Good day ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Tribeca Film Festival conference call with Edward Burns. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be provided at that time. As a reminder this conference call may be recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host for today, Mr. Eric Drumm, so please go ahead.
E. Drumm Hi, everyone, this is Eric Drumm from Electric Artists. Welcome to the Tribeca Film Festival conference call with Edward Burns. Today were going to be talking about Eds new movie Nice Guy Johnny, as well as the Tribecas Film Festival versatile program where the film is going to be having its premier this Friday night, the 23rd with your Premium Virtual Pass.
Everyone is going to get to ask one question and be allowed one follow-up question as well. Our Moderator will instruct on how to enter the question queue and within 48 hours were going to be sending you a transcript of the call. If nobody has any questions we will turn things over to Ed.
Moderator In the interest of time we ask that you limit yourself to one question and one follow-up question. Thank you. Our first question is from the line of Jamie Steinberg. Jamie Steinberg, please state your site and proceed with your question.
J. Steinberg Hi, Im from Starry Constellation Magazine, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us, Mr. Burns.
E. Burns Yes, thanks for listening.
J. Steinberg Oh its my pleasure. What inspired you to write this film, Nice Guy Johnny?
E. Burns A couple of things, but primarily I would say about a year and a half ago I had meeting with my new agent, and I would say every couple of years I had a meeting that was similar to this where my team would encourage me to stop making small, personal films and put myself up for what they call open directing assignments at the studios.
Given, I guess, what I do they thought I could very easily land a studio romantic comedy directing job. I never had any interest in that, not that I think theyre bad films necessarily, but I only aspired to be a writer/director. My heroes were Cassavetes and Woody Allen and Truffaut, and thats all that I ever wanted to do.
However, two years ago with a couple of kids and a couple of mortgages I thought maybe it might be a smart financial move to at least entertain the thought.
J. Steinberg Time to change your mind.
E. Burns Yes, so I read a bunch of the scripts; I took a bunch of the meetings. I have to admit it was a very tough decision because there is potentially a lot more money to make doing that than doing what I do. At the end of the day thats not why I got into the business. I had to sort of stick with what my original purpose was and what my original dream was.
I left that final meeting after passing on this particular project. Me and my producing partner were talking about it and what are we going to do now? We said You know what, lets write a script about what we just went through. Lets think about what kind of character is faced with that kind of decision when you have to stick with your dream when everyone is telling you, whether its your parents or your friends. Or, do you take the more fiscally responsible job with benefits? Most of my friends are in the arts and all of them wrestle with this very thing, especially as we get older and are starting families.
Thats how kind of Nice Guy Johnny came about. Hes a 24-year-old sports talk radio host who dreams of one day getting a big broadcasting job. Hes not making any money; hes about to get married and his fiancée has suggested he come home to New York to take a job that will triple his salary and give him benefits. Its the story of how this kid makes that decision.
J. Steinberg As a follow-up, you wear many different hats in this film, youre an actor, a director; youre a writer. How did you manage to balance all those different aspects?
E. Burns You know when I made my first films 15 years ago I was barely out of film school, no money, and trying to make a movie for $25,000 so I knew that it was my script obviously, I was going to direct it. I did not know any film producers and couldnt have afforded one anyhow, so I had to produce it on my own. Then the acting was just a case of, when youre not paying actors its very hard to get them its very hard to get a guarantee that theyll actually show up. I had done some acting in my student films so I put myself in the first film and have just kind of kept with it now, nine films later.
J. Steinberg Thank you very much for all your time.
E. Burns Cool, thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Rosa Cordero, please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
R. Cordero Hi, Im from Accidental Sexiness.com. Mr. Burns, as a big fan Im very excited to be speaking with you right now.
E. Burns Cool, cool, thanks a lot.
R. Cordero I wondered if any of the characters were based on real people.
E. Burns Maybe my character is loosely based on a couple of guys that I grew up with and even know today. Uncle Terry is an aging womanizer who is hell bent against his nephew getting married, especially at the tender age of 24.
