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rfirpo6 karma

The most trying time for me was the entire editing process. We'd originally planned for the entire film (shooting + editing) to take one year, and had budgeted a salary for me to get me through that year (since I was director and editor). In the end, the film ended up taking 2.5 years. After a year, I stopped collecting a paycheck, so for 1.5 years I was working "essentially" full time for free. I say "essentially" because I did take some time off to make some short films for PokerStars, but outside of that it was BET RAISE FOLD every day, all day. It got really difficult emotionally, psychologically and financially.

I talked about it online before, but the movie underwent four different cuts. We didn't totally finish it (like with sound/music, etc) four different times. But three separate times, I completed an edit where I felt like: okay, the heavy lifting is done...only to have to go back to the drawing board and start all over again. The fall of 2012 was especially difficult. We'd scrambled to put together a rough cut for Sundance, and had submitted at the last possible moment. To our surprise, a week later we were contacted by the programming director at Sundance who expressed interest in the film and asked if we could send a more complete edit. He gave us four weeks to do so, and we began scrambling to complete the film. It was then that we ran into a dispute with a small company we'd hired to help us complete the film. We spent the majority of the four weeks battling with them, and the next edit we submitted to Sundance was still miles away from being complete. I felt really blindsided and gutted. At that point I was new to LA (still am) and it really tainted my view of the local film community. It took me a long time to get over the shock that someone would actually do this. That a fellow filmmaker would actually take advantage of us like that. I just felt really...dirty about the whole thing and there's no doubt it impacted the project.

That said, eventually we pressed on and completed a more polished edit for our SXSW submission in November. It was still incomplete, but I felt like we'd found our structure and were mainly concentrating on polishing and completion now. We sent the edit to some trusted people (mostly other filmmakers) to get feedback and I went to Europe to shoot some videos for PokerStars. The day before I returned I got an email forwarded from Jay from a screenwriting associate we both respected that basically tore our edit apart. It was full of well reasoned insights into why it didn't work and basically suggested we go back to the drawing board and start again. At this point, I'd been editing BRF for 14 months. I was totally exhausted with the project, and disgusted by the idea of going back into the editing room and starting over. Not to mention, I was pretty much broke, since I hadn't been paid in over a year. It was a real low point for me. I was super depressed, and I really didn't know how I was going to find the mental strength to start re-editing the film. I wanted to quit. I sort of did quit, for about 48 hours, telling Jay I couldn't make a better movie from the footage we had.

But I knew I couldn't REALLY quit. BET RAISE FOLD was like my baby, and I couldn't abandon it no matter how unruly it was being. About a week later, I started trying some new edits. One tweak, lead to another and another and before I knew it, I was editing an entirely different movie. That process lead to another 5-6 months of editing and the end result was BET RAISE FOLD as you see it now. The entire editing process took about 18-20 months. My wife was very patient with the process :)

rfirpo5 karma

haha, agreed!

rfirpo5 karma

Thanks for the compliment, but I made all the other PokerStars Team Online docs too :(

rfirpo4 karma

it was from my lone winning session in 2009.

rfirpo3 karma

We were trying to find subjects who would represent the complete online poker community. The major areas I wanted to focus on were: fame/poker celebrity (Tony), online poker as a job to support family (Danielle), and the evolution of the game (Martin). I also wanted to focus on things like losing, going pro, the baller lifestyle, etc. and had planned to look for more subjects to represent those areas, but Black Friday put a stop to that. In essence, I wanted to give an audience a "complete" view of online poker culture. I found it so rich and varied and full of all these vastly different people living vastly different lifestyles with one central interest (online poker), and was trying to select a "cast" who would reflect that.

Tony, Danielle and Martin were the only subjects we actually started shooting with but there were many other candidates in the early stages (some of whom I interviewed, some of whom I didn't). Some of these candidates included (sorry, going to use some online handles here): LuckyChewy, Cole South, Brian Townsend, Kristy Arnett, grimstarr, Taylor Caby, anette15, riverboatking... I really, really wanted to feature Prahlad Friedman who I considered to be one of the original online poker superstars. We had a few "almost" encounters where he seemed vaguely interested in being involved, but it was not to be.