Monday Prescriptions – What Sports Can Teach Film Folk

Hi Film Folk!


After Euro 2012, the Wimbledon final and in anticipation of the upcoming Olympics, The Film Doctor Team felt it appropriate to pay tribute to sport by briefly exploring the similarities it shares with film  in storytelling, business and philosophy.

Now it isn’t uncommon for creatives and filmmakers to be totally unflinchingly indifferent to watching or participating in ‘competitive exercise’ but before you roll your eyes and head away, heed our words:



So take notice! Wonder why! Cup finals and tournaments have a huge influence on Box Office.  Mega-movies such as Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises calculate their release dates around them as not to lose audience.

And for good reason. Sport engages. It is pure drama. All thrills. All action.

No script.


Now let us begin:

Fans of the German national football team - Film Doctor



Why do people like sports?

Sports give people something to aspire to, something to dream about, somebody else to invest in.


How is sport like storytelling?

Obviously there are hundreds of sports, and various forms of competition within those sports, but generally sport is like genre. You get what you pay to see.

In knock-out competition football, you will see 90 minutes of football played until one team wins. In Formula 1, they race to the finish line. In a rom-com, you expect a couple of single people to, through hilarious obstacles and misunderstandings, eventually become one.

Hopefully the film (or match/tournament) will include unique twists and turns that excite and surprise your audience. It is the shock victories/defeats that are talked about the most…


Leading man/woman

Sport is full of your John Mclanes and Indiana Joneses and Ellen Ripleys.

Wild sports fans LOVE their heroes and HATE their villains. Their hearts are broken and mended on every win and loss.

Whether supporting a winning-machine like Federer or a hopeful underdog like Murray, there is some overwhelmingly attractive quality of their hero (whether success, personality, humility or determination) that hooks them and the nation into watching their career unfold.

Note: we said ‘attractive quality’ not ‘good quality.’

Some of the most renowned film/sports icons are bad guys. Empire magazine’s top 100 greatest movie characters of all time lists Tyler Durden, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter and The Joker in their top 5.

Take a look at documentary film Senna for a perfect example of a deeply-loved sporting hero.


NFLS MONEY - Film Doctor


It may be a much-lamented fact but Sport, like film, is a business.


Profit or Props?

Success doesn’t always come in the form of trophies. There are plenty of teams/players who go decades winning nothing but turn good profit every year, just as there are plenty of producers/directors who continue to make films that receive average/lukewarm reviews because their business plans are watertight and bring home those pennies.

Take a look at Moneyball.


A Message from our Sponsors

Stadiums are littered with advertising boards because the world is watching. It’s a great platform for brands to reach their audience. So is film. If you have a film with a slice of a chance of slim or widespread distribution (or often even if you haven’t at all) companies can be willing to offer goods and, rarely, donations to your project to have their brand appear in your film.

A fantastic piece of information if your film happens to require scores of chic suits and you have (or are) a producer with a charming tongue.

Starry starry stars

Ever wondered why a star player is in the line-up every single match despite statistics that suggest the bench may be a better place for him?

It’s all about shifting units. Certain players just attract audiences, they sell shirts and other merchandise (a huge revenue source in sport). This is why Hollywood and clever indie producers will select a cast that have an in-built fan base.

Again, take a look at Moneyball.

Tennis Ball Yin Yang - Film Doctor


Sport, and film, are about people, about hopes and dreams and winning and losing, and even if it’s a single men’s tennis final, it’s a team effort.

Just like film.

Before we wrap things up, here are a couple of quotations. One about defeat and the other about craft.


“If you learn from a loss you have not lost”

Austin O’Malley

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
Wayne Gretzky



‘Monday Prescription’ No. 21 – Take a broad view on life. Inspiration can be found in other entertainment industries as well as our own.

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Any questions/thoughts/experiences of your own??? Leave a comment below!
Have a great week!
The Film Doctor Team
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