I definitely still know guys who are deep into their 40s who are holding on to bachelorhood with everything theyve got. I didnt want to judge it at all, but we kind of took a look at sort of the funny side of it and then maybe a little bit of the pathetic side of it.
R. Cordero I actually know some people like that also. For my follow-up I was wondering how you feel. You must be excited about the film festival going virtual so more people will be able to see your film.
E. Burns You know, for me, I have always tried to embrace how indie films, or how indie cinema is going to make use of the Internet. We saw maybe like in 06 indie films sort of stopped finding the same sized audience for the ten years prior to that. You saw a lot of companies like Paramount Vantage closed, Warner Brother Independent closed; Miramax just recently went under. We knew that the audience still liked the films they just werent going to see them theatrically.
A couple of years ago I tried it with this film Purple Violets. We released it onto iTunes and we got a great response from the people that like my movies.
I tried a Web series last year as a way; again to how do we find the people that like this? How do we get this material or these stories to them in a different way. When Tribeca brought this up we immediately said, Absolutely.
As a kid who got his start as a film festival and now is someone who loves film festivals, its great that now a kid in Kansas City can attend the Tribeca Film Festival, at least in some fashion and see those movies that he might be reading about on sites like yours or other film sites.
R. Cordero Thats great. I look forward to looking to the movie. Good luck,
E. Burns Cool, thanks a lot.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Patty Grippo. Please state your site and proceed with your question.
P. Grippo Hi, Im from Pazsaz Entertainment Network. How are you doing today, Ed?
E. Burns Pretty good, pretty good. How are you?
P. Grippo Im good. Thanks for talking to us.
E. Burns Cool.
P. Grippo The first thing I wanted to know, since your film is being featured in the Tribeca Festival, both the virtual and being screened as part of it, it seemed only fitting that the city of New York play a role in your film as this one it does. What was the best and worst part of filming there?
E. Burns You know I think Ive shot yes, I guess I have; every film Ive made Ive shot at least a handful of scenes in New York. There really isnt a bad side to shooting in the city. You have just great crews available to you. Ive always said the best co-star any actor can have is New York City. There is nothing but great locations. Every street has another story to tell. For me, the number one thing that you get in New York City is this enormously deep pool of actors.
With this film, given that the story revolves around a bunch of kids in their early 20s, we wanted to find those New York actors that were just on the cusp of breaking out. I told my casting director, Who are the kids that keep coming in and keep losing out on that great part because theyre not a name yet? Then we kind of set that as our goal, like lets find those kids that are going to be household names one day, they just dont have the body of work yet to get the big part. Thats who we found.
The two leads, Kerry Bishé and Matt Bush are incredible and Kerry, I dont maybe she had done one small film before. This other young woman, Anna Wood, was another great find, who I dont think had ever been in front of a camera before. For me thats what New York gives you which is why I stay here.
P. Grippo Okay, and as a follow-up, of the things that youve done, the acting, the screenwriting, the directing; if you could only concentrate on one for the rest of your career, if you had no choice about this, which one would you choose and why?
E. Burns Hands down, it wouldnt even need to make a decision, it would be writing. I started as a writer; its what I love; its what I do every day, so thats a no-brainer.
P. Grippo Okay, well thank you very much.
E. Burns Cool. Thank you.
Moderator Thanks. Our next question is from the line of Troy Rogers, please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
T. Rogers Hi, its The Dead Bolt.com. Hi, Ed.
E. Burns Hey man, how are you?
T. Rogers Not too bad. Now, since Nice Guy Johnny is about people pursuing their dreams at a cost, what did it cost you to get into acting in the first place?
