Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life” as Want to Read:
Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  57 reviews
An entertaining and inspirational memoir by one of the most prominent practitioners and evangelists of independent filmmaking, and the acclaimed writer, director, and actor (Saving Private Ryan, Friends with Kids, Entourage) whose first film—The Brothers McMullen—has become an indie classic.

At the age of twenty-five, Ed Burns directed and produced his first film on a tiny
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by Avery (first published January 6th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Independent Ed, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Independent Ed

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  285 ratings  ·  57 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life
Amalia Gavea
If you are a fan of Edward Burns, if you love New York, the genre of independent films, or if you are here because Saving Private Ryan is, perhaps, your favourite film in the history of the universe, you need to read this book ASAP.

Edward Burns communicates his deep love and passion for the whimsical and captivating world of indie films, using a simple, clear language but full of details and a deep insight into his dream of promoting the genre, creating new horizons.

A fascinating, quick read, wr
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
First of all, I must disclose that I won an advance copy of this book on Goodreads--somehow Goodreads knew that this is the perfect book for me. It is an enjoyable, breezy account of one writer's love of making independent films. It is the story of a young man without a clear career focus who stumbles into a business that he loves and finds early success at. This book is for anyone who loves the author's movies, or independent films, or film in general. You won't find anything very personal or s ...more
Winter Sophia Rose
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing, Honest & Insightful! Brilliant Writing! I Loved It! ...more
Andrea Blythe
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Note: This book was an ARC provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

In Independent Ed, Edward Burns relates his experiences working in the film industry as a writer, director, and actor. Burns directed and produced his first film, The Brothers McMullen, on a tiny $25,000 budget — which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Since that initial success, he has gone on to make ten more films on his own terms and act in several big budget Hollyw
Disclaimer the first: I won this ARC in a Good Reads First Reads giveaway.

Disclaimer the second: when I entered the GoodReads First Reads giveaway, I thought it was a memoir about Ken Burns, the documentarian. Whoops!

So, I don't think that I've ever actually seen an Ed Burns movie. I remember my parents liking The Brothers McMullen when it came out, but I think I was too young at the time to have an interest in it.

That being said, this book wasn't half bad. Burns comes across as very sincere, an
Dixie Conley
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I received a copy of this book in return for a review.

This book is the engrossing story of Ed Burns' movie making career. It covers the time span from when he first started writing through to his latest project, a TV movie. It touches on the equipment he used, the people he worked with and the ease or difficulty of getting a given project made. Burns' prose is accessible and engaging.

I would have liked to see more detail on either his emotions or a step by step look into making any of his projec
Corinne Driscoll
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've loved Ed Burns since The Brothers McMullen. Love his New Yorkese, sense of humor sarcasm, etc. I grew up knowing people like him, though he was Queens/Long Island and I was Staten Island. My only disappointment in reading the book was that I did not have immediate access to his films, those that I've seen or those I now want to see. I remember seeing Saving Private Ryan for the first time. As the soldiers were being killed off, one by one, I just kept saying to myself,"They better not kill ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I remember Edward Burns from The Brothers McMillan-which was a brilliant first film. I also Remember him from She's the One, which was criticized as being The Brothers McMillan on a larger budget. I didn't know if Edward Burns was actually still in the business.

I learned about some of the inns-and-outs of film making, including about obtaining permits, minimum wages for actors, editing, and more. But that said, this book seemed to leave a lot out, or just confused me. For example, In the course
James Meyer
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Inspirational. Awe inspiring. Ed forged his own path by following is dream despite the impossible realities he was faced with along the way - especially in the beginning while making his first film. But his luck, his preparedness meeting opportunity, led to ultimate success. He had a PA job at Entertainment Tonight. Robert Redford made an appearance for an interview. That's what you call opportunity. Ed has a film made already. That's what you call preparedness.

