How to Direct Like Quentin Tarantino

As still photography cameras and motion cameras continue to merge with technology, so have, to an extent, the expectations of our profession. No better way to prepare yourself for the future than to learn from the masters.

In this video from StudioBinder, we get a step-by-step look at how one of the masters of filmmaking, Quentin Tarantino, approaches his directorial choices to create one of the more memorable directing careers in Hollywood history. Love him or hate him, the man has made an impact on the art form.

So, before (or just after) seeing his latest effort, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” have a look at this dissection to learn more about the thought process behind the memorable scenes in films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill,” and “Jackie Brown.”

While no artist can truly be captured in a straightforward, A plus B equals C manner, the video points out that Tarantino’s approach centers around seven key areas; story, production design, color, cinematography, editing, sound design, and music. And while Tarantino is a master of moving pictures, many of the lessons taught here are equally appropriate for approaching both motion and still projects.

For instance, building audience expectations, leading to complacency, then doing an abrupt about-face within a scene can lend your storytelling an air of unpredictability. Bold production design and art direction choices can add visual contrast but also tell us about the characters that inhabit the scenes. Color choice can determine emotional resonance. Cinematography can put you not only in the physical world but the emotional headspace of the characters. Editing can enhance suspense or pulsate with action while sound design can heighten our reactions. And music can tie it all together giving a driving rhythm to a scene or playing against our expectations.

Give the video a watch when you have a moment. Whether you lean in Tarantino’s direction or go the other way, the framework will help you know what you should consider next time you switch your camera from still to motion.

Christopher Malcolm's picture

Christopher Malcolm is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle, fitness, and advertising photographer, director, and cinematographer shooting for clients such as Nike, lululemon, ASICS, and Verizon.

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I am (was) a big fan of Tarantino, but actually I would prefer to direct as Guillermo Del Toro…

yes, watch the video and in 21 minutes you will be directing like Quentin Terantino

Just stay stoned as you create