[A Guest Post from @MargieClayman]
Not many people have neutral feelings when it comes to Tim Burton – people either love him or hate him.
He’s such a conundrum. He’s so hard to pin down. He’s an elite director, but he certainly looks nothing like James Cameron or Steven Spielberg.
He has created cult classics like Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure and he has created monumental flops like the remake of Planet of the Apes. Tim Burton couldn’t be further away from your experience if he tried.
And yet, you, embarking on your Social Media journey, can learn so much from this master of the macabre. Need proof?
Here are five Social Media lessons you can learn from Tim Burton.
5. Build a crowd
Tim Burton really has excelled over the span of his career in building a community of people he carries with him from project to project. Danny Elfman is almost always his music man. Johnny Depp, Christopher Lee, and Helene Bonham Carter have appeared in several Burton films. What does this mean? It means that after awhile, the group remains a group even when they aren’t working closely together. As Johnny Depp continues to be delicious, I meant, successful (sorry, Stan) he lends more credibility to Burton and the whole Burton crew. When Danny Elfman does music for a big movie, people may say, “Oh, he’s that guy that does music for those Tim Burton films. Build your community.
Don’t try to outdo each other. Succeed in parallel. Work together.
4. Explore everything, but have an anchor
Tim Burton can’t really be categorized, if you think about it. He’s done comedy, drama, a musical, stop-action films, and action films. He’s done plenty of originals and plenty of remakes. Despite this nomadic nature, Burton always keeps something in there that tells you it’s him. That little twist. That little extra moment. But he never tires of trying something new. This is a fine balance, this dancing on the edge of multiple personality disorder while all the while building your personal stamp.
What is your central core that keeps you balanced? How can you branch out from that central point to test yourself and those around you?
3. Inspire people to care
Think about some of the characters that Burton has created over the years. Edward Scissorhands. Beetlejuice. Jack Skellington. Despicable, seemingly despicable, always complex, these characters grab the audience and pull them in ever closer. In your Social Media journey, often times you will be the character. How can you inspire people to gravitate towards you and what you have to say?
How can you encapsulate who you are in 120 characters at a time? The better the characters, the more compelling the story.
2. Weave a story that people can grasp
For all of his development of the strange persona, many of Burton’s movies, in fact maybe most of his movies, treat one single story element – the essence of love. Whether it’s Pee Wee Herman’s love of his bike, Adam and Barabara’s unending love for each other in Beetlejuice, or Sally’s unrequited love in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton weaves his story around this one powerful emotion and everything that surrounds it.
What is your story? What is your “why?” What is the heart of what you are doing out here? If you don’t know, nobody else will.
1. Above all else, be true to yourself
Tim Burton has done a lot of stuff that the Hollywood establishment has frowned upon. Take, as a single example, his “remake” of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For many people (and I include myself in this) Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is nearly a sacred movie. Burton’s rendition seemed like heresy. And yet, if you look at it, it’s not really a “remake” any more than O Brother Where Art Thou by the Coen Brothers is a “remake” of The Odyssey.
You have a style. You have your own personality. You have your own voice and your own ideas. Maybe you have the online equivalent to Burton’s Robert Smith hairstyle. Hold on to that! Don’t let people tell you that you’re doing your blog the wrong way or that you’re really not doing things the way the “best” people do it.
Make your Willy Wonka. Make your Alice in Wonderland. Do what you need to do, and be true to that. If you and your audience are good with it, the other “directors” out there can’t reach you.
Act it out
Are you building your crew? Do you know what story you’re trying to tell? Are you being true to yourself? Hit us up in the comments section and let us know how we can help you get your inner Tim Burton out.