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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

Inspiration in the Australian Outback

January 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

 Post:  Driving in the Outback can be inspiring.

Praying for Inspiration

Valeska and I took off for about ten days and went to outback NSW and rambled from town to town, going with the flow and only moving when we felt like it. We did not see a drop of rain and loved  the constant blue skies.

Before you ask, "How can you go to a part of the world that has temperatures hitting the 40C mark (105 F)", please let me explain.

Well I did have a mission. I wanted to come up with a great story outline and treatment for our next screenplay.  I love the great open spaces of the outback and country New South Wales. Very inspiring. No tourists are crazy enough to go out here in the heat of summer and that is exactly why I love it. It feels like the real deal,  like a road movie.

Our goal was to create an awesome story outline  and utilize the passing scenery and all the quirky cooky and very friendly characters we met on the way.

Ok our bomb does not look the best but it got us around

Idea after idea flowed and nothing seemed to gel. We would come up with one story outline after another and then trash them.  We could only find enough for B Grade film.  Story after story idea was tossed around and then trashed.

Even  at Lightning Ridge where black opals are mined, we could not get a story outline that was a winner.  All the story ideas, we came up with in the first eight days of traveling just seemed to be a cliche and stale.  From Coonabarabran to Gundegai to  Lightening Ridge to Bourke to St George , we created only garbage. Our characters seemed to be just flat.

Exasperated, I was about to give up on Day 8 and just enjoy the rest of our road trip, when it happened. We were approaching Moree when something on the radio sparked me off. Suddenly an amazing idea floated into my head. I got out my IPhone recorder and started flowing with a story that would prove to be so cool and original and dare I say it "Fresh"

Road going to the West

Valeska and I then started talking about the story and more flowed. Out of that amazing creative dimension called creativity,  scenes spouted out at a faster rate than we could record them.

There was an excitement about this idea that was missing from all previous ideas. We were suddenly on fire.

The next day we went back to the story and it still seemed like a really fresh story.  More ideas and more scenes appeared to us and we felt that sense of flow that happens when you hit oil. I reflected on inspiration and what happens when a story truly appears.

Here are some of my thoughts:  I believe that finding a great story is like searching for gold. You have to shift a lot of dirt to get to gold but when it happens it's priceless. Then it's like striking oil. Ideas and scenes spew out at an alarming rate faster than you can process them.  To get to this point I believe  that you need to trash bad story outlines as soon as you know it. This saves you so much time and stress later.

A Beer always helps

Today I am knocking out a 20  page treatment of the story that will encapsulate the whole film from beginning to end. Then the story is submitted to my 3 week test. In other words, will the story be as strong at  the end of Janaury as it is now. If so, I will fully comit and move on to producing and developing the story as a  film.

What is the movie called ,   "Hot Streak".   30% of the film takes place in California and the other 70% in Australian outback towns. Our lead character is American and most of the supports are Australian. Anyone interested in investing, get in early.

If you are interested in creating a really cool story, look at our
4 month Film School in Sydney . The first two weeks is all about developing a story and writing a screenplay or please look at our Weekend Film Schools in Adelaide and Melbourne 


Till next time, have a great one.


Colm O'Murchu

Why you should always have a Casting for your film?

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Casting is one of the keys to producing a really good film.  If you run an effective casting, you will put yourself ahead of the competition dramatically.  An Amateur film is always obvious. The big give away  is actors who can not act. So therefore it is imperative that you organize a successful casting. This way your film will look professional.

Actors from The Makeover.

Actors from The Makeover.

Why do most emerging film makers ignore casting?

Most emerging film makers feel that they are not experienced enough to cast. Since they are only starting out, they should not deal with experienced actors. So it is much easier to pass and use your friend who is funny after a beer or two in the pub or the actor you have heard about through a friend of a friend. Disaster.

Lets get three facts straight.

  1. Most actors are out of work. Most actors are resting. Most actors are working in resteraunts, cafes or bars. If you have a casting for a short film or a feature film, they will be very excited about the propsect of getting in front of the camera.
  2. Most actors are used to auditions. If an actor has an agent, they  consistently attend castings for commercials, small parts in TV dramas and very rare feature films. When they are cast for a commercial, they will be paid big money but it will not move their quality career ahead. When they get a 90 word part in a TV drama, they will be very envious of the regular actors working on the TV show. The actor will be very keen to prove themselves in their own acting vehichle.
  3. Therefore actors who have not yet made it, (which is nearly all of them) will be very keen to be the leads in a short film or low budget feature film. They will attend your casting and hope to get the part.

On big films castings are more complex.  You have two specific groups of people who work in the casting area.  You have the Actors Agent such as the Ari Gold, the fictional character in the TV show Entourage. He is  based in part on the real-life Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel.  The Actors Agent represents the Actor.

