Between the years 1984 and 1987, Quentin Tarantino co-wrote (with Craig Hamann), directed (in his first ever directorial role) and starred in a black and white film titled My Best Friend's Birthday. It was created while Tarantino was working at the now shuttered Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, California.
The project began as a 30-40 page script written by Hamann. The plot involved a man trying to do something nice on his best friend's birthday, only to have his efforts backfire on him. After Tarantino became attached to the project, he and Hamann extended the script to 80 pages in length, and, on a budget of $5000, shot the film on 16mm reels over the next few years.
The completed cut ran for 70 minutes, however before it was ever released, it was destroyed in a fire at the processing lab, with only 36 minutes of the film surviving. The surviving 36 minutes has been shown at several film festivals, though has never received an official release (despite this, however, bootleg copies have surfaced). Quentin Tarantino has himself admitted the the direction of the film was not great, and refers to the project as his "film school", as he gained experience over the production over the film that would later him direct his future works. The plot of the film was later adapted into the 1993 film True Romance, for which Tarantino wrote the screenplay.