Quentin Tarantino Deep Dive | Part 2



“If you truly love cinema with all your heart and with enough passion, you can’t help, but make a good movie.”

This is the philosophy that has pushed Quentin Tarantino to create some of the most iconic films of all time. Now that you are familiar with how he got his start (go back and read Part I if you haven’t already), it is indisputable that he is someone with more than enough passion and love for cinema, and it shows in his films.


For those who are unfamiliar, Tarantino has declared that his filmmaking career is to consist of only ten films written and directed by him. Nine films in and he has mastered his style and his process. This goes for any writer or director, but with Tarantino in particular, it is so valuable as an aspiring filmmaker to watch his movies with the order of production in mind, to see how he grew and adapted his style, to understand the method behind the madness. If you watch Reservoir Dogs, (Tarantino’s first film) for example, compared to Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill volumes I and II. While his later movies show improvement in all areas of the filmmaking process, there is a through line of style and storyline that appears between all four films.


Let’s pick apart what some of these through lines are.


Number one, there will most definitely be violence. It wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without several scenes of gruesome violence. Whether it be someone ripping someone’s eye-ball out with their bare hands and stepping on it, or someone’s brain being splattered in the backseat of a car with a gun. Violence is key. And while this is a style choice that is off-putting to some, there is a ridiculousness and a humor to the violence that makes it, in a way, charming.



Another through line that Tarantino keeps consistent through most all of his films is setting up stories in acts, almost like a play. Similar to a playwright, for Tarantino the writing itself is an art form. When he writes, he detaches himself from the movie entirely, focuses his attention on the page, and writes a screenplay as a piece of literature. He needs to put pen to paper and inscribe a piece of writing that on it’s own could give him the level of satisfaction where he’d be okay not making the movie. In doing this, his films usually have several acts with chyron’s (on-screen text) to help guide the audience and bolster their understanding of what is going on. This is something also especially helpful as his films can get a bit complicated.


Although there are so many others to be explored, the last style that you will find in a Tarantino movie, that I’ll be discussing, is the non-linear structure. Rather than tell you a story start to finish, Tarantino jumps around from past to present in his own unique sequence. Oftentimes, he’ll use a scene from near the end of the story to grip you within the first thirty minutes, and come full circle by having the subsequent scenes then explain how the characters got there.


One of the greatest examples of this is in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters show up to Marcellus’s bar changed from their sleek black suits into dorky shorts and t-shirts. It isn’t until the second to last act in the film that you find out the reason behind the costume change. And it is Tarantino’s creative non-linear timelines that leads into the discussion on his equally non-conventional writing process.

It all starts with an idea. Whether it be exploring a book he’s always wanted to turn into a movie or ideas that have been percolating that he feels have potential to become something. The way he puts it is “It’s like falling in love. You flirt with a lot of people and have fun with it, but then you meet the right one.” He’ll sit and write some scenes and kind of just let the ideas flow. These scenes and ideas will then turn into something worth working on and not long after a story will start to take shape. Once he meets the right one, he’ll initiate the process by getting lots of musical inspiration, and then he just starts writing.


Similar to the non-linear structure of the final cut, in writing, the beginning and the end usually come pretty quickly to him. It’s the middle that takes the most time: how is the character going to get from point A to point B? Because of all of the prep he has done writing and pressing on the ideas to see what comes out of it, he subsequently gets to know his characters on a personal level, to the point where he feels like they are a part of him.


Additionally. he likes to create his own mythology. The film that he is writing is his own world with his own rules and regulations that shape the way the space is occupied by characters. In his writing, it is vital for him to know everything and anything about the cinematic universe that he’s sculpting, regardless of whether the things he writes even end up in the final cut of the movie. These steps are what drives Tarantino’s ability to write incredibly nuanced, humorous, and intimate screenplays. And these nuances are things he can’t access until he’s done the character development, until he’s deep into the writing process.



It almost seems counterintuitive, writing in order to generate ideas. But sometimes creative gold is buried deep beneath the surface waiting, and you have to do some digging before you can extract it. When that gold is extracted, he is left with a piece of writing that is, on its own merit, a masterpiece. And with a great piece of writing, great passion, and great vision, Tarantino is able to make great cinema.


Quentin Tarantino, his beginnings, where he was, where he is, and where he’s going are all about as unorthodox as you can get. No high school diploma, no film school, no famous Hollywood parents. All Tarantino had was a deep love for cinema and enough passion to transform his dreams into a reality. He went from being unable to write a script longer than thirty-two pages, to having a well oiled machine of a process that has produced some of the greatest films of the last thirty years, maybe even of all time.


For all of you out there working your hardest to achieve your dreams, Tarantino is the perfect example that there is no one way to be a filmmaker. There is no one path, no one writing process, no one story. We are all individuals with our own stories and our own paths to follow. The important thing is that you find what works for you, and then just do it. Because, to bring it full circle like a Tarantino film...


“If you truly love cinema with all your heart and with enough passion, you can’t help, but make a good movie.”


Always be writing.

Dream bid. 

Tell better stories.

Never give up.


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Make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts and ideas. And let us know who's philosophy we should explore next.


  • Trayveon Ford

    There is not a day that goes by where… I don’t think about mr. Tarantino educating himself in that video store he worked at so many years ago.

  • Kole

    There is no one path. Hell yes.

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