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This Is The Famous Director Who Mentored Quentin Tarantino

Quentin hadn't really ever made a movie before, and a certain someone stepped in to help at the prime of his career.

There are few filmmakers that inspire such excitement in the process of making movies as Quentin Tarantino does. Everyone wants to know exactly how he writes his scripts. And as for how he directs, well, few can do what he does. But everyone starts off somewhere. At the beginning of his career, Quentin Tarantino wasn’t nearly as confident in the filmmaking process as he is today. Luckily for him, he had the opportunity to sit down and talk with another legendary filmmaker who took Quentin under his wing during the creation of Resiviour Dogs and also gave him the best piece of advice Quentin says he’s ever gotten… Let’s take a look…

Quentin Had A Surprise Mentor At The Sundance Institute…

Before Quentin Tarantino did his first movie, Resiviour Dogs, he attended the prestigious Sundance Institute. At that time, Quentin had already started writing and made a couple of short films. People started to notice him and appreciate his talent as a burgeoning filmmaker. But he was anything but proven. Attending the Sundance Institute would help his education immensely. But it also introduced him to a legendary filmmaker who not only mentored him but offered what Quentin claims is the best advice he’s ever received.

The Sundance Insitute program takes place over the course of a few weeks. During each of these weeks, a new actor, writer, director, or producer comes in to help each student.

“They kind of mentor you,” Quentin Tarantino explained during a Sirius Satellite Radio interview. “They assign you a couple that deal, in particular, with your script [that you’re bringing into the program] and what you’re doing. And then everybody watches your stuff and they give you notes on it. And one of the people they assigned me, I was very lucky, was Terry Gilliam.

Of course, Terry is one of the members of the British comedy troupe Monty Python and the director of Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was later adapted into the Broadway musical Spamalot. Aside from Monty Python and the massive franchise that surrounds it, Terry is also the writer/director of a lot of other major films, many of which have gone on to become cult-classics. His most notable works include Brazil, The Fisher King, Bruce Willis’ pandemic hit 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

At the time Terry Gilliam was brought in to mentor Quentin Tarantino, he was at the height of his career.

“This is like 90… 91. That was really Terry Gilliam at the height of his visionary reputation,” Quentin said. “And he really liked the script for Resviour Dogs [the film Quentin brought into the program]. He thought it was really cool. So, he was really invigorated with the idea of helping me on the project.”

The Best Advice Quentin Has Ever Received

Quentin hadn’t really ever made a movie before. At least, not one of this caliber. And he had all of these ideas that he just couldn’t quite figure out how to execute upon. But, as Quentin said in the interview, all of that is just theory until you actually try and do it.

Because of this, Quentin recalled a conversation with Terry where he asked him about the specific visions he has for each of his movies. They are incredibly specific, after all. Quentin admitted to Terry that he knew he had a vision in his head but was totally unsure of whether or not he was able to capture it cinematically.

“He literally gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. He took something that I was turning into a shamanistic, mystical, conjuring up experience and made it practical. He said, ‘Well, Quentin, you don’t really have to conjure up your vision. You just have to know what your vision is. And then you have to hire really talented people and it’s their job to create your vision. It’s their job. You don’t need to know how to grab the light stands and create this kind of lighting effect. You don’t have to know how this fabric goes with that wall or anything. You just need to understand your vision and you need to articulate it. If you hire the right costume designer, you hire the right production designer, you hire the right cinematographer, the props, everything like that… You hire the right people who get what you’re trying to do and then you just explain it.'”

This piece of advice sunk into Quentin’s head immediately and things started to make a lot more sense to him. After all, he had an incredible vision for his first movie, as he has for all of his films. The specificity of his movies is why so many adore them. And terry’s great advice allowed him the courage to share that vision with people who could execute on it better than he could.

“All those fears and worries I had leading up to that time just kind of went away. Because I knew I could do that.”

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