Quentin Tarantino is considered be one of the most prestigious filmmakers of modern times, yet this highly successful director never attended film school. While schools like USC and NYU boast the merits of their programs through the successes of George Lucas, Steven Speilberg and Francis Ford Coppola, no such school can be credited for honing the inborn directorial talents of Tarantino. What greatly contributed to Tarantino’s success, in lieu of film school, was his obsession with movies, his job at a local video rental store in Torrance, CA, and friends and family willing to fund his first directorial efforts.
Through a combination of the right effort and being in the right place at the right time, Tarantino began his career with the intentions of acting. His first notable success came when he penned the Tony Scott directed True Romance, which was released the year after the film that landed him the road to fame, Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino went on to direct Pulp Fiction the same year another of his screenplays would hit the big screen, this one directed by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers.
How Tarantino went on to become one of the industry’s shinning example of excellent storytelling might seem a mystery. Yet Tarantino put himself through the rigors of a film school program on his own, and wasted quite a bit of his parent’s money doing so. He had the fortunate circumstances of living in Los Angeles, attended well known acting workshops and was able to make friends with industry up and comings, as well as insiders. What compels industry big wigs like Harvey Weinstein and Lawrence Bender to back his projects is the way Tarantino infuses his classical film influences into an exciting visual narrative.
The majority of aspiring directors don’t have the luck or obsessive drive Tarantino seems born with to become great directors, and there are many more jobs than the director’s chair that makes a film work. Movie making is essentially a team effort, though directors tend to get all the credit. If your heart is set on working in the film industry, your best bet is in attending film school. It is here you will find the resources, inspiration and future team members you’ll need to become a top-notch director. After all, in our age of online-movie access, where are you going to find a video rental store to work at?
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