Ed Burns’ latest film served as a metaphor for what the director has been going through with his career. In “Nice Guy Johnny,” the main character is about to trade in his low-paying dream job in sports radio for a high-paying soul-sucking gig, working for his father-in-law to be. But right before the wedding, he goes to New York and meets a tennis instructor who makes him reconsider the future that is laid out for him.


In Burns’ own “Nice Guy Johnny” moment, his agent was the father-in-law figure.


“My agent at the time sat me down and basically said, ‘Alright, look, this writer/
director/Irish-American/ Woody Allen/auteur thing that you’re going for has served you well for a little while, but is not paying dividends anymore, so would you be willing to put yourself up for an open directing assignment at one of the studios?’” he recounts.


He considered it, but without giving away too much about “Johnny,” the guy who first landed on the map with the indie success of “The Brothers McMullen” decided he wanted to continue making his own films.


“When it’s your gig, it’s everything,” says Burns.