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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dealing with Destiny: Feature Film 90 minutes Starring Luke Arnold 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your filmmaking dreams

Colm O’Murchu

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