As of August 2010, Tim Burton has already directed 26 films, produced 18 films, and written 15 films. All of these include his short films and independent films. These shorts and independents are mostly his earlier works ,before his big Hollywood breaks. According to IMDb.com, he has five in-development projects including: Frankenweenie, The Addams Family, Dark Shadows, Maleficent, Mai, the Psychic Girl, and Monsterpocalypse. He also has credits as an animator, actor, puppeteer, and consultant.
Burton films utilize many frequent collaborators: actors Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Jeffrey Jones, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, Michael Keaton, Lisa Marie, Michael Gough, Deep Roy, Christopher Walken, and Christopher Lee; music composer Danny Elfman; editor Chris Lebenzon; cinematographer Philippe Rousselot; and producer Derek Frey.
Aside from his filmmaking credits, he wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories in 1997. He also published the compilation of his drawings entitled The Art of Tim Burton in 2009.
To know more about Tim Burton’s background as a child, a teenager, and a young scholar and Disney artist, you may read:
Tim Burton Biography: From His Early Years to His Early Career as a Filmmaker
His Early Struggle
With his formative years readily showing his artistic path, his influences clearly came from watching old cartoons and horror flicks. His childhood readily suggested his interest in dark and eerie, deliciously ghoulish, German expressionist, and artfully quirky themes. His sensibility and forays primarily brought his audience to bizarre outer regions of twisted elements and unconventional aesthetics… all of which soon became his trademark.
Ironically, Burton’s filmmaking skill was initially honed by Disney, known for its sweet, glossy, and dreamy fairytale productions. In 1980, he won a scholarship at the Disney-created arts schoolCalifornia Institute of the Arts. After graduation, he worked as an apprentice animator at Disney. During that time, the movie studio was not in its peak. Its blockbuster releases such as The Little Mermaid were years ahead of this period.
Burton felt out of place and came to a realization that he was just not a Disney material. Amidst being a skilled artist, his work for Disney’s The Fox and the Hound was a struggle, considering his dark and quirky interest and background. Disney also found his films (he was given the opportunity to work on his personal productions during his stay at Disney) unsuitable for children; thus, refusing the studio release of his films Frankenweenie and Vincent.
His Directing Breaks
After leaving Disney, he started looking for more suitable opportunities for his works. His unique version of the Frankenstein story in the 1984 live action short Frankenweenie impressed renowned writer Stephen King and actor Paul Reubens. In 1985, Reubens commissioned Burton to direct the wildly inventive comedy Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Its enormous success in the box office brought more opportunities including the 1988 ghost comedy Beetlejuice starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, and Geena Davis. With its visual flair and interwoven themes of fantasy and horror, Beetlejuice was later followed by more studio projects including two Batman films.
Though considered as his least personal film, his 1989 stylized Batman movie was one of the most successful films of all time. This lavish production starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger sold $100 million in its first 10 days of release. This etched his name in Hollywood as a director with a distinctive style filled with originality and dark adventurousness.
His Rise to Hollywood Fame
In between Batman and the 1992 Batman Returns, he directed another blockbuster hit entitled Edward Scissorhands. Featuring notable performances by then up-and-coming stars Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, this 1990 social satire about love and intolerance placed him at the peak of his career. It also established his fruitful working relationship with actor Johnny Depp. In 1993, Burton also produced the animated musical masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas, a critically and commercially successful film created using the painstaking process of stop-motion animation.
His 1994 black and white film Ed Wood, his tribute to the life and work of the legendary Worst Director of All Time, Edward D. Wood Jr., was a box office disaster; yet, his artistic portrait of the middling filmmaker and his all-consuming passion to succeed garnered some of the best reviews in his directing career.
His mark for darkly lavish, gothic productions was followed by more big-budget studio movies including Sleepy Hollow in 1999, Mars Attacks! in 1996, The World of Stainboy in 2000, and Planet of the Apes in 2001.
With his ingenious talent for creating haunting landscapes that come alive with a meaning, intensity, and beauty that are distinctively stylish, Burton solidified his place on the roster of Hollywood A-list directors. On a personal note, his 2003 passionate opus Big Fish is his best film to date.
Burton helmed more films as an A-list director including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005, Corpse Bride in 2005, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007, and Alice in Wonderland in 2010.
He was also part of the Cinema16: American Short Films project in 2006. This featured a series of short film collections composed of 16 American films, along with some European collections. The project offers an interesting mix of film genres from classic short films to new experimental and traditional narratives. Aside from Tim Burton, the collection also included the films of now famous directors George Lucas, Alexander Payne, Gus Vant Sant, and Andy Warhol.
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“Tim Burton – Biography,” Minadream.
“Biography for Tim Burton,” IMDb.
“Tim Burton Biography,” Star Pulse.
“Tim Burton Biography,” M&C
“Biography,” The Tim Burton Collective.
“Tim Burton: Biography,” TV Guide.
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