July 13, 2013

Tarantino on His Influences: If You Love Cinema You Can't Help but Make a Good Movie

Written on the 2nd page of the screenplay for Reservoir Dogs is a list of names -- Timothy Carey, Jean-Luc Godard, and John Woo to name a few. These are individuals that Quentin Tarantino wished to highlight and laud in his first feature film. The entire film was dedicated to these, to use his word, "inspirations", and in an interview from 2002, Tarantino sat down to talk about who these people were to him creatively and how they impacted his life and filmmaking career. Hit the jump to watch the interview.

I'm sure for many of us Quentin Tarantino was or still is a beacon of hope for independent film. Like him or not, he, as well as a bunch of other independent filmmakers, paved the way for future filmmakers to be able to make films outside a studio system that was nearly impossible to get into. The films he made in the 90s (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) have inspired me greatly, so it's interesting to hear the inspiration's inspiration for their work.

Check out the interview below:

To be 100% honest, I just deleted 2 big paragraphs of this article, because I realized that when Tarantino talks about French director Jean-Pierre Melville, he says something that embodies everything that independent film stands for.

You do get a sense -- there's like an aesthetic working in Melville's work that you get a sense that you don't have to know how to make a movie. If you truly love cinema with all your heart and with enough passion you can't help but make a good movie. You don't have to go to school. You don't have to know a lens -- you know, a 40 and a 50 and a -- fuck all that shit -- crossing the line -- none of that shit's important. If you just truly love cinema with enough passion -- and you really love it, then you can't help but make a good movie.

Do you agree with Tarantino? Who are your heroes and role models in filmmaking? Let us know in the comments.

[via A-BitterSweet-Life & Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

31 Comments

I do agree.

He is inspiring... and I love him for that

July 13, 2013 at 8:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Stefan Antonescu

I generally enjoy listening to Tarantino talk shop but he comes off a bit boorish in this interview. Out-grown Godard have we? Also, not wanting to give Kubrick and Welles their props... What's that about? Meh, his films are a lot of fun and he seems to be a bottomless pit of cinema knowledge so I guess he gets a pass. Jean-Pierre Melville is a great shout for a role-model. He was one of those filmmakers (like Cassavetes) that really made the word independent mean something.

July 13, 2013 at 9:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mak

When was this interview taped? Tarantino looks very young and thin here.

July 13, 2013 at 9:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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mistermonkstrap

It was shot in 2002. There's a tiny credit at the bottom of the screen at the end. "©Artisan Home Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved."

July 13, 2013 at 9:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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mistermonkstrap

Quote is at the 7:30 mark

July 13, 2013 at 9:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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wayne

Tarantino is right, but it doesn't make it easy...

July 13, 2013 at 10:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Don't know much about history ... I mean, directing, but in order to write&direct, you have to be able to write first. QT can write. It's just something that's in him. Others have a much tougher path to get their level of competency up.

July 13, 2013 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Correction. You have to be able to tell a story and be entertaining. Writing, as in grammar; is all technical skill.
Unfortunately, many writers pride themselves on technical writing know-how and feel that makes them storytellers.

July 13, 2013 at 11:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VinceGOrtho

Well, Vince, as soon as there's a Storyteller Guild of America ...

July 14, 2013 at 1:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

haha

July 14, 2013 at 2:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VinceGOrtho

hehe, nice!

July 14, 2013 at 6:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Zingggg...

July 20, 2013 at 9:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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steve

Funny I watched this the other day. He's recently been banging on about his canon of work and not wanting to make a bad film. The first three will always be his legacy.

July 13, 2013 at 11:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ed

"Written on the 2nd page of the screenplay for Reservoir Dogs is a list of names — Timothy Carey, Jean-Luc Godard, and John Woo to name a few."

Ringo Lam?

July 14, 2013 at 12:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel

a could listen to Quentin all day!

July 14, 2013 at 2:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ninja masuku

I got bored of tarantino and I think I'm not the only one.

July 14, 2013 at 2:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Was hoping I'd never see a Tarantino story on this site.

I love it when you run stuff on Welles, Godard, Kurasawa etc. I'd love to think the younger readers of this site go off and learn more about them.
I think this magpie gets enough exposure as it is.

As someone says, his first 3 films were superb. Using his influences the right way.
Every film he has made since is dire (apart from pieces of Inglorious Basterds). He lets his influences overtake and dictate his films, to the point they are little more than self-congratulatroy cinematic masterbation.

July 14, 2013 at 4:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

The point is if you have no cinematic influences high or low brow you will never make a decent film. That is fact my filmmaker friends.

July 14, 2013 at 5:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dan

??

July 14, 2013 at 8:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Cavner

I have to disagree on this one, at least if I have to go on real life experience with people I know that are bigger movie geeks and cinema lovers than me and I assure you smarter than me. But they they can't seem to help to make really BAD movies.

July 14, 2013 at 6:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hampus

Agreed, there are plenty of people out there who truly love film that don't have the eye, the storytelling capabilities, etc. But I will say that someone who loves film and also has those skills and sensibilities, or at the very least knows how to put together a team of people with those skills is more likely to make a decent film.

