chris pratt

The Judo of Quentin Tarantino

by Christopher S. Pratt




noun: judo, In short, resisting a more powerful opponent will result in your defeat, whilst adjusting to and evading your opponent’s attack will cause him to lose his balance, his power will be reduced, and you will defeat him. This can apply whatever the relative values of power, thus making it possible for weaker opponents to beat significantly stronger ones. This is the theory of ju yoku go o seize.


Robert Rodriguez’s show Director’s Chair features compelling storytelling and solid interviews. The Season 1, Episode 2 - Quentin Tarantino is a must see. At 21:00 QT tells a story about the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack:

“We spent our entire music budget on the rights to Stuck in the Middle With You… but we got the idea that if maybe we got a record deal, that record deal would pay for the rest of the songs. We actually had one guy who was stringing us along, it never came through, but he gave us enough confidence for this idea by stringing us along that we went forward with it. I don’t think we would have gone forward if we didn’t have someone lying to us, but then we were committed, we actually made it happen.”

This is awesome.

This speaks to me.

How often are we strung along by a producer, studio, actor, whomever. Someone telling us they have the ___________. Money, connections, power, relationships, etc. This is Tarantino’s Judo. He uses the momentum of his enemy, in this case the BS record guy, to put forth the effort, to do the work. Fantastic.

The hardest thing to explain to non-professional writers is that none of it is for them. Every bit of the work is for you. YOU need that record deal, just like you need to learn how PIXAR structures character arc. YOU need to believe it can be done, in order to do it. The scumbag, liar, bullshit artist stringing you along is an essential part of your Judo. Don’t hate the obstacle, embrace it. Use it. Become empowered by the opposition.


Marcus Aurelius. His book Meditations is free. Find it, read it, let it wash over you. Ask yourself how this opposition, this obstacle, is actually the way.

Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way is a great distillation of his theory. Very effective. Steven Pressfield is equally powerful.

Channel Tarantino’s Judo. No work is wasted. Find the poetry in the opposition. Do the work. Get that record deal.