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From Dream To Film Maker In Three Months

What is Continuity? Why it is so important when making films.

May 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Continuity Person on our film set Dealing with Detiny

Special Note: Blog is written by Colm O'Murchu owner of  Australian Film Base.  More on Colm O'Murchu.Com

I am sitting up here in Palm Beach about 40 kms north of Sydney. I am watching the sunset over Kuringai National Park reflecting on a few different shoots that have happened recently on the Four Month Film School.  One of the areas that seems to be an issue time and time again is the thorny issue of Continuity.

Today I would like to outline the three most important aspects of continuity in relation to shooting your film. Continuity is so important. It is one of the areas that the emerging film maker consistently overlooks with negative consequences.

I would like to break continuity down into four areas.

  • Acting continuity
  • Props Continuity
  • Costume Continuity
  • 180 Line

1. Acting Continuity.  

UnknownActors need to do the same action and say the same line in different shots and different takes. I love to demonstrate this  in Film Class.

We get actors to play a scene a certain way in the master shot. The actor may pick up the glass with the right hand and then wave with their left hand. Then we shoot a Close Up  where the actor picks up the glass with the left hand and then waves with the right hand. Then we edit the two shots and see how bad the scene cuts. Now we do this on purpose for demonstration purposes. However, so many film makers make this very mistake with their actors on important film projects with detrimental results to one's film.

Make sure that your actors are trained or are exceptionally aware of continuity. Motivate the actors by letting them know if their continuity is exceptionally good , its means that their close ups get more screen time.

Have a laugh and look at the continuity error in "Precious", an Oscar winning film.

Secondly, make sure you hire or recruit an excellent continuity person who watches the video split screen for these errors. A good Continuity Person will pick up when an actor has digressed from important actions or has forgotten key lines in their speech.  They are worth their weight in gold. Good acting continuity differentiates the amateur film maker from the professional film maker.

2. Costumes:

Another area that can be challenging to the emerging film maker is costume continuity. Generally, the wardrobe department will keep tabs and photos of all costumes worn by the actors. However, on a micro budget film, the film maker may not have a wardrobe department.

In this case, you need to keep very good photos of the actor before you shoot the first take in your scene. What this means is that you can refer to this photo as you shoot the scene. If the actor goes to lunch and takes off his tie, it is reasonably easy for the actor to forget to put the tie on for the afternoon shoot. This can cause very bad continuity issues.

Also, when the next scene in screen time follows the previous scene, continuity becomes very important. What if you are not shooting the next scene for a week. Who is going to remember what the actor was wearing?  Often the actor will forget.

However, if you have a photo of what the actor is wearing, the correct costume can be found and the next scene can be shot with the actor in the correct clothes rather than an embarrassing continuity error.

3. Props Continuity

It is a very important to get prop continuity correct. When you start shooting a scene, you may start with the master wide shot. At this point take photos of the whole film set and exactly where everything is.

Later when you are shooting the Close ups, it may be necessary to move the table and the props. Then at a later point you have to shoot another shot that shows the table again in shot. You will have to put the table back exactly where it was with the exact same props. This can be difficult if you have forgotton to take a photo at the start of shooting the scene. This can be another source of continuity errors. So take the photo of the set at the start of shooting the scene.

Also, if there is action such as a fight, props may be moved and then have to be replaced for the next take.

4.  180 Degree Line 

Now what about the 180 Degree Line. This one is always a challenge for the emerging filmmaker. Place the camera on the correct side of the line and you will never make the worst continuity mistake of all continuity mistakes. Please look at this video courtesy of the  New York City Academy. This video explains the 180 Degree line and Continuity.

Conclusion

The micro budget or full budget film maker should have a really good continuity person on their film set who watches continuity like a hawk. They should observe actor continuity, prop continuity and costume continuity. The continuity person should take photographs of the whole set and the actors costumes. If all of this is observed properly, you will have a film that you can cut in the edit suite later. This also ensures that the editor has maximum cutting choices in the edit.

