Tim Buttner - Multi-Media Expert

Tim is a Multi-Media Expert with skills that span various forms of media. Tim began writing screenplays before he was twelve, completing his first feature-length screenplay at sixteen. He began filming in high school and at seventeen gained experience interning at Edgewood Studios on the set of Zombie Town. Tim continued to study film at Drexel University, establishing himself in the Stereoscopic 3D revolution after attending workshops in New York City with Florian Maier on Stereoscopic Film Production. After graduating from Drexel's Film & Video Program with a Bachelor of Science, and with a Screenwriting & Playwriting Minor, Tim worked for Digital Revolution Studios under Craig Tanner and further worked in stereoscopic 3D. While at Drexel Tim co-founded a company (One Forest Films) with high school friends and for several years helped build the company as CTO, and Chief Web Designer. Tim has been a contributing writer for MarketSaw, and as well selected as a Beta Tester for Blackmagic Design on the URSA Mini 4.6K camera.




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Tim was also a contributing writer to MarketSaw, a 3D blog. Check it out: www.marketsaw.com



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—Favorite Quotes—

"Cinematography, a military art. Prepare a film like a battle." — Robert Bresson

"'Nobody's perfect' is the line that most sums up my work. There is no comedy, no drama about perfect people." — Billy Wilder

"Structure depends on strategy: strategy is determined according to events." — Cao Cao, from Sun Tzu's The Art of War

"I shall hang my 'lecturing' on the same peg with my other failures and follies. It must be a long peg and a strong peg to hold them all." — George Perkins Marsh

"Will the science of the human heart, around which all contemporary art is based, exhaust so completely the writer's powers of imagination that in future the only novels that are written will be chronicles of various events?" — Giovanni Verga

"Train easy, fight hard… and die.
 Train hard, fight easy… and win." — Unknown


—Personal Quotes—

"Movies are not watched. They are an encounter with a life's experience not your own."

"I'm well trained in the art of turning shit to gold."

"'My favorite movies are the ones inside my head."

It's Depressing Living with Seven Deadly Sisters in Punch-Drunk Love

Updated on May 28, 2010, 3:15 PM - Written by Tim Buttner


It's not easy growing up with one's family because no matter what you're stuck with them due to the blood relation. Some people are lucky enough to have a strong family relationship, but that doesn't mean there isn't dramatic tension beneath the skin. Brothers and sisters are often the worst because there is the competition for parental love and attention, academia, occupation, and love. Deep down there is love, and a sibling will always be there for another, but ultimately siblings get on one another's nerves. It's tough to imagine what Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) had to suffer through being the only boy in a family with eight kids… seven of which were girls. Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love (2002) focuses mainly on the middle part of Barry Egan's life, where he's having the most conflict due to the constant harassment and ridicule he receives from his seven sisters, and the audience never gets a full glimpse into his early childhood, but the sisters do manage to give a little insight through some exposition. It's tough to classify the psychological disorder that Barry experiences during the film, because it at times would seem like bipolar due to his fits of rage or random breakdowns of weeping, but in fact what makes him mentally ill is depression.

