Quentin Tarantino is a famously spiky interviewee, but on stage at the Adobe Max conference in San Diego he was restrained and coherent. He gave his thoughts on how filmmaking has changed due to low-cost equipment making it possible for almost anyone to make a movie – even on an iPhone – and the likes of Amazon, Vimeo and YouTube making it easy to get in front of a potential audience.
Overall he see this as a good thing.
"There is a downside that's dwarfed by the upside – people other than rich white men can make moves," he says. "A kid in the projects can make a version of 400 Blows [that reflects their real life]."
However, the 'democratisation of filmmaking' also means that it's easy for those without talent to produce films that no-one should ever be forced to watch. The traditional film business process at least acted as a filtering out process for this rubbish.
"Not every movie needs to made, should be made," says Tarantino. He referenced his own first film here – the unreleased My Best Friend's Birthday – which acted as a learn-by-doing version of a film school for the writer/director. "It needed to be made to teach me how to make a movie. No-one needs to see the fucking thing."
Another downside to people celebrating micro-budget filmmaking is that a lo-fi look has become something to aspire to – as some think of it as being more authentic than considered cinematography, controlled lighting and audible dialog.
"Craftlessness is not only being accepted, but encouraged," he complains. "I don't know how much visual quality is important to young filmmakers. They've been too influenced by Dogmé and mumblecore."
Again, he contrasts this with his own early experiences with directing films, where no matter how low the budget he still wanted them to have a visual style on a par with Hollywood.
Tarantino is currently working on a film-criticism-based project about the year 1970 – the year of M*A*S*H, Catch 22 and Beyond The Valley of the Dolls. He says that he's still working on the format for it – it could be anything from a book to a TV or YouTube series or even a five-to-six-part podcast.
He also confirmed current rumours that he will retire from directing after making two more movies, which will bring his total up to 10.