Tim Burton is a popular filmmaker, artist, director, writer and producer. He has contributed to and released a total of 39 feature films, 9 shorts films, 5 television shows and 2 music videos. Well-known works include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Coraline and Batman Begins. Burton has a major in animation at the California Institute of Arts and started off working for Walt Disney Studios as an apprentice animator in 1980 (A&E Television, 2016). It was within a year that Burton set out on his own and in 1982 he released the award-winning short film Vincent. However, it was the live-action short, Frankenweenie that impressed Paul Reubens to commission Burton for the comedy Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. This was the start for his successful career.
Tim Burton’s imaginative ways and artistic vision are one of the reasons why I want to go into filmmaking. His films are captivating and entertaining while giving a new spin on classics such as Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His film styles are always so different from most major feature films and they inspire me to also think outside the box. Tim Burton challenges the conventional way of filmmaking through his stories, visual styles, themes and characters. Tim Burton has a range of working methods when creating a project and this can be seen throughout the repetition of themes and ideas. One of these is his use of dark and light as contrast. Scenes are shot in oversaturated or under saturated colour. This can help create a surreal, gothic imagery used to emphasize certain aspects of the movie (G. Perno, 2014). Another method is the portrayal of characters where the audience can easily recognize their motives. An usual (sometimes supernatural) male antagonist and an ambitious female protagonist. This can be seen in films including Corpse Bride, Dark Shadows, Sweeney Todd and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Stop animation is also used throughout a number of his films. In the filmmaking process there was use of a number of physical sets and puppets to shoot each frame. Burton believed stop animation could bring a vivid life to his imagination that 2D animation couldn’t. It was also said that this technique had a ‘crude elegance’ and the articulated movements of the puppet reflected the character’s exposed feelings (Jordan Fogerson, 2012). An example of his stop-motion animation is found below. This clip examines Burton’s work ‘Frankenweenie’:
In a sense his movies re-created the way in which we depict stop-motion. Tim Burton’s work has inspired my field of practice and I hope to produce a film as original and imaginative as his.
A&E television networks, 2016, ‘Tim Burton’, Biography, viewed 15th March 2017
Perno, G, 2014, ‘Directors’ trademarks: Tim Burton’, Cinelinx, viewed 15th March 2017
Fogerson, J, 2012, ‘Tim Burton, the shot, camera techniques’, Jordan Fogerson, viewed 15th March 2017