Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Mantra

Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Mantra

Check out our latest behind the scenes video with the super talented hip-hop artist and all around good guy Mantra. This is our most extensive video update yet, and Mantra takes us through the process of creating some of Play It Safe's original music, the relationship between improvised music and acting, as well as the music video for his track "The Fear" which was created by the core creative team behind Play It Safe.

Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Christine Lui

Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Christine Lui

Today, we are very excited to release our fourth behind the scenes video, this time with the super talented Christine Lui.

Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Maya Aleksandra

Play It Safe - Behind the Scenes with Maya Aleksandra

Our second behind the scenes interview has just been released, with the super talented Maya Aleksandra. If you've watched Australian TV in the last couple of years then you'll probably recognise Maya from shows like Neighbours, Winners & Losers, and Wilfred. Check her out here talking about what it was like working on PLAY IT SAFE.

Play It Safe - Recording The Band

Play It Safe - Recording The Band

On Sunday we hit Blank Tape Studios to record a bunch of music for Play It Safe! I'm listening to the tracks right now, and I have to say that it's a very surreal experience! I've been talking to Nathan and Oscar about these songs for more than a year now and to finally have them sitting on my computer is just incredible.

Play It Safe - Band Rehearsals

Play It Safe - Band Rehearsals

I'm very excited right now (even more excited than normal) because tomorrow morning we head into the studio to record the music for Play It Safe! From Play It Safe's inception, music has been a huge part of the film. Nathan began working on ideas for the soundtrack late last year and Mantra came on board early this year. As you can imagine, these songs have had a lot of work put into them and I just can't wait to hear the final products!

Play It Safe - Recording MC Jibber Jabber

Play It Safe - Recording MC Jibber Jabber

A couple of weeks ago we recorded the final version of a song Jamie (Nicholas Kato) and his housemate Jefferson (Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall) make up while drunk one night. The recording session was tons of fun and half the time Nathan, Al, and I were just laughing at how stupid the whole thing is. (Don't worry, it's actually supposed to be stupid.)

Play It Safe - MC Jibber Jabber

Play It Safe - MC Jibber Jabber

A while back I cast Melbourne comedian Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall in the role of Jefferson, who is the best friend and housemate of the protagonist Jamie. Al is a very funny guy and working with him has been absolutely hilarious. For the last few weeks I've been working with him on a song that Jeff and Jamie will perform (when drunk one night in their living room) late in the film. I'm totally stoked with how the track is turning out and I can't way to record the final version. I don't want to give away too much info about the song just yet, but for now here are a few photos of Al in action:

Play It Safe - Workshopping With Actors & Reworking The Script

Play It Safe - Workshopping With Actors & Reworking The Script

Over the past month or so I've spent a lot of time workshopping scenes with the actors and then rewriting them with Jack. I first started thinking about using a process like this back in 2007, so it feels really great to be finally giving it a go. The good news is that it works fantastically well! a

Play It Safe - Working On Demos With Nathan & Mantra

Play It Safe - Working On Demos With Nathan & Mantra

About a month ago I mentioned that one of my favourite Australian musicians had signed on to work on Play It Safe. At long last I can now reveal that our mystery musician in none other than Mantra. In my opinion, Mantra is one of the best MCs (if not the best MC) in Australia. I've been a fan of his work for a long long time and it is an absolute honour to have him involved in Play It Safe. He will not only be working on the soundtrack, but he will actually be appearing in the film as well!

Play It Safe - Workshops

Play It Safe - Workshops

As we get closer to shooting, I have been spending more time with the actors workshopping and rehearsing scenes. This process has been incredibly productive and it's also a whole lot of fun. After working on the script for more than a year now, it's quite an amazing experience seeing it come to life in the actors' performances.

Play It Safe - Piano Lessons with Nathan Liow

Play It Safe - Piano Lessons with Nathan Liow

From the beginning of Play It Safe's development the idea of authenticity has been really crucial, and so it's very important to me that we portray the events in the film as accurately and realistically as possible. In the film's second act, Jamie (the film's protagonist, played by the very talented Nick Kato) gets a job as a piano teacher and we spend quite a lot of time watching him work at the music school. I knew early on that this was something we had to get exactly right.

Play It Safe - Screenwriting: From Inspiration To Final Draft (Part One)

Play It Safe - Screenwriting: From Inspiration To Final Draft (Part One)

For the past twelve months, Chris and I have been developing the script that has turned into PLAY IT SAFE. As the project now approaches the production phase, we occasionally remark with wonder that, "Hey, we're making a movie!" Though a lot of work remains - really, the bulk of it - to get to the finishing point, reflecting on the project's humble origins to the broad, collaborative task it has now become is quite inspiring.

PLAY IT SAFE - Rehearsal & Gear Test

PLAY IT SAFE - Rehearsal & Gear Test

Just a quick update today. The last few weeks have been very productive and all the pieces are starting to fall into place. This culminated in our first big workshop / rehearsal / gear test on Friday night.

PLAY IT SAFE - Workshopping With Spencer & Script Draft Three

PLAY IT SAFE - Workshopping With Spencer & Script Draft Three

Okay, just a quick update for today. (I'm trying to get into the habit of making short updates regularly instead of putting them off because they have to be long and detailed - we'll see how it goes.)

I just wrapped up a day of workshopping with Spencer that went really well. On the one hand, workshopping can be quite challenging - both for the actors, and for myself as the director. However, on the other hand, it's hard to call something that's this fun "work"...

PLAY IT SAFE - 2011 End Of Year Update

PLAY IT SAFE - 2011 End Of Year Update

With only a few working days left in the year, I think it's high time for another update on Play It Safe (especially since I may not get another chance to post again before January). So much has happened over the last few months, and I've really wanted to blog about it here regularly.

Tali Meets Mr Ricketts - Final Art Direction & Lighting Tests

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Over the last couple of days our wonderful art department has been working overtime on the props for the Spacecadet Lullabies clip, and Maia, Jen, & I did the first lighting test on location last night. Dig it:

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We Are The Knife - Shot List

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Just wrapped up the shot list for the PCC shoot. (Only two sleeps to go!) Here's what we don't show the clients:





From the demented scratchings of a madman to something a lot more legible. Thank god for colour coding in google docs...



We Are The Knife - Dancers

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Last night I caught up with Melbourne dance crew The Collektive. A bunch of these guys will be performing in the video for We Are The Knife so we had a little brainstorming session and came up with some great ideas for the video. I was also lucky enough to get to watch them rehearsing for a new set they're debuting on Saturday. Dope stuff! Check out a couple of shots of them in action:














We Are The Knife - Test Shoot (Footage)

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Here's the results of the Patinka Cha Cha test shoot. Some shots are quite dark so click on them to see the full size version. And yes, it's me behind the screen...









We Are The Knife - Test Shoot

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Last Friday I did a test shoot for the new Patinka Cha Cha single "We Are The Knife". We'll be shooting the real thing in a couple of weeks. I'll post some actual shots from the tests soon. For now here's some stills from the day:


Director of Photography, Jaque Fisher, doing his thing.

Me standing in.
Many thanks to Woody (above) for letting us use his studio and for taking some of these shots.