If you are very keen to learn this in practice in a hands on environment on a real film set, please look at our four month film school in Melbourne 

 

More bloging and indie film making passion on Colm OMurhcu's blog.   http://colmomurchu.com/

8 Reasons you should attend a Film Course

October 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Do you want to be a Film Director?

Here are five reasons to enroll on a high quality Film School

Actors Acting on one of our Four Month Course Production

You learn how to make films professionally.

Many people try to do it all on their own and they end up making the same amateur mistakes. These mistakes tend to make their film efforts look amateur. I see it time and time again. Film Makers who make film after film and wonder why they are never getting into A List film festivals or getting a great reaction from their audience. Without the correct instruction, this film maker can end up permanently grounded.

The main problem areas are

  • Sound
  • Poor Acting
  • Shot narrative
  • Post Production

2  The second reason to enroll on a Film Course is the networking. You meet like minded people and

Filming on set

this will accelerate your progress dramatically. There is nothing like meeting people with a similar passion. Many people on our courses end up collaborating on film projects after the course. One person ends up as the producer while the other is the Director and another person ends up writing the film. These people create a core film production entity. There is so much power in these combinations.

I remember when I was in Film School years ago, three of us got together and in record time we had a $25,000 budget and  a 20 minute short film produced. Back then,  it was hard to raise the budgets needed to make films. You had to shoot on Super 16 mm film stock and edit on steenbacks using film print. You had to hire a negative matcher who cut your negative using your edit decisions from your work print. All in all it was an expensive process back in 1992.

Somehow within six months we had made a film with a very big cast. There was a Grip and Gaffer Crew and as a young film maker, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. We had Cranes and Tracks and basically all the frills of a big budget film shoot. and this was all as a result of two other people I met on a Film Course.

Today,  the Camera Lights and Sound and Grips Equipment has come very inexpensive.  Today everything has changed.

3  Knowlege of what Film Equipment you need.

This is the third reason you need to attend a Film Course. You need to know what equipment to use. You need to know what the best lowest priced equipment you need for your film shoots after the Film Course ends. This part saves you thousands of dollars.

You need to know what the best Camera is to use on your shoot. You need to know the best sound equipment to obtain. You need to know the best lighting combinations.  There is a lot to learn but it can be learned very quickly on a high quality film course.

When you attend a course like ours, you learn all about the best equipment to use and whether you should buy or rent after the Film Course.

4 Training

This is one of the most important reasons to attend a film course. You learn how to make a film using our FIlm Equipment.

You learn how to

  • operate a Film Camera
  • create a Shot list
  • how to direct actors
  • how to get the best location sound
  • how to light a set effectively.
  • and much more

On a really good film course like ours, you learn how to make a film by actually shooting a real film. You get to do all the crew roles and get some experience in all the areas. This ultimately makes you a better producer or director or writer.

5 The Accelerator.

A really good film school accelerates your film career dramatically. You learn how to make a film ten times faster meaning that over a six month period  you gain years on the competition and put yourself years ahead of the people who are trying to do it all on their own.

6 Great Times

I always remember my Film School years fondly. When you were learning how to make films, you are finally living with your passion and moving towards your dreams. Many times we hear from our film students about how profoundly their year has changed. They tell me how many times their lives are transformed by doing something worthwhile and how it is wonderful to live life actively involved in their passion.

7 Mentorship.

When you get involved with professional film makers, many times they will help you and act as a mentor. If you are a talented emerging film maker, your talent will shine and the organizers of the film course will take notice and want to help you.

8 The In Club and Work

When you have successfully completed our film courses, you will be invited to join our In Film Club. Here you will hear of job opportunities and film projects. Here you will also hear of DOPs and other crew and actors that you will need to make your film happen.

So for these 8 reasons, it is a really a great idea to enroll on our top quality Film Course. Check out the 4 Month Film School 

 

Till next time have a great one

Colm O'Murchu

Director Sydney Film Base

The Film Editor- The Real Star of Film Production

September 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

POST: The Film Editor is the true star of any Film Production

Today, I want to focus on The Film Editor.

