Seth Gecko said, "That all failed, but he got lucky on Keitel reading and loving the Reservoir Dogs script…plus he sold his script for True Romance."
I understand what you’re saying. Luck is always a factor in anyone’s success. But let’s not forget that when Quentin wrote Reservoir Dogs, he was already a working writer. Much of it was uncredited, and he made peanuts, but he was already in circulation in the business. That is the result of ability more than luck, and Quentin honed his craft by toiling away at his required amount of crappy writing.
Exoskeletor, if you’re looking for someone to tell you how to be as good as Quentin Tarantino, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. QT is an extremely talented writer with an extensive knowledge of his medium. And he’s a genius.
You can start, like I said, with knowledge. Study. Sorry, you can’t get around it. I’m a professional writer/director working in L.A., and I can’t think of a single (working) writer or director who hasn’t dedicated a large percentage of his life to study. I’ve seen thousands of movies, read lots of fiction, and read a ton of screenplays. It’s a lifestyle career. It’s lonely, it’s risky, it’s thankless, and it’s necessary.
If you are going to make it as a writer and you’re asking “how do I get my work out there?” it’s a good indication you should stop talking about it, sit your ass down, and write. Otherwise you’d be sending your script to anybody who would read it. I honestly have enough connections (as do most people in L.A.) to get a good script in the right hands. That’s the easy part. Writing something worth reading is hard.
It should go without saying that, yes, if you want to write for the movies, you’ll be writing screenplays. That doesn’t mean you have to write in the format, but eventually you’ll have to deliver a screenplay. But again, formatting your script is the easy part.
Your last question is the only one that should matter to you, and it’s the hardest one to answer. How do you know if you’ve got a good idea? Unfortunately, there’s no litmus test for scenarios. What most writers do is go with their instincts. But you also need feedback. It really is the quickest way to build GOOD instincts. Most people start with friends and family. They’re usually easy to please. If you have finished material and want more accurate feedback, then find a pro you can trust. Don’t waste peoples’ time, though. Get your work to a finished enough state that you can accept criticism without having to make excuses. Focus on getting good, listen to feedback, don’t lie to yourself, and always, always practice.
P.S.: I’m not quite as optimistic as Seth_Gecko about people making it as professionals. I’ve seen too many people with heart and drive but no ability. Sometimes they go into other areas, like producing or managing. Bottom line: you won’t know any of this until you start WORKING at your craft. Nobody should have to tell you that. You should be doing already. You should be doing it right now.