Team sports films (e.g. ones about American football, association football, ice hockey, rugby) have a variety of scenes where the players are on the field and performing a number of plays. How much detail is there in a script?

If whatever play they are doing is not critical to the plot, is it mentioned by name in the script? Are the actions of each player scripted out (e.g. player 1 pushes opposing player 1, player 2 gets tripped, and so on)? Or does the script just have a bare bones "they make a play and come close to scoring, but the ball is deflected a the last minute" and then someone else choreographs the whole thing?

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    This is too broad, or opinion based. Obviously some scripts may micromanage, some won't and leave it to the production. There is no single method. – cde Aug 17 '16 at 3:44
  • Here's a similar example. Interstellar's docking of the ranger with the Endurance spacecraft NOLAN: Early in Interstellar a spacecraft docks with a larger one. It was one line in the script. But it winds up being quite a lot of screen time because—well, there are two types of science fiction film. There’s the type where something like this would be scary and important for people doing it for the first time, and you go through that detail. And then there’s the kind of film where you go, “There’s the spaceship!” And then you cut to the characters hit a button & done – cde Aug 17 '16 at 3:47
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    @cde Any way that I can focus the question to be less broad? – Thunderforge Aug 17 '16 at 15:25

Most non-descript action is not pinned down like a ballet, but it is somewhat choreographed. Using your American Football example, it's fairly simple to teach players (most extras in those movies are, or have been, players) a simple play like an 828 Pass. 800 formation (WR1 on the right, lined up on the LOS, WR2 on the left, lined up off the LOS). 20 Pattern (WR1 does a Fly, WR2 does a Post, TE crosses the middle), WR1 is the 1st target. Easy Peasy. Run the play. You know where the ball is going to end up, you set up the Safety to allow the catch. Glory ensues.

Not every step is choreographed, but all the players have a sense of what's going on and where they need to be to make it look believable.

Remember, DiNero's famous "You lookin' at ME?!?" was scripted as "Actor speaks to himself in the mirror."

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