Film director, producer, and all-American mad-man; Tim Burton has been capturing the minds of audiences the world over with his dark and stylised movies. Whether terrifying us with the gothic nightmares of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Sleepy Hollow, or entertaining us with the less-gothic nightmares of Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Tim Burton has grown to become one of the most respected directors of all time.
Hello, I'm Johnny Depp. I've been a close friend of Tim Burton's for years, and know him better than the back of my scissorhands. Having starred in half of his movies, and performed that godawful scissorhand joke he wrote a few minutes ago, I like to think of myself as an expert on his brooding, provocative works, as well as having a deep connection with the man himself. It is for this reason, as well as the fact that Christopher Lee is currently taking a nap, that Tim Burton asked me to narrate this article, documenting his life and career.
Timothy William Burton was born August 25, 1958 in the dark, depressive area of Burbank, California. The son of Jean, a gift shop worker, and Will Burton, a former baseball player, Tim felt out of place in the American suburb. Shy, artistic Burton was alienated by the happy, popular people he found surrounding him like vultures in the air. He detested them for their unwillingness to acknowledge the dark, gothic depressiveness that stared them in the face everyday. He also suffered academically, as well as socially in school. Instead, he found his pleasure in painting, drawing, and watching movies; much like a lazy-ass five year-old.
His teachers often worried about him as well. His 8th grade history teacher, Mrs. Custer, said of him:
“He was fairly creative, but only in the sense that he could produce schoolwork if he copied and modified his classmates' work on his own. He would often take little Betsy's reports and repackage them with references to creepy dead things and gothic elves or something. Quite frankly he scared me, and I don't want to talk about it any more.”
Indeed, this skill of repackaging other people's material with strange gothic references would serve him well throughout high school, particularly in writing class. Tim also excelled in Drama, though failed miserably at everything else. His teacher's did not appreciate his "artistic vision" being scribbled all over their text books and tests. They would often have to remind him that skeletons and old cathedrals do not help one find X in Algebra, nor do killer gargoyles explain why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Despite this, Burton still managed to graduate with a GPA of 2.2; he was off to film school. Burton attended the California Institute of the Arts to study character animation along with future Pixar creative head John Lasseter. The two were often confrontational, with Lasseter accusing him of plagiarism on dozens of occasions. Luckily, Burton managed to talk his way out of every single accusation, reasoning that Lasseter's works only served to inspire his own more gothic productions.