If you dream of being huge and invincible, if you dream of wrecking cities, if you groove on ugliness, what do you do? You become an animator of course. As an animator you can give free rein to your wildest dreams and more importantly you can give form to the wildest dreams of your audience. This is just what Tim Burton did, and it has made him one of the most successful directors of our times.
FACT 1: As a child Tim loved drawing. He spent most of his time at it and was considered a reclusive child. His talent was first recognised by a local garbage company, when he was a teenager. He won the first prize for an anti-litter poster he designed. The poster was displayed on all their garbage trucks for a year.
FACT 2: He was born in Burbank California, and studied at the California Institute of the Arts. After completing his studies he went to work for Walt Disney. He worked on projects like The Fox and the Hounds. Animation for children was not his style; he preferred a darker, more Gothic flavour in his art.
FACT 3: As Burton’s style was unique, Disney gave him a chance to make his own film. His first film was Vincent (1982). The film’s focus was the famous horror movie actor Vincent Price Jr. As a boy, Burton had been impressed by Prices acting style. The narrator of this short animated film is Price himself. The film was a success and won several awards.
FACT 4: One of the last roles of Price’s career was in Burton’s film Edward Scissorshands (1990)
FACT 5: After the success of his first film Vincent, Burton made a 30 minute live action film Frankenweenie in 1984.The film was based on the story Frankenstein. The film was never released, but it marked the beginning of Burton’s career as a much sought after director.
FACT 6: He went on to direct Paul Rubens in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), his first full length feature film. In 1988 he made a rather pointless but quirky film Beetlejuice. It was a big hit and won top director status for Burton, in Hollywood.
FACT 7: Burton’s biggest box office hit was Batman, shot in 1989. Starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, the film is practically a classic. However though Batman Returns (1992) was a financial success, Warner was not happy and the Batman/Burton relationship ended.
FACT 8: His quirkiness, in real life and in the films he directs, is what draws his fans to him. In 2003 he directed Big Fish, a movie that lacks his usual quirky style and is more conformist. The film was praised by critics but his fans were not happy. They preferred the trademark Burton weirdness.
FACT 9: Burton is a big Bollywood fan. Perhaps it is the delicious evil of the super powerful Bollywood villains that attracts him. Other givens in a Burton film include erring fathers, scarecrows, dead dogs and other weird symbolism. Gothic architecture, medieval castles and churches are usually prominent in his scenery. In contrast his films often start with a quiet snowfall.
FACT 10: In real life he sports long unwashed hair, large glasses and black clothing. He says he can’t be bothered to match colours so he sticks with black.