E. Burns You know, actingI guess it forces you to thicken your skin. Definitely while it can be great for your ego, there are certainly a handful of films I have and the reviews that have followed that are pretty bruising to your ego. There is that. But as far as like what it cost me? I dont know that it has. I was very lucky when I made my first film; I was 26 years old and it got picked up for distribution. Fifteen years later Im still making my little personal films so Im, I think, one of the lucky ones.
I know a lot of indie filmmakers out there its kind of like bands, you know, you struggle and you fight and you get that first film made and you get some attention with it. Then you make the next one and then thats it. To still be doing it after 15 years Im definitely a lucky guy.
T. Rogers Now with Nice Guy Johnny kicking off the Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, what do you think of these new distribution methods, including iTunes as a way to reach more people?
E. Burns I love them. I think anyone who is still interested in making small films has to fall out of love with theatrical distribution. When I was in my 20s, me and my friends, and if you were into indie film, you went down to the art house theater or the specialized movie theater and you made sure that you saw that film its opening week.
Today I think its a little different and you can watch a film on your phone, on your computer, even now you can get them on You Tube, so I dont think the theatrical component is as important as it used to be. If you allow yourself to fall out of love with that I think you can reach the people that will love your film.
I mean, I think the tricky thing that everybody is trying to figure out now is how do we monetize that? I think if you keep your budgets really low, I think were going to find a place where you can make low-budget personal films and at least break even or make enough that you can go make the next one. I think thats where were going to be in a couple of years.
T. Rogers Right on. Thanks, Ed.
E. Burns Cool, thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Stefan Blitz, please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
S. Blitz Hi, Im Stefan Blitz from ForcesofGeek.com. Hey, Ed, how are you?
E. Burns Pretty good, man. How are you?
S. Blitz Good. My first question is do you think if you had made The Brothers McMullen today it would find the same success that it did at Sundance or do you think that the independent film market and audience has changed too drastically?
E. Burns There is no shot we would be as successful today. I cant speak to whether or not it would play at Sundance. When we submitted it to Sundance 16 years ago it had gotten rejected from every other film festival as not being edgy enough. We just kind of got lucky by the time it got around to Sundance because we were sort of coming out of the post Reservoir Dogs as the major sort of indie film influence. There was this glut of like Tarantino rip-off films and the kind of pendulum had just swung back the other way that the timing was kind of right for Brothers McMullen. I definitely benefited from that.
As far as, lets say we were lucky enough, we get into Sundance, it gets picked up for distribution, its interesting. I dont even know that we would get picked up for distribution. I cant remember the last film that I saw an indie film that got picked up and was given a real theatrical release that had a completely unknown cast.
Back then you had Slacker and then after Slacker you had Metropolitan and then you had Clerks and then you had McMullen but after that you dont see too many of those. I definitely have not seen any in the last couple of years. Id say, maybe remember that film Primer?
S. Blitz Sure.
E. Burns Maybe thats the last one that comes to mind. Maybe not.
S. Blitz Well, one thing Ive always liked about your work is that it is about real people and relationships, which is in many ways an antithesis to much of whats out there. What movies have had the greatest influence on you and your work?
E. Burns I mean by far Woody Allen, the major influence, and primarily his films that deal with just that. A film like Hannah and Her Sisters; Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives; when hes dealing with people and how we deal with one another.
A big film for me when I was in film school was Marty based on the Paddy Chayefsky play. The Last Picture Show, that Peter Bogdanovich film. Truffaut was a big influence on me; Louis Malle. Those filmmakers that dealt with real people in a pretty honest way. Thats what Ive been trying to do and I think even when I look at my films, when I get away from that is when the films dont work.
S. Blitz Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the festival.
E. Burns Okay, cool. Thank you, man.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Russell Trunk, please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
R. Trunk Yes, Im from ExclusiveMagazine.com, how are you my friend?
E. Burns Very good, how are you?
R. Trunk Fantastic!
E. Burns Great.
R. Trunk So now, this film is fundamentally, of course, about the cost of pursuing your dream at all costs and subsequently being asked to give up on said very same dream. In reflection, at any point in your life, have you yourself ever been asked to give up on a dream of any kind, at any age?
