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The road Quentin Tarantino paved.
Create, celebrate, continue. Treat your creative work as a gift to universal inspiration. The art of long term success lies in modesty. For once you “possess” your achievements, identify with them—they start possessing you. Recently I held an interesting debate around the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson.
The story unfolds a wise metaphor about four mice seeking cheese. Life presents a big maze with various “Rooms”: Some empty, others full of precious content—like marching Venice's narrow alleys, many of whom end up dead... The uncertain directions we choose fall down a similar spectrum.
As two out of four mice carefully filter a bullseye, the rest goes running regardless the outcome. Their journey is hazardous with small wins along the way that keeps them going. The calculated pair on the other hand… pinpointed a room with such success, “they no longer need to continue”. As they celebrate, satisfy themselves with huge supplies of cheese—the other two remain sharp, sticking to their adventure. With time, they’ve become fearless conquerers. Whilst the calculated pair clings to what used to be “paradise”, but now feels like prison…
In summary be mindful how you treat past successes, the glorification by friends, family, strangers… Occasionally, allow yourself a breathing, then take that victory to fuel persistence, more aspirations.
Consider the road you are running 👟 today.
That brings us to QUENTIN TARANTINO. Someone who knows how to tame his fame, chooses to play the maze till the end. The quote below speaks for itself.
“I don't believe you should stay onstage until people are begging you to get off. I like the idea of leaving them wanting a bit more.” - Quentin Tarantino
Born march 27, 1963, Tennessee—Quentin soon moves to Los Angeles in 1966.
Like many great achievers, he shows little interest at school, dropping out at age sixteen. Thus, another field would do the talking.
Fast-forward, Quentin is seen working as a sales assistant at Video Archives, a rental movie store in Manhattan Beach, California. A hub, where he can indulge his childhood obsession, watching films. In five years time, the clock would tick a different scene. One that includes Quentin, a famous movie director up front at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 1992.
“If you truly love cinema with all your heart and with enough passion, you can’t help but make a good movie.” - Quentin Tarantino
Mark his words, like those of Yvon Chouinard, Lionel Messi, Bruce Lee in previous stories—all held to a passion and made it their mission. Quentin Tarantino creates films he soulfully loves so that others can’t help but make a movie they’ll love.
Similar to the jumpy mice above, his journey was hard at first. Yet small wins kept him stuff a foot in the “next door”. For example Cathrin James, his personal manager in 1984. Until then he hadn’t produced anything significant other than a co-written script called “My Best Friend’s Birthday”. She made it very clear to Quentin: "An aspiring director with no connections…—make your own low budget film and write at least three strong scripts.”1.
And so his first issue “True Romance” was born. No one, from Hollywood Studios to production companies cared, till it crossed Stanley’s hands, producer of two feature films. He promised to succeed in exchange for a percentage. Little did Quentin know, this would become the blueprint for all of his stories.
Beset with uncertainty, he follows Cathrin’s advice, drafting a second script “Natural Born Killers”. At this point he hasn’t seen a dime from writing, keeps working at Video Archives. This is about to change in 1990 when he gets offered a “writing gig”, and meets Scott, co-writer of “The Rookie” starring Clint Eastwood.
Besides Quentin’s enthusiasm, his networking skills prove useful. Scott starts inviting Quentin to all kinds of events, including a barbecue where he’s introduced to Lawrence Bender—producer of “Intruder”, hooked on “Natural Born Killers” as Quentin unleashes his 30s pitch. Meanwhile, something else is brewing… An idea about a heist gone wrong—”Reservoir Dogs”, the script that would make Quentin Tarantino a star.
“There are a lot of bad screenplays so if you write a good screenplay people are going to respond to it.” - Quentin Tarantino
The next day, Quentin gets to work. In a mere four weeks, he delivers on his promise for a producer he believes in. At that stage, “True Romance” breaks through on a $30 million production of which Tarantino receives $50 thousand.
Aware about a hot script in hand, Quentin is determined to direct “Reservoir Dogs”, even if it costs his savings. Lawrence suggests something bigger… Three months later the film hits a budget of $1.3 million backed by Monte Hellman, a seasoned Hollywood director, and a famous actor on the list2. Tarantino now holds a free pass to direct “Reservoir Dogs”, takes a two-week crash course in intensive directing.
He naturally slips into his role and forges a spectacular movie. One that has actors rave about, creating incredible advance buzz. As soon it screens at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, doors open in every direction for the coming director. The beginning of a series of conquests that will mark him as one of the most influential directors of his time. His second film “Pulp Fiction”, scripted from an Amsterdam apartment would soon make him legendary…
It’s interesting to emphasise Quentin’s background in filmmaking when triumphant with “Reservoir Dogs”. As a director he has witnessed, learned that one shouldn’t know everything… That his job is to convey a vision to those individuals3, artists who understand it. Tarantino has essentially mastered the ability to see talent in people, not to forget “the art of modesty”.
“If you want to make a movie, make it. Don’t wait for a grant, don’t wait for the perfect circumstances, just make it.” - Quentin Tarantino
Like the jumpy mice, he dove right in, embracing the adventure, choosing to become a fearless conquerer 🙏🏻. I am most grateful for the opportunity developing this story. It certainly feels like a wake-up call.
Let me know if this resonated with you. Among other things, HunchMaker will expand with film on Youtube 🎬, episodes on Spotify🎙. Stay tuned for more impactful content 🔥 and try applying these keys to self-realisation. For I believe they can manifest our dreams.
Watch out for rich stories ✌️x per month on Saturdays as you take that morning sip ☕️.
O’Murchu, C 2014, How did Tarantino make it to the top in Hollywood? Lessons you can learn from his experience, Indie Filmmaking Passion, accessed 22 January 2023, <https://colmomurchu.com/how-did-tarantino-make-it-to-the-top-in-hollywood-lessons-you-can-learn-from-his-experience/>.
Quentin Tarantino Fan Club 2023, Quentin Tarantino talking about Reservoir Dogs at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, accessed 24 January 2023, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ks7Xe2JNVc/>.
Carmichael, E 2017, If You Really LOVE IT, You Can DO IT! - Quentin Tarantino - Top 10 Rules, accessed 22 January 2023, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXSh3p6THv0/>.