77 Ventures Creative Director Doug Hanshaw’s Five Golden Rules for Sports Documentaries

March 25, 2024

Doug Hanshaw, Creative Director of 77 Ventures Creative, knows sportspeople aren’t meant to hit their marks or deliver scripted lines - so instead of trying to make them, embrace the unpredictable.

“The typical process for a branded shoot is a part of our DNA by now. You have your approved concept, script, boards and talent; the schedule is set, the shotlist is tight.

You have an incredibly specific vision for what you plan to achieve, and everyone has signed off on the direction.

But, when it comes to sports advertising, the excitement lies in the knowledge that the outcome is unwritten. So, what better way to service the raw emotion and anticipation of sports branding than in the equally unscripted format of documentary?

There will always be major benefits to shooting in a studio environment, but athletes aren’t meant to hit their marks, find their light and deliver scripted lines. They’re at their most fascinating when they’re on the field or behind the wheel, racing the clock, making split-second decisions and striving for greatness. Documentary-driven branded content has an edge in capturing this raw authenticity from sports’ major players.

If you can learn to embrace the fluidity and unpredictable nature of doc-driven shoots, you may have a significant advantage in delivering powerful, authentic, sports-driven content that hits home for your clients and audience.

As a lead creative for NASCAR at 77 Ventures, I’ve found that there’s no better training ground for documentary-style advertising than the fast-paced gauntlet of the NASCAR racetrack, where a hundredth of a second can make or break the outcome of a race, or the shoot.

Since a significant amount of commercial and branded work is already documentary-driven, at least in spirit, here are a handful of golden rules I’ve taken away from the track that have helped elevate all of the commercial work I do.”

Head to shots to read Doug’s five golden rules for sports documentaries!