Learning all about the Tools of the Trade

This morning I read all about the Oscars.  Kirk Baxter, an Australian, has just won back to back Oscars. Kirk won last night for the film " The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. *  Yet it hardly makes the papers.  For many people, film  editors are these nerdy characters who spend way too much time in small rooms. Yet in reality they are the true stars of any Film Production.

Tropfest was one of the big film events in February.  Tropfest is the worlds largest film festival which takes place at the Domain in Sydney. On the Saturday I attended Tropfest Roughcut with about 150 other film makers.     Speaking at the event were non other than

Geoffrey Rush, Actor (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean)
Kieran Darcy-Smith, Director (Wish You Were Here), Actor (Animal Kingdom)
Jason Ballantine, Editor (The Great Gatsby, Wolf Creek, Wish You Were Here)

Jason Ballantine is certainly one of the most talented Film Editors with a raft of great film credits all ready attached to his name. Yet he is very humble.  Yet, he is one of the most important  creative people working on Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio

I always find it amazing that Film Editors never get the credit that they are due. I am going to be controversial and say this the Film Editor is the single most important crew member after the Film Director.

Many outsiders do not realize the following fact.   The Film Director will spend most of his or her life in post production. The Shoot might be only 6 - 10 weeks while post production will often consume about 9 months after the film is finished. Peter Jackson spent just over  a year shooting the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then spent three years in Post Production.

It is the attention to detail in Post Production that pays off. If time is spent on post production, this will dramatically make the difference between a  really good film and an average film.

Let me clarify Post Production. Post Production includes the

Picture Edit (today's subject)
Colouring and Grading
Visual Effects
Titles
Music
Sound Postproduction
Conforming formats such as DCP.
The Film Director is involved with all of the above.

Booming and getting the very best location sound

On the film set, the film director only gathers the building blocks of  the film and of course it is very important to get the very best building blocks. However the edit and full post production is where the film is made. There is a gulf of difference between a really good edit and an average edit. In the former,  the film is dynamic and engaging. In the latter the film stinks and is considered a Turkey.

However the edit is one area that is neglected in the short film arena. Many emerging film makers believe that the film is complete, once the shoot is over.

The mindset is this .....  "Oh yes there is still a bit of editing and music to do but the film is now shot and it will only be a short time till the film is complete."
The emerging film maker  then confronts reality. Post Production can suddenly feel like a never ending process.

Picture Editing  is an art form that  only came into existence when  motion picture was invented back in the late 19th Century.  Before 1896, there were many fine actors who acted in theater  and there were many stories been told in different mediums. Photography had been around for a long time. Music had been around since the dawn of man.

Motion Picture editing only started once we could shoot motion picture.  Therefore it is the purest season of film making. It exists totally out of the need to cut motion picture and create the illusion of a story.

Editing up to the early 1990s was a cumbersome process. I remember my first films back in the late 80s. We used to edit on Steenbacks. We would literally chop the film with a small guillotine and splice it back together with splicing tape. Any visual effects would be chalked on the film print and sent off to an Optical House where the effects would be created.

How times have changed for the better.  We now edit in the computer and anyone can do it from anywhere. I often edit on the airplane when I am on long flights. You will only know the difference great editing makes once  you start to make your own films. One of the areas we focus on in our film schools is Post Production. A large part of the course is dedicated to post production with 5 sessions spent finishing the film.

Many emerging film makers find the shoot so exciting and fun. The adrenalin is running and once the film is shot, they then are

Course Production Filming on Set

confronted with post production which is insular and slow.  Suddenly there is only two people.  The Director and the Editor sitting in front of a computer actually making a film. Not so exciting for many people.

To me personally, editing is one of the best parts of film making.  When one sits down to create magic and a memorable engaging story, the hours fly by.  I believe that if you want to be a Film Director it is important to love this season of film making.

You have a choice as a Film Director.

