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"I'm just shocked that after 11 years, how hard it still is to get these movies made" - Ed Burns :: Some Burns Links

Ed Burns & Kevin Smith, though close to me in age, are part of a different generation of filmmakers - they are of the "make your breakout feature on 16 MM, get picked up by Holly/Indie Wood, get famous/start career" generation - members of perhaps the first & the last generation - The 90's Indie Filmmaker Generation - of American film artists to get their careers started the way I described above. Because, as Burns says in the Looking For Kitty commentary, those days are over; distributors are telling him that the specialty film business of the 90's is no more.

Check out this Q & A with Burns re: The Groomsmen (still have not seen that, looking forward to it), he talks a bit about the changing financing & distribution landscape that he finds himself in:

Here is a relevant segment of the Q & A (re: The Groomsmen of course, & re: having Brittany Murphy in the movie):

"EB: ... I'm just shocked that after 11 years, how hard it still is to get these movies made; to have this great cast together, this script and we couldn't get three million dollars. I had to call Brittany up and say 'look, I need a fucking favor -- could you please come into this movie? If you're wearing a wedding dress, they know that they put that on the DVD and they'll make their money back the first weekend that it comes out on DVD -- so, in order to get this movie made, we need you.' She said 'hell yeah!'"

Burns is however adapting fast to the new reality (of course we wouldn't expect less form an indie filmmaker): he shot Looking For Kitty on digital video & says he did it for $200,000. He has previously made movies for low-millions & on 35 MM. In the Kitty DVD commentary Burns says he also shot a lot of stuff without permits, using available light, & calling in a lot of favors from friends. Kitty is said to be shot on a $3K Sony 24p digital video camera. It is a good looking film, Burns' DP did a great job.

And he is being very productive. There is another Burns directed movie on the way, it's called Purple Violets (IMDB).

And here is a MySpace page for Burns, perhaps set up by a fan. If that is the official MySpace page for Burns, someone let me know.

While I am convinced that not depending on indiewood to build my filmmaking career (instead using DV as the shooting format, doing D.I.Y. distribution, & starting with incredibly low budgets for production & distribution, relying on DVD sales to keep things moving forward, using blogs & web based networking for press & assistance) is the way to go, I learn a lot by paying attention to how the Burns/Smith generation did things & continues to do things. Overall I like Ed Burns movies more than I like Kevin Smith movies (though Smith movies are funnier), so I pay a little bit more attention to Burns' career (to his indie directing stuff, I skip his Hollywood acting stuff, except for Saving Private Ryan - that's a good one). The director's commentary on Sidewalks Of New York saved my life when I was shooting Date Number One (DNO was taking too long to shoot - we were shooting story 2 - A Romantic Dinner For 3 when this happened - and I started off trying to shoot it the traditional way with a locked down camera/on a tripod & w/ 3-point lighting, but I ran into trouble with that - with crippling delays, things taking too long to do - so I took Burns' advice from the Sidewalks DVD commentary & started shooting the movie as if it were a documentary - using available light, a hand held camera, not worrying about set design & make up, etc. - which made it possible to make the movie). I am half way through the director's commentary on Looking For Kitty, and there are lots of great reminders on that one too; tips on getting low budget films made.

Burns' productivity & adaptation to adverse circumstances are exciting & challenging. Makes me want to make more movies.

- Sujewa


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