Egg Shaped Filmmaking Lessons

Hi Film Folk,

Recently, I was fortunate to spend a day learning from Sir Clive Woodward.

As my audience is international filmmakers, and not primarily sports enthusiasts, many of you may be asking “Who?”…

Sir Clive is a top, top, TOP sports coach and sport team leader. Of his many accomplishments, he took English rugby from a wallowing mediocrity to winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003, something astonishing.

Since then he has been a key component in driving Team GB to success at the 2012 UK Olympics. A guy with a lot of success behind him…

I learned a lot from Sir Clive, and I thought I’d share a few of those lessons here, as they translate to filmmaking (or any walk of life).

TCUP… “Thinking Clearly Under Pressure”. Sir Clive promotes the idea of being prepared for the unexpected. He considers what others wouldn’t. For example, for his talk, he is prepared with two sets of projector/laptop equipment (in case one fails). He’s also able to present his entire presentation if it all fails completely. This was how he operated with sport.

To win, he didn’t rely on having the best sports people, he was prepared to compete by thinking smarter than his opposition. A lot of this was technologically based, he got all his rugby players online and familiar with laptops. This allowed them to introduce PROZONE, which is technology that accurately shows what a player does during a game, and offers stats on their performance. I think filmmaking is similar. What used to be an isolated, lonely activity has been utterly changed by the internet… even more so when we launch the Production Posse…

When organising Team GB for the Olympics, Sir Clive thought outside of the box with interesting new ideas. One such example was observing how athletes would throw their water bottles around and leave them all over the place.

He introduced a system where each British athlete was given two water bottles each day, and they would return them for sterilisation of an evening. This was a large step towards eradicating that illness and bugs from the Team GB camp.

Most interestingly, they operated a system of team-decided rules called “Teamship Rules”. The team would get together and decide upon rules they would implement, and then if Sir Clive agreed, they would implement them.

An example might be arriving 10mins early to every meeting and appointment. The team agreed this rule, and as they had decided it, they lived and breathed it.

Why am I telling you this? Because filmmaking is also a team endeavour, with one or two leaders. You don’t just want to bark orders and force rules and systems on people. It’s a great idea to sit your team down and help decide upon some of the rules and systems you’ll live by.

Think how more commited, motivated and united your team is if they live and breathe rules they suggest, and you agree upon.

As for the earlier point of thinking outside of the box to get excellent results… that’s virtually the definition of Atomic Filmmaking. As an indie filmmaker, you almost certainly can’t rely upon a Hollywood cast or an unlimited budget. So, you’re competing on ideas and creative solutions. This is how you succeed as an indie filmmaker.

It was truly brilliant to get to spend some time chatting with Sir Clive. I learned some new things and reaffirmed some of my beliefs.

Thanks for reading,

Andy Wilton

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