11/13/2001 AT 12:00 PM EST
Discussing his new film, "Sidewalks of New York" recently at, appropriately, the New York seminar called Talking Movies, hosted by movie critic Jeffrey Lyons and movie maven Roberta Burrows, actor-writer-director Edward Burns said the film was shot in a guerilla filmmaking style on a shoestring budget in just 17 days. He admits that he aped his style from someone who's given a lot longer to shoot movies, his "Saving Private Ryan" director, Steven Spielberg. "When we filmed," Burns, 33, said of that war epic, "Spielberg shot the film with hand-held cameras and available light. (The movie) was scheduled to film for 66 days, and we finished in 58." Working on his own film, which explores urban relationships and stars Burns's ex Heather Graham, as well as Rosario Dawson, Dennis Farina, Brittany Murphy, and Stanley Tucci, Burns admitted that the fast shoot did not leave much time to indulge his cast. "It was run and gun. The only direction I gave the actors was, 'It's gotta be faster.' " And how did they react? "The one thing that actors tend to do is they love the camera," said Burns, "so they love those exaggerated pauses. I told the cast, I'm gonna cut the pauses anyhow, so let's move on with this."