Es was lucky to know w
Chris Kasparoza
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Slim, quick, to the point, a wonderful set of lessons can be derived from Burns' tales of life in the movie trenches. I really enjoyed this and so should fans of his movies, but, particularly, those trying to make their first/micro-budget movies would gain a lot from it. It was written for them more than his audience. This book was not about his personal life, it is about what it takes to succeed doing what you love.
Highly recommended if you traffic in The Arts!
Christine Fay
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This is an excellent memoir about the very talented Ed Burns and his development as a screenwriter. For anyone who has any interest in making movies, or in reading a really good memoir, then this is the book for you. I have to also make a disclaimer here that I may have had a crush on him for a bit in the 90s, but I think I’m an impartial judge of his prose writing.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
An in depth look at how one man started his career on fire in the film industry and slowly worked his way down the A list. Adapting to new technologies, Burns always found a way to keep his skin in the game. An important read for artists.
April Schwarz
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very interesting view of life in independent film making.
Christie Leigh
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read for any artist of any kind in this life. This book is down-to-earth, and very inspiring.
Huguette Larochelle
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
behind the scene of a film maker .
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an advance reading copy I got through a Goodreads giveaway, so the editing is a little rough here and there - I expect those will smooth out by the book's January release.

This is very much a business memoir. Burns spends a little time on his early life, but only because it's so inextricable from the creation of his first film "The Brothers McMullen." After that point the focus of the book is almost entirely on his work, with each chapter focusing on a film or acting project. One of the m
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Now I will be looking for this author/actor/writer/director/producer everywhere. I enjoy movies, particularly Indie movies, but this author wasn't on my radar until now. What an interesting book about acting and making movies at the same time. The story opened up a whole new world to me. We all see movies, but what do we know about behind the scenes? No, not that rubbish you buy at the supermarket about famous people.

I believe Edward Burns did himself a great service writing this book, especial
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I won an advance uncorrected proof of this book in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

I have actually never seen an Ed Burns directed film so I wasn't familiar with the bulk of the movies he talked about making in this book, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was drawn into the story of how each of his films was made. Now I want to find these movies and watch them. I'm also interested in watching his TNT series Public Morals when it come
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Finished Edward Burns’ memoir “Independent Ed” and loved it!!! :D I’ve been a fan of Ed’s since I was 13 seeing his first 2 movies “The Brothers McMullen” & “She’s the One” on cable with my Dad, and when “Saving Private Ryan” came out. I loved his movies over the years and the way he writes his stories. It’s inspired my own writing and he gives so much great advice in this book not only for filmmakers & writers, but anyone who is creative and wants to follow their dreams. Loved the chapters deal ...more
Disclaimer: I received my copy free as part of a First Reads giveaway.

A solid 4, almost 5 stars

I like Ed Burns. I've never dreamed of making films. I made one 3 minute silent film in art school, but I've never been driven to tell a story with that form of art. Reading his perspective was enlightening. I know a film maker who does independent films and like Burns, does it because he has to.

Burns had unwavering support from his parents, both emotionally and financially but he was also lucky. And
David Glad
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I won this book as part of a goodreads giveaway, but only now got around to writing a review despite finishing it quite a while back.

The book was quite engaging and yet a relatively easy read. (Whenever you had a moment, read some more.) Although I am not that much into movies, still, while reading it, I found myself wanting to learn more about (and watch) Ed's influences and the movies he has starred in. That really is the idea of passion: What you do better drive you and you will find a way to
Darrick Williams
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of Edward Burns’s movies, I found it very interesting the way he produces them. Like anyone who has a dream, they must believe in it and find a way, and he did. The book share a lot about how he strategizes with very little, but is able to accomplish a lot. It was not without hard work, determination and lots of passion. From him watching many movies, writing, taking classes, and working jobs in entertainment; he found his writing voice.