Then you have the Casting Director who represents the Director and the search for the hottest acting talent for your film.   Many top directors will spend months in Casting sessions. This specific person called a Casting Director essentially creates a list of actors for the Director to see. The Casting Director at their Casting Company, will have preliminary castings so as to create a shortlist.  They will call the actors agents and select a list of their actors. This is why every actor has to have  a really good agent if they want to make it in acting. Now, this is how it happens in the big end of town

However the emerging film director and producer need to avoid the expense of the above process. How can you do it for free for your micro budget quality film.

Firstly avoid actors agents, unless you have budget to pay actors. The really good agents will not deal with micro budget film productions.

Secondly, avoid a Casting Director. Do you very own casting in your own casting space. See every single actor who wants to attend. Like a gold prospector, you will shift through all the dross to find the gold. I guarantee you, if you run two to three five hour sessions of castings, you will find gold. You will find some great actors who will lift your film production above the competition.

How do you learn to run an effective casting, I hear you say.  Of course you need to know where to source the actors. Also you need to know how to run an effective Casting. You need to know what are the essentials and that is why we have the solution for you.

Please check out the Online Film School or our Complete list of practical or live  Film Courses.

In our courses, we teach you how to cast and run an effective casting and how to source your actors.

Till next week have a great one.

Colm O'Murchu
Director International Film Base.

Author Details: Colm O'Murchu is the owner of International Film Base in Sydney Australia. 
He is currently written directed and produced The Makeover Feature Film. The Film screened at the recent Cannes Independent Film Festival in France and won Best Film at the New York City Film Festival. The Film is currently on release in Australia and has sold to Pay TV in Europe. Colm has created the Online Film School and practical or live  Film Courses. that helps emerging film makers produce their own films with no budget. For more about Colm O'Murchu please go to International Film Base

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Preparation is everything for a Film Director.

October 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Preparation is everything for a Film Director.

When you are starting out , it is a challenge to direct on a film set.
Everytime I work with an emerging Film Director, I see similar problems. The biggest problem by far is "Lack of Preparation"

So here is a little on Film Directing 101.
Preparation is paramount. Preparation is the number one most important duty of the Film Director.
Here are some pointers.

Know your script inside out. Study the script and break it down so that you understand the story intimately
Cast the film with the very best Actors that you can get. You will need an audition process which we teach on our Film Schools.
Make sure that you have a rehearsal with your actors. This is so important
Make sure you do your reccies.( Reconnaissance )  In other words, prepare on set or at the location. Go to the place where you will shoot a few days in advance.
It is great if you can have your rehearsal on set, as you can lock off your blocking.  Blocking is the movement that a director plans for the actors on set.
Once you have worked out your blocking, Shot List.  A Shot List is a list of shots that the director creates to cover the scene.
If your DOP is present at the Reccie, make sure that he or she works out their lighting plan.
If your Production Designer is present, work out the look of the set. On low budget films, you usually work with an existing location such as a lounge room in a friends house. Make sure that your Production Designer works with you on the look of the lounge room. It must look like the character in your story, lives here. This will require sourcing props and set dressing.
Visit your costume designer or wardrobe person and work out the costumes for the actors. Wardrobe will usually meet the actors in advance and measure them for the costumes. In many low budget films, the actors bring in several outfits that they own and the Director picks the best one. However this is prone to produce a poor costume as the actor may well be broke and have tatty St Vinnies clothes. In this case run to the nearest clothes shop and borrow some clothes. This same situation happened on a  student short film shot last Saturday. In fact the Make Up artist went to designer shop and found a beautiful fitted out executive clothes for our actor. The shop was delighted and all they wanted was a credit in the film in return.

It is amazing how people will help out a low budget film maker. If the film maker is putting their heart and soul into the film production, minor miracles will happen all over the production. However there is one most important factor in every film.  The bottom line is the more preparation that the director and producer does in pre production, the better for the shoot. What is the best way to learn this? On our Film Schools. There is nothing like doing this for real and our film Schools teach by shooting a real film.

Strong Mindset is exceptionally important in the film business.

August 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Strong Mindset is exceptionally important in the film business.

Why is that? Well when you start out in the film world, it can seem like Mount Everest is in front of you. It seems like you will never get to the summit and this can lead talented people to give up.

I think the mountain analogy is a wonderful one. I remember when I climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to climb. My mindset was not initially strong.

Mount Kinabalu is exceptionally steep. It just rises out of the ocean and goes up and up to 4300 meters or about 14000 feet.  It is the biggest moutain in South East Asia.  There is no let up, it is just one direction...UP.  When I started to climb the mountain, I kept looking up at what was ahead and it seemed nearly impossible. I felt exhausted and dispirited.