E. Burns I am 26 years old, Ive already shot and cut Brothers McMullen, Ive submitted it to a number of festivals, producers, agents, distribution companies, and I have a stack of rejection letters to show for it. Im $25,000 in debt.
My mother comes to me one day and says, If youre willing to get a haircut, I will buy you a suit and then you can go get a real job. Thank God, I did not take her up on that deal because six months later the film got into Sundance and all that. That conversation with my mother definitely was at the forefront of my mind as I was writing this film.
R. Trunk Okay, thank you. The follow-up would be, talking about Brothers McMullen 15 years ago, and 15 years of movies in between, the camera work, the directing that you do, how has it changed from that very first time behind the camera to now?
And indeed, the camera work, are you involved in behind-the-scenes for American Empire or Prince of Providence?
E. Burns I am not involved with American Empire. Prince of Providence, my friend Michael Corrente, has been trying to get that film together for a while so if he ever does that would be terrific.
The camera work in McMullen was as basic as it gets. Again, we had a three man crew, no dolly, no steady cam and it was just about trying to get that story captured on film. We werent thinking about moving in the camera, we werent thinking about shots because I knew going in there is no way I can compete with Hollywood on that level.
If I try and do a more complicated shot or spend a lot of time trying to light something in a very specific way, its going to look like what it would be the poor mans version of it. What we did on that film was just, all right, lets focus on these characters and the acting and try and make this as honest a representation of the world that I had come from.
However, since then, with some increasing budgets, again I still havent made a movie for more than $5 million, but I have at least gotten some dolly track and a couple of steady cam shots and fortunate enough to work with a great DP.
I think the two films that Im probably most proud of with the overall look is a film I did called Purple Violets, where we do these gorgeous like what we call moving masters. Its sort of one long take that covers a three page scene and Woody Allen is the master of those. We kind of adopted that style on that film and I think we really did a great job executing it.
Then Nice Guy Johnny, its the first film I shot using the RED camera and it gave us a different type of mobility and there are some images in this film that are just breathtaking.
R. Trunk Absolutely.
E. Burns Great execution.
R. Trunk Those RED cameras are the hottest thing right now.
E. Burns I think the RED camera is going to be a game changer for indie cinema. You can theyre small; theyre not terribly expensive compared to a film camera. You can go out with almost no lights and make a pretty great looking film. Well see if Im right about that.
R. Trunk The future of cinema, my friend.
E. Burns Whats that?
R. Trunk The future of cinema.
E. Burns Yes, yes. No, I think youre right.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Stevie Wilson. Could you please tell us your site and proceed with your question?
S. Wilson Hi, this is my site is L.A. Story.com. Its nice to talk to you today, Ed. Thank you for your time.
E. Burns Yes, yes, of course. Thanks for talking to me.
S. Wilson Its interesting that given that now that the Tribeca Film Festival is really doing something groundbreaking going virtual, how much more it will drive people, particularly film students into wanting to participate and understanding the need for small films? Im wondering what your thoughts are about that?
E. Burns About young filmmakers getting interested in small movies, is that the question?
S. Wilson Yes.
E. Burns I only hope. Its funny, you know, when I was in film school thats what we loved, whether it was Jim Jarmisch and Hal Hartley, or looking further back Truffaut and Louis Malle, or De Sica. We wanted to tell small personal stories. I think now the at least it appears to me the kids that are really into film are into sort of maybe more like genre films whether its comic book stories or horror.
I dont really know. Maybe all these things are cyclical and maybe itll just be a matter of time before young film students fall back in love with the small personal film. I dont really know, but I hope so because thats all I really enjoy watching.
S. Wilson To me I would think that the world the way films are going now in the industry as a whole, that blockbusters seem to be what everybody is hoping for but the industry cant and the economy doesnt support it.
