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Tim Burton:
About As Demented As Poetry Can Get


When one thinks of poets, Tim Burton is not the first person to come to mind. He is thought of mostly as a director and producer, and rightfully so. His unique creations in the realm of film appeal to many and have helped him make a name for himself. His unusual vision and wild imagination are evident in all the movies he makes so naturally he would use those same skills in the creation of poetry.

Burton has published an entertaining collection of poems titled The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories. Tim Burton brings the same dark sense of humor and unique brand of story telling to these narrative poems as he does to most of his films.

Tim Burton was born in Burbank, California on August 25, 1958. The suburban Burbank houses many television and movie studios. It was in this setting that the introverted Burton grew up. The cookie-cutter character of the Burbank neighborhood left Burton feeling isolated from his peers, which caused his imagination to clash with the 1950s conformity of the surrounding society.

As a teenager, Burton did not excel at academics. In high school, however, he began to realize his love for film making. With horror flicks as inspiration, he and his friends would entertain themselves by making primitive Super 8 live action and stop-motion animation films. He even learned to incorporate film making into school projects. Burton himself admits that his projects were nothing spectacular, but he does believe that his making those first few basic movies caused him to explore his artistic talents more deeply.

After high school, Tim Burton attended the California Institute of Arts and he went on to work for the Disney animation studios. The tedious and extremely controlled work of studio animation left him unsatisfied. Once again, Burton was the outcast, unhappy with his surroundings.



Shortly after, his creativity was noticed by the studio where he worked and he began to work on character design, which allowed him to incorporate his own vision into studio projects. Unfortunately, his designs for the Disney animated film Black Cauldron were rejected.

Despite this rejection, Burton was still allowed to do a couple of his own short films, Vincent and Frankenweenie. It was the latter short film that got him noticed by Paul Reubans, otherwise known as Pee Wee Herman. Reubans picked Burton to direct Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The movie was a box office success and gave Burton directorial clout in Hollywood.

Tim Burton went on to direct popular and critical successes like Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride. His use of gothic elements and unusual set design help hallmark most of his movies and give them a unique flavor. It is this uniqueness that also makes Burton's poetry successful. Like his movies, his poems tell, with a darkly funny twist, the tragic tale of the outcasts of society. Given his background, it's easy to see why Burton relates to his characters.

One can get a true sense of Burton's creative genius through is movies as well as his poetry. The mention of his name will bring to mind a style that cannot be imitated. It is this style that has made him one of the most creative artistic minds of the 20th century. Tim Burton is more than a movie maker. He's also a poet.





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