Once you get to the half way point at 2100 meters, you naturally begin to feel altitude sickness. What I discovered is that if I just looked at my feet and took it one step at a time, I discovered that I did not get tired or dispirited. If I just kept focused on my feet, I began to feel fine and just found a rythm. However, if I looked to the top I would once again become exhausted. When I stayed focused on the now and on where I was now, I felt fine and energized. And what happened after two days of climbing, I arrived at the summit and could see all over the island of Borneo. Beautiful.

The same is true for film. Just stay with what you are doing that day.

If you are starting out in film, set a goal of making your own short film now and take one step at a time. Keep with what you can achieve that day and when you have completed production, do your very best to get your short film out to the world via film festivals and the internet( You tube, Blip TV)

Then move on to the next film. It is a great idea to get five short films behind you and then move on to feature films or documentary at that point. Till that point, do not even think about them. Just one short film at a time.  Five Short films gives you a chance to learn how to produce and direct films and learn via film courses how to make them better and better.

The second part of a strong mindset is having a supportive team and people you like working with. Everyone has their strong points and therefore teams that work the best is where everyone is working to their strong points. That is a Producer and Director team.

There is nothing worst than feeling lost and isolated and not knowing how to get motivated to make a film. That is why it is so important to attend film courses like ours.

Why because you will

Learn how to make a short film

Network with people who want to make films

Become very motivated and find that strong mindset that you need to make films.

And if you have all ready made short films, you will re-energize and get your next film happening with enthusiasm and gusto.

Please look at our film schools on our website and we look forward to meeting you there.

Till next time, have a great week          Colm

Colm O'Murchu is the owner of Australian and International Film Base.

He has produed and directed films for the past 15 years.

Sydney Film Base, Screen Australia Studios , 101 Eton Road Lindfield, AUSTRALIA

What’s the best Camera to use on your film shoot?

August 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In many of our film Schools, people always want to know what camera they should buy or rent. They also want to know whether their $1500 camera can shoot a film.

There is now a mobile Film Festival that screens only films shot on a mobile phone.

In one sense, I guess that proves that one can shoot a film on any camera.

So if you have nothing better than a mobile phone to shoot your film on, well you may as well get out there and shoot something. But that is all it is..... Something and possibly practice at best.

In the final analysis, we all want the same thing. Films that sell and get seen by an audience. We also want quality films that sell. I still love going to the cinema and seeing a properly produced quality film on the big screen. I believe therefore there is a certain quality camera that one should shoot on and the best low priced camera starts about $4,000.

One can buy the high end cameras that cost about $50k - $250k , but these days you can get excellent results on some of the lower end cameras for around $4k - $15K. It is very difficult to work out exactly what one needs and what one should pay for their equipment. What to buy and where to buy your camera?

Should one rent the gear?  Knowledge can save you thousands of Dollars in costly expensive mistakes. Also how does one use this equipment?

For example, Australian Film Base can get you all the professional $10K Cameras, Tripods, Lights and  Sound Equipment and tracks with a dolly for $500 rental  for a two day shoot   But you must know how to use the equipment and what is the best equipment to use.

That is why we have created the Weekend Film Schools now happening in Brisbane Sydney and Melbourne.   This is to help the emerging enthusiastic film maker learn how to make their own films.

The New World of Distribution

December 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

POST December 9th 2009  Colm O’Murchu

Firstly I very much enjoyed presenting the Weekend Film School. We had 40 people attend and on Sunday night, we all felt that it had being a wonderful two days. The group gained much insight into the production of the salable films and also motivation to go out there and produce their own films.

One of the core subjects that we covered was the changing world of Film Distribution and Sales. More and more the power of selling your created films is now shifting to the clever Film Maker.

Every year about 3,000 low budget micro films are made. Out of this quantity of  films, only a handful are sold effectively. And every five years, there is a mega-hit home made movie . This year the mega-hit was  Paranormal Activity.
Dreams do happen but how do we get the odds in our favour.

Start building you audience using the internet and your own groovy website. A Great movie website really helps where there is signup box and one can slowly start to build up an audience. This is the key. Over time one can generate an email list in the hundreds of thousands. When you have a good film, you have your audience in your email list. This is very powerful when dealing with Distributors or Studios.
They love a guaranteed audience. Hence the reason for the Sequel film.

This is now called Hybrid Distribution and is quickly coming the new model for selling films. There are Film Makers out there creating audience signups  right now. By building a fan base, the film maker can balance the negotiation with the bigger market reach of the Distributor.     One of the keys is keeping the rights to sell DVDs and Video on Demand off your website, while the distributor buys the other rights to show the film in cinemas and sell DVDs through the normal channels.

Film Makers  should start thinking about their Market for their film right at the start of filming.  One of the greatest thrills for a a film maker is connecting with the biggest possible audience.  Of course making the films is very important and that is why we are having our One Week Practical Film Courses early next year. At the One Week Directors School, you will actually crew and direct a short film in one week. Before making your own short film, learn how it is actually done. Make your short films award winning films that get seen in Film Festivals around the world

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