How you can make films consistently

indie filmmaking Blog Podcast explores the best ways for you to produce direct and get your film seen by the biggest possible audience

After making 247 short films on the 5 Month Film School with our students, it is always fascinating to see that the same production process always gets the results needed.

Short Films are what start film careers.  That is why we always make a short film on our 5 Month Film Schools.

What good is it learning how to use a camera, if you do not know how to make a film. So, we teach the whole process because there are so many moving parts. Today, I want to review each section.

Month One Write a Screenplay.

This first month is focused on writing a screenplay. We start out with Idea generation and then develop the story into a scene-by-scene outline or treatment. We teach via various exercises how to develop a great story.

We look at the index card method. On our courses we recommend one screenwriting software which can save you $200. Once you enrol on our film courses, we will make sure you use this software as it is free.

Once the story plan is created, then it is time to write the screenplay. It is important to write 3 – 5 pages per day.  If your screenplay is 12 pages long, it should take no more than 3 – 4 days to write the first version of your screenplay.

  • Always write Version 1 from the heart. Do not stop and perfect. Just write it and later you can perfect.
  • With Verizon 2, write from the head. When you complete the first version, take a day or two off and then come back with a fresh perspective.
  • With Version 2 correct all grammar and typos and then look at the script. Check story events and fix what needs fixing.
    Check dialogue. Have you written long passages of dialogue.? Cut it down.

There is much more detail on Writing your screenplay when you enrol on our 5 Month Film School

Month Two: Casting and Learning how to use Film Equipment

 This month, we teach our film course participants how to find actors and book them for a casting or audition process. This is so important as you need the best actors you can find. 

Casting can take two nights to see who you have invited, and one would expect to see about 40 actors.

From this you shortlist and then see the short list one more time.

Then you must make calls on the actors you want to select.

This is one of the favourite parts of the film course and the course participants are amazed how easy this process is and how effective. 
The best possible casting is essential for the success of the film.

We teach everyone how to use professional cameras lights and sound and as it is the course participants that shoot the film, it is essential that they come familiar and adept at using professional film equipment.

Month Three Preproduction and How to Direct a Film

This is where we teach the course participants how to prepare a film shoot. Preproduction involvers the following.

Producer or Production management

  • Locations and Film Sets. Find locations for Free or a low fee of $300 or less per day.  This is an essential film production skill for the low budget filmmaker. 

  • Film Equipment: Having the film equipment necessary to shoot a short film.

  • Film Crew: Having the best crew to shoot the film. On our courses we have the people who are on the course crewing for the first time. So, it is necessary to train them. But if you are producing, find professionals for camera, lighting, and location Sound. 

  • Catering and On Set logistics. Food and refreshments are a necessity for any functioning set. Also, where is everyone going to park and where do we have the sets and the areas for crew to set up.


  • Schedules and Call Sheet

Directing Preproduction

  • Rehearsal with Cast
  • Meeting with Production Designer and DOP and Wardrobe and Makeup. A director needs a vision, and they need to articulate this to their crew. 

  • Director needs to have shot list and understanding of the screenplay.

On our Five Month Film School we teach all the above in Month 3 & 4 culminating with the 3 -4 Day Shoot 

Month 4   The shoot and Postproduction Start

 The Four-day shoot takes place on weekend as most people have day jobs. This is the most enjoyable part of the film course. Shooting the film.

As we have had a deadline and two specific weekends marked down for shooting the movie, this never changes.  In other words when we plan the five-month film school, we mark down two weekends for shooting and it never changes.

It is a rock-solid deadline. This is exceptionally important and why we have shot 247 short films and counting. It always happens. 

Shoots are 10 hours long each day and the whole film is shot. We teach everyone how to shoot a film professionally and with proper protocols. It happens and we move into Month 5 

Month 5    Postproduction

 This is where the following happens.

  • Preparation of shot film clips.
  • Editing the film
  • Colouring the film
  • Titles and Credits
  • Music chosen or composed.
  • Sound Design and Mix
  • Final Export

Assuming a 10 – 15 Minute short film, postproduction takes about 30 – 40 hours in this final month.

Amazingly we get about 5 Completed versions of the film from a group of 14 students. It does take commitment and a desire to learn editing but the determined up and coming emerging filmmakers have such a desire to learn and complete a film, it always happens.

Low and behold we have a completed short film 12 – 15 minutes long completed in five months. We have a big screening where family friends and actors all come along to see the result.

Many of the films go on to festival success.

You can join them and get a film made in the next five months on the

Five Month Film School in Sydney Go or Click  Here 

Five Month Film School in Melbourne  Go or Click Here 


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Colm O'Murchu - Host

Colm O’Murchu is a passionate Indie Filmmaker and owner of the production company, International Film Base. He has directed and produced three successfully released feature films worldwide and one documentary.  

His most recent film Tabernacle 101 has been released in 2019 in the US and will be released in Australia in late 2020 premiering at the Sci Fi Film Festival. He is currently in development on his next feature film Absolute Freedom, an action adventure film set in the outback.

He has spoken at Indie Film Seminars all over the world and created online and offline film courses 

 He lives in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia and loves the outdoors and the mountains.

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