E. Burns Maybe whats going to happen is given studios are focused on the giant tent-pole movies and thats kind of all that they seem to be doing right now, and they will dominate the multiplexes with those, and I think deservedly so. You go to see Avatar and that is a pretty incredible experience in the theater.
Maybe now people are going to be watching movies on their iPads and their iPhones and a lot of people have flat screen TVs, or you can watch it on your laptop. You know, maybe the only place for those small personal films will be kind of this kind of virtual thing or home viewing or via the Web, which will force people to if youre not going to be financed by the studio youre going to have to make a very low budget film. The genre that works best when you have no money are small talky films, so who knows, maybe this will start a little, a mini movement.
S. Wilson Thanks.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Lena Lamoray. Please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
L. Lamoray Hi. Lena Lamoray.com. Hi, Ed.
E. Burns Hi, how are you? Hows it going?
L. Lamoray Good, how are you?
E. Burns Good. I just stuffed something in my face, so excuse me. Thats me chewing.
L. Lamoray Okay, if you were to compare Nice Guy Johnny to your previous works, what are some of the elements that stand out that really speak to how much youve grown as an actor, writer, director, and producer?
E. Burns Acting-wise Id say its my best performance in one of my films and I say this kind of there are three reasons for that. One is I kind of wrote it toward my strengths I think as an actor and kind of wrote a part for a part of my personality that maybe I havent explored in my films before for me to play.
The second reason is Ive just been doing it longer so kind of like any muscle the more you work it I think the more command you have over it. Primarily the biggest reason is in the film its about a bunch of 24-year-old kids and we wanted to find unknown actors. I kind of wanted to go back to whatever the magic was I was able to create with my cast in Brothers McMullen.
There was an enthusiasm on that film that I never sort of captured again or never felt on set again. With this film we went and we found Matt Bush, this actress Kerry Bishé and Anna Wood, and then even some of the supporting players who really had very little experience in front of the camera.
Theyd all gone to acting school and stuff like that but what I found, for me as an actor was their enthusiasm and their love and appreciation for getting to act, to be in a movie, to be on set, it was infectious for me as an actor. Every scene I have Im opposite this kid Matt Bush and hes coming at you with everything hes got and with such enthusiasm and love for it that there was no way he was pulling like the best stuff out of me. I would credit him with that.
Writing, I think its my say my most honest and personal film since The Brothers McMullen. Again I wanted to go back to can you hear me?
L. Lamoray Yes.
E. Burns I just kind of wanted to go back to like not really trying to be funny, sort of writing about people that I really knew intimately. Then as a filmmaker, again, its almost like the acting the more you do it the more confidence you have, the more you know what you need and what you dont need. I think Ive been working now with my DP Will Rexer, this is our fourth film together.
He and I really, I think, have grown together and I have a lot more faith and trust in him than Ive had with any other DP. I kind of allow him to sort of push me now in a way that maybe I wouldnt or didnt in the past.
L. Lamoray Great. Now, was the writing and filming process different from your prior movies?
E. Burns Was the writing whats that?
L. Lamoray Was the writing and filming process different from what youve approached on your prior movies?
E. Burns No, not really. I write every day. Im pretty disciplined in that respect. Im pretty tough on myself. Filming-wise, maybe the difference between this film and the last couple is we were a pretty small tight-knit cast and everyone got to know one another very well. Maybe there is a little bit more collaboration and input from the cast in this script than in films in the past.
L. Lamoray Great, Ed. Thank you.
E. Burns All right. Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Kim Farris. Please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
K. Farris Hi, this is Kim Farris from ACED Magazine. How are you?
E. Burns Pretty good, how are you?
K. Farris Im very good. I absolutely love your work. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this.
E. Burns Oh, cool, cool. Thanks.
K. Farris Well, the question I have was somewhat touched on already earlier, but I wanted to dive a little bit deeper. You mentioned with Brothers McMullen the rejection letters and even the offer from your mother about getting a suit and getting a real job. Did you, whether it be at that point or earlier in writing films and directing and so forth, did you find yourself at such a low point ever that that idea really became a serious consideration? And what was it was it something or someone that inspired you to continue to living your dream and continue to go for it and not to conform to what everybody else was saying?
