Monday, January 14, 2013

Quentin Tarantino's Speech and the Creative Process

I'm not much for award shows. I get a little tired of Hollywood patting themselves on the back.

However, I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. A pair of funnier ladies is hard to find. Given that, I did watch a little bit of the 70th Annual Golden Globes last night, mainly while The Good Wife was on commercial breaks (my wife loves that show). From what I saw I came away with three thoughts.

First, Brave shouldn't have won for Animated Feature Film. I love animated movies and I love Pixar but Brave didn't live up to their extremely high standard. It was a good but a little boring and predictable. My vote would have been for ParaNorman.

Second, holy plastic surgery batman! There were a few actresses I didn't even recognize they've had so much work done. Kate Hudson is starting to look an awful lot like Lindsay Lohan (which isn't a good thing) and one gall (who's name is now escaping me, which I realize doesn't help this post) doesn't even look like anyone anymore!

Finally, the last thing that stuck with me and the reason for this post was Quentin Tarantino's acceptance speech for Best Screenplay for his movie Django Unchained. If you haven't seen this movie, it's very good. Don't go see it unless you're prepared for some serious violence and profanity but do go see it. It's funny and sad and action packed and wonderful. The amazing thing about Mr. Tarantino's acceptance speech was the small glimpse he gives into his creative process. Take a look (hint: his speech starts at about 1:12):


He thanks his actors (which is good) and then he goes on to thank a group of friends that he reads scenes to as he writes. Apparently, when he's gone through a scene as many times as he can stand, he then reads the scene to a friend or two. Instead of feedback he simply asks for these people to listen. They are sounding boards. Mr. Tarantino explains that when he reads a scene to a friend he hears it through their ears. For him to take the time to thank this group in front of a live national audience lends weight to how important this step is for him in his creative process.

So here's my question: do you do anything like this?

I've done something similar with my non-fiction. When writing journal articles to be submitted to peer reviewed publications I will sometimes read particularly tricky sections to a colleague in order to see how it flows and to gauge their reaction and level of understanding to the material. But I've never done it for one of my fiction stories. Perhaps I should.

What about you?

11 comments:

  1. I did it with my first novel. I read it for a few people. It worked well. I can't do it anymore with my wip because it's in English and my people doesn't speak English.

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    1. That's a complication I didn't consider. Very interesting.

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  2. I read bits of it out loud. It really does help us realize the flow and see it in a new way. Then I give it to beta readers. Their input is invaluable.

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    1. No doubt. I can't imagine how any writer can achieve success without quality betas.

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  3. I don't read out loud to people, but I do share everything with Critique Partners. It's a somewhat similar process, but what Mr. Tarantino writes will be performed out loud, and what I write will be read by the consumer. It makes sense for him to read aloud, while it makes sense to critique fiction on paper (or on the laptop, whatever). I don't know what I would do without that kind of feedback, but I know I'm as grateful to my CP's as Mr. Tarantino is to his. :)

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    1. I hear what you're saying but I encourage you to at least try reading some of your dialog out loud. I have done a bit of that (despite what it says in the post) and I find it really helps.

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  4. I've never done that, but occasionally I'm asked to read my stuff aloud for my Masters, and I always notices little bits that need changing then. Maybe I should start!

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  5. Oh man! I missed out! Good thing I have your blog to catch up on all the important stuff ;-)

    And I totally read out loud. It really does work.

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    1. But do you read out loud to other people?

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  6. I definitely love my writing group. Each of them brings a different perspective and sees things I've missed in my work. If I succeed (get published), I know it's because of them.

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