Storytelling with Director Ken Burns

“Abraham Lincoln wins the Civil War… then decides he’s got time to go to the theatre.”      – Ken Burns maps the DNA of a good story.

Ken Burns is a force of nature. That said, I think I have a crush on Ken Burn’s brain ( -don’t tell my wife). I can’t help it! He’s an amazing storyteller, filmmaker, one of those film folks I’d give an arm to have a conversation in regard to hearing his take on what makes for a great story ( since that’s not likely to happen, it’s off to rent his ever expanding catalogue of epic documentary films). If you haven’t heard of Ken Burns, or had the pleasure of watching his epics Baseball, Jazz, The Civil War (to name just three), I say find a copy and watch them. Sure it’s investing between 10-19 hours apiece (!) but they are truly amazing film series.  I’m not alone in this flurry of flagrant fandom; filmmakers Tom Mason and Sarah Klein think highly of Mr. Burns, too– and what he has to say about storycraft, or rