Regarding The Magic Christian, which I wrote about on 11 February, Tim Koch sent an e-mail with a link from “The Tideway Slug”, which has some more information about the film.
“Sadly,” Tim writes, “the rowing gossip site, The Tideway Slug, is no longer in operation. Before its demise it codified the rules for including rowing in feature films.”
Here are the rules:
HOW TO MAKE A ROWING MOVIE
You will need…
1) A bunch of actors (for close ups) who can’t row, but are really good at pulling faces and look good with their clothes off (see Nekkid shots.
2) A bunch of rowers (for long shots) who look nothing like the bunch of actors and are preferably using different equipmen.
3) A hero – should be an outsider fighting against the odds to either get selected or win “the race”.
4) A suitable anti-hero – usually irritating pompous public school type with floppy hair and a very fit girlfriend.
5) A love interest (see girlfriend of anti-hero though may also be a coxswain, or indeed both).
6) An important race – this must be one of the following: Henley Royal Regatta, The Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, or a one on one grudge match in single.
7) A swivel/gate which will disintegrate at a key moment in “the race” (did we mention there has to be a race?).
8) A close finish, with the hero (who’s managed to recover from his disintegrating gate problem) coming through to win in the last 2 stroke.
9) Nekkid shots – preferably homo-erotic changing room or shower scenes, though bad sex scenes will also do.
10) Permission to film in Oxford – all rowing movies filmed outside of Canada, must have something to do with Oxford, it’s the law
Whilst it is possible to stray from the above rules, we wouldn’t recommend you ignore more than one if you want your creation to be a hit.
Finally – all films set in Philadelphia or Boston (whether about rowing or not) have to have at least one shot of a crew/sculler going past in the background. [And, now also in Princeton where the tv-show “House” is filmed!]