There's just something dorky and addictive about watching old videos of our big-screen heroes long before they discovered greatness. Most of us already know the story of Tim Burton -- how he began his career as an animator for Walt Disney's animation studio, working on films like The Fox and the Hound and TRON before shifting to live-action shorts for the Mouse House. It was his 1984 short Frankenweenie that eventually got him fired from Disney for being too dark and twisted for the its tastes, ironically reteaming with the company decades later on a number of successful movies, including a stop-motion feature called Frankenweenie, inspired by the movie that got him canned.
But long before he left Disney for greener pastures, Burton was just a lowly conceptual artist and animator, stuck in a room drawing all day. During that time -- and not long at all after he was hired by Disney (less than a year) -- one of his former classmates turned coworker, John Lasseter, decided to have a little fun with Burton by recording this video touring the inside of their office. Joining Lasseter (who's working the camera) was animator Randy Cartwright, and from the look on Burton's face this was either his failed attempt at comedy or he just didn't know how to react when a camera was pointed at him.
This was recorded in 1980, one year after Burton graduated from CalArts with folks like Lasseter, Brad Bird and Henry Selick, the latter of whom would team with Burton later on stuff like The Nightmare Before Christmas (I don't think you need a tutorial on what eventually happened to Lasseter and Bird). But Burton first landed the job at Disney primarily off the animated shorts he worked on while in school, most notably Stalk of the Celery Monster, which you can watch below.
And for those who want to delve deeper into Burton's career and technique, here's a fantastic Master Class featuring the filmmaker that was recorded on November 23, 2010 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
[via Cinephilia & Beyond]
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