If there’s one thing that immediately hits the viewer when watching a Quentin Tarantino film, it’s that music is extremely crucial to the atmosphere and narrative of his work. In an interview with Contact Music, Tarantino spoke about his writing process and how music plays a large role in the way he works. The quote is too good to chop up, so brace yourself for a novel-length explanation, below. While you’re here, check out this supercut of Tarantino music scenes, featuring the extremely danceable Pulp Fiction, Death Proof and more.
Music is very important in my movies. In some ways the most important stage, whether it ends up being in the movie or not, is when I come up with the idea itself, before I've actually sat down and started writing. I go into my record room - I have a big vinyl collection and I have a room set up like a used record store - and I just dive into my music, whether it be rock music or lyric music or my soundtrack collection. What I'm looking for is the spirit of the movie, the beat that the movie will play with. And part of that is to immediately jump to the screening process, because when I find the right piece of music with the right cinematic set piece, it's usually big s**t like the opening credits.
I can actually visualise myself sitting in a movie theatre and watching it on screen. The images are provided by my imagination, but the music is right there and I'm cranking it! And all through the writing process I'm always going back there to invigorate myself, to remind myself what it is I'm doing, and keep remembering that it's not just words on the page. Because I'm a very precious writer and I can get caught up in that, so I have to remind myself that I'm making a movie. And that process continues to go on during the shooting. And then the third wave is when I'm editing. Sometimes there's a big moment that I've had in my mind forever, but now it's just not right when you put the music against the images. So you find something else, and, 'Oh my God, that's so wonderful, I can't believe I ever was in love with that other thing!' But what's interesting in the editing process is that it's less about the big moments, and now I'm thinking more minutiae. And that becomes really fun, looking for these small moments, these small cues from some obscure soundtrack.
[Spotted via The Playlist]
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