4 Things Filmmakers and Tour de France Cyclists Have in Common

The 101st Tour de France is under way and a winner will be declared.

British eyes are scoping this year’s Tour de France ever since Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour in 2012. Chris Froome is carrying the flag for Britain this year.

More people watch the Tour de France than just about any other sporting event. It is also considered by professional athletes to be one of the most difficult sports that there is.

So, what has this to do with filmmakers? More than you think.

Alfred Hitchcock at Cannes, 1972
Alfred Hitchcock at Cannes, 1972

1. Filmmakers Need Great Equipment

Everything about a professional cyclist’s kit is first rate and top notch. The shoes, clothes, cycle, tyres are all carefully designed and considered. A top rider using substandard gear would struggle to compete over the arduous course.

A filmmaker’s equipment is hugely important too. It’s not only about getting the best equipment you can afford, it’s about how you use it. Remember that all equipment can perform functions that aren’t written in the handout. These additional features re hidden from the consumer’s eyes to protect the commercial viability of upgrades.

Choose your budget, then choose the gear that fits your budget. And if you need some free legal software, check out Christian’s excellent Zero Budget Software Guide.

And remember, that like cyclists suffering from a mechanical breakdown, you will need to improvise.

Don’t fall into the trap of amateur cyclists who, like their amateur filmmaking colleagues, don expensive professional tee shirts and buy expensive equipment just to be ‘seen’ as professionals when in actual fact they are mere dilatentes. Amateur riders often don professional jerseys and buy equipment that makes them look like pros out on the road.  In the same way, training providers who are just starting can often position their offerings against much larger companies with more resources just by leveraging the features and online options Administrate provides!

2. Be Prepared

Cyclists spend months and even years preparing for one of the Grand Tours. Cyclists not only train physically, but the top cyclists prepare mentally. The top cycling teams employ nutritional experts, physical training innovators and athletic coaches who prepare the cyclists for their race.

Getting ready for your film is a long arduous task too! In order to make sure your film and your career is a success you need to make sure that your script, your budget and schedule and your post-production plans are sound and attainable. You will also have to plan the distribution and sales and marketing of your film too.

3. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

For 23 days, the The Tour de France races through 3,200km (2,000 miles). The wise owls of cycling proclaim that the Tour de France is not won on the road – it is won in bed. This refers to the critical down time each day when the cyclists recover. Riders who win know how to pace themselves, and how to recover leaving enough for a sprint to the finish line.

Making a film is like running a marathon too. The key to success is to be able to be consistent, and to pay close attention to the finer details that can make or break your film and/or your career.

I was reminded of this during my work producing Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey – directed by the ‘professional cyclist’ Ate de Jong. Even though he was on set 12 hours a day, he would still go back to his digs and work another 3 or 4 hours preparing for the next day’s shoot. When he showed up each morning he was fresh and prepared.

 4. This is a Team Sport

The Tour de France is a team sport. Teams rally behind their leader making sure that he has the support needed to ride the best possible race. Even though one rider wins the Tour de France, no one could win it without the support of it’s team mates.

Filmmaking isn’t about the director either. It’s about the entire production team delivering stellar support.


Enjoy the Tour de France, and if you’d like to see how you could better enjoy filmmaking or screenwriting, don’t hesitate to get in touch!  Every day we at the Raindance organization live and breathe film as we support hundreds of filmmakers all around the world!

Are there other common traits cyclists and filmmakers share? Leave them in the comments box below!

This article originally appeared on the Raindance website – www.raindance.org
For info on Raindance Toronto – www.raindance.org/toronto
For info on Raindance LA – www.raindance/los-angeles/



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