first cut. 
  2. I cut with flow.  Generally, the first cut takes the longest as I start to create the scene. I feel out the scene.  I let it flow from close up to wide shot to medium shot to close up where there is a great moment in the actor’s performance where they express a strong emotion.  I feel it is like playing the guitar and it is a highly creative process. Eventually after 30 – 40 minutes I will have the 2 – 3 minute scene edited.  I move on to the next scene.
  3. Eventually, I will have a rough cut of the whole film and I will then watch the whole film observing it closely.  A Rough Cut is rough and will run about 25 – 40% longer than it should.
  4. Then I detail and fine cut making the very best cut I can.  I am ruthless at this process and I will be shaving two frames of fresh air between cuts.  Fresh air refers to silence between cuts that causes a languid long cut that bores audiences and makes the film feel long.
  5. Eventually I will have a fine cut.  I will do the same for all other scenes.
  6. Then I will polish the film cut going over and over till perfection occurs.

This all takes time and the editor who edits fast is like a lover who blows too fast.


Editing is such a critical area.  Great actors know they are in the hands of the Film Director and the editor.  If they are great, the film has an excellent chance of being good. If they are poor, no great acting performance will save the finished film.















Five Great reasons to visit Myanmar (Burma), a travel experience with a difference.

August 13, 2014 by · Comments Off on Five Great reasons to visit Myanmar (Burma), a travel experience with a difference. 

Burma Photo  10It’s two weeks since my last post and Valeska and  I have finally arrived back from Myanmar (Burma).  I thought that this week, I would write about the experience of travel and the fun of going to a country that has only recently changed.

Every year around late July and August, I force myself to take a holiday.  This can be very challenging for a person who owns and runs an enterprise such as the Indie Film Centre and Australian Film Base.  It is much easier to take a break at Christmas and the first two weeks of the New Year as everything is shut down and there are no courses and everyone else is simultaneously on holidays.

Burma Photo  16However, I think it is a great idea to take a break around late July and August and get away from it all.  Everything ran perfectly while I was away.  John Schepp, the Indie Centre Manager, did a stellar job keeping everything moving at the Indie Film Centre. For a whole week I did not look at emails or take any phone calls and, of course, a few things happened on our trip.

  1. Valeska and I created another feature film story.  Yes, we came up with a great idea for a satirical drama comedy set in Sydney.
  2. I really settled back into a previous career, taking photographs of everything I saw on the trip.  Now it is my fun hobby.  Please see some photos enclosed.
  3. I shot hours of doco footage for the trip and now that I am back in Sydney I can edit the film.

Burma Photo  3Why Myanmar?

Well, it is a place I have wanted to go to for years and due to the political situation, I chose not to go there.  With the blossoming of some form of democracy in 2011, the time had finally arrived.  Also, there are not that many tourists in the wet season in Myanmar so there is the feeling, at times, that you are the only foreigners there.  We love going somewhere different and vibrant and, yes, we were in the mood for an adventure.

Burma Photo  4We focused on

  1. Yangoon, the major and former capital city.  It rained cats and dogs and only let up for a couple of hours per day.  Very atmospheric and green. 
  2. Bagan, an area littered with Budhist temples from the 12th century.  Sunny and hot.
  3. Inge Lake: Felt like we were on a National Geographic shoot.  Cloudy and very occasional showers that lasted 10 minutes.  In Inge Lake, people still live the same way that they have lived for centuries.

Burma Photo  8

We decided to see less, but truly enjoy the trip at a pleasant, slow pace.  We took the bus between these three areas which constituted a 500km trip between these areas on each occasion.

Both bus trips took a whole day from about 8am – 5pm but we enjoyed seeing the country as it passed by.  For example, when we left Yangoon for Bagan, the country changed from wet delta full of green fields waterlogged to a dryer hillier country as we travelled further north to the very sunny Bagan.  The people were exceptionally pleasant and easy to approach on our trip.

Burma Photo  12Yes, I would highly recommend Myanmar as a travel destination with a difference.  Go in  the wet season as prices are considerably lower and tourists are hardly every seen.  It was only wet in the south of the country in Yangoon.

Life, in my  opinion, is about the Present Moment and making the most of the now in whatever area you are working in or experiencing.  When you travel, of course you have no choice but to be present now in the experience of where you are.

Here are my 5 reasons to visit Myanmar:Burma Photo 15

  1. Myanmar has opened up for business. Democracy has blossomed and it’s truly a great time to get there now before it is ruined by mass tourism. 
  2. Bagan is truly an awesome sight with hundreds of ancient temples as far as the eye can see.
  3. Great old style hotels with very friendly staff.
  4. Inge Lake straight out of a National Geographic shoot.
  5. Myanmar Beer.  I actually really liked the beer.

Burma Photo  7

Colm O’Murchu is an active film maker and film instructor at Australian Film Base.  He is also the owner and regularly blogs about film making.




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