Tim, this is a very unique project. How did you get involved with this?
Tim Burton: Well I saw Shane’s short film and it just blew me away. It was amazing. After going through stuff myself trying to get movies made and people complaining like “Why doesn’t the character have any eyeballs?” and things like that, I think our goal was to just let Shane make his movie.
Did you get this financed as an independent film?
Shane Acker: Yeah, it was a negative pick-up. I mean, the idea was I guess Focus guaranteed the money to buy the film as long as it met X amount of criteria at the end which kind of gave us the creative space to make the film that we wanted outside of their direct input or involvement, although they were definitely involved in the process. We were doing it at such a modest budget that we were able to take the risks and do the things that we really wanted to do and explore in this medium that is typically a medium designed for more family oriented material.
How do you do an animated film with a low budget these days?
Tim Burton: We did it.
Shane Acker: Well, yeah. You just find the right creative team and you make the right decisions as you’re going forward and just be really dedicated to the project and be conservative about your design but not let it be really…because we’re making a world…
Tim Burton: You did your short pretty much in your basement or garage. Right?
Shane Acker: Yeah. I think the technology is in the hands of artists now. You don’t need a whole studio like Pixar in place to do these films. You can take the software and put the team together and make these films yourself, and I think it’s a pretty exciting time because it’s not about the technological challenge now. It’s just about the stories and what is the story that you want to tell.
Did you teach Tim that movies can be made for a lot cheaper?
Tim Burton: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s great. It does allow a certain freedom that you don’t get when you’re dealing with big budget studio [films]. Fair enough. This was such a pleasure. They made the movie and it just was such a pleasure to see if he’d be able to do it and do what they wanted to do without any negative involvement with things. So, it was very liberating to see this process happen.