Paul Thomas Anderson decides to open the movie without any opening titles or credits and bring the audience right into the life of Barry, and does so with a wide shot of Barry sitting at his desk in a open storage space talking on the phone with a representative of a food distributor that is participating in a promotion to give away air miles for every ten purchases of their product. Barry is distracted and proceeds out of the storage space into the parking lot where he witnesses a car accident and a cab stopping to drop a Harmonium in front of the entrance to the parking lot. Within this sequence Anderson introduces the audience to the strange events that will take place through the course of the film, and as well he gives the audience a glimpse at how Barry will handle the situations. The quarks and mannerisms that Barry displays are slightly neurotic and compulsive as a result of his repressed and alienated life. In fact the way that Anderson chose to introduce the character with this long shot and odd setting reemphasizes his isolation from others. Barry is up very early in the morning at his place of work on the phone with a representative about a promotion that Barry has had the free time to find an oversight that would enable him to take advantage and pay less money than the given air fare that's rewarded. Clearly this is a man who hasn't got anyone close in his life, whether it be a loved one or close friends. Even the way he acts when Lena Leonard (Emily Watson) arrives to drop off her car at the mechanics next door is an example of his uneasiness around others. Barry is fidgeting and trying to get away back into his shop. He shuffles his feet, constantly looks up the alley to the entrance of the parking lot, rubs his nose with a finger, and doesn't say more than a word or two in response to her. As she walks away he uneasily takes a drink from his coffee as she looks back, and as soon as she rounds the corner he backs back into his shop and hurriedly hides in the shadows with his back to the wall. The sequence ends with him going out, investigating, and taking the Harmonium in to his office to further investigate it. He is interrupted when the door flies open, flooding light into the storage space, and Lance (Luis Guzman) enters. Barry continues his neurotic behavior even though Lance works with Barry and his probably the closest thing he has to a friend. Lance asks why Barry is wearing a suit, bringing to the audiences attention that this is not normal practice for their business, and then investigates the Harmonium with Barry just before more employees show up for work.

The first sequence introduced the audience to Barry and his mannerisms, but the next sequence takes them farther into the root of where these mannerisms come from his sisters. At work Barry tries to sell his themed toilet plungers, and it seems they also deal in other novelty items, to a customer when a voice comes over the loud speaker to inform Barry that his sister is on line 1. Barry excuses himself and goes to talk to Rhonda on the phone, who asks "…are you going to this goddamn party tonight?" As soon as Barry says yes she says "Alright, bye," and hangs up on him. Barry returns to his customer only to be interrupted again because another sister is on the phone for him. He goes to the phone and says "I can't chat right now," which she proceeds to make fun of him for using the word chat before asking if he'll be going to the party as well. He confirms that he will and she then continues to vehemently insult him through her good-bye. Barry returns to his customers, who say that they didn't know he had a sister and to which he nods and says a simple "yes I do" with a hint of annoyance in his voice before demonstrating their new non-destructible plungers. It breaks and he admits it must have been an old one before the next sister calls, which prompts his customer to ask how many he has, "I have seven." Barry clearly is not pleased that he is being disturbed at work, but the audience is given insight into the overbearing sisters and how they torment him. He takes this call in his office, mumbling responses to Catherine's pushiness. He hangs up and takes a second at the Harmonium before he walks into his glass door, which he had shut behind him. This is a person longing to escape, and because he was looking at a promotion for free air travel needs to. Next his sister Elizabeth shows up at his work place to harass him about going to the party, and that she wants to bring a date to meet him. This makes him uncomfortable and he tries to back out of it because he feels like he won't be himself since everyone will be watching him. This is odd for the audience to understand, but they'll soon see why he feels this way.

The next scene takes the audience to the party, where Anderson starts with a shot on the closed front doors and the sounds from the other room of the sisters gossiping about Barry. One says, "Do you remember when Barry used to get mad?" The others then reflect that they used to call him "gay boy" all the time as Barry enters through the door. Or at least, he enters, then backs out, then enters, then backs out again nearly shutting the door, but he then proceeds in and shuts the door behind him as he walks into the kitchen, where Anderson finally reveals all the sisters. They greet him and bring up the fact that they were just talking about him and how they used to call him "gay boy." Barry acts as though he doesn't remember and so the sisters persist to remind him that he got so pissed that he threw a hammer through a window. They can't remember why he had the hammer until another sister enters from behind Barry and says that he was building a doghouse. He proceeds into the next room to say hello to the brother-in-laws before Elizabeth saddles up next to him. He asks if her friend came and she informs him that he's off the hook before she calls him "gay boy" and goes to the other sisters to tell them that Barry had told her not to bring the friend for him. They all continue talking about him as he uncomfortably sleeks out of frame. Next the sound of something smashing, and windows breaking disrupts the party. Barry has punched two windows and kicked another. His sisters explode into ridiculing him and calling him a freak. Barry goes into the pantry with Walter, one of his brother-in-laws, to apologize for the windows and ask him, since he's a doctor, if he can help get him a therapist. Barry admits that he doesn't like himself and that occasionally he'll breakdown crying for no apparent reason, which he then proceeds to do. Barry goes into another room to hide away from sight as he weeps.

