Russell Crowe's mooted directorial debut, The Long Green Shore, is just one example of a host of Australian actors currently getting behind the camera with projects to direct or produce.

Toni Collette is in the process of producing an adaptation of Luke Davis's novel Isabelle The Navigator alongside Icon Shanahan Productions' principal Sally Chesher - and with writer/director Rowan Woods attached to direct.

Meanwhile, Rachel Griffiths has already directed two highly regarded short films, Tulip and Roundabout.

Among the not-so-well-known actors making the move is Abe Forsythe, who stars in a popular television drama. He wrote, directed and starred in Ned, currently in post-production, which is a spoof film based on the bushranger Ned Kelly.

Bringing their high profile name to a project clearly helps many actor/directors raise finance for their films. Many have also met with surprising success with their films.

For example, the one-hour New Skin, written and directed by actor Anthony Hayes (Rabbit Proof Fence), won 'best fiction over 15 minutes' prize at this month's Sydney Film Festival.

But not all actors have found it easy to raise finance. When Steve Vidler's (Incident At Raven's Gate, Minamurra) profile as an actor was at its highest, over a decade ago, he applied to a funding body for money to direct a short. Despite a CV that included self-devised fringe theatre, it was suggested he get a job as a runner because of his lack of experience. He enrolled in a filmmaking course instead and eventually ending up directing Blackrock, which screened at Sundance in 1997.

"When I became a professional actor I kept writing but felt frustrated that I could not continue directing," says Vidler, who hopes his second feature project as director will be the romantic comedy Love Smarts thanks to the Macquarie Nine Film and Television Investment Fund.

One time actor Baz Luhrmann has helped actors-turned-writer/directors with a trio of hits, while Bryan Brown has done much for actors-turned-producers with Dirty Deeds, which launches on July 18 and is one of the biggest budget Australian films made recently.

Meanwhile, actor Richard Roxburgh - better known as the star-struck, wealthy Duke in Moulin Rouge, is planning his debut as a feature director some time soon.

"It is hard to access production money for anyone who has not directed a film and has nothing to show, not even short films," says project producer Robert Connolly. "But the advantage we will have with Richard is that he has directed theatre. Sam Mendes has made it fashionable for theatre directors to work in film."