For the love of Pirates

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise holds a special place in my heart. Not just the ride. The films also mean a great deal to me. So much so that the second film even made it into my Concert Scrapbooks. I ripped a 'Pirates is Sold Out' sign off the door of the movie theatre after my midnight screening then I followed up with a matinee the next day.

The space in my scrapbooks usually is reserved for concerts but for Pirates I made an exception.

The space in my scrapbooks usually is reserved for concerts but for Pirates I made an exception.

I have owned posters, the movies, and even now some other treasures including this 'treasure box' with a hidden Mickey in the artwork, a shirt with an incorrect movie title on it, and many art books.

I think this box was originally created as a part of a retail display.

I think this box was originally created as a part of a retail display.

This one is kinda a collectors item with the wrong film name printed on it.

This one is kinda a collectors item with the wrong film name printed on it.

The art of Pirates is iconic and yet detailed and extensive. The movies are an intense visual wonderland. I look through my art books and get lost in the concept art and talent that it took to bring the films to life.

This is one of my favorite art books.

This is one of my favorite art books.

Why stop at just one book?

Why stop at just one book?

This pop-up play set is incredibly inspiring to me.

This pop-up play set is incredibly inspiring to me.

And then there is Johnny Depp... my first Depp movie in theaters was Sleepy Hollow. It was so visually stunning and his character was the relatable outcast so full of humor and a sense of justice. I then fell in love with his films and started watching his older movies. My favorites include Sleepy Hollow, Benny and Joon, Chocolat, From Hell, Don Juan DeMarco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Cry Baby, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, Edward Scissorhands, and of course the most iconic role of all, Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The role seamed written just for him. A role of a lifetime that highlighted his self-effacing humor and sense of whimsy. It was magic on the screen. He played the outsider who could surpass your expectations just like every role he played that I loved.

I also fell in love with the classic narrative of his Hollywood story. Coming to Hollywood to be a musician and becoming an actor instead was fascinating to me. I even flew to LA for his first public show with his supergroup the Hollywood Vampires. I have seen him perform with them two more times since.

Johnny Depp playing at the Roxy in LA.

Johnny Depp playing at the Roxy in LA.

Johnny Depp rocking at Rockfest in Wisconsin.

Johnny Depp rocking at Rockfest in Wisconsin.

...AND he is in an Aerosmith shirt. My favorite band!

...AND he is in an Aerosmith shirt. My favorite band!

When I started my first professional internship with Walt Disney World, the Pirates and Princess Parties were in full swing. I spent many nights in my home park of the Magic Kingdom indulging my pirate side, enjoying the amazing peripheral fireworks, and loving every minute of these kind of Cast Member perks!

I just loved the Pirates and Princess Parties!

I just loved the Pirates and Princess Parties!

Every day at work I would take my Segway on my regular rounds in the Utilidor. I would plan my route to run into Captain Jack Sparrow coming off of stage in Adventureland! It was a Pirates life for me!

But my favorite memory is the opportunity to redesign the look and feel of a Cast Celebration and my empowering Manager indulging whatever crazy and elaborate idea I wanted to come up with. I decided to theme the party with Pirates and she even arranged for me to go on the ride before the park opened! I was able to photograph whatever I wanted to use as elements in my designs! If you are a Disney nerd you know how incredible this opportunity is. The rides are designed to be seen from the perspective of the audience only. And people don't get to just walk through them unescorted with a camera. I still remember getting on my stomach and crawling through a hole to get into the sandy breach where the ghost pirate ship eternally sales. It is only from the prospective of being on set do you notice the stairs are too narrow to walk up and doors are too thin to even squeeze through. All scenes are created with forced perspective for an audience in the dark. Here are some photos of that day. A day I will never forget. As you can tell, many are not from the perspective of the boats and the lights in the room are fully on.

Some silly pirates up-close!

Some silly pirates up-close!

Some of the rides more iconic characters.

Some of the rides more iconic characters.

Why hello Captain Jack Sparrow.

Why hello Captain Jack Sparrow.

A pirates life isn't easy.

A pirates life isn't easy.

Here are some examples of pieces I created for the Cast Member event.

Here are some examples of pieces I created for the Cast Member event.

The Pirates of the Caribbean means so much to me. I can't wait for the 2017 D23 Expo to see the Walt Disney Archives' Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit AND to see my work in the Disney Design Challenge! I am one of the 23 finalists. CLICK HERE to see what I created!