10 Movie Writing Tips Inspired By Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Embark on a storytelling journey with Quentin Tarantino.
I have this fantasy that when Quentin Tarantino retires from directing, he will use part of his free time to become a film teacher. But I’m not sure that will happen, so I guess I’ll have to settle for these compilation videos where people round up all the advice Tarantino has ever given on writing. In this article, we will focus specifically on Inglourious Basterdsand how this film is really perfect to learn as a writer.
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10 Movie Writing Tips Inspired by Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds
1. Consider lots of different ideas before committing to a project. It’s like falling in love. You flirt and date a lot of different people, but then you meet the right one.
You always have lots of ideas. Big ones, small ones, and probably a variety of genres. But the ones you love – love so much it would kill you to see someone else write them – those are the ones you should commit to writing.
2. If you’ve written something and it doesn’t work for some reason, put it aside for a while. When you come back to it, take the best moments and write a new story.
I’m a big proponent of putting ideas aside for a bit. Sometimes, with age and new life experiences, you can break that specification that never quite came together for you. And sometimes you can extract scenes and cannibalize them for other ideas.
3. Think long and hard before deciding to write a TV series or a movie. Seeing his script come to life in a movie theater remains a unique experience.
There’s no real reason to choose TV or movies today, as streaming has started to blur those lines. But each makes different storytelling techniques and decisions. Whatever you choose, invest yourself in it, understanding the work it will take to get a finished product in the end.
4. Make sure your story is plausible. You can invent the rules of the story you want. But once those are set, the story has to be believable. in these rules.
Logic is very important at the center of your film. You build the world and make the rules, but if you break them, you destroy the logic of your story. Set boundaries within the story. Then work in them to amaze us.
5. Let your characters Direct. Discover them as you write them.
This is the process Tarantino used for one of his best characters ever written, Hans Landa. Spend time with your characters. Really get to know them. You need to understand how they perceive the world and what they feel, so that they come across as real.
6. Always keep all the characters you write saved separately in your database. You can always use a full character or part character for another storyline.
I think it’s an ingenious idea. If an idea doesn’t work for the storyline in a script, feel free to open up another idea and see if those people can populate the world. Sometimes you can use mirror images of characters from different scripts. Like Tarantino did with reservoir dogs and pulp Fiction with the Vega brothers.
seven. Create a detailed backstory for the character, but don’t reveal everything to the audience. Let the audience fill in the blanks and create their own movie.
It is extremely important to develop your characters in order to understand their motivations for everything. You don’t have to put everything on screen, but it will come in handy when you cast someone, and they have to embody the role.
8. Think of suspense as a rubber band. As long as the rubber band can stretch, the more suspense there is.
The opening scene in Inglourious Basterds is more suspenseful at 22 minutes than it would be at 8. That’s because we have characters and a situation that keeps us on the edge of our seats. We are thrilled as we agonize when the band will break. Tarantino knows this and pushes him as far as possible.
9. If the scene you write works and continues to hold, and it ends up being 40 pages, you should keep it in the movie.
That’s what Tarantino did with the basement scene in Inglourious Basterds. There are a lot of “rules” in screenwriting and all of them are bullshit. People want scenes to work. They don’t care how long they last or how many characters they contain. They want to be entertained. Never fear that.
10. Always try to surprise yourself with your writing. The best way to keep your writing fresh is to always start at square one, as if it were your first script.
Challenge yourself. If you manage to write one thing, try something else. Always hone and sharpen your skills. Make yourself work for it. The best ideas and scenes come from wrestling. They come from you striving to be your best. Don’t back down.
EXTRA TIP – It’s hard work to go to that blank sheet of paper and start from scratch every time. But it’s more rewarding to write your own films. It’s the only way to keep your voice.
Your only goal should be for the reader to never put down the script. Use your voice to entertain and clarify the story for them. Make sure your beats keep people interested and hooked on the storylines. Offer something exciting that looks like it could change or attract people at every turn.
Now go write!