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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Gilliam’

“It’s not your job to create your vision. It’s your job to have a vision.”
Terry Gilliam

Two of the most unusual moviegoing experience of my life were the works of the same director. The first was when I was in high school and went to see Jabberwocky (not a good first date film) and the second was in my early twenties when I went to a screening on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank of Brazil. Both were the vision of writer/director Terry Gilliam.

Before Quentin Tarantino made his first film he’d seen enough movies to know there was a wide variety of ways movies could look. He particluarly studied low-budget films because he knew if he ever got his chance to make a feature that the budget would be closer Blood Simple than Heaven’s Gate.  He knew what he wanted his films to look like someday, but he didn’t know how to accomplish his vision. Just before he made Reservoir Dogs he was chosen to attend the Sundance Labs in Utah where one of the people he got to work with was the writer/director Terry Gilliam. (And this was at a time when Gilliam was coming off of directing The Fisher King.)

So Tarantino was able to ask Gilliam how he was able to get such a consistent look in his movies.

“Terry you have a direct cinematic vision in your movies. And it goes from movie to movie to movie —how do you do that? And he goes, ‘Quentin maybe because you’ve never been on a film set before maybe you don’t understand how it works so let me explain this to you a little bit. It’s not your job to create your vision. It’s your job to have a vision. And it’s your job to hire talented individuals, to hire talent artists who understand your vision. And you articulate it to them and then they take vision and they create it. . . .  Your vision is still a two-dimensional vision. They will take the different elements of your vision and make it three-dimensional. And then you’ll get back more than you gave them. And then you’ll know more about what you’re talking about. And then the vision will get filled in. You think you have to do everything and you don’t. You don’t need to know anything about sewing to have wonderful costumes in your film, you just need to express what you want to the costume designers. You don’t need a degree in engineering to have wonderful sets in your pieces. You need to be able to describe what you want. You don’t need to know how to take a bunch of different light stands to create a different effect. That’s not your job! You don’t need to know any of that. You need to have a vision, and you need to know how to express it.’”
Quentin Tarantino on meeting Terry Gilliam
UCLA talk in 2016

I hope when the DVD comes out on Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood comes out that it’s full of clips of the behind the scene team at work helping Tarantino realize his vision.

Scott W. Smith

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