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29 Oct
Lessons in Marketing from the King of Halloween: Tim Burton

Tim Burton is an American film director, producer, writer, and artist. He is known for his gothic fantasy and horror films such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Frankenweenie. His movies have become a huge success and an essential part of most Halloween Celebrations in some form.

Use Passion & Vision as Fuel

Because he has always been true to his vision and his passions, Tim Burton has developed a distinct style around which he has established a thriving business. He was always on the lookout for passion projects that would allow him to be creative and create. He is unwavering in his convictions. Burton didn’t give up his vision and continued to make pictures that nearly always had the same style and tone, despite being dismissed from Disney for creating a film that was “too dark” for children. He isn’t afraid to be himself- that is the secret to his success.

Failure Helps You Grow

He’s not afraid of failing. Tim Burton recognizes that his movies are, and have been, very distinct and unusual to the majority of people. Despite its commercial failure, Burton regards his film “Mars Attacks!” as a stepping stone that he is proud to have created. Early in his career, Tim Burton was dismissed from Disney in 1984 for the exact reasons he is adored now. Disney was, on the whole, a far more conservative enterprise back then, having just recently begun to migrate from “G” to “PG.” Burton’s odd sense of the bizarre and spooky didn’t sit well with “the suits.” Only later, following the success of Tim Burton’s efforts on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, and Batman, Disney warmed up to Frankenweenie, releasing it in 1992.

Take Risks

Tim’s eccentric style, which was rejected by Disney, created memorable scenes that drew moviegoers to the Pee-Wee Herman film franchise, paving the way for more films to be made for the character, though not by Burton. Rather than continuing the franchise, Burton pursued a personal passion project in the form of Beetlejuice, which had a smaller budget than Pee-but Wee’s, grossed twice as much in the end, propelling him to Hollywood stardom.

Find Your Unique Style

Every aspect of Burton’s films has a Burtonesque quality to it: script, lighting, music, characters, and, of course, production design. Long frizzy hair, oversized eyes, gangly limbs, and other hyperbolic traits identify his characters. However, these characters’ exaggerated traits frequently function as a veil, concealing their true humanity. He is the king of contrast:  Suburbia in the United States Bright and vibrant colors, as well as 60s architecture and cars, define Tim Burton’s heightened naturalistic aesthetic, while his theatrical side is distinguished by Gothic overtones and Steampunk machinations, greatly inspired by German Expressionism.

Experiment with Different Media

Don’t get tied down by your style; Your signature style can still be reflected across different mediums, so choose a medium according to what you want to communicate and what fits your story most effectively. Tim Burton has a solid and recognizable style but you’ll find it stretching across different animation styles and even live-action films. At the root of everything is the idea, and then you decide how to best express it and fully utilize the tools at your disposal in a way that best highlights your strengths.

Play to Your Strengths

Tim Burton is more of an idea conceptualizer than a screenwriter. Almost all of Burton’s writing credentials are for story/character development rather than scripting. If you’ve ever seen Tim’shis independent artwork, you’ll see that he doesn’t fit into the Disney animation style, so he doesn’t try to fit in. His specialized casting choices, such as Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, as well as his music producer, Danny Elfman, are among his strengths.

Your Brand Should Be Recognizable

Tim Burton’s “drawing style” is easily recognized. If you want to produce an artistic style as daringly bold and easily recognizable as Burton’s, don’t imitate him; instead, do the complete opposite of what he’s done; do something in the middle; do what you want to see. Once you find your style, apply it widely, but don’t restrict yourself to it, such that it subtly shines through everything you do without looking repetitive. The idea is to make a cohesive body of work where every piece can speak to the other and can be recognized as belonging to the same brand.

Don’t Be Normal. Be Extraordinary

“Do what today others won’t, so tomorrow, you can do what others can’t.” -Brian Rogers Loop

Burton has become so famous that the term ‘burton-esque’ has been coined to indicate a gothic tone in cinema or art, despite being a departure from the usual animation and visual style of the period. He doesn’t just stick to conventionally accepted fonts like Helvetica and Futura for his brand but curates a specialized, mood-determined selection of gothic fonts according to his style.  Whether you like Tim Burton’s style of film or not, there’s no denying that he’s built a brand on being himself and sticking to his passion.

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