  1. Learn editing and become an expert at editing and cutting your own short films and anyone else you can volunteer for. I  personally think that if you can learn to edit, it will pay off in the  long run.
  2. Find an experienced or up and coming editor and work closely with them on your films

How do you do this?  The first step is to enroll on a really good film school

 

Till next time , have a great one.
Colm O’Murchu      Director
http://www.australianfilmbase.com/

* If you have not seen the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, please see it. It is a wonderful film that engages you from the beginning to the end. David Fincher  is at his best in this very engaging thriller set in Sweden

Creating the Film Director Stars of Tomorrow- Hot Talent Club is launched

July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Post: Creating the Film Director Stars of Tomorrow- Hot Talent Club is launched

On Set at our Custom Designed Police Station

At Australian Film Base,  we regularly are sent job opportunities and film production requests that we can not take on. It has been a frustration seeing these opportunities going to waste.   We are also involved in many of our own feature film productions and other peoples film productions that we have been commissioned to produce. As a working production company, it has been a great pleasure to employ the very best talent from our film courses on to these productions over the years.

Late last year,  I decided that I wanted to create a non-profit Club that would support and help the most talented film makers. The club would   immediately make their advanced film dreams happen once the  four month film school had concluded.  I wanted to create a vehicle where they could quickly get film industry employment and make their very own passion film projects. This would include feature films documentaries and short films and no hanging around. These projects would happen immediately with solid enforceable deadlines.

Late last year, I came up with the true vision for our film courses and productions at International FIlm Base.  I coined the phrase "Creating the Film  Director Stars of tomorrow."  Out of this vision, in late February this year,  the Hot Talent Club was born and launched in Sydney and  in the next few months in Melbourne.

What is the Hot Talent Club?

The Hot Talent Club is for people who have completed our 4 Month Film School in Melbourne    It is a mix of exceptionally motivated and ambitious film makers who want support and crew other film makers while making their very own passion film projects.

In the Hot Talent , you will  find a mix of exceptionally talented actors, make up artists, producers and Directors. These people all have one thing in common.  They all want to move to the A List. All of these people are committed to being players in the film industry, now and  in the future. What this means is that the Hot Talent Club creates the energy matrix for these players to make their mark with every film that they are involved in.

At  each  monthly meeting a project will be launced with a deadline for production and for completion and the Producer or Director is held accountable to that deadline. Out of the Hot Club we expect to see A List Film Directors and Producers making feature films and TV drama and documentaries  for the world.

Ready to shoot a scene on the Red Camera

You may ask "How do I get into the Hot Talent Club?"

Every selected  person must attend our Four Month Film School in  Melbourne.  They must show  committment to their film projects during the Four Month Film School. The candidate should have the fire in the belly and a desire to work exceptionally hard to make their film the best that it can be.  At the end , the top 3 -4 people  are invited to join the Hot Talent Club. Each person is selected by the Hot Club Panel.

Ultimately, we want one or more of our members to go to the very top in world cinema and make films that get seen by the world. The overall purpose is to create the film production hits and the Director Producer Stars of tomorrow.

So if you are inspired to start your film career now, please look at our Four Month Film Courses in Melbourne . There is no faster way to get on to your first serious film production completed.  We are conducting interviews for our Four Month Film Schools right now. Book by phone on 1800 131166

More of Colm O'Murchu blogs on his site on colmomurchu.com

 

 

I always love my trips to LA – Warm Summer Days and the heart of the Film Business

June 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Kriv Stenders at the A List Film Seminar

To those of you who read my posts, this is an extra special generous article where I will reveal my secrets for attaching Distribution Guarantees at the international Market.

It has been a very busy patch recently. On Saturday May 26th we had the A Lister's Seminar with Kriv Stenders,(Director Red Dog)  Greg Reid (The Eye of the Storm) and Enzo Tedeschi (The Tunnel)  in Sydney.  The day was very successful and we will post video highlights very soon on Youtube.  The questioning was well organized and drew the best out of our Film Makers.

The Aussie A List Film Makers Reveal Seminar will now become a once per year event with only people who are signed up to International Film Base website or former students invited to the event.