E. Burns The low point probably was before we got accepted into Sundance I remember I had printed up my first resume since I had gotten out of college and gotten my first production assistant job. I had been a PA for four years at this same television show but, if youre a PA for four years youve been a PA for three years too long probably.
I had put together a resume; I had taken a couple of scenes from my short films and from Brothers McMullen and kind of put together a reel and I was about to apply for a job at Comedy Central directing these things called bumpers, which is little things in between shows. That was probably the low point where I was like all right, this movie didnt work. Im out of money and I cant Ive got to get a real job now, Im 26 years old.
There was that. I always said to myself even if McMullen didnt work the best bit of advice that I got was from my dad one day. I was pissing and moaning and complaining about all of the rejection letters and he said, Whats the problem? I said, Well, nobody likes the movie. Nobody wants to buy it. He goes, You told me the 12 days that it took to shoot the film were the 12 best days of your life. I said, Yeah. He goes, Well, do it again. Just figure out a way to do it again.
That was a real eye-opener for me. If anything sort of kept the dream alive it was that. I kind of said to myself I will keep trying to make these little $20,000 to $25,000 movies every three or four years until Im 35. I figured I could make like three more of them. If one of them doesnt work by the time Im 35 then I will give up the dream. Fortunately we sold Brothers McMullen and here we are today.
K. Farris Fantastic. I guess for a follow-up is more of a statement than a question. Coming from an aspiring actor and writer as myself and others out there that are pursuing their dream and what they love, Nice Guy Johnny seems like a pretty inspirational film. You yourself are very inspirational, period. Just like continuing on and doing what youre doing and being so successful. I say Bravo to you.
E. Burns Cool, cool. Well, thank you. Its funny. I mean like when I sat down to right Nice Guy Johnny I dont my intention was not to sort of write a film that sort of was inspirational or even like close to anything that I had gone through, but its funny you know, like whatever those things are that are always in the back of your mind you know, as youre writing they cant help but find their way into your stories or screenplays or novels.
It wasnt even until like we were shooting the film that I was like, oh wait, this is pretty personal. This kids 24; hes in sports radio, but hes making the same arguments I made as a 25-year-old kid. Anyway, thanks.
K. Farris Great. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
E. Burns Cool. Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Rima Katz. Miss Katz, please state your site and proceed with your question.
A. Henry Hi, well, actually my name is Ashley Henry on the call for Rima Katz, but I just want to say hey, Ed, how are you?
E. Burns Pretty cool, how are you doing, Ashley?
A. Henry Im doing pretty good. My first question to you is about the movie that youre doing and your character is Uncle Terry. Do you see him as the antagonist of the film or do you see him as someone who is helping Johnny reach his goals?
E. Burns Hes sort of like hes a mentor of sorts, but its almost like the devil on one shoulder and the woman he meets on this journey, played by Kerry Bishé, as sort of maybe the angel on the shoulder.
The interesting thing is like I think my character is a mentor that is always hes sort of the dumbest guy in the room. Hes always giving this kid terrible advice, but only at the end of the journey when he comes through and you see these decisions hes made you realize like, oh, maybe the idiot knew something after all, if that makes any sense.
A. Henry Mm-hm. Okay. My follow-up question to you would be out of all the films that you have done which one would you absolutely, honestly say is your favorite other than Brothers McMullen?
E. Burns Obviously, well, hopefully youre always madly in love with the one you just finished.
A. Henry Yes.
E. Burns I think Nice Guy Johnny is definitely my favorite because it is my most personal. Other than that Sidewalks of New York is hands-down my favorite.
