Burns -– an indie filmmaker to the core -– decided to forgo the traditional theatrical release. Instead, the film will be released on October 26th in [a plethora of] formats simultaneously: iTunes, video-on-demand Netflix, PlayStation 3, Amazon Video and DVD.
Burns has his reasons for giving this method a shot. The playing field for true indie films has shifted considerably in the last decade. Backing money from hedge-funders has dried up. Indie studios like Picturehouse and Warner Independent have shut down. Marketing costs have risen considerably. (Burns can make a film for $1 million, then spend five times that amount trying to get the word out for a theatrical release. It’s tough going when an indie has to compete with the latest Robert Pattinson movie with a $40 million marketing budget.)
“Nice Guy Johnny” is a romantic comedy about a young man who believes he can please his demanding fiancée only by giving up his dream job as a sports radio talk show host for a more serious vocation. The film, like most of Burns’, is all Eddie: He wrote it, directed it, acted in it and produced it.
And it’s a remarkable film, especially given its circumstances. Burns did the entire film on a budget of $25,000. He used virtually unknown actors (the one notable exception being Burns himself, of course), who did their own hair and makeup. It was filmed in just ten days, shot by three people with a digital camera. Burns used his parents’ house in Long Island for part of the set.
More from Forbes here.
I heard an interview* with Burns the other day. He’s wisely deducted that, if you do get distribution in the first place, getting people to come out to the art houses is an uphill battle these days. And more to the point, the film’s central character is 24 years old. How are a lot of twenty-somethings consuming content these days? “They’re laying in bed watching on their laptops. They’re pulling it down on their Apple TV. They’re firing up the Netflix app on their iPhone or iPad. I’m just going where the audience is.”
Let’s see how it goes.
“Nice Guy Johnny” trailer below or here:
(The trailer makes it seem a little sappy. It’s actually a romantic comedy. See the Forbes article for more background).
* - Burns also said that looking over Steven Spielberg’s shoulder for a few weeks while filming ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was like going to film school.