On Monday 28th May, I headed off to Melbourne to help with Casting for  the 4 month Film School.  On Tuesday I flew to LA and I am always amazed at the feeling of taking off from Melbourne Airport on Tuesday 29th May 11am and arriving 13 hours later in LA before you left at 8am Tuesday 29th May .

At Cine Expo at Paramount Studios

I always seem to have a great time in LA meeting  many people I have met before in the film business. The weather is stunning at the moment with most days about 27C and cool nights due to the desert. I am very much enjoying the week of summer before returning to Sydney on Tuesday.

We currently have two projects in development .  Absolute Freedom  shooting in October and The Lima Connection ,a $5 million dollar production shooting in Miami and South America when financing completes. At the moment,  I  can not go into details about who is financing but it is suffice to say that Lima Connection is advancing very well indeed.

A DG is a guaranteed Distribution Deal. A really good  DG will come with a minimum guaranteed $ value but in many cases now it just a guarantee of distribution. International DGs of course help the film finalize the finance and therefore they are very important particularly if the company is a reputable company such as Lionsgate or Millenium Films.

Camera attached to this Flying Device at Cine-Expo in Hollywood

LA is still the centre of the business and when you want to finance films, there are many Distributors and Sales Agents worth seeing over here. However getting in the door to see a distributor is a challenging job.  They are inundated with thousands of projects and they generally suffer overwhelm.  So they have found ways of cutting through the workload. Their primary method is to ignore any cold or unsolicited inquires. Taking this approach is like beating your head off the wall.

What I want to talk about now is how to approach Distributors.

1 Get a referral. The business works on "Who you Know"  so it is very important to get to know the right people. Do not phone Distributors unless you have a referral. Referrals from someone who knows you and also knows the distributor,  will always get you a meeting to pitch your project. It gets you past the mass of people cold calling who have zero chance of getting a meeting. Get the referral meeting and then it is over to you to do a great pitch which will get the executive to ask for a copy of the script and read it. If they love the script you have DG and the film is getting closer to shooting.

2 Go to Pitch Seminars. Right after I complete this article I am off to the Great American Pitchfest . On Saturday, there are a whole lot of entertaining and informative seminars and on Sunday everyone has a chance to stand in line and meet production companies and pitch your project. Many of the Production Companies have deals with the major Distribution Companies and Sales Agents. If they love your pitch, they will ask for a script and then a deal with the writer to develop the film ensues with the film eventually going into production.

3 Go to the Film  Markets and the Seminars attached to the Markets

Yesterday at the Great American Pitchfest

Film Markets are where all the Film Executives go to sell their film product. The big two markets are the AFM in Santa Monica in November and Cannes Film Market in May.  Email four to two weeks in advance all the Sales Agents and Distributors relevant to your film that are attending the AFM or what ever Film Market you attend. This also applies to films that are completed and do not have DGS.  Do a blanket coverage of the Sales Agents and Distributors.  When you register to attend the AFM they will give you a list of Sales Agent and Distributors that are at the AFM.

You should get about one in five of your emails responding. Set up several meetings a day and then at night network and socialize. Make friends with the Sales Agents and Distributors at the Parties that happen every night and then a meeting will evolve from the networking.  A Word of warning. Stay sober. Executives want to avoid alcoholics.

Yes it takes determination and persistence to get your films up and running Keep away from cold calling and be smart and rise above the many film makers taking the wrong approach. Remember it is "who you know" that will always work the best mixed with talent and a great project.

I am off to Pitchfest now and as a final word, take the two prong approach whether you are making short films or feature films. Always have a micro budget film in production  that you are doing now and then a second project the $5 million bigger budget production that seeks finance from the Distributors and various funding bodies. In the case of the short film, seek funding from Screen Australia or your State funding body. Making a film  now is so important and sustains you as you work on bigger budget films that may take years to make.

Nothing beats learning on real live film productions or the fun and the camaraderie. Nothing beats a really good Film School. 

