Oct. 30, 2010, 1:57 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
It won't involve traditional theatres, that's for damn sure. It will involve a pair of massively advanced personalized 3D glasses and a pair of wireless headphones. People will be able to download streaming feature films upon release (via wireless, perhaps at a speed of around 1000 Mbps), watch them on their 3D glasses via holographic projection, with a variety of audio options to choose from (THX Surround EX and Sony SDDS, to name two).<P>No more waiting in line (think SW sequels, if they ever happen). No more annoying people yammering to each other/on their cell phones as you're trying to enjoy the movie. No more exorbitantly overpriced concessions. No more having to hire a babysitter so you & your spouse can go see an R-rated movie unsuitable for the kids, or having to take the kids to a PG-rated movie you have no real interest in yourself.<P>Technology always moves forward, and if it simplifies and cuts out the soul of an experience you once held near & dear... well, get on the bandwagon and deal with it, hoss. The future is inevitable.
Oct. 30, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST
by Wyndam Earle
as much as I don't like it, I have to agree that something like what you said will be the future. Too bad, since many of my favorite childhood memories are of sitting in a packed darkend theater, communily sharing the experience of a great film. Oh well, at least I gots my memories...now, if I could only download them and relive them at my leisure ala BRAINSTORM. When the fuck is THAT gonna happen?
Oct. 30, 2010, 2:34 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. The communal experience of watching a movie in a darkened (and preferably QUIET!!) theatre with others can't be beat. I'll choose it anyday over watching a DVD at home.<P>As far as your memories go... no doubt they (the Future Almighty They, who will develop & control this brave new movie world) will have some "deluxe package" available that will tap into your brain's temporal lobes, and allow you to relive your prior theatre experiences. Which would be supremely cool, within that new technology context.
Oct. 30, 2010, 5:31 a.m. CST
the theatre definitely ain't dead though. always had a soft spot for burns. don't really know why
Oct. 30, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST
Good work all round.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST
But I still hate that he gets to bang Christy Turlington & I don't.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST
I never really did like Ed Burns, never knew of his Indie roots, and continuing career, I have a whole new respect and interest in his work now. I definatly agree with him on the future of the film business. With the affordibility of cameras, editing software and memory, the willingness of young unknown actors to do any work available, you can have such low overhead that its easy to make a movie that looks as good as a large studio picture and is written better and will still turn a profit.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:18 a.m. CST
If you're making a low budget indie and want all the control then the internet/VOD model is your best bet. Equating it to indie rock is right. However, most of the indie rockers I know (and I know a lot) beg their friends to come to their shows and buy their music. It's a horrible existence. It's not romantic. It's asking your friends and family for money to keep you from getting a day job. If that's the future of cinema, hitting up Uncle Joe for 25k to make your personal story about you and your friends, cinema will die. The early to mid 90's had a rash of that and how many filmmakers really survived that kind of business model? Kevin Smith. Robert Rodrigues. I wouldn't even put Burns on that list as his movies make no money and no one really sees them. And another point--Who the fuck wants a future full of little cheaply made relationship character driven indies? Part of what inspired most of us to be in the business were not Cassavetes movies, but Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron, John Hughes, etc. If every movie in the future is some bare bones guerrilla indie, I weep for the future of cinema. Do I think the studios are running the risk of becoming obsolete? Definitely. They need to bring their costs and spending and salaries down to reasonable levels in order to become profitable across the board. I see them starting to do that. They are laying off many of the layers of needless development execs they employ and getting more focused on working with top talent. Does that make it harder for new talent to break in? Definitely. But studios can be successful because at the end of the day, people want to go to the movies. Whether it's teens who want to get out of the house on the weekend and share an experience or a couple on date night or a family who'd rather go to the movies than sit around the house, theaters will always be there. What's happened is that the business of making movies is too expensive. Once the studios begin to control the costs and lessen the risk, you'll see more studio releases than you currently are.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST
As an author, I pitched a book on his films to my editor. Unfortunately my editor said there wasn't enough public interest in his films to publish a book on the subject. I really, really liked Purple Violets. Haven't seen Nice Guy Johnny as there is only one video store in my small town and it didn't get the damned movie, but I'm dying to see it. Keep on grinding, Edward Burns. I, for one, will be there to watch and love all of your films.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST
I don't really think the Cassavetes films need you to validate their existence. Those films are amazing pieces of art that stand on their own. Whether or not they are as entertaining as some John Hughes piece of shit isn't really important; they're art, and art exists for the sake of art.
