Ken Burns On Story

Story is powerful, one of the greatest ways our lives are impacted by the art of pop culture. Ken Burns is one of the most gifted storytellers of our time, a brilliant filmmaker who revolutionized how documentaries are made.

Four of his most famous projects are the long documentaries on the Civil War, jazz music, baseball, and World War II, but Burns has explored a wide variety of other topics. You know someone is a gifted communicator when they can fascinate you with a subject that you never cared about before.

Sarah Klein and Tom Mason took on the intimidating task of making a short documentary about this master of the form and created a wonderful vignette called Ken Burns: On Story.

Here are three of my favorite quotes made by Burns in this piece:

  1. “The real genuine stories are about one and one equaling three. That’s what I’m interested in.”
  2. “All story is manipulation.”
  3. “It might be that what I’m engaged in in a historical pursuit is a thinly or perhaps thickly disguised waking of the dead.”

I hope you’ll watch the video that follows to get the full story on those quotes including the potential beauty of deception and how a boy can be impacted by loss at an early age, definitely worth watching.

Klein and Mason premiered their documentary through The Atlantic earlier this summer which is also where you’ll find this¬†interview¬†with them.

Are you a Ken Burns fan? What’s the last documentary you watched?

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.