I hope to see you soon

 

Colm O'Murchu - Director Australian Film Base

 

You can read more of Colm O'Murchu's blog on Colmomurchu.com

 

 

 

 

A-list Film Makers come to our Home

April 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Special Announcement:

For some time now I have had an ambition to bring the very best FilmMakers in Australia to International Film Base.


I am very proud to announce that the top of the Australian Film Industry, Australia's creme de le creme, is coming to our home.

International Film Base presents the  A- List Film Makers Seminar  on Saturday 26th May 2012.  

I have always believed that it is a really good idea to learn from the successful people who make films. The Film Makers work at the very top and on films budgeted between $8 million to $150 million.

We will be learning from 3 of the very best about how the Film Making Business operates and how they have been so successful in getting there.


The Film Makers are

1  KRIV STENDERS  - DIRECTOR RED DOG-  $23 MILLION DOLLAR BOX OFFICE 

Red Dog Trailer

 

RED DOG Berlin Film Festival, 2011-  Winner, Audience Award, Vail Film Festival Colorado 2011  Winner, Grand Prize Award, Best Narrative Film, Heartland Film Festival 2011Winner, Best Director and Best Feature Film, IF Awards 2011  -  Winner, Best Film, AACTA Awards 2012

 

LUCKY COUNTRY   2008  Feature Film  -   Director

 

BOXING DAY   2007    83 minutes   The Adelaide Film Festival / Rising Sun Pictures / Smoking Gun Productions / Horrorshow
Director / Screenwriter / Producer / Cinematographer Kriv Stenders    2007 The Animal Logic IF Award for Best Director
Official Selection               2007 Montreal Festival Du Nouveau Cinema (Special Jury Menti    2007 Sydney Film Fest   2007 Dungog Film Festival

 BLACKTOWN  2005  91 minutesHorrorshow / Pod Film / Madman Entertainment / NTFO
Director / Screenwriter / Producer / Cinematographer Kriv Stenders  Audience Award                2005 Sydney International Film Festival

 

 

2 JASON BALLANTINE - CO-EDITOR GREAT GATSBY -BAZ LUHRMANN TRUSTED COLLABORATOR  

Currently the Co-Film Editor on THE GREAT GATSBY. He is best known as the Film Editor for WOLF CREEK.

He recently completed Kieran Darcy-Smith's psychological drama Wish You Were Here and Bill Bennett's island mystery Uninhabited. As well as Screen Gems highly successful teen thriller Prom Night.  Nominated for an ASE Award for Rogue and Caterpillar Wish, an AFI and FCCA Award for the acclaimed Wolf Creek,

 

 


3 GREGORY READ _ PRODUCER  - IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

Producer, Gregory Read bought the rights to Patrick Whites Book and produced the film adaptation. The Film was directed by Fred  Scheppsi and starred Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis.

The Three Film Makers will tell you

  • How they made it in the Australian Film Business:
  • How they work their craft with samples from their work.
  • Stories about the making of their films.

Major Announcement after Easter

April 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Wishing all my readers a relaxing and fun Easter Break. 

After Easter we have a major announcement to make in relation to something that I believe  will be a major turning point.  If you want to learn from the very best in the Australian Film Industry, keep you eyes peeled for my next post.  I will leave you in suspense till then.

As it is Easter,  I would like to mention some of my favourite films that I have seen at the cinema this year. These films should be available online or at your local DVD shop soon.  If you have time over Easter check them out. I think you will really enjoy all three of these films.  Of the 14 that I have seen in the cinema this year these three films were the most enjoyable.

 

Tower Heist (Action Comedy)

For plain entertainment value, I really enjoyed  this film. Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast in Tower Heist, a comedy caper about working stiffs who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them. After the workers at a luxury Central Park condominium discover the penthouse billionaire has stolen their retirement, they plot the ultimate revenge: a heist to reclaim what he took from them.

 

 

 

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  (Thriller)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first film in Columbia Pictures' three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy. I have seen the Sweedish version of this film and I much preferred this years updated American Version. The Film is slow to start but once it gets going, the intriging plot takes you into the most surprising twists. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in 46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon.

