My Best Friend's Birthday is a black and white amateur film written by Craig Hamann and Quentin Tarantino and directed by Quentin Tarantino, while he was working at the now shuttered Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, California. The project started in 1984, when Hamann wrote a short 30-40 page script about a young man who continually tries to do something nice for his friend's birthday, only to have his efforts backfire.
Tarantino became attached to the project as co-writer and director, and he and Hamann expanded the short script into an 80 page script. On an estimated budget of $5,000, they shot the film on 16mm over the course of the next four years. Hamann and Tarantino starred in the film, along with several video store and acting class buddies, and worked on the crew, which included fellow Video Archives employees Rand Vossler and Roger Avary. It is the most overtly comedic film that Tarantino has made. In an interview with Charlie Rose (available on the Region 1, Collector's Edition DVD), he referred to it as a "[Dean] Martin and [Jerry] Lewis kind of thing."
The original cut was about 70 minutes long but due to a fire only 36 minutes of the film survived. The 36 minute cut has been shown at several film festivals. It has never been officially released. Several actors in this film later appeared in Tarantino's other films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill.
Tarantino has referred to this film as his "film school". Although the film was by his own admission very poorly directed, the experience gained from the film helped him in directing future films.