Timothy William Burton, better known as Tim Burton, is an American filmmaker distinctive for his dark, strange, and visionary style. As an auteur director with stimulating cinematic visions already acknowledged in filmmaking history, this multi-awarded director, producer, and writer with Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning films is notable for his quirky-themed works including Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Batman, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Alice in Wonderland.
Family and Hometown
Tim Burton was born on Aug. 25, 1958 in Burbank, California. During that time, Burbank was a suburban town where many movie and television studios such as NBC, Warner Brothers, and Disney are located. He is the son of Bill Burton, a former baseball player who worked at the Burbank Park and Recreation Department and Jean Erickson-Burton, a gift shop owner. He has a younger brother named Daniel who will later on be an artist himself.
Compared to the mostly cheerful and extrovert people in his hometown, the shy, artistic, and highly-imaginative Burton didn’t blend well, even in his school. His quirky, self-absorbed, and introvert personality was very much apparent early on. He found pleasure on solitary activities such as drawing, painting, and watching movies.
As a child, he staged an axe murder with his brother to scare their neighbors. He repeated the prank and the neighbors, once again, thinking it was true, called the police.
Early on, Burton adored monster and horror films. He loved reading works of Edgar Allan Poe and watching monster and horror movies such as Godzilla, films of Roger Corman, the U.K. Hammer horror films, stop-motion works of Ray Harryhausen, and works of Vincent Price. He would normally go to strange triple showings at his local movie theater to watch classic horror films.
Burton started exploring the world of filmmaking during his teenage years. He would typically make short films in his backyard using crude stop-motion animation techniques or shoot live action scenes using an 8mm film camera. One of his most popular juvenile films in Super 8 format was The Island of Doctor Agor, a film he made when he was 13 years old.
In 1976, he studied at the Burbank High School. After which, he received a Disney scholarship at the California Institute of Arts, a school founded by Walt Disney primarily as a breeding ground for new animators, in Valencia, California. He majored in animation and some of his classmates at were Henry Selick, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, and John Musker. During his stay at CalArts, he made the shorts Stalk of the Celery Monster and King and Octopus.
His first animation job was being a cel painter for Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings. After graduation from arts school, he began working as an apprentice animator for Walt Disney Studios. In 1981, he worked as a concept artist for the studio’s The Fox and the Hound. Given his dark, strange, and quirky background, drawing a sweet looking fox was very frustrating for him. As the studio recognized that his talent was not being utilized, he became a conceptual artist for The Black Cauldron, an adaptation of the second volume of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, a seven-volume fantasy series. However, his dark drawings still didn’t pass the actual needs of Disney.
As an artist with his own expectations for doing artistic works more than commercial projects, his frustration over his early career in Disney made him decide to strike out on his own. Before leaving the studio, he was able to write and draw the poem and illustrations that he would soon use for The Nightmare Before Christmas. In 1982, he also released his award-winning short Vincent, a film that paid homage to the enduring work of his childhood idol, Vincent Price.
Vincent was a six-minute black-and-white stop-motion film based on a poem. Price himself provided the voice narration for the film. Burton’s Disney colleague Rick Heinrichs helped produce it.
Vincent was shown at the Chicago Film Festival. It had the chance to be released for two weeks in a Los Angeles cinema. This was followed by Burton’s other films getting more screening opportunities. His first live action productionHansel and Gretel was shown at The Disney Channel. After this, he shot the live action short Frankenweenie starring Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern, and Shelley Duvall. Since then, he started to attract the attention of the film industry as an up-and-coming Hollywood director.
“Tim Burton Biography,” Biography.
“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.
Related Articles about Filmmaking, Animation, and Tim Burton Movies:
Motion Picture History: A Chronological Look
Rianne’s AC Movie Reviews Archive (March to July 2010): Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Superhero Films
Rianne’s AC Movie Reviews Archive (March to July 2010): Action, Horror, Supernatural and Suspense Films
Animation and Visual Effects Jobs in the Filmmaking and Gaming Industries
Filmmaking: Using the 8mm Format in Film Production
Animation and Game Design Schools and Courses in Seattle, Washington
Major U.S. Film Grants Available to American and International Filmmakers
3D Post Conversion: From Traditional 2D Filming to 3D Theatrical Release
List of Filmmakers Who Can Replace Guillermo Del Toro as Director for The Hobbit
Top 25 Best Selling DVDs of 2009