A Guide To Postmodernism with Quentin Tarantino

What up ICON Fam and happy Friday! Before you set off for the weekend, we invite you to explore the mindset of some of the greatest filmmakers in history: Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsece, and Christopher Nolan. These three directors are known for more than their talent, but their unmistakable styles. Someone can easily discern one of their films without knowing who directed in advance. So how do they accomplish this impressive feat? Let’s read on and take a look into their attitude towards creating:


APPLY: Deadline March 8WATCH: Miles Toland’s Creative Process
LISTEN: ICON Curates: Wolfgang Gartner on SpotifyTOUROur new campus

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Quentin Tarantino and Post Modernism

Quentin Tarantino’s brand of filmmaking is so well known around the world that “Tarantino-esque” is now an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. With such a unique method on directing, this quote from Tarantino may come as a surprise:

“I steal from every movie ever made.”

How can someone be so celebrated for their originality and steal from other artists at the same time?

Tarantino is a part of an artistic movement known as “postmodernism” which is founded on the idea that nothing is new in art. That everything is recycled. A standard example of postmodern philosophy is sampling in hip hop. Taking pieces of other songs and reconfiguring them into something new. Do you think producers who sample have an original style?

If everything in art is recycled why not try everything in art? By approaching your music from this postmodern perspective, endless possibilities of creation can open up before you. The work of other artists transforms into pure inspiration rather than a limit because you can borrow from it freely. From there, focus on your own preferences and passions and your own style will naturally manifest.

Martin Scorsece – Tips from The Director’s Chair

Over the course of five decades, Martin Scorsece has captivated audiences with his raw explorations of humanity in his films. The Departed, Taxi Driver, Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull are just a few of his movies that have become a standard of American culture. 

How do you think someone accrues so many illustrious credits to their name? The Director’s Chair recently explored some five pillars of Scorsece’s filmmaking:

  1. Use Your Roots – For Scorcese, a huge part of this idea was his hometown or New York City. What aspects of your childhood stand out you? What music did you listen to when you were a kid? These experiences are unique to you.
  1. Characters On The Edge – In any movie, characters are the focal point. Characters are what make viewers invested about what’s happening on the screen. What are the focal points of your music? What aspects of your music will make listeners invested?
  1. Build Authentic Worlds – For the characters’ struggle to be authentic, they must exist in an authentic world. What can you create to support the focal points in your music?
  1. Music In Mind – Fans of Scorsece know that music is a huge influence on his films. What other forms of media do you enjoy? How can they inspire your music?
  1. Direct The Edit – Scorsece doesn’t edit all his films himself, but he works alongside his editors. Creating space for them to express their talent while guiding his vision of the film. Consider this dynamic when working with collaborators.


Christopher Nolan’s Expectations For Batman

Comic book films have redefined the modern film market. Studios see them as guarantees of profit and cultural relevance. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was no different. Plus, Nolan was already an Academy Award nominated writer/director before he was tapped for the trilogy, lending a new level of legitimacy to the genre. 

Yet even with Nolan’s credentials and the trend towards trilogies, he was only set to direct one Batman film initially:

“We went into it not knowing that we were going to make three films. We approached Batman Begins very much as an isolated piece,” Nolan told BAFTA Guru.

This may come as a surprise, but how do you think having a single film mindset affected his creative process? How would that process be different if he were set to make three films from the start?

Making a trilogy isn’t about making the best film possible. It’s about making the best film possible that fits the context of three films. Two very different things. With Batman Begins, Nolan focused on making the best film possible, and was rewarded with two more films. Treat every piece of music as its own original entity. Do the best you can with what’s in front of you and other opportunities will come about.

We hope you can watch these director’s films with more artistic insight! Send this off to a fellow fan if you enjoyed the piece!

About Icon Collective

ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.


Summer 2023

Jun 12

Fall 2023

Sep 11