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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 walk 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 beach 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.
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!