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From Dream To Film Maker In Three Months

Podcast Number 1 – Find out how Filmmaker Jon Cohen made his movie Ravenswood and found his audience.

May 23, 2017 by · Comments Off on Podcast Number 1 – Find out how Filmmaker Jon Cohen made his movie Ravenswood and found his audience. 

Today is a very exciting day for me. This is my first of many future podcasts.

In future  podcasts, you will hear from experienced filmmakers. You will hear how they made their movies and found their audience.
This podcast will help the emerging filmmaker to chart their own course to make their own movies and get them seen.

This episode is a fascinating chat with Filmmaker Jon Cohen about his most recent movie Ravenswood.  He made the movie on a budget of 30K and then found distribution in the US and Canada via his sales agent. You can see the trailer here.

As always if you would love to learn filmmaking with the best training in the world, please explore here.

Hear the story of how Jon did it in the following podcast.

20th Anniversary of Australian Film Base – plus my top 8 hot tips for the indie Filmmaker

May 16, 2017 by · Comments Off on 20th Anniversary of Australian Film Base – plus my top 8 hot tips for the indie Filmmaker 

Today is a retro post with my 8 top tips for the Indie Filmmaker at the end of this post. It is now 20 years since we first started our production company Sydney Film Base. At the time we shot numerous music videos, corporates and short films and decided this is how we wanted to earn our living.

We also started the first filmmaking course in May 1997, back in the last century. Since then, I personally have earned my living only from film production or film training. I have never worked for anyone else and have never had to do a day job for money. I have travelled the world and has generally a great time.

As a result of the three month film course , many filmmakers have gone on to make their own film careers and have made some spectacular films. Jack Kelly, Eddie Arya and Sean Smith  who started with us as beginners on one of our film courses years ago are now established filmmakers and part-time teachers on the 3 month film course. Their passion fuels their desire to make films.

In 20 years hundreds of short films have been made on the film courses or as a result of the film courses and many people have made their dreams a reality. Eddie Arya is now on to his third feature film.

In that time, I have personally made four full length feature films that have sold worldwide and had substantial releases in Australia. You can watch both of them on OZFLIX (Links below)

Below,I have listed off the three more recent movies that we have made and details about their releases

Tabernacle 101 is a one hour forty five minute feature film currently in
postproduction.It will be completed in October 2017 and will be previewed and sold to the world wide market at  the prestigious American Film Market in Lost Angeles in November 2017 .

This movie was spooky to shoot and so many strange and unexplained events happened on set.  My production team and I feel we have a very spooky movie that will scare the audience.


Dealing with Destiny: Feature Film 90 minutes Starring Luke Arnold 

  • Nationwide Cinema Release Australia.
  • See Dealing with Destiny now on  OZFLIX  
  • Available on iTunes.

This is a $1 million budget  feature film, made in Australia. I was hired as the Film Director. The film is about the final day of four university students who go on a final day muck up that ends in total mayhem. The film stars Luke Arnold who played Michael Hutchinson of INXS fame in the TV series “Never tear us apart”.  He also played John Silver in Black Sail.  He is now staring in a Hollywood movie directed and starring Heather Graham , Half Magic. It is always great to see actors you have cast go to Hollywood.


The Makeover Trailers –  100 minutes Feature Film –
See it on OzFlix 

  •  Watched 2.701,203  times online and averages about 6000 views per day. 
  • Released Australia New Zealand on DVD everywhere.
  • Oz Flicks
  • iTunes America
  • Pay TV America
  • Pay TV Europe
  • Best Comedy Drama at the New York Film Festival.
  • Available right now on Ozflix 

I Produced wrote and directed and edited this film. I even acted in one scene. The Makeover is a 100 minute feature film staring Lara Cox and Martin Dingle-Wall.  

The Makeover won Best Comedy Drama at the New York Downtown Film Festival. The film was also sold to Pay TV in Europe and on Pay Per view everywhere in the USA. The Makeover has come a viral success on the internet with over 1 million views online and watched thousands of times per day all over the world.

Released on DVD with Blockbuster  everywhere in Australia and New Zealand and on Quickflix (Australian Netflix)  April 2011.

