Quentin Tarantino knew he'd make it as a director after dinner with his 'Reservoir Dogs' cast.
The 54-year-old filmmaker's happiest moment of his life came when he joined the would-be stars of his film, which included Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen, for a meal at the home of producer-and-actor Harvey Keitel - who portrayed Mr. White in the crime thriller - and realised how well they had taken to the script he wrote.
He recalled: "I got in my car to drive from Malibu to Glendale down Sunset Boulevard, and that was the happiest moment in my life.
"I knew this was going to work out -- making movies in general, not just 'Reservoir Dogs'."
Tarantino had been a big fan of Keitel for some years and was desperate to get him involved in his film, which he did by passing the script through producer Lawrence Bender's acting teacher, whose wife knew the star.
Speaking at a 25th anniversary screening of the film at the Tribeca film festival, he said: "It worked. The next thing we knew, Harvey was leaving a message saying, 'I read the script, I love it, I'd even love to produce it to get it going. Give me a call back.'
"It was an amazing experience and I think we danced around. That was the beginning of the beginning."
While he's very proud of his solo debut, the acclaimed filmmaker admits there are things he'd change about the film if he could go back in time.
He said: "There are so many things about this movie where I didn't know anything. If I could do it all again, I'd do it slightly differently."
On the first press tour of the film, Tarantino took to counting how many people walked out of the gory screening, with 33 leaving during one showing.
And though only five left the Sitges Film Festival viewing midway through, the director found it hilarious that he managed to disgust 'Nightmare On Elm Street' filmmaker Wes Craven.
He said: "Wes Craven walked out of my movie. The guy who did 'Last House on the Left' walked out of my movie! I guess it was too tough for him."