Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt on the set of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

Okay, fine: Quentin Tarantino wrote, directed and produced Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. But if you’re an aspiring moviemaker, you may not want to emulate him.

It can be tempting for moviemakers — especially aspiring moviemakers — to wear too many hats. But that doesn’t mean they should, says Beth Barrett, artistic director of the Seattle International Film Festival.

Barrett spoke at a MovieMaker-moderated Slamdance Film Festival panel on how filmmakers can break into film festivals, and said one red flag for festival gatekeepers is when a filmmaker has too many credits on the same film.

Also Read: Slandance Panelists Tell You How to Avoid 8 Film Festival Red Flags

“If we see that the director, the screenwriter, the producer and the editor are the same person — those are four different people with four different drives toward a film,” Barrett said.

She provided an example involving a crane.

“You have this $20,000 crane shot, right? Which is amazing. The director’s like, ‘This is entirely my vision.’ The screenwriter’s like, ‘This is not even in my script.’ The producer’s like, ‘I paid $20,000 for that crane.’ And the editor’s like, ‘Yeah, that doesn’t belong.’ Now if all four of those people are four different people, you can have a conversation about that $20,000 crane shot.”

But if the same person wears all four hats, she said, the crane shot will likely stay in the film — whether it belongs there or not.

Everyone needs an editor. On Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Tarantino had Fred Raskin. It can seem cheaper, in the short run, to do everything yourself. But as Barrett’s crane example illustrates, too much DIY can ultimately be costly to your film.

We broke Barrett’s great advice out of a much-longer write-up of the Slamdance panel, which you can read here.