To help you, here is my take and eight hot tips

  • You make a movie when you decide to. Set a deadline and break it down into steps.
  • There is no better learning curve than making a movie
  • Think Audience. Set a target eyeballs that will see your finished movie and go after your audience for your film.
  • People will watch your feature movie in 50 years. Do your level best to make the best movie.
  • Enjoy the process of making your movie
  • Have the best mentors. (For example an excellent film course will help you here
  • Remember setbacks and challenges happen the most experienced and famous filmmaker. Decide that you will overcome what ever is placed in your path.
  • Do as James Cameron suggests. Set a crazy out of reach and massive goal with your movie. If you fail, it will be more than a likely another person’s success and much higher than if you did not set an exceptional goal.

To your filmmaking dreams

Colm O’Murchu

Editing, one of the most important filmmaking skills

May 3, 2017 by · Comments Off on Editing, one of the most important filmmaking skills 

At this moment,  I am editing Tabernacle 101, our 110 minute supernatural thriller movie. I am up at 5am every morning and edit to about 11am and in that time I edit about 1 – 2 scenes per day. There are 150 scenes in the movie, so I expect to complete the first cut during the first two weeks of July.

As I have edited films for over 25 years now and started on steanback flat tables back in the day, I would like to help you with some important advise with editing.

There is quick editing and there is slow editing. Rarely is quick editing any good. On my film courses, I always do my very best to teach, up and coming filmmakers to slow down.  Be fastidious and detailed with their edits and the result will be so much better.

Watch every single take and every single shot that you have shot listed for your scene. Mark off the good sections of each take and you can type in comments for later. When I watch my coverage, I am looking for the best performance from my actors. Therefore as I watch the raw footage,  I am detailing what is best for the edit. I usually have 8 – 10 shots per scene with an average of 4 – 8 takes per shot. That means I usually detail 40 – 50 clips per scene.  That takes about an hour to an hour and a half to watch.

A slow editor watches and details every single clip. A fast editor takes short cuts and cherry picks takes. There is an impatience to get the edit completed. This leads to a poor cut. So slow down and watch every single take and every single clip that you have shot. I type in comments on the best takes so I will know later what is best for the edit.

I enjoy the process of editing the film and take my time. I know, the awards are later with the best possible cut of the film. It may take me an hour to an hour and half to watch every clip. The rule is that I spend as long as it takes.

Once I have watched every single take, I have a  coffee break for 15 minutes.  I need this break to let all of the takes I have watched sink in to my unconsoicous mind.

Then I start to edit. Often the first couple of cuts are the most challenging. Once the cut gets going, a certain rythm sets in and editing comes effortless and fluid. I compare this to a musiscian composing music or a cook creating a great dish.  This is where talent and practice combine to make a great cut.

Often I will have side by sides to make sure that I get the best performance.  A side by side is placing Take 1  , 2  ,3 and  4 side by side on the sequence  to see which is the best performance for that line. It is so easy to see the best performance when you see the same line said four different ways. I pick the best one.

When I do this as the director of the film, I am doing the actor and the film a great service  . Eventually 45 minutes to an hour  or so later I have  a very good cut of the scene.

In low budget filmmaking, editing is a really important skill to learn. You can find a professional editor to edit your film and if time is important this is quicker than learning on your own.

Make sure you work closely with your editor and watch every single take and makes sure that he or she marks off the clips with your thoughts on performance and the takes. Back in the day, we used to have rushes screenings every night after shooting where this process would happen with the editor. I have noticed that at the low budget end of filmmaking, this rarely happens these days.

How does one learn film editing?  First find the best editing software. At International Film Base, we recommend Adobe Premiere Pro. Google it. It usually comes as part of a package called Adobe Premiere Pro CC

They have excellent video tutorials. online and one can learn film editing on their own. This of course is the hard way. I honestly recommend that you learn filmmaking on a reputable film course and learn how to shoot a scene and then how to edit a film by actually doing it on a film course.   On our 3 Month Film Courses we do have post production covered. We have also edit coaches whereby you hire an edit coach to teach you one one one editing. This is the best way of all to learn editing. One can learn the software and editing skills quickly this way. Edit coaching is open to people who have graduated from our 3 month film courses.

Editing is fun but learning how to edit can be  a challenge. Practice makes perfect and the more you actually edit your films, the better you will get.

Till next time, all the very best with your filmmaking ambition

Colm O ‘ Murchu – Director

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