When I got this month’s prompt, thanking a creator who crafted something near and dear to our hearts, I knew exactly who to write about.
The one, the only Tim Burton.
I understand that some people don’t care for him or his movies, which is completely valid, and I will be the first to admit that not all of his films are masterpieces but nonetheless, he is without a doubt my favourite director and for lack of a better term, my idol.
When I first discovered his movies, it was at a time when I started to get bullied for being the weird kid. I was in primary school at the time, I believe I was either 10 or 11. I was the freak of my class, and they let me know it. For a while, I felt bad about being called odd.
Then I was given a DVD that, as overly dramatic as this will sound, changed my life.
The Nightmare Before Christmas.
I don’t think I have mentioned this, but I love stop-motion animation. Partly because I grew up with the works of Aardman Studios, most notably Wallace & Gromit. So that coupled with the incredible character designs got my attention.
Needless to say, I became obsessed with his films after my first viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love most of them but The Nightmare Before Christmas will always have a special place in my heart.
Why? Well, I was surrounded by folk telling me I was weird and how that was a bad thing, and there was this director whose works were as creepy as they were creative. I’m not sure if he intended this, but an impression I got from some of his films was that he was telling viewers “It’s okay to be weird” and it really helped me.
He inspired me to be creative, to not be afraid of what others think and to explore dark and twisted ideas.
I could end it there, as I think you might understand why I love the guy but there is one more reason he is my personal hero.
He introduced me to my best friend.
I know how sappy that sounds, but he did. Well, not directly but it is thanks to him. You see, when I got to Secondary School I was once again one of the weird kids except the bullying got worse.
The names they called me got more offensive and they didn’t just make me feel bad, they dragged me to a dark place that if I am being honest, I still haven’t fully escaped from.
I felt alone. I had no one as the few ‘friends’ I had in Primary School ditched me and I considered some ways to escape the pain.
But then, I met Shiloh.
One day, walking home from School I saw a girl with a Nightmare Before Christmas backpack and without thinking I ran up to her and struck up a conversation about Burton. No, really. I ran up to her and pretty much shouted: “You love that film too? No way!”.
Not going to lie, I kinda cringe when I remember that.
But it worked. The pair of us bonded over his work, over our shared interest in all things creepy and our curiosity about true crime. She introduced me to Manga and Anime, we would have moral debates during lunch and she was there to knock some sense into me.
Ten years on, she is still my best friend. Still showing me new things, we still have debates and discussions about serial killers and she is still a supportive figure in my life. The person who knows just what to say, the one who can build me up and dish out tough love when needed.
Honestly, I don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for her. Chances are I would not be here today.
Thank you, Tim Burton. I know you will never know me and chances are you will never see this, but if by some miracle that does happen I want you to know how much you have done to shape the woman I am today. You continue to inspire me to this day, you brought my best friend and me together and I can never thank you enough.