Experimenting with just sharing some notes I take when watching, listening, and reading. These are some notes from an interview of Quentin Tarantino by Robert Rodriguez (video).
- Appearing in the movie wasn’t enough — Tarantino wanted to direct. He wanted to have more control (compared to acting and other jobs) over the movie in its entirety. You can see what directing is by watching movies.
- Didn’t think about structure earlier — Mostly thought about shots. Didn’t think about writing either. Realized he had a little bit of talent at writing when going to acting classes. He’d always do bizarre scenes in acting classes. Would watching movies (like Flash Gordon), write them down and then use those for practicing acting.
- Building up a better memory — He said that he would watch a movie and remember a scene and then write it down when he got home from memory. Then he would add to it. And just do this over and over and learn to add to it.
- Connection: Copying other writing by hand — This is a technique you’ll see recommended by copywriters and marketers. It’s also something people talk about with novelists. People re-writing Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson copying The Great Gatsby by hand for practice.
- Connection: Steal Like an Artist — In this book, Austin Kleon explains the importance of learning from other people’s work and the value of taking pieces of things to build up your own style. And it will take work to go from making cheap copies of someone else to having your style that stands out on its own.
- Connection: Delacroix at The Met — One of my favorite installations at The Met was a Delacroix drawing exhibit. One of the plates talked about the progress of learning to draw. (1) Start by tracing directly over something. (2) Then you draw it with it there for reference. (3) Then you draw it from memory. (I wrote more about that here.)
- Favorite part of the directing process? — No single favorite part. Love whatever it is he’s working on at the time. It’s not that editing is so much better than shooting or shooting is so much more fun than writing. Each of them is exciting at the start and you’re sick and tired by the end of that phase so you can move on to the other thing, which is exciting at the start. But it’s those three stages: writing, shooting, editing. Those sections also go from solitary (writing) to teamwork (shooting) and back to solitary (editing).
- Unique storytelling and nonlinear style — He’d read a lot of novels and he noticed you can just start in the middle of things. You can start in the middle in a novel with three characters and that’s the current situation. But then chapter 3 comes and you get the backstory for one character. Then chapter 7 is another backstory. And it was something more accepted in novels than early movies. He always thinks about how novels would work as movies when he watches movies.
- Particular novel that comes to mind? — Not one that made him think that way. But many novels that made him think that, especially coming off the 80s with the standard, homogenous studio system. David Lynch and Paul Verhooven were put in boxes as weird. Twisted characters could be in novels, not in movies. You needed clean, happy endings in movies.