Do you want to be a Film Director?
Here are five reasons to enroll on a high quality Film School
1 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
- 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
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.
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.
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
Director Sydney Film Base
POST: The Film Editor is the true star of any Film Production
Today, I want to focus on The Film Editor.
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
Conforming formats such as DCP.
The Film Director is involved with all of the above.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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
* 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
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.
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 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.
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.
Post: Driving in the Outback can be inspiring.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
I am very much looking forward to presenting the Weekend Film School in Sydney on this Saturday and Sunday May 21st, 22nd. One of my favourite parts of the Weekend Film School is how we get people to meet each other and network. On Sunday Afternoon, we launch film projects that then get produced over the following three months. If you are in town and have next weekend free, please enroll on one of the very best film making weekends, The Sydney Weekend Film School
What I want to talk about this week is Locations. Finding locations for your film is one of the easiest part of preproduction.
Tip One Do not be afraid to write as many locations into your script as you need for your story to be told. I love beautiful locationsand finding the best locations in your city is rather easy. There is an old adage in low budget film making that says "Shoot in a one loacation for three weeks and never move out of there. Yes that is called a play and there is nothing wrong with plays. But if you are shooting a movie, make the movie visual. One can do this by having appropriate locations in your film.
Tip Two . Only have one location move per day and do your best to to schedule only one location for a full shooting day. Over a 30 day shoot, you could have 30 locations. Moving in the middle of the day chews up time. I remember supervising a student short film called Money We only had a one day shoot and we had five locations to shoot in. We spent half the day in the car driving from one location to the other. If you have to change locations, only move once on the day. I know this seems contrary to what Tip One outlines. It is important to find the balance.
Tip Three: Make sure that you have a written agreement with the location owner. Most locations are free and are contributions to the film. Still it is very important to have an agreement. with the owner about the hours and day the location is needed for. Also outline
- Will the location get an end credit in the film?
- Will the location signage be seen in the film?
- Make sure that the location is free of all external people or customers. There is nothing worse than shooting in a cafe that is still open to the public. If the location has external people, pack up and go home.
Tip Four. Clean up the location after the shoot and make it cleaner than before you arrived. This is very important and I know I am stating the obvious.
If you get the owner excited about your film in advance of shooting and then when you leave the location, the owner is happy , you will help future film makers have an easy time. That could be you again. Invite the Location Owner to all parties and screenings. Leave a great impression.
Of the 55 locations that we found for The Makeover Feature Film, 44 of them were free. When an owner, contributes a location to your film, they are in a way an investor in your project.
On our courses, we teach you how to find locations with ease and for free. Find out more about our courses by clicking on an interesting course on our home page
Financing your film:
Every film needs finance of some form. Even the most basic short film needs finance. Finance pays for the Cast Crew Equipment postproduction music creature comforts and locations. Films cost money. However you can be very clever with how you make your film happen. I personally have made three many films where three months out from shooting we had no money and ended up with about $50,000 Cash Budget and about $500,000 of Contributios on the first shooting day. Where there is a will there is a way and when you set a deadline, everything will fall in your way to make the film happen.
The Prime Directive of Micro Budget Film Production:
The Principal of Micro Budget works on the fact that
• every contribution
• every free location
• every crew member who works as a co- owner and
• every actor who works for a percentage
• equipment that you can get at a reduced price
is Finance for your Film.
This is your Non Cash Budget and should be 80% or more of a total budget for your micro film budget
It is difficult to get everything donated, if you are making a professional standard Film. Minimum professional Standards imply that you look after Crew and Cast and feed them and treat them well. This costs money. Sometimes a location will cost money. Sometimes you have to pay for Equipment hire Editors and Sound Mixes.Here is a great rule of thumb and only a guide. Everysituation is different.
Home Video $ 0 - $100
Amateur short film $ 1,000
Professional Short Film $2,000 – 5,000
Micro Budget Feature Film $ 50,000 - $100K
Low Budget Feature Film $200K-$1millionK
Low budget Feature with a B Star $1 millK - $4millK
Mid Range Feature $4 mill - $10millK
High Range $10 million plus,
Studio Big Budget $50 – 200 million
If you are starting out, think about jumping to Professional Short Film level. It is ultimately more fun and what our film courses are all about. I guarantee film students of mine will become more compeditive than 98% of those trying to make their first few films. This means Film festival exposure work and faster rise to your film goals.
There are six different methods for raising finance and our Online Film School and our Weekend Film Schools will show you how to raise your finance. One of the methods is my new favourite. By taking our Online Film School or Weekend Film School you will be able to use a combination of the finance methods to make your budget. The Online Film School or/and the Weekend Film Schools will be worth literally thousands of dollars in finance for you.
Best till next week
Director Australian Film Base
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.
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.