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Write Vault: Protect Your Creativity

Protect Your Creativity

Write Vault: Protect Your Creativity

Protect Your Creativity

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A Memory from The Pulp Fiction Cast and Crew Screening by David Bartlett

October 3, 2014 by editor
Category: Dave's Corner, Guest Writers & Artists

In the film industry, there are numerous forces trying to interrupt your flow and cram your work into the grinder that spits out money without pause for the art itself.

David Bartlett, a sound editor for Pulp Fiction, relays the story of how Quentin Tarantino put a pause on that machine for a brief moment to let his crew know he appreciated their time and passion to help his film become a reality.

by David Bartlett

I was a sound effects editor on Pulp Fiction. Among other things, I edited the sounds for Zed’s chopper, Wolf’s car and all the gun cocking in the trunk scene. To make the vehicles more organic and emotional I put the sound of a pit bull growling with the Harley sound of Zed’s chopper, and lion roars when it revvs. For Wolf’s car I put the sound of a Porsche racing car processed with electronic sound processing tools and layered it with the sound of a jet engine flying away reversed so it come in when the car drove up to the camera in extreme closeup and stopped. For the engine shut off sound I added a camel bellow.

I worked with Quentin Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender in the sound editing room  and also on the dubbing stage. It was a very enjoyable experience and quite entertaining. Lawrence was a fairly calm, quiet person and Quentin highly animated, as you can imagine, and they were quite a team. Cast an crew screenings are usually the best time to see the film, as everyone there either worked on the film or is a guest of someone who did, so they are very excited to see their work. The post production crew are the only ones to have seen the film, so some of the crew have not see it in any form for many months.

The screening room at Disney seats about 800 people and the house was packed. The film had been to Cannes and won the Palm ‘dOr, the highest prize, and we were all very hyped. Lawrence came down and introduced himself as the producer, which got a big laugh. Then he thanked everyone who came and said “the director wants to say a few things, and, he is a little shy,…” which got another laugh, and before he could finish Quentin came tearing down the aisle full speed holding a small wooden box.

The audience cheered and Quentin started talking fast in his high energy manner.  He said: ” I gotta tell you all something. The studio wanted to have press screenings and a premiere of the film and I said No! The cast and crew have to see it first. So I want to tell you all, this is YOUR film. And this is for YOU!” And held up the little box and opened it and in it was the Palm ‘dor medal. The audience went crazy. He said: “Thank you! Roll it!” and they played Pulp Fiction for the first time.

In over 34 years of filmmaking this is still one of the single most exhilarating experiences I have ever had.

David Bartlett is a veteran Holywood filmmaker with over 100 feature film credits including Pulp Fiction, Total Recall and Speed. He has made his own films and has won awards in dozens of festivals around the world including Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, AFI and many others. He is also a filmmaking teacher, and specializes in screenwriting, having taught at many schools such as AFI and the New York Film Academy, as well as 5 years at the Screenwriting Expo.

In 2011 and 2012 he volunteered shooting films Youth For Human Rights on two world tours and visited 17 developing countries. After witnessing the plight of the orphans of the world, he founded the charity Orphans In The Storm in order to provide food and human rights education to the 152 million orphans in the world. Visit them at, and see David’s personal history at

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