 

 

The Descendants  (Drama)

I really liked this heart warming drama.  From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty. Very moving and engaging.

 

Films of the Year 2012

February 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Film Review 2012: My Top 8 

Well it is nearly Christmas again and the new year beckons. Over the Christmas break, you may like to catch up on some movies and are looking for some suggestions. If you have not seen these films, see some of them over the Christmas break. However, I do warn you that you may not like every film I love. We all have different tastes and sensibilities.

In order of their release the following list is my Top 8 Films of 2012.

1 The Descendents  George Clooney  - (89% Approval by Critics) -  My score 9 out of 10  - Oscar Nominated 

From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries

If you like a solid drama that is highly emotional and moving,  you will love this film.

 

2 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoe - 86% Approval by Critics -  My Score 9 out of 10 - Oscar Nominated and won for Best Edit  -  My favourite Thriller

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first film in Columbia Pictures' three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in 46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon.

I loved the mood of this film. It takes a while to get into the film but once you get there, it is an engrossing story. It is not for the faint hearted but it is an exceptional work from David Fincher ( Seven , Fight Club) The film is set in Sweeden and you certainly feel the grim Sweedish winter.  If you liked Seven or Fight Club, you will love this film. I prefered this version to the original Sweedish version.

 

3 Salmon Fishing in Yemen (70% Critics approval) I gave this film 8.5 out of 10 My favourite Rom Com

When Britain's leading fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) is approached by a consultant (Emily Blunt) to help realize a sheikh's (Amr Waked) vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert, he immediately thinks the project is both absurd and unachievable. But when the Prime Minister's overzealous press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) latches on to it as a "good will" story, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible.

I really liked the script and the dialogue was snappy and witty. If you like Woody Allen films, you will love this charming romantic comedy. Well worth a look over Christmas

 

4 Get the Gringo 80% Score from the Critics I loved it 9 out of 10   ( exceptionally entertaining) 

Mel Gibson finds new life in a Mexican jail after getting caught at the border with $4 million dollars of Mobster money in this production from former first assistant director turned helmer, Adrian Grunberg

I really thought that Mel Gibson returned to top form with this film. Due to Mel's fall from grace the film was not seen by audiences. See this film as it is a very enjoyable film.

 

 

5  The Dark Knight Rises  87 % Critics Approval -  My Favourite Action Film 9 out of 10 

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane..

If you have not seen this film yet, make sure you see it this Christmas. The Director Christopher Nolan is the best Action Director in the world. What I love about this film is that there is actually a script and a story at the core of this film.

 

 

6 Arbritage  -   85 % Critics Approval - My score  8 out of 10  A look at the Finance World and Big Business 

When we first meet New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday, he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed. Struggling to conceal his duplicity from loyal wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and brilliant daughter and heir-apparent Brooke (Brit Marling), Miller's also balancing an affair with French art-dealer Julie Cote (Laetetia Casta). Just as he's about to unload his troubled empire, an unexpected bloody error forces him to juggle family, business, and crime with the aid of Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a face from Miller's past.

This film is gripping. If you have not seen it , I am sure you will love it . Richard Gere returns to form.

 

7  Argo 95 % Critics Approval  My score 9.5out of 10 Awesome and the best film of 2012 in my humble opionon.

Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA "exfiltration" specialist named Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.

Just see this film. I hope I have not overhyped it. I saw it and loved the film. My personal Favourite

 

8 The Sessions 93 % Critics approve My score 8 out of 10  My favourite Art House Film. 

Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.

This is a confronting film that examins the sex lives of the disabled.  Yes this sounds off putting but I think if you give this film a chance, its emotional punch will leave you moved. This is a film that you will remember years from now.

 

Not in my Top 8 But worth a mention

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Mission Impossible 4
  • The Iron Lady
  • Margin Call
  • The Sapphires
Just as a reminder please look at our Film Schools and start the new year the best possible way.
Till 2013, have a great Christmas 
Colm O'Murchu - Director Australian Film Base.
Colm O'Murchu owns International and Australian Film Base. He produces and directs independant film productions and teaches emerging film makers to make their very own professional films.