Oct. 30, 2010, noon CST
Oct. 30, 2010, 1:13 p.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Well said, indeed. It seems like the studio releases of the past 5-10 years have no faith in themselves beyond a snatch & grab tactic. Pummel the target audience to near-death with TV and Internet ads leading up to opening weekend, and (if *that* succeeded) then crow about "The Number One Movie In America / The World!" to make potential audiences think they'd better get off their asses and see the movie ASAP.<P>Long legs among studio releases are few and far between these days (Cameron's once-a-decade extravaganzas excluded), and sizable 2nd-weekend dropoffs seem to have almost become the norm. Welcome to the 21st Century, when the average moviegoer has a week-to-week attention span of a circus monkey. Good luck changing that.<P>I shuuder to think that one day arthouse theatres may resemble the speakeasies of the 1920's; forbidden fruit to quench the thirst for something with an actual kick to it.
Oct. 30, 2010, 2:15 p.m. CST
Very well done and very in-depth. Burns sounds like he's really got his finger on the pulse of the way things are going in terms of indie film making and distribution. Here's a guy who ought to be writing a book on the subject. I know I'd buy it!
Oct. 30, 2010, 2:54 p.m. CST
...that was a good film.
Oct. 30, 2010, 3:47 p.m. CST
but, his films are exceedingly boring and go nowhere. and, they routinely flop. i'm sure that's why he's made the 'choice' (yeah, right, cause distributors are clamoring to release his films in theatres) to 'forgo' theatrical distribution.
Oct. 30, 2010, 4:28 p.m. CST
with an "a" bro', no "e". Good interview just the same.
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:37 p.m. CST
Pretty much. Eddie Burns is to good looking bartender dudes from Long Island what Kevin Smith is to fat comic book nerds from New Jersey. I'd say Eddie's had the better life though. He dated and dumped Heather Graham and he married Christie Turlington. Sure Kevin Smith has been a bit more "ambitious" in his film choices but Eddie's definitely the more talented one.
Oct. 31, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST
If they produce material with more mainstream appeal than an Ed Burns movie. There are no-budget web shows making $143,000 a quarter from blip.tv ad revenue alone. Millionaires are already being made under this new model.
Oct. 31, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST
This is a subject close to my heart, as an indie filmmaker, I made a personal film for $20k and it went nowhere... I mean NOWHERE... as in, we didn't get into one festival. I don't think it was The Godfather, but compared to the competition it probably come close. I went to some of those festivals and saw stuff that was nigh on unwatchable, left confused, but afterwards I often found out that the filmmaker knew somebody on the selection committee or had a publicist or a team of connections (usually friends working at Gawker or some PR firm) banging the drum. Festivals and the kind of outlets Burns is talking about no longer give a shit about quality... there's just too many entries for the festivals to wade through and nowadays, all too often, the cream is not always rising to the top. As a result, many talented filmmakers are resorting to the time-honored tradition of TURNING TO GENRE. The entire indie scene is a joke... there's a shitload of hand-wringing over why there's no distribution, why nobody cares, how you have to build your audience via twitter and spending 24/7 on social networking (rather than, ya know, writing a great script) and it's FUCKING SICKENING to those of us who care about finding an audience. <p>Anyway, I turned to genre and did an alien abduction centered web series, then wrote a feature length script that I took to a pitch event in L.A., and it was optioned and is in development as a television show (development hell, but I learned a lot and found people who appreciated my talent). For me, it's about getting on the map and being able to make a living doing what I love... I love Alien, Blade Runner, and The Exorcist just as much as I love Persona, A Woman Under the Influence, and Scarecrow... so genre is not a four-letter word in my book. As a matter of fact, it's something filmmakers always USED TO DO as they were starting out because so much of it revolves around how good you are at craft, building tension, and sucking in an audience and keeping their attention. There's this whole atmosphere on the indie/festival circuit now where there's a sense of entitlement to an audience for every indie filmmaker's navel pickings committed to celluloid and it's what's killing and suffocating indie film. That and poor selection practices at the biggest festivals. They can't understand that nobody wants to see shit... and nearly everything that gets hyped up now is usually just that - SHIT. It's been a loooooong time since you'd had a Primer, a Brick... hell, a fucking TEETH, and even longer since you've had a Following or a Pi. I still haven't seen Winter's Bone, but I'm hoping it breaks the cycle. Listen... I know a lot of hate gets thrown at Paranormal Activity, but the fact of the matter is, they went genre, had performances better than 99.9% of indie films (seriously, watch random indies like I do... the acting is horrifying), and made a film that had the POTENTIAL to entertain a wide audience. Is it any wonder it was rejected by Sundance? It took the industry, which is way smarter about what audiences want to see than the 'street cred' obsessed (how about STORY AND CRAFT OBSESSED?) indie world wants to admit, to find the film and then champion it to become a box office titan. <p>I'm pretty much fucking done with indies... if you go on boards like Truly Free Film and bring up somebody like Neill Blomkamp, whose short films are better than most features, it's completely ignored. Do not discuss craft and more importantly, do not discuss people doing work that actually gets an audience. This is why I spend all my time either here or screenwriting blogs now, because on a screenwriting blog there's no 'Hollywood' and no 'Indie' there are only MOVIES... good ones, bad ones, great ones, and mediocre ones. If you look at all these people making great looking short films, the evidence is there that the more talented people are leapfrogging over festivals altogether. The smart ones figure out where the open door is and then jump in before it closes. And the open door is NOT at film festivals anymore. If you want to get attention, make a scary as fuck 5 or 10 minute short film and throw it on youtube. If it truly is scary and original, it WILL find a large audience and possibly even get you some attention from the big boys. <p>The only major issue here is that it basically has killed the ability of someone like, say, a young Scorsese to come up out of nowhere... today, he'd likely turn to genre, do a low budget Cape Fear or Shutter Island first, and it might be 20 years or never before he'd get a chance to make a Taxi Driver or a Raging Bull. But you have to play the game... like I said, genre is not a four letter word. It's how nearly every single well known film director started out and I don't understand why there's this confusion all of a sudden about how to jumpstart a career.
