Quentin's thoughts on writing for film

Last night I took my final exam for my Diploma in Film Studies. That’s why this blog fell quiet, as I didn’t have the time to compose anything worthwhile for it.

During my study, I checked out a copy of Projections 3, a collection of essays and interviews about filmmaking. Even though it dates from 1994 it has an interesting interview by Graham Fuller with Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino discusses the genesis of his early scripts, the films he had directed up to that point, and how he writes for film. One comment he made, which is almost heresy in filmwriting circles, is that he doesn’t write a treatment. He dives into his first draft – which he writes freehand in journals. Here’s an interesting quote:

GF:Does it pour out?
QT: If it doesn’t, then I just don’t do it that day. If I can’t get the characters talking, then I ain’t gonna do it. If it’s me making the characters talk to each other, then that’s phoney baloney. It becomes exciting when a character says something and I’m like, ‘Wow, he said this? I didn’t know that he had a wife or I didn’t know he felt like that!’
GF: So it’s a process of discovering what’s locked away inside there?
QT: Very much so. That’s why I could never do a script treatment where you take the story from beginning to end. I’m not that kind of a writer. There’s questions I don’t want to answer until I get to writing.

There is only one rule for writing: there are no rules.

Except perhaps: do whatever works, and hang the experts.