Nice Guy Johnny is one of my favorites of his, an
Alex G
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved every page of Independent Ed. As an Indi filmmaker, I found myself connecting to Ed Burns’ struggles of green lighting a project. Even if you are somebody, it is hard to get your project financed. Ed Burns’ self analysis made this book a page-turner. From his description of "The Brothers McMullen" to his life changing experience during "Saving Private Ryan," this book is a must read for any independent filmmaker. It covers the time span of when he first started interning at different com ...more
Rob Summers
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun, fast and easy read. Burns' chronicles his ups and downs as filmmaker and actor from his golden boy start winning status to starring in Spielberg movies and returning to his scrappy roots making no budget movies with his friends. While Burn's doesn't make crazy avant grade cinema, this book does really show he is a real deal independent filmmaker from being the first to premiere their movie on iTunes before anyone else or using off the shelf cameras to shoot his features. While his movies do ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Independent Ed by Edward Burns is a free Goodreads FirstReads advance reader copy of a paperback book that I received in early October. To generalize and possibly minimize the skill and fame of Ed Burns a little bit, I had chosen to receive this book, because Ed Burns kind of comes off as 'Ben Affleck Lite' to me. Sorry, Ed Burns, but it kinda makes sense.

Oof. I had expected alot more from a filmmaker/actor autobiography like this, whether or not they're still alive. Outside of his childhood and
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ed Burns is a great screenwriter. His inspirational book? Like sitting and listening to a friend you haven't heard from in a long time fill in the blanks over drinks. Not high art but that said - his is a very fast and fun read for anyone who is an Ed Burns fan (we are!), a lover of New York City (we are!), an independent kindred spirit, (we are!) and/or a passionate film-buff (of course, we are!). I'd also say that EVERY film school graduate or aspiring filmmaker would do well to read Burns' bo ...more
Stephanie Bennett
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having only been familiar with a few of Edward Burns' movies, I wasn't completely sure what I was getting into with this one. However, I was pleasantly surprised. He humbly talks through humility throughout the book, his ups and downs. Never once does he sugarcoat any of the facts and stories of trying to make it in the film industry. This is a great book for anyone who aspires to work in the film industry, or even anyone who just enjoys movies and wonders about the back stories of some of their ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book free from a GoodReads give-away. I really enjoyed this book. I had seen The Brothers McMullen and She's the One and really liked them. I didn't realize how these were made. I always assumed a movie star, director, writer, etc. was an easy and profitable job. This book was great insight into the struggles of an indie movie maker. I loved his drive and his integrity to doing things his way. After reading this book I have so much admiration for Ed Burns. I am going to look and ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Independent Ed is about a man who becomes a film maker and gets his first movie recognized. The reason I loved this book was because it is my dream to become a film maker. He is a good role model. He can inspire to do what you want the right way in film making. I really like him as a person as well. He does every movie that he makes with enthusiasm and he works and works on every little part of it. He works with little money on some movies and they turn out good. When he likes a script he pours ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book! I've always enjoyed Burns's films - even the ones that were not well received by critics. I think what is most interesting about Burn's filmmaking journey is that it provides a through line from DIY analogue film production to the explosion of digital - as in the case of Burns's recent work. As someone who studies digital media, I thought it was quite interesting how ahead Burns was in seeing the potentials of digital distribution for indie filmmakers. Definitely a must read for insp ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
  • Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
  • When The Shooting Stops ... The Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story
  • Def Jam, Inc. : Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and the Extraordinary Story of the World's Most Influential Hip-Hop Label
  • That Was Then, This Is Now
  • Conversations with Major Dick Winters: Life Lessons from the Commander of the Band of Brothers
  • Rebel Without a Crew, or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
  • Beastie Boys Book
  • Adventures in the Screen Trade
  • The American West in Fiction
  • Like Brothers
  • Making Movies
  • The Jaws Log
  • Surprisingly Down to Earth, and Very Funny: My Autobiography
  • True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
  • BEASTARS 6 (Beastars, #6)
  • Cinquemila chilometri al secondo
  • The Stories of Ray Bradbury
See similar books…

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett Joha...
6 likes · 1 comments