Nov. 1, 2010, 9:57 a.m. CST
by Darth Busey
Nov. 1, 2010, 10:12 a.m. CST
It's pretty depressing that indie film and mainstream film are at such opposite ends of the spectrum that you can either make a film for $20,000 or $20,000,000. Anything in between is most likely going to go unnoticed and never earn a penny of profit.
Nov. 1, 2010, 11:16 a.m. CST
Genre and well made shorts are definitely the way to go. I know all this hype surrounding Lena Dunham and Tiny Furniture is going to send every young wannabe to their families for 30k to make their own personal feature film and a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money. I wish people would realize that she has connections in this business. She's not an outsider like Kevin Smith or Rodriguez were at the time. The fact that Apatow and Scott Rudin are mentoring her career isn't dumb luck. She had a way into them that even most established writer/directors can't achieve. What filmmakers should be focusing on is how to stand out instead of fit in. This whole interview with Burns is a bit depressing because you're hearing a guy with little writing/directing talent tell you about the future of the industry and how hitting a single is good enough. Maybe for him. For the rest of the people who dream of making great movies they have to be more ambitious and use the technology available to them today. I think these talky 90's retro character indies will be the rage for a year and then someone will come out with something intense that will blow people's minds. It's a cycle. I lived through the 90's as a young enough guy to realize that what happened then is happening now. As for the festival circuit being rigged, that's a given. The dreams of taking your film to Sundance without knowing anyone and without having a "name" in it are just that, dreams. One of my favorite stories is I did a short that got into a bunch of film festivals but none of the major ones. When I showed it at the Texas film festival, a person who worked for Sundance came up to me and said it was great and I should have submitted it to them. I told them I did submit it to them. Two times. The first time I submitted right before the deadline and figured I submitted too late to get noticed. The second time I submitted early. Both times nothing. I still don't think anyone ever watched my movie. They just cashed the check. Film festivals are not what they used to be.
Nov. 1, 2010, 12:33 p.m. CST
Loved the interview. Love the talkback. This is why I still come to AICN. So The Music Industry almost killed music, and The Movie Industry seems to be going down the same road. New systems of production and distribution are needed. The answer is that there is no new universal answer but a bunch of workable paradigms. Diversity is what's really needed for cinema to survive and evolve as an art from. From Burns to Romero to Aranofsky to Nolan to Whedon and everyone in-between, we just need to keep an open mind and enjoy it all. Thanks to everyone.
Nov. 1, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST
by Darth Busey
Sure, its vital for "big" movies. I haven't seen it yet, but I would imagine watching "Avatar" at home (in 2-D, no less) kinda defeats the purpose. Indie movie creators should absolutely be exploring these alternative distribution/revenue streams.
Nov. 1, 2010, 2:42 p.m. CST
Getting price-gouged at the concession stand. Sitting next to cell phone carrying ignoramuses who act out during the movie. 3-D forced onto the public. Sure, nothing beats watching a movie projected on a big screen, but it's getting harder and harder to enjoy the experience.
Nov. 1, 2010, 11:41 p.m. CST
This is great education on the current state of cinema. Not only from Burns (whose films I never liked, but here he's certainly informative) but from the talkbackers who've made some shorts and films. I knew the scene for indies was bleak and this certainly cements it. We made a comedy short 4 years ago that never got into any festivals. As the creators, of course we're biased, but the comedy festivals we went to were 80-90% crap. And we didn't come in on a high horse. We were literally confused as to how these selections happened. We were told by people with more experience that they were definitely rigged with connections. The fact that it happens on a larger scale shouldn't be surprising, but it's discouraging nonetheless. I was contemplating getting one of these Mark II cameras, but the thought passed pretty quickly. When there's no audience, let alone some semblance of a profit, for what takes a lot of $$ and painstaking effort, it makes it tough to get motivated.