Quentin Tarantino dropped some valuable knowledge during his induction into the Final Draft Hall of Fame yesterday.
Writer/director/producer Quentin Tarantino is the newest member of the Final Draft Hall of Fame, an award that honors influential screenwriters. During his induction on Tuesday, he reflected on his career as a writer and what he's learned over the years.
We're obviously very big fans of Tarantino here, whose ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has started raking in awards and recognition. But he obviously has years of experience, and we can learn from that too! Let's take a look at some of his most valuable advice from the event.
Learn from your heroes
Tarantino talked about the rough, early days of his career, when he was handwriting scripts on paper and rarely getting past page thirty. He was figuring out the process and his style, and said when he was starting out, he'd only read two very basic, boring screenplays.
But then he discovered writer Walter Hill, who became a huge influence on Tarantino's work.
“Walter was one of my biggest heroes growing up,” he said, according to Variety. “I had only read two scripts and they were so effing dry. But when I read Hard Times, it wasn’t just description. It wasn’t just a blueprint for how to do the movie. I was supposed to make the movie in my mind. When the script was over and I put it down, I saw the movie.”
Watch movies, of course, and figure out what stories you enjoy. But as a writer, there is no better school than the process of simply reading as many scripts as you can. Notice what you like in someone's writing. Take note of what you dislike, too, and consider how you might write something differently. Read constantly!
Luckily, we've got tons of scripts that you can download and read. So get going!
Find friends to support you
When Tarantino wasn't quite sure what he was doing and was finishing up his first project (which happened to be True Romance), he said the finished product was very rough.
His coworker and friend Roger Avary was the first to read it.
"He not only read it, he typed it up," Tarantino said. "I don’t know that there was anyone else who would have done that.”
Avary went on to co-write Pulp Fiction with Tarantino.
Writing is usually a very solitary exercise, and we all need readers, as well as someone to brainstorm with or give us the tough notes. I highly recommend finding someone you click with and trust to help you through drafts. This support can be the one element that finally pushes you through to the end of a project.
Take advantage of the market
The nature of today's entertainment industry means there is a lot of work in television or on streaming services, which are staffing rooms with TV writers.
But Tarantino wisely pointed out that this is leaving the studios out a little bit. Executives are looking for fresh new scripts to produce.
"It’s an opportunity in the marketplace," he said.
As the industry changes, make sure to keep an eye on the market and where things are moving. With so many streaming and over-the-top services, the environment can shift in an instant. Make yourself an educated writer.
What's next? Learn more from QT!
What's your favorite thing about Tarantino's writing? Let us know in the comments!