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Still from "Pulp Fiction"
Still from "Pulp Fiction"via

The Quentin Tarantino formula for success

Blood baths, eerily uplifting music and buried cameos – here’s a step-by-step guide to Tarantino’s repeated triumphs

With his eighth film The Hateful Eight coming soon, it’s clear that Quentin Tarantino is ruling from the top of the cinematic food chain. Or at least, he was – until he was strong-armed by Disney to find another cinema to show it in. In an interview with Howard Stern, the director fired shots at Disney, accusing them of running Star Wars: The Force Awakens – “the biggest movie in the world” as he put it – for an extended period at LA’s Cinerama Dome, consequently squeezing out The Hateful Eight.

He’s telling anyone who’ll listen of the injustice, but Tarantino refuses to take no for an answer. He’s got a tried-and-tested formula for cinematic success. Do you want to achieve the same level of silver screen domination? Of course you do. Follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll be well on your way to creating one of the most influential bodies of work to surface in the last quarter century.


Or find a find a really, really well stocked craft shop. Either or, just so long as you’ve got enough of the red stuff that you can swim in it. Like, tonnes of it. Sound effects are also important here. You want to hear guts hitting walls, ears being hacked off and the peeling of scalps. Combine these noises with eerily uplifting music (“Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel seems to work particularly well) and you’re onto a winner.


Don’t churn out films willy-nilly. A gap of about three years between each one seems to be the perfect average, giving you plenty of time to drum up momentum before each release and keep punters sniffing your trail like hounds. You can also lure in viewers with teasers and trailers. If, God forbid, a script gets leaked, you can put a positive spin on this by snatching it away from the public and refuse to turn it into a film. Then, just as public disappointment sets in, change your mind and announce that you will make it into a film. And since you already had a head start with the script, you are free to sit back and watch people fall into a frenzy.


And make them believable. Write the most eccentric, evil, enticing, spine-tingling, heart-wrenching characters you could possibly come up with and bring them to life. Calvin Candie? He’s malicious in a blood-curdling way, but you kind of love him. Or how about Uma Thurman’s The Bride? She’s essentially a ruthless assassin, but we’re rooting for her at every beheading. You need these characters to be so recognisable and so iconic that there are theme nights dedicated to your portfolio of work. Tarantino doesn’t do vanilla – and neither should you.


This one goes in hand with step three. Try and hunt for some under-the-radar actors that most wouldn’t consider. Tarantino is known for hand-picking the best person for the job – including the unusual yet equally perfect casting of John Travolta in Pulp Fiction – as well as catapulting acting gems such as Christoph Waltz into the limelight, the decision to cast Waltz in Inglorious Basterds being his proudest yet. Once you’ve built this pool of talent, feel free to dip back into it for your other films. Samuel L. Jackson is reportedly happy to lend a helping hand, having featured in six out of Tarantino’s eight films.


Failing that, star in the movies yourself. Tarantino’s first appearance came in his debut Reservoir Dogs, but he still makes cameos in nearly all of his films – I guess to save a few pennies after forking out for DiCaprio. If you’re feeling really creative, make your cameos more obscure and plant them in your films like Pixar Easter Eggs. The DIY approach extends to promotion too. For the full Tarantino effect, your personality needs to be so incredibly OTT that anything you say makes viewers want to go and see what you’re ranting about this time. In fact, you’ll be so exuberant that you could be a character in one of your own films. That’s a Tarantino movie we’re waiting to see.