Friday, 14 December 2007

Tim Burton talk

Thanks to all of you who came to last night’s Tim Burton talk at the BFI Southbank; it was pretty much a sell out.

And for those who couldn’t make it, the evening began with an eight-minute montage of Tim’s films that had been put together especially for his appearance at Venice back in September when he was awarded the Golden Lion.

For me, despite having seen all the films many, many times, cut together like that, it was a mesmerising compilation as one great, iconic image followed another.

Then it was on to me talking about my love of Tim’s movies, how I first encountered his work back in 1985, followed by the opening of Frankenweenie and then more talking.

Then came the good stuff. I explained how I had wanted Tim to come along as a surprise guest, but the imminent arrival of his and Helena’s second child had made that impossible.

Instead, I had asked Tim if it would be possible to show some of his early movies. He’d agreed, and so last night’s audience was treated to around half an hour of footage that has never been shown publicly before.

First up were clips from some of his Super 8 high school pictures. There was footage from a stop-motion caveman film which he describes in Burton on Burton as being “the jerkiest stop-motion you’ll ever see.” Which it wasn’t.

That was followed Houdini: The Untold Story, another film he talks about in Burton on Burton, which he made at high school instead of writing a book report, and featuring a very young looking Tim Burton as its star.

That was followed by several clips from another high school film called Welcome To My Nightmare which showed both Burton's playful and heroic side.

Next were a series of clips from Luau, a spoof of beach and surfer movies he made while a student at Cal Arts with Burton starring as a disembodied head, the self proclaimed “most powerful force in the universe”. Part of the footage was a musical number and I thought it would be nice to contrast that with a clip from Sweeney and so directly afterwards showed Sweeney professing the love he feels for his razors by singing My Friends.

The clip ran for just over nine minutes and I could really feel the audience’s excitement when I announced it, and the disappointment afterwards when it was finished because everyone wanted more…

After that, there was a clip from Doctor Of Doom, a black and white, shot on video spoof of Mexican monster movies with the dialogue deliberately out of synch, a great piece of Burton production design, a wacky monster and another starring role for Tim.

That was followed by Burton’s graduation film from Cal Arts, the hand animated Stalk of The Celery Monster, which went down a storm, and although it was silent because the sound reels were unavailable, you could clearly see Burton’s distinctive style already formed.

The evening ended with a brief Q&A, and then another clip from Sweeney, this time with Depp singing Epiphany, and once again there was palpable excitement from the audience which can only mean great things when the film's finally released here in January.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Tim for allowing me to show the clips, to Derek for all his help in making it possible, to Jayne for helping with the Sweeney clips and to Niall and Laura at the BFI events department.

Thanks also to everyone for your kind comments at the end, to Charlotte and her dad, and a special hi to regular poster Fran who stopped to chat!


Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

Thanks for the wonderful report Mark, it sounds like a great experience for everyone! Ya just have to love Tim Burton!

SwottieLottie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SwottieLottie said...

Hey again,
It's Charlotte from yesterday.
My Dad and I are both psyched out about being mentioned on your blog. It was a brillant talk and those movies Tim made at Cal. Arts were so great to watch.
Thanks again for signing my book, it was a great pleasure to meet you!
I bought Burton on Burton at the BFI filmstore and it's fantastic!
I didn't mention it yesterday (cos' I'm very shy.) but I want to be a writer so it was great to meet a published writer.
Congrats again on the amazing talk and your amazing books!

Mark Salisbury said...

You're very welcome Charlotte, and it was very nice meeting you too.

Good luck with your writing!

Fran said...

Hey Mark! Thanks again for a fantastic evening ... and thanks for letting me babble nonsense at you at the end. The good news is that I think Christina may now be a true Burton convert :D

(By the way, my rambling review of the evening has arrived :) -

Mark Salisbury said...

Glad you enjoyed it Fran. And fear not, the "babbling", such as it was, was certainly not what I would describe as nonsense.

Please send me your email address, should a spare Sweeney preview ticket fall into my hands, I think I know who might like one...

Essi said...

Oh, wow, that sounds fantastic! Wish I could've been there. :D Thanks for the report!

Fran said...

You, sir, are a gentleman. You can catch me at should such an occasion arise :D

Gerard said...

Oh man, this sounds absolutely incredible! I can't believe you screened all of his early films! Now, try your best to convince Tim to release a shorts DVD, cause there's nothing that gets me more motivated to get back into trying to get things made than by watching Vincent and Frankenweenie, and heck knows I could use some motivation of late!

JuniperGloom said...

Hi Mark,

Thank so much for the talk on Thursday it was absolutely brilliant!! I did have a good question to ask you but my nerves got the better of me!

Anyway, I've written a little piece myself on Burton and mentioned you (and Burton on Burton which sits well thumbed on my shelf) and the event if you wanted to read it?


Mark Salisbury said...

Hi Collette. Would love to read what you've written. Would you mind sending me a link, though; when I click on your name, I get your profile but not a link to your blog. Many thanks

Christina said...

Hi Mark,
An awful cold has prevented me from posting this sooner, but I just wanted to say thank you for the time and effort that you put in to make the Tim Burton Talk memorable. It was a great evening and as Fran said I am now a true Burton convert. Thanks.

JuniperGloom said...

Hiya Mark!

Ah, I'm new to this blogging thing!

I'm a content provider for a website called 'Cut out and Keep' so my article is on there:

You might need to sign up to access but I can e-mail it you as a word doc?