Quentin Tarantino will fire you if you don’t bring your own pen to work

Did everyone read the Vanity Fair article about the “making of” Pulp Fiction in this year’s Hollywood Issue? It was fascinating and a really great read – go here to read it online. What struck me was that Quentin Tarantino is an incredibly disorganized genius. In his mind, he’s worked out all of the stories he wants to tell and how he wants to tell the story and he’s probably figured out all of the shots too. But putting all of that on paper is some kind of Sisyphean task for Quentin. So that makes this Page Six story really crazy.

First, some backstory. Yesterday, Page Six had a random quote from Diane Kruger, taking about Quentin. She said: “He fired someone who showed up for rehearsal without a pen, so you can see the level of intensity.” So Page Six got in touch with Quentin, and this is his reaction to her quote:

Quentin Tarantino — who wrote the line, “I’m gonna get medieval on your ass” — has no patience for unprepared actors.

After our report that “Inglourious Basterds” star Diane Kruger saw the director fire a hapless thespian for not bringing a pen to rehearsal, Tarantino told Page Six, “I’m not really sure what she’s referring to . . . However, any actor who shows up at rehearsal without a pen to make notes in their script isn’t professional enough to either be in my movie or worthy enough to be trusted with one of my characters.”

He added, “That’s actually part of rehearsal: to test the actors, and if they’re not up to snuff, get rid of them. That’s my job, making sure I’ve picked the right people.” Actors, you’ve been warned.

[From Page Six]

Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a cup of pens waiting on a table during rehearsals? I’m a pretty prepared person, but even I have been caught without a pen occasionally. It happens! That’s when you ask to borrow one or just take mental notes. I can’t imagine being FIRED for not having a pen.

PS… I wonder if QT has ever fired anyone for not having a pedicure. I’m seriously asking.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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38 Responses to “Quentin Tarantino will fire you if you don’t bring your own pen to work”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    I actually was not going to read the article or comment. But I laughed out loud at that title.

    now I’ll read the article.

    all of this added to the chuckle.. Thanks.

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a cup of pens waiting on a table during rehearsals? I’m a pretty prepared person, but even I have been caught without a pen occasionally. It happens! That’s when you ask to borrow one or just take mental notes. I can’t imagine being FIRED for not having a pen.

    I love this video of Brad Pitt honoring Quentin.. Very funny..


    • wiffie says:

      And someone would have to take the time to make sure to go buy pens. Make the actors do it. Waitressing, if you show up without pens, you’re sent home. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just make sure to bring a pen. No biggie.

    • Lucinda says:

      Funny video!

  2. Pamela says:

    ” However, any actor who shows up at rehearsal without a pen to make notes in their script isn’t professional enough to either be in my movie or worthy enough to be trusted with one of my characters”

    I can’t help but agree with him here. We also don’t know if they were pre-warned to bring pens. Maybe that was in their contract and now he knows they didn’t bother reading it.

    • j.eyre says:

      I sort of agree with this as well. Like the waitress example above, even with computers today, a waiter/waitress without a pen is unprepared. When I worked in planning, we would cite people who did not have a watch/timepiece.

      But it does beg the question – let’s say you are running late, dealing with traffic in LA and realize you forgot a pen. Do you turn around and show up late to rehearsal or do you show up and pray someone has an extra?

      • T.fanty says:

        If you pack your script, the pen from note-taking should be somewhere in the vicinity. Also, in my experience lateness to an important work event and forgetting the necessary instruments usually go hand in hand.

        Anyway, it just strikes me: wasn’t this Orson Welles’ old trick to keep people on their toes?

      • BreeinSEA says:

        Agreed! Plus he knows what he wants and if the actors respected his work they should be prepared. Its like Einstein had a hard time deciphering his own equations and had to have a math expert write them out for him. I couldn’t imagine trying to remember what quentin might say without writing it down.

  3. stellalovejoydiver says:

    I think the pen might have just been the last straw.
    The actor was prob unprofessional, unattentive and didn´t bring a pen and Quentin just went off in a rant and the pen thing stuck with Diane.

    • Tulip says:

      I think you’re right. Because if there was no other provocation, he’s a complete jerk who shouldn’t be a boss, no matter what he’s done in the past. If a boss can’t be respectful, the whole place soon turns to crap.

  4. Micki says:

    “I’m gonna get medieval on your ass” — I love it and borrow it from now on.

    On other note-every boss has his quirks and ideas of what “prepared” is.
    If I don’t like it I leave.
    But for me it sounds more like the last straw

  5. Kimble says:

    His movie, his rules!

  6. Colu says:

    QT is my Karl L. and his movies are my Choupette. This makes me love him more!

  7. BW says:

    My husband is a college professor and he’s amazed at the number of students who show up to class without a pen or pencil. They don’t take notes. They don’t even bring a pen or pencil on the day of the test. If I was a boss and held a meeting and a worker didn’t bring a pen or pencil to a meeting to take notes, I’d fire them, too. Not for that, but because I’d check to see if they did the work I’d assigned, and I bet it didn’t match the instructions I gave because they didn’t write them down. I don’t see how being an actor is any different. You would need to take notes, even if it was just to write your name on your copy of the script. It’s just a marker of deeper laziness, so I get it.

