As we move into this next unit, we have begun to explore the directorial decisions of Tim Burton in film. Specifically, we have looked at cinematic techniques and the effect these decisions have on viewers.
At the end of the unit each of you will write an expository essay exploring the techniques used in at least two of Burton's films. In order to do this, we will be watching a few clips from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Edward Scissorhands. Most of you seem really excited about the unit. I have my suspicion that much of the excitement comes from the fact that most of you feel like you are about to get a free pass to kick back and watch movies for the next two weeks.
Unfortunately, as you will soon see, this is not the case. Analyzing a film, truly analyzing it, is not much different from analyzing a literary text. Yet, somehow, analyzing a work of fiction does not seem to generate nearly the enthusiasm that viewing a contemporary film does, which is fine by me. I want you to stay enthusiastic, and if that can occur with a film, then so be it. In truth, it has been my experience that sincere learning never feels like a chore. There should always be an enthusiasm to learn more.
I hope, in addition to learning about filming techniques, you are also learning a bit more about Tim Burton, the man. Confession: I am learning as much about him as you guys are. So far, one of the most fascinating concepts of his films is the reoccurring theme of the outsider trying to find his way in the world. I think, when all is said and done, we are all this person. We are all often misunderstood and simply trying to find where we belong.
As a teacher, I always try to recall my own high school experiences. Shocker I know, but I was not the most popular student in school. I like to think I was respected by most of my peers and fit in relatively well, and overall, I had a fairly good high school experience. Otherwise, I probably never would have darted back in the door of a high school. However, this is not to say every day was easy because it wasn't. It was not uncommon in the least to hear the dreaded phrase bookworm or to feel like I didn't quite measure up to the people I deemed as perfect or popular.
As an adult, my perspective has shifted, just as yours will in time. Those people I thought were perfect were not perfect at all. In fact, they were far from it. We all are. They were just people, flawed people, also trying to find their place in a cruel world. I think if we could all cut each other some slack in realizing and accepting the fact that we are all misfits at times, then the world would be a much nicer place.
I hope you will continue to embrace the message Tim Burton has been trying to teach us this week. It is okay to be different, weird, peculiar, misunderstood. Truthfully, the greatest people who ever walked this planet were odd by conventional standards. I love how Albert Einstein puts it, "To be great is to be misunderstood." So, for a small piece of advice, if you find yourself in a similar situation to Einstein or Burton, remember you are in good company.
In the Company of Greats,