How to Cast your Film

July 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on How to Cast your Film 

Casting: Getting actors and organizing a casting for zero money. Casting is one of the most important directorial skills. Even when you start to make your first short films , it is very important to have a casting. Step 1 The first step is advertising your casting. This means that you go to the correct websites and advertise your film project. One also needs to know how to fill out the Casting Call correctly. This is one of the most important and vital parts of the process. When we teach our film students at our Film Courses how to cast, we always actively go through the process of advertising the Casting with each group. The words you use to advertise your film project to the actors who scan the castings is very important.  Get this wrong and you will have hardly any actors at your casting. When the Casting Call is filled out properly, we regularly get 150 – 200 actors applying for the casting call. On the Casting websites you get to see the photo of the actors and the CV and in many cases you get to see video. My advise is to give everyone who applies an audtion.  You can never tell till the actor is in the room. Only then you can tell if the actor is right for your film project. When you go through the castings, the really good actors will shine brightly. Most of my film course students are very surprised at how easy it is to pick the right actors for the film project. Remember you could be giving one of the future TV or Film Stars their first break. How much should you pay the actors?  If you are creating a short film production with very little budget, you can place the film as a non-paying film. In other words everyone involved is working on the film production for experience. Most actors are working other jobs or casing for commercials which pay very well. They need  showreel material. This is where emerging film makers help emerging actors. The payment is the finished film which they will expect a copy of.  This is what will bring them to the next level. If you have raised a substantial film budget, then you will need to pay your actors the minimum actors rates set by the actors unions. Step 2 Casting is one of the fun parts of the preproduction process. All the actors arrive 10 minutes apart and they will then enter the casting room. It is very important to photograph the actors with their contact details in the photo. When you have seen a hundred actors in one – two days it is very hard to remember who is who. By going through the casting process, you will increase the quality of your film dramatically. One of the big mistakes most beginners and emerging film makers make is that they skip casting and instead invite their friends and people that they think are talented to act in the film. This shows up in wooden performances and a film that seems to the audience,  amateur. By having a casting, you will find the up and coming talent and the up and coming film stars of tomorrow. To learn how to effectively run a Casting please book on to the Online Film School. We direct you to  the very best websites to advertise your casting. We go into detail on how to attract the actors and run an effective casting on the Online Film School. Colm O’Murchu      Director Bio: Colm O’Murchu has taught film making and directing since 1997. He currently owns International Film Base and the Online Film School. Colm also regularly produces and directs his own film productions. He also is hired regularly as a DOP and Director for a multitude of film productions

Story Generation and the Creative Process

January 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on Story Generation and the Creative Process 

 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

Make a living in the Film Industry – 5 Different Ways

July 21, 2011 by · Comments Off on Make a living in the Film Industry – 5 Different Ways 

As someone who has made his sole source of income from the Film World since 1997, I would like to outline the different ways to make a living from Film Making over the next few weeks. Film Making is very much a lifestyle choice. Most people work in Film because they love it. I can tell you that is the same for me. Today I pick my jobs and I do only well paid directing gigs such as "Dealing with Destiny" . I also like to DOP on other peoples films and often do consultancies for projects and of course I make my own passion films. I love the travel to different countries and film making has given me the opportunity to travel with my job. Next month, I am off to Qatar, France, Ireland and London where I will present our first weekend film seminar in the UK. In November, I am off to Los Angeles and Mexico. LA beckons every November as I always attend the wonderful American Film Market in Santa Monica. Since 1997, I have worked in crew roles on other peoples film sets. I have worked shooting behind the scenes footage for many different movies. I use to shoot corporates and I still shoot Music videos as I love them. My golden rule is that I never do jobs that I do not want to do, heart and soul.
Shooting on one of our Film Productions Dealing with Destiny
Since 1997, film has been my absolute source of income. Some years have been big earners and others have been quiet. The best year turnover has been close on $400,000 when films have sold well and the worst has been $80,000 when I first started. I know I have not become rich financially, however the lifestyle has made up for the lack of money. Doing what you love and been around exciting creative people who love their job certainly keeps you young. Also it is certainly more money than most people earn in jobs, they do not like. I see the future as very exciting in the film world with the Internet now converging with Television. Many star film makers will have their own channel where they actually build wealth directly in the future. Even YouTube is now moving into movie areas. Building your audience slowly over many years is a tremendous investment in your future. If you start now, over a ten year period you could build up an audience of close to 50,000 subscribers. How do I know this? Well knowning nothing and learning how to do it over the last two years, I have built a subscriber list of 3500 people and that is only in Australia. With our expansion overseas and the start of our online film school, we are expecting to attract many more subscribers. Now that we know how to attract an audience, we expect to build about 10,000 new subscribers per year. Twitter now also allows you to get your message to hundreds of thousands and not to mention fan pages on Facebook. Yes it is a very exciting new world for the up and coming film maker and the earlier you start to build an audience, the better. If you have 50,000 subscribers and 10,000 buy a copy of your film at $15, that equates to $150,000 before you even make money from your film release and the Film Market. You can learn more about this area on our 2011 Film Courses or by visiting our prime website International Film Base For the next few weeks I would like to go through the best ways and clarify the paths that earn money and how you could go about breaking into them. For this week I would like to list them off and in next weeks post go into more detail about each area
  1. Independent Film Production Micro Budget - Low Budget Feature Films (100k - 5 Million Dollar Budgets)
  2. Freelance DOP and Editor Work on other peoples short films and feature films
  3. Music Videos Corporates and Commercial Film Making
  4. Crew Work on mainstream Film Shoots for TV & Feature FIlm
  5. Working for Film Distributors and Government Industry.
  6. Mega Directing, Screenwriting or Producing on the big budget Hollywood films.
Colm O'Murchu
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Why you should always have a Casting for your film?

May 26, 2011 by · Comments Off on Why you should always have a Casting for your film? 

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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 How long should one take to produce a Film? 

October 8, 2010 by · Comments Off on  How long should one take to produce a Film?  

This question is somewhat akin to asking, "How long is a piece of string."

However, it really is important to have time structures to work your film production around. A predicted time schedule helps the Film Maker make the film happen.

When you are starting out in the film making game, it is very important to go through the process with someone experienced. Here lies the challenge, as most experienced Film Directors are way too busy to help emerging Film Directors make films.

You could search out work on other people's films and see what happens on set. But this can be an obstacle too because most established Film Producers want someone with some experience.

You can volunteer for no budget films that you hear about. But once again they will want someone to have been to Film School or worked on at least a couple of short films before. Even if you were lucky to get a job on a voluntary film or any film for that matter,  you still only see a fraction of what happens in the production of a film.

You miss totally the edit the casting the sound mix and the music scoring.

So the number one best way to learn how to make films is to do one of our courses and the reason for this is that you see how a film is made from script development stage to final Sound Post. You also work with a very experienced Film Director. All our Film Instructors are experienced Film Makers.

When you enrol, you are involved with the casting, the rehearsals, the wardrobe, the shoot, the edit, the music and the sound post. When you have been through the process once, it is far easier to go out there and shoot your film the second time.

When you are producing any film, there are ten areas you have to get right. To name them, Casting, Crew, Locations, Film Equipment, Post production, Set Design, Office and Shoot Organization, Catering, Marketing and Publicity.

Learn in detail about how to produce and direct a film on our courses.

Strong Mindset is exceptionally important in the film business.

August 25, 2010 by · Comments Off on Strong Mindset is exceptionally important in the film business. 

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