    • Konspiracytheory says:

      This! I teach on the college level as well, and I am constantly dealing with students who can’t be bothered to bring a pen, pencil, etc. to class. My favorites are the ones who roll in late to a test and then start trying to borrow a pen – ugh.

  8. Bonjourmiette says:

    G-d maybe he’s related to my Jr High English teacher, she sent a kid to the assistant principals’ office because he didn’t have a pen (actually a second pen, because the one he had ran out of ink and he only had 2 pencils. ) And this was a kid so neurotic about his jr high GPA that he had a 99.6% average in German and asked for extra credit.

    • Nina W says:

      That’s just being a bitch, if the kid has one pen and two pencils, he deserves some slack.

  9. Jennykins says:

    And the dude who borrowed the last pen, just minutes before, sat quietly, not making eye contact with anyone.

  10. FirstTimer says:

    No sleeping on his set either so yeah, he’s a mad genius.

  11. judyjudy says:

    I guess he’ll never hire Lohan.

    Not that I thought he would….

  12. Maria says:

    on ther other hand thats a tool for the actor in rehearsals and i would agree that its unprofessional. firing is too much though if it only happens once.

  13. Tiffany says:

    I was a receptionist who had to accept applications. If they were not prepared, no pen, incomplete app such as not proper name or phone number for references, I was told to toss it. So yeah, I am not going to throw shade.

  14. backwards says:

    I have seen people been thrown out of my work meetings for not turning up with a pen or paper!

  15. Patricia says:

    When I taught high school I gave a grade of zero if a student showed up to take a test without a pen. I would not hand them out and no borrowing was allowed. I td them there was no excuse for being that unprepared. Of course they got to make up the test – but only during their free time. It worked and suddenly everyone had a pen when they knew it was test day.

    I could see doing this. Life is full of consequences. Get used to it.

  16. pwal says:

    Makes sense.

    It’s like that when going on job interviews too, not so much about having pens for taking notes, but having questions prepared that illustrate that the applicant is sincerely interested in the company versus just getting the gig just for the paycheck.

    • Jag says:

      Just curious as to why someone has to really care about the company, rather than just wanting a paycheck? If they come in, do their job, and are good employees, who cares if it’s just about the money? I look for pay rate, company stability, and whether the job is something that I’d want to do full time. I truly don’t care about the nuances of the company past that. (And in every place that I’ve worked which had awards for excellence, I’ve won some for doing a good job. The only reason I’m unemployed right now is because I’m disabled at the moment, and the last job I had was one I intended to have until retirement.) 🙂

  17. T.fanty says:

    I don’t know why, but this story makes me incredibly happy. Never change, QT.

    And he is completely right. If Tarantino offers you a job, you need to turn up ready and prepared to work. It is indicative of attitude.

  18. Madpoe says:

    What if I only had a pencil?
    Am I still fired? 🙂

    • Nina W says:

      It’s arbitrary and douchey to me. If you’re a teacher, I get the pen rule. If you’re a director, working with creative, artistic and sometimes disorganized people it’s a level of random bitchiness that could easily be avoided. Hello Mr Ego., you aren’t Orson Welles and he was obnoxious too. Get over yourself.

  19. siobhan says:

    I always carry 2 pens (blue and black) and 2 sharpies (red and black) at all times. I don’t understand how anyone shows up to work or school without anything to write with.

  20. ReignbowGirl says:

    I completely understand where he’s coming from. I’ve interviewed candidates for positions who arrived to the interview without a pen or a copy of the CV and, despite what their CV stated, they did not know the software required or even how to compose a letter, much less use correct grammar, the litmus test in the business world. Anyone who showed up without a pen in order to complete the written portion of the interview didn’t go through to the rest of it. Time is money, so why waste anymore time on people who can’t be bothered to be prepared?

  21. apsutter says:

    Actors BEG to be part of his movies so I actually think he’s in the right here. He has his pick of all of Hollywood but if I were him I’d probably do something similar to see just how prepared and serious the actor is about the film. His films are QT’s life so I totally understand why he takes them so seriously.

  22. TheOriginalWaffle says:

    It reminds me of the “green M&M rider” situation. Do you pay attention to details or not? It’s a legitimate skill you want your workers/students/whatever to have.

  23. Ginger says:

    UGH! I think I’m one of the few who can’t stand QT. His foot fetish is gross. He is gross…however, I do occasionally enjoy a few of his films, others I just find tedious. I loved Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds. As much as I adore Lucy Liu, I hated Kill Bill. Since he likes to be in his films, I always pray that it’s a short part.

  24. JemsOrida says:

    Like he’d fire Brad Pitt for not bringing a pen.

    • Nina W says:

      Steaming pile of BS. If he is so arrogant as to do this, he doesn’t deserve to work in Hollywood. Good actors are creative people and are exactly the types to forget pens. Get over yourself QT.

  25. Amberica says:

    I do after school drama club with 3rd-5th graders, and my rules are pretty much the same. Obviously, they’re not fired, but if they come to rehearsal unprepared, they call their ride and go home till they can come prepared. I think it’s fair to ask the same from professionals.