Newlyweds was created as a companion piece to Burns’ 2001 flick, Sidewalks of New York, a story about the interlocking lives and loves of six New Yorkers.
Burns stars in the film in addition to writing the script and directing. After a screening, the Valley Stream native told fans at the Centre that his indie film-making is based on a simple premise. “Why don’t we throw the characters into real environments?”
Burns described the inexpensive filming process by explaining that the actors found themselves in their own clothes, applying their own make-up, and shooting in restaurants that were actually open for business around them.
On top of that, Burns pointed out that some of the scenes had no lights and sound men because he likes smaller, personal, more character-driven films (see “She’s the One,” and “Nice Guy Johnny”).
“I’ve fallen back in love with making these sorts of micro-budget films,” said Burns. To an impressed audience he admitted that the cost of creating Newlyweds was only $9,000. “For whatever reason, I never aspired to make any other type of film,” he said.
Burns said that his penchant for making films began when he was in college, when he happened to catch Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment”. The film inspired him to write screenplays and learn how to make movies.
In fact, the actor said that he never actually wanted to act, but he did it so that he wouldn’t have to get a new job.
“He sets up a playground and says ‘Go for it!’” says actress Marsha Dietlein, one of the supporting players in “Newlyweds,” who also attended the event with Burns and co-star Max Baker.
Of the writing process, “I never pull from my own life. Once I come up with the idea, I go into investigative reporter mode,” he said. Burns credits Twitter with helping him to hatch ideas; he asks his fans for ideas that contribute greatly to his stories.
He also credited the Internet with making film-making easier. “It’s the first time in the history of film-making that a kid who wants to do this doesn’t have the same obstacles,” he said. “If you don’t get into a festival, you can share your film online.”
A frequent visitor and guest speaker at the theatre, Burns gave his first talk in 1995 when he released his debut film, “The Brothers McMullen.” Now, as he currently stars in the big-budget action-drama “Man on a Ledge,” he’s also enjoying the great success story that is “Newlyweds.”
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