Paul Thomas Anderson and Adam Sandler did a fantastic job bringing this character's depression to the audience's attention through these early scenes, and through the rest of the movie continue to build on it. The next two scenes have Barry shopping for the best product to buy in order to take full advantage of the promotional offer, and calling a phone sex service, which adds another subplot that takes the movie in a great and fascinating direction. He soon receives calls from the phone sex people who wish to extort him for more money, causing him to cut up his credit card, but he is still harassed even at work. And then Elizabeth shows up with Lena as the calls continue. Barry's neurotic behavior hits a peak because now he has to lie about the phone sex people, he wants to keep his pudding purchases (promotion) a secret so that no one else catches on, has to deal with his overbearing sister who knows that he asked Walter to help him get a shrink, and deal with his attraction to Lena. Lena is the catalyst that helps him towards recovery, and he throughout the movie starts to improve because of her. One of the best moments in the movie is when he gets on a plane to go to Hawaii to be with her and tells everyone not to tell any of his sisters where he is or why he's there. Also, another great moment, is when him and Lena return from Hawaii and the phone sex people's goons rear-end his car and come at him with a tire iron only to have him go crazy on them and beat the shit out of them with ease. He then proceeds to the tell Lena everything after he confronts the boss of the phone sex operation and tells her that he'll fly with her everywhere because of his free air fare from the promotion. They are going to be very happy together.

Psychologically Barry's disorder is a result of the environmental stimuli and not a chemical or genetic defect. Barry has feelings that something is not right with him because he doesn't know what other people feel. His sisters are a huge part of this mentality. Actually it seems from the way the filmmakers present the information that they are completely the cause. They constantly harass Barry, and force him to act out, which they then yell at him and ridicule him for it. They are not a healthy part of his life. Paul Thomas Anderson never shows the audience Barry's childhood so one can never know what the parental influence was, or if there was any. The movie is the basis for all analysis, and the information presented therein points to the sisters. Chances are that Barry never had room to grow properly with them around "mothering" him in their own way. Those early scenes where they are each calling him at work to see if he'll be going to the party show that they don't even communicate with each other well enough, nor do they respect Barry. Barry's best line for battling his sisters is to get away. That is why Lena is so important to him, because she is someone that he can escape with. He's wearing the same suit throughout the movie except for after he spent the night in Lena's hotel room in Hawaii, where he is shown sitting in bed with a bathrobe on as Lena lies to Elizabeth about Barry calling her or meeting with her. Lena understands that Barry's sisters are all a hassle and burden on the poor guy. Barry is alone at the beginning. Why else would he call the phone sex service? The reason he suddenly breaks down and weeps is because of this, and also because he hates himself and doesn't know why. His sisters' torment causes these feelings of self-loathing.

The style in which Paul Thomas Anderson made the movie reemphasizes the feelings of the protagonist, and subjects the audience to it. The music is mainly from the Harmonium, and it creates the strange sense of unease and displacement. Anderson often chose to photograph Sandler isolated from others, hidden in the dark shadows, or running in tight corridors (with a telephoto lens making them even tighter) that are like the maze of the mind, an example would be the sequence where he first kisses Lena, all this while analyzing the causes for Barry's depression and giving him something to fight for to get out of it. In the end Barry needed to escape from his overbearing sisters, which he managed to do once he found the warm embrace of Lena.


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