Nathan Liow

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 - Trailer

This week has been incredibly exciting for the whole Play It Safe team as after almost four years of hard work the trailer is now online! It's a massive milestone for all of us, and it feels amazing to finally be able to share what we've been working on so hard for so long.

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.

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!

Nathan Liow Trio - Procession

We recently put together a fun little video for our amazing composer (and all around great guy) Nathan Liow. I've been a big fan of Nathan's work for many years now and it was a real pleasure to work with him on this video. We ended up recording a live version of his song "Procession" with his trio (featuring Adam Spiegl on double bass, and Justin Olsson on drums), which is one of my alltime favourite songs of his. I think it's absolutely breataking and I can't wait to debut some of his new music on the soundtrack to 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.)

Behind The Scenes: Day 03 & 04 of Block 01

Last weekend we wrapped up the first four days of shooting Play It Safe. The first block of shooting went very well, and I couldn't be happier with the footage! After a year and a half of development, it's really surreal to be finally shooting this film, and it's so crazy that I can now watch footage from the movie on my computer!

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!

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. I want all the musicians and music teachers out there to feel like we have done them justice and portrayed the realities of their day to day work accurately (and hopefully with pathos).

To help us out with this, Play It Safe's composer Nathan Liow (who also happens to work as a piano teacher) has been taking Nick and myself through some of the basics. We had our first lesson late last year, and we had our most recent one a couple of weeks ago.

These lessons are great fun (I usually get to pretend to be a 5 year old student), and it's been fascinating to learn more about teaching music to children.

One highlight of our last lesson was an impromptu piano solo from Nathan just before we finished for the evening. I feel really lucky to have witnessed such an intimate performance, and it made me more excited than ever about the performances that we are going to film for Play It Safe. Nathan will be playing a lot of the music in Play It Safe and, judging by what I heard then, he will be bringing something very very special to the table!

Here's some photos from our last lesson / catchup:

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. Unfortunately, a documentary shoot I was on a couple of months ago caused a pretty serious flareup of my tendinitis and I haven't been able to type properly since then (consequently I'm actually writing this post using DragonDictate voice recognition, which I hope to review in the New Year). I'm about to head off for a couple of weeks of R and R before we start production early next year. Fingers crossed this will give my arms some more time to heal and I'll be back to blogging every week or so next year.