February 10, 2014 Leave a comment
Many moons ago I was a partner in a company that offered public relations and personal management services as well as video and film production. We shared an office with a solo entrepreneur whose stepson used to spend a good deal of time there. Eventually the stepson also moved into the office space. He was well, unique. You generally didn’t really have a conversation with him, you asked a question and then kicked back as he let go with an amazing machine gun, rapid fire monologue. He spoke with his body, acting out his responses.
He was working on financing a short film that he was directing and starring in called My Best Friend’s Birthday. He had run into money issues. He knew we were involved in producing so he snuck us into an editing bay at UCLA to watch some of the raw footage of the film to see if we were interested. It was a black and white short, but dialogue was great, the direction was rough but interesting. Still, it was a short with no names and we were producing low budget horror films. So, we passed.
The short was eventually completed and, by the title of this blog I’ve pretty much given away who I’m talking about here. When we refused, Quentin, Tarantino he, in no uncertain terms, explained that we were making a colossal mistake because he was going to become one of Hollywood’s biggest (expletive) directors. The prediction in and of itself was nothing new. Having worked in the entertainment industry for a while, it was a prediction that I’d heard several times. But never had someone said it so assuredly. I had no doubt as to his sincerity, but I’m not sure of the odds that I gave to that particular prediction’s accuracy.
Well, the odds were on Quentin’s side, big time.
Fast forward about twenty five years. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained... The list is incomplete but it is impressive to say the least. I’ll never know if Quentin knew he was going to be this successful, or if his bravado was part of what helped propel him to where he now sits.
Looking back I now see him as a great study in the emergence of an artist. Quentin is unique in that he both writes and directs his films. His singular vision is truly reflected in his films. Few filmmakers have the talent to write and direct, or the pull to get their films financed at such a high level.
Back when I knew him he was still working at a video store, but he made that his university. He ate, drank and breathed films. There were times he would come to the office after having gone to see two or three films, something I couldn’t even imagine doing on a weekday. He had a vision, but he also had talent and drive. And, as he predicted that day as we walked to the parking lot after having viewed part of his film, he has become one of the(arguably the) major directors of the cinema. Pulp Fiction changed the industry and spawned legions of imitators. His stories, dialogue, direction are singularly his.
He’s also as brazen in his marketing as he is in his filmmaking. During last year’s race to the Oscars, what other director had the gumption to have an image of him or herself in the film ads? And here is where Quentin is a great study in creative marketing. Working with Hollywood’s master marketer, Harvey Weinstein, they’ve turned the marketing of Tarantino into an art.
It’s been an amazing career to watch from both a creative and a PR and marketing perspective. So, maybe I’ll pay closer attention to the next person who announces that they’re going to be the biggest (blanking) whatever in Hollywood. Sometimes, as Quentin, illustrates, it happens.
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014
Bliss, Levon. “A FEW IMAGES FROM A RECENT SESSION WITH QUENTIN TARANTINO. A GENTLE AND THOROUGHLY LIKABLE MAN.” Photo. Levon Bliss. 21 Dec 2012. 10 Feb 2014. <http://levonbiss.com/news/2012/12/quentin-tarantino/>