The Life of Tim Burton

By, Giulia Mauti

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Early Years

Timothy Walter Burton was born August 25, 1958 in Burbank California. His father was a former minor league baseball player. As a child Tim would make short films in his backyard. He attended Burbank High school but wasn't a good student. The only things he was interested in were art and watching films. Nevertheless he graduated and moved on to the California Institute of Arts. He graduated from there in 1979. Tim worked as an animator for Disney, but his personal style clashed with that of Disney's. Eventually he was fired because he was using money from Disney to make things that they claimed would scare the children. Being fired didn't stop him, it only made him work harder to achieve what he wanted most in the world. He longed to work on solo projects.


Tim Burton is a film director, producer, writer, artist, and animator. He is 56 years old and has made a name for himself because of his dark, gothic, horror films. He has produced 23 movies, directed 30, written 13, done animations for 5, and starred in 8. Some of his most famous works are: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Beetlejuice, Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Corpse Bride. In his lifetime he has had 50 nominations and 23 wins. His first ever movie was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and it grossed over $40 million dollars. That movie played a major role in the start of his career. His work in all the movies mentioned is what lead him to where he is at currently with a net worth of $140 million dollars.


In every Tim Burton movie there are certain patterns that one can't help but notice. The most notable pattern is that he uses the same actors. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Jones and occasionally Winona Ryder show up quite a lot in his films. He also uses flashbacks, similar characters, monsters, outcasts, and makeup (pale faces with dark shadows under their eyes). Tim Burton has a way of making his characters his own. He uses very distinctive characteristics in his animations/characters to make the film unique. Some examples are below.

How is he Gothic?

Tim Burton films fit into the gothic genre perfectly. Vincent, Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride,and Sleepy Hollow are considered gothic movies. They all have the 4 s's: sensualism, sensationalism, sadism, and satanism. Sensualism is used when there is a romance in his films. Examples of that are Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd, Edward and Kim, Bruce and Vicki, Victor and Emily etc. Sensationalism is used often because everything Tim Burton has ever made is completely over the top. Sadism is used because most of his characters are in pain or get joy out of seeing others in pain. Lastly satanism, which is used a lot more than people think, due to all the dead people coming to life and all the comments about hell and other things that are anti religion.