Play It Safe - Review of First Assembly

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I am very happy to announce that after more than two and half years we now not only have a film "in the can", but we have a film that can actually be watched!

Since we wrapped production, Raechel and I have been working extremely hard on the editing. As this is my first feature I really had no idea how long it would take to put together our first assembly. I've heard plenty of horror stories of post-production just dragging on and on (such as with Shane Carruth's first film "Primer"), but on the other hand one of Play It Safe's crew members, Kang Wei Tan, managed to assemble his first feature in only about a month.

Raechel and I just decided to take a guess and we set our deadline at "early August" which was only about three months and we thought was quite ambitious. However, we were very pleasantly surprised at how quickly the scenes came together once we got into our groove, and we managed to hit our deadline pretty much right on the bullseye finishing up the assembly on the 2nd of August!

So, last weekend we rendered out our sequence and after about 15 hours of transcoding and burning we finally sat down to watch the first cut of Play It Safe on Blu-ray!

The anticipation was incredibly nerve-wracking, but as soon as we hit play I relaxed and I have to say that the experience of watching the film was incredibly exciting! For a first cut I think we have done really really well. The majority of the scenes flow quite well, and while we have a long list of changes to make for the next cut, I'm confident that the overall structure of the film and the arc of the protagonist are working pretty much exactly as I intended. I think this was actually one of the more refreshing surprises. After working on the film for so long, my brain is now almost completely filled up with the logistical and technical elements that have gone into making it. One concern I had during the writing process was that the structure of the film would be too obvious and transparent to the audience, but now that I've watched a cut I'm not worried about that at all. On the contrary, I was quite amazed to find that the story structure pretty much just disappeared as the more nuanced and character-based elements of the film bubbled to the surface. I guess if there is a point to all of this rambling, it's that I can definitely affirm that it's pretty much impossible to remain objective when working on a project like this!

Regardless of all that, Raechel and I are incredibly excited. Being able to watch the film has been a massive motivator (even though we were already excited and working very hard), and both us can't wait to get back into the editing suite to sculpt out the next cut!

Chris Pahlow

Chris Pahlow is an independent writer/director currently in post-production on his debut feature film PLAY IT SAFE. Chris has been fascinated with storytelling since he first earned his pen license and he’s spent the last ten years bringing stories to life through music videos, documentaries, and short films.