Monday Prescription – Career Tips from Famous Christmas Films

Hi Film Doctor friends!

In true Christmas spirit, The  Film Doctor Team are turning to the all-time Christmas favourite flicks for some inspirational ‘lessons to be learned’.


1. Home Alone (1990)  – When his family go away for Christmas, Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind and has to defend himself, and his home, from two good-for-nothing burglars. Using clever and funny booby traps, Kevin saves the day.

Career tip: Make the most of every situation is the first thing you can learn from Kevin. Did he panic and run around? No, he enjoyed the opportunity. The other note to take is that resourcefulness and planning can go a long way – if you have a clever plan for how to tackle any possible obstacles that lay ahead of you, you will be – in Mr. Sheen’s notorious words – “winning”.

2. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)  – An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.  George Bailey finds himself in a serious financial predicament, but all the time spent helping his neighbourhood is not forgotten – the people of Bedford Falls come to his rescue.

Career tip: It’s about relationships and the people around you. Taking the time to network  and nurture some true collaborations / friendships will see you through any professional hardships.

3. Elf (2003) – When he accidentally ends up at the North Pole as a baby, Buddy is raised as an elf. As he grows older, Buddy can’t help but notice he differs from the other elves, most noticeably in size. He soon discovers that he truly isn’t an elf, but instead the son of Walter, who lives in New York City. Buddy sets off to finds his real father, spreading Christmas joy along the way.

Career tipGet to know yourself, find out who you really are – where do your passions and strengths lie.  And whatever you discover along the way, learn to be comfortable in your ‘professional skin’.

4. Gremlins (1984) – On receiving a small, fury creature called Mogwai as a Christmas present, Billy accidentally makes 5 more, by spilling some water on the original one.  By, inadvertently, breaking more rules of Mogwai care – e.g. feeding them after midnight – Billy ends up with evil ‘gremlins’ on his hands, who break free and unleash terror on the town.

Career tip: You can never know what life will serve you, so take the things as they come. Also, take responsibility for your projects.  Follow the rules!

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – Clark Griswold is determined to have the perfect family Christmas, but of course none of it is going according to plan – driving to the countryside to cut the perfect tree is impossible without an axe, wife’s parents visiting, causing power cut with the house decorations, cousins in embarrassing broken down RV… Clark grins & bears it all, dreaming of the big Christmas bonus he’ s due to get from work. Betting everything on that cheque, his spirit crumbles when he discovers there won’t be any extra money for him this year.

Career tip: Clark sees his Christmas bonus as the answer to all his troubles. In fact, he is so overly focused on this promise that he misses the enjoyment of Christmas along the way. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – project-wise or company-wise. Keep your options open and don’t fret when things don’t go according to plan.


‘Monday Prescription’ No. 43 – Resourcefulness, planning, relationships and sense of humor will see you through even the worst of times in your filmmaking career.

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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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