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‘Play’ Turns Dave Grohl Up to Seven at EastWest

Therapy Studios captures Foo Fighters frontman’s instrumental odyssey.

Los Angeles, CA (August 15, 2018)—Play, a mini-documentary from Roswell Films, features seven Dave Grohls and was produced in a collaboration between the Foo Fighter founder and Therapy Content/Therapy Studios. The production was recorded and shot at EastWest Studios in Hollywood.

Directed by Grohl with help from collaborator Mark Monroe, Play is a two-part film exploring the rewards and challenges of dedicating one’s life to playing music. The film is the newest product of the collaboration between Therapy Content executive producers John Ramsay and James Rota, and Grohl, the EP of Roswell Films. Grohl previously collaborated with Monroe and Therapy on the Grammy-winning 2013 documentary Sound City and the Emmy- and Grammy-winning HBO docu-series Sonic Highways.

Inspired by watching his kids begin to learn and play music, the mini-film follows Grohl’s self-imposed challenge to perform a 23-minute, one-man-band instrumental recording on which he plays seven different instruments on the track, all live. Grohl’s goal was to deliver a complete performance on each instrument, without stopping: he started again from the very beginning of the 23-minute song any time the slightest mistake was made or if Grohl felt he could do a better take.

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Darrell Thorp, engineer of Foo Fighters’ international #1 album Concrete and Gold, recorded Grohl’s performances—in Studio One at EastWest Studios in Hollywood—over a span of three days, before handing the mix over to Therapy’s Eddie Kim and Brandon Kim. The pair polished up the moments of dialogue and performance segments, bridging the gaps and smoothing out the musical edits, volume and noise floor to make it sonically seamless. Additionally, Eddie and Brandon handled the recording of Grohl’s off-the-cuff narration.

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Part one focuses on Grohl’s preparation, intercut with footage of students from the Join The Band music school in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. When part two begins, the multiple visions of Grohl entering the studio set us up for what is an exploration of musicality by one of the most lauded musicians of his generation.

In the mini-doc, filmed in black and white by Brandon Trost, 12 roving mini-cameras capture an array of angles and movement around the studio. The lighting matches the instrumental, going soft and simple as the music transitions to its calmer moments, and becoming frenetic as Grohl gets louder.

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Shannon Albrink and Jake Shaver shared editing duties. Use of split-screens allowed them to see and hear Grohl play every note, on every single instrument, all the way through in one 23-minute take. Lead Flame artist/partner Wren Waters and Flame artist Geoff Stephenson were responsible for compositing the multiple Dave Grohls into a single frame.

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If a guitar was in the same place where a guitar-playing Dave Grohl needed to be, their job was to make that object disappear. Whether rotoscoping his hair flying mid-headbang or making sure the flickering lights were synced, continuity and creating a seamless visual remained front of mind for every shot. Finally, the monochromatic treatment by colorist Omar Inguanzo gives the film a timeless quality, bringing together the elements of light, motion and mood under one cohesive palette.

Therapy Studios •

Play/Roswell Films: •