Ed Burns has been on the indie scene since it was born in the mid 90s. Today he shared a lot of what he's learned.
There simply aren't a lot of filmmakers who have done what Ed Burns has done. He's been a quadruple threat (actor, writer, director, producer) for decades, bursting onto the scene at Park City back in the heyday of indie film breakthroughs.
Following up his unparalleled success wasn't easy, but he wrote a new script in record time and was ready to go. From there he started starring in major blockbusters, continuing to write and direct his own features, and the pattern continues to this day in the age of streamers.
But what can you and I take from the career of someone like Burns?
Sundance 1995 ain't walking through any of our doors. It's a new crazy world, and how he found success is not how most will find it today... or ever.
What is applicable?
In this case, it's about his approach to compromise.
One thing that has long troubled and fascinated me as an indie filmmaker and producer is how to know what's a deal-breaker and what isn't. You never have enough time or money. Even the guys who produce blockbusters like The Jungle Cruise agree, as they explained to me. But Burns has been working with less time and money from day one. He's still doing it today. It's how he gets his projects off the ground and finished.
It's a skill, an art, and science that he actually breaks down for us in this interview. His process doesn't look like yours or mine, but his tips on how to get the best possible outcome while also being willing to chop things out due to constraints... that's the secret sauce of indie filmmaking.
Who better to learn it from?
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