 

 

 

Final Cut Pro 10 X – A revolution in Creative Disaster

February 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

What's on at Australian Film Base in February 2012: 

The Melbourne One Day Film School   This Saturday 10th March 9am - 6pm 
Trinity College, University of Melbourne  Royal Pde,  Parkville.

Post Why has Apple destroyed a  really good Editing Software?  Final Cut Pro X Review 

I have to start todays article by saying that since I started using computers, I have always used and loved Apple. During the mid 90s when Apple where ninty days from receivership, I believed and stayed with Apple.  In that time  Apple has risen from a basket case to the most profitable company in the world. The reason for this is plain and simple. Apple always made great products. This value alone drove Apple to the top.

Now that has changed and for the first time ever, I have to say that an Apple product stinks. Their latest editing software offering, Final Cut Pro X, is an insult to film editors.  Thrown up dogs breakfast seems to be more appealing than this amateur dribble. In fact, amateurs should steer  clear of this rubbish and use any  other editing software.   I will tell you about the best alternative editing software later.

I have always wanted to write positive articles about how the film world works. The only reason I am writing a negative article is that I do not want to see people suffer. I all ready have and feel compelled to warn everyone.

Last week I visited a client of mine, David.  I had shot his film and  I was interested in how the edit was going.  He was editing on Final Cut Pro X and asked me if I could do a final polish on the film. Then for the first time I attempted to edit on Final Cut Pro X.

This proved to be Mission Impossible. It felt like back in the late 80s when I edited my first film and I used  two VHS machines and crash edited two clips together. Or the old steenbacks where we used to cut and splice film print .  Definitely preferable to Final Cut Pro X.  The whole purpose of an editing software is to make life easy and make a film look professional. Final Cut Pro X fails totally.

Why is it so bad?

This  Conan O"Brien review of Final Cut Pro X  should outline some of the problems.  There are many more reasons not to stay with Final Cut Pro X.   To put it bluntly,  I would describe Final Cut Pro X as a nasty virus. The sooner it is eliminated the better.

What are the alternative editing software. I have had a good look and for value for money and for similarity to the old Final Cut Pro 7 , Adobe Premiere Pro is excellent.
I am making the change very soon and the best price I have found for the editing software is at B& H video in New York which express delivers all of their products to the consumer. Here are the links to their sites

 

If you need tutorials on how  to use Adobe Premiere Pro have a look at lynda.com software tutorialsThey have a range of tutorials in using software including learning how to transfer from Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe Premiere Pro  They also have tutorials on starting afresh with Adobe Premiere Pro. They charge $25US per month for their tutorials and you can cancel at any time. They also have tutorials on a myriad of different software.  Very good value for money.

If you are in Melbourne, please pop into our  One Day Film School at Triinity College  University of Mebourne.
Tonight, I am in Melbourne at the Premiere Screening for the September - December 4 Month Film School. The Film is called Houseraiders and  it s turned out very well.

 

Best

 

Colm O'Murchu

 

International FIlm Base

 

 

 

 

 

Five Essential Film Directing Skills

January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 


Directing a Shot on the Set of Dealing with Destiny

Post:  Five ways to make your film shoot work effectively 

Most people on our Film Courses love the Film Shoot.  The Film Course Participant learn more on the Film Shoot than any other part of our four month Film School.

The main 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 amateur 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 the film director 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 this 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 in advance of the shoot.  When this happens,  the director can communicate succintly and deliberately on set. Know your script.

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 the director is lucky enough to 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 actors blocking. This takes training and that is why you should look at a really good Film Course to learn these key 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 reqrires training. Working our 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.

Film Schools in the very near future 2012  

Till next time   Have a great one.     Colm O'Murchu     Director International Film Base

Why did I get this film making email?  You signed up for our Free E Course on how film directors made it big and and therefore receive our blog on a bimonthly basis. 

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