Notes from 0:00 to 21:00 in this interview with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
- Used to see himself as a director who writes himself stuff to direct – 1992 “I don’t want to write. I never consider myself a writer. I consider myself a director who writes stuff for himself to do.”
- Now sees how writing became more and more and more important – The first real flash of excitement is when inspiration comes and the story takes a turn for the unexpected. Doesn’t feel like he was put on earth to adapt other people’s novels.
- He’s here for the blank page – You take a blank page and pen and pull a story out of yourself.
- Rodriguez’s experience with the Kill Bill reading (8 years before work on the movie) – I just really liked this because Rodriguez has footage of this reading. (You hear Rodriguez next to the camera saying things like, “Oh shit.”) He just loves documenting things through his journaling and through his camera. In “Rebel Without a Crew” he writes about his first experiences with Hollywood luxury. One of his actors from El Mariachi is going to join him on one of these trips and he takes his camera just to record the actor’s first experience with that luxury.
- Is reading to other people part of the process? – The only feedback he wants at that point is: it’s great. He does those readings because he’s excited about it. He can hear what’s wrong with it as he’s reading out loud. He doesn’t need the feedback from the audience at that point, he just needs the audience. This is an important thing when making an effort to get more feedback: make it clear to people what kind of feedback you’re looking for. Even if it’s just “It’s great.”
- Connection: Koppelman talks about feedback with Tim Ferriss – He can give really harsh feedback to people who are seeking that. For other people, he knows to just be supportive. And he respected that Tim Ferriss in that when he’s asking for it he’s really asking for that tough feedback and will truly use it.
Brian Koppelman: And so the thing I said to you, I now have learned to say to somebody, “Describe the kind of feedback you want. Is this finished?” If it’s finished — Penn Jillette said this to me once — he said, “If you tell me it’s finished, all I’m going to say to you is ‘Congratulations,’ because you can’t do anything about it, and I don’t want to –” and this is important, right? But I said, “Is this finished?” If they say — because if I show you something and it’s finished — a finished movie that I’ve just made, but it’s not out yet — honestly, what is your feedback? Really, all I need at that point is a pat on the back for accomplishing something, right? But if somebody should — the first thing I say to somebody is, “What kind of feedback are you looking for?” Now you preempted that because your initial note, you said, “I want harsh feedback.” That’s great. So I’ll say to somebody, “Do you want the kind of feedback I will give to a peer? Because the feedback I give to a peer has very little positive in it, not a lot of praise.”
- Rodriguez: Strange being your friend – He talks about how it can sometimes be weird knowing someone as just that normal person. You’re friends with Clark Kent. Then once in a while you’re reminded: oh yah he’s Superman.
- Doing a Hong Kong style movie the Hong Kong way – He wanted to do it their way. For a big fight, can’t keep it all in your head. You break everything into 2-4 fight moved. The doubles redo it a few times for you to look at it. Then you set up the cameras. If you do 4 movies then that becomes the first move of the next 3-4 moves. It’s shot in continuity but you can still keep some flexibility. You’re not planning every single thing before hand. You add to the chaos in a regimented way.
- Robert Rodriguez: If you can work for Quentin Tarantino for $1, do it (and write stuff down!) – Rodriguez scored off of the movie. Rodriguez made sure to write things down when Tarantino would come into a room and give some orders. You mention something as a perhaps, but you don’t remember it was a perhaps. You remember it as a direct order as the director.