A. Henry Okay, cool. Well, thank you very much. Cool.
E. Burns Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question in queue is from the line of Vincent Malucci. Please tell us your site and proceed with your question.
V. Malucci Hi, Ed. Im from BrainDeadRadio.com. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.
E. Burns Yes, no sweat. How are you doing?
V. Malucci Im doing great. I have one question for you really thats been kind of pinging in my head. I want to know, you have a really large body of work, well not really large, but an extensive body of work as an actor in general, and youve worked with a lot of living legends like Steven Spielberg, Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert De Niro. From all those experiences in your acting, how can you say that might have translated into your being a better director?
E. Burns Probably if youre smart and you check your ego at the door when you work with one of those legends you use it as an opportunity to go to school. I think Ive done that every time when Ive gotten lucky enough to work with one of these guys. Spielberg, hands-down the most influential experience Ive had to date. Watching not only his decision-making process but also how he communicates with his crew, but mostly how he communicated with the cast.
The one thing I took from him that changed how I deal with actors is were like two weeks into the shoot and hes giving us two and three takes to do a scene and giving us no comments or notes after any of them. He was just like, Okay, great, moving on. Finally, after two weeks he finally after a third take asked us to do something different, after a fourth take, fifth take, sixth take. Finally at lunch we asked him like why today? How come you were sort of directing us today? He goes, Well, today you didnt know what the hell you were doing.
He explained to us that especially given an ensemble he hires people that he knows what they do and expects them to do what they do on the day. He will give any actor three takes to figure it out. Some guys nail it on the first, some guys nail it on the second; most people find it by the third. If by the third you havent given him something that he likes then hell step in and sort of steer you back on course.
I know for me when I was making my first couple of films, I thought the director needed to direct so after every take I was giving the actor any kind of note or any kind of encouragement. Only since that experience did I realize, you know what, let them do their thing, they will figure it out. That is usually the case, Ive found.
Working with De Niro or Hoffman, you just pick up little things like how they respond to a director and how they like to be spoken to, and the best way that they might receive a bit of criticism or when someone suggests just change. That was pretty informative to just kind of watch, Ah! I am not going to do it that way when I have to deal with an actor Im maybe going to do it this way, the way that guy did it. So you learn those kind of things as well.
V. Malucci Okay. My follow-up for you, actually is kind of expanding on a comment you made earlier in the interview. You mentioned tent-pole films, the big summer blockbusters and extravaganzas, considering the kind of films that you make now, do you ever see yourself maybe 10 or 15 years down the road actually making a film with a $250 million budget and all these whiz bang special effects?
E. Burns You know, I really dont. I have one script that we tried to get made a couple of years ago that was a sort of big period film set in turn-of-the century New York City. Thats something where I would have needed a lot of CGI but not the kind of effects that you would need if youre going to be making an Ironman per se. I love those movies; I go to see a fair amount of them, but it was never some guys write symphonies, some guys write folk songs. I think I write folk songs.
V. Malucci Ed, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today and good luck with your work successful.
E. Burns Cool. Thank you very much, man.
V. Malucci Thank you.
Moderator Thank you, sir. I show no further questions in queue at this time.
E. Burns Are we all done?
Moderator It looks like it. Would you like to make any further remarks, sir?
E. Drumm Yes, first I want to thank Ed for his time today–
E. Burns Thank you. That was fun, really good questions.
E. Drumm –very much appreciated. I want to thank everybody else for joining us today. Were going to have a transcript for you in about 48 hours so Ill send it to you as soon as we have it and Ed, Ill be sure to send it to your team as well.
Dont forget to see Nice Guy Johnny starting this Friday, April 23, on Tribeca Film Festival Virtual and you can pick up your Premium Pass at www.TribecaFilm.com/Virtual. Thank you everybody for coming and well talk to you soon.
E. Burns Guys, everyone who was on the call, thank you for caring about these small movies, we need it, so thanks. Great.