July 14, 2013 at 11:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I agree with Tarantino that passion is necessary to make a good film, but it is not the only thing. Learning the basics of film-making is what allows the filmmaker to craft excellent films.

Recently I have begun writing my first feature length script (after several shorts) and have found a lot of release by focusing on the story and less whether I am borrowing a story idea or even a line from another film (or even book/play/song etc.). I still try to keep these direct references minimal, but I learning that when my story reminds me of a good moment in a film it is not a bad thing.

July 14, 2013 at 10:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I too wannabe moviemaker stealing all the shit from 70s and surf rock music. Oh and I'll be shooting exclusively on glorious motion picture film, all those digital things are just for home videos, this is not cinema I repeat this is not cinema! I am not a talentless hack!

July 14, 2013 at 11:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Natt

As great painters, sculptors, writers and all artists down the years appropriate from other great artists so do the filmmakers of the last century.
Tarantino might be vilified for being the most annoying Post Modern appropriation artist of his era but Scorsese would not make great films if it was not for Rosselini, Soderbergh for Richard Lester, Woody Allen for Bergman, Spielberg for David Lean, Kubrick for Ophuls, Godard for American Crime films from the 40's, Wes Anderson for Hal Ashby.... get the point or don't.
Ignore cinemas great past history at your peril. Everything has been done. There are no genius left in cinema working today. Smart, talented original filmmakers with new voices yes, but your sum of your life experiences as a young filmmaker at 30 is not enough to start building a body of work or even a career.
You either get my point or don't.
The most personal and honest of filmmakers who would that be? Possibly Bergman or for American Independents John Cassavetes. Clearly Cassavetes was inspired by 60's documentary filmmakers like Godard was and his childhood love for Frank Capra. Bergman and Capra share Carl Dreyer as the greatest influence on their work.
It's a genetic cinematic code you discover as a film student. If you don;t have one, a great influence WHY you make or want to make movies, well your the fake.

July 14, 2013 at 1:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dan

1-This is great! Tarantino is in my opinion one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Writer/Directors tend to bring something special to cinema.

2- I know this websites talks a lot about gear which is fine. But at the the end of the day....it's how you make the film. How you frame the shot with the camera.....where you put the camera....how many cameras you use....your cinematographer....your actors and actress's.......your production designer.....your screenplay....and then how you Edit the film....how you cut from scene to scene. And if you study film like Martin scorcese and quentin tarantino and you love film....and you sculpt every piece of your film and every part of the film is important to you.....then like you will most likely make somethy good.

July 14, 2013 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Aaron

BTW does anyone know which camera Tarantino is holding in that picture?

July 14, 2013 at 3:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Aaron

It looks like a Leica (back when it was Leitz.)

July 14, 2013 at 10:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

I dig the man, but his comments on not caring about the technical side of filming is flat-out stupid. Also what he said towards Wells and Kubrick are uncalled for. Tarantino has never made anything as good as Touch of Evil or The Shinning.

July 16, 2013 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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sunny16

Tarantino is the most influential and original writer/director to emerge in the last 20 years. He has become the saving grace of Indie filmmakers and like him or not, he's in a place where many of us would like to be, myself included. Those that call him a rip-off, deny the obvious in that does it then also make all DJs or hip-hop producers thieves? Everyone of us that write and/or direct, have been influenced by multiple writers and directors and often will deny just how much, particularly to ourselves. At the very least, he's 100% open and makes no bones about it.

Our beloved industry has gone through a massive paradigm shift, both good and bad. Money is much harder to find. Studios have put a stranglehold on Theatrical distribution, so that now it's the Holy Grail. VOD is the only option left, unless you want to 4-wall the show yourself. With Netflix, et al, now producing their own content, high B-listers that might have done our shows, are now being paid their asking price, so that option is also diminishing.

However, HD has also saved our industry in that now it's never been easier to make a film, for less money. If you catch lightning in a bottle, win some of the higher profile festivals, you have the chance of an investor giving you more money to make your next show. Although Tarantino's budgets are now very high, he earned it through talent and perseverance.

Hollywood is a dying whore. Tarantino is the new emperor. Bravo, I say.

July 19, 2013 at 7:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I suppose if you're REALLY organized and have someone who DOES know the gear, you can shoot a good film, but saying you don't need to know how to use the tools you need to make what you want to make, is like saying to someone who has never built a house "Here's some dangerous power tools and some lumber. Go build a house" I doubt that house would be livable, but you never know. Embracing the "I don't know"-factor can provide extremely creative results, but less often than not. Knowing your gear frees you up to actually create, especially working in a medium as technical as film.There's a great interview with retired DP Gordon WIllis(The Godfather,Klute, Many Woody Allen films) on CraftTruck-Through the Lens, where he describes working with Coppola and how Coppola wanted to just shoot, handheld, whatever was happening, when it was happening. Gordon had to "reel-him-in" to save time, if not money, and compose the shots(with or without lights). I'm sure there is a happy medium. If you've got a small crew who has all the time(and patience) in the world, you can indulge yourself all you want, but I would guess that planning/organization gets things done a lot more efficiently than throwing caution to the wind.

July 20, 2013 at 12:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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darklylit

What exactly weblogs will you look at with regard to home elevators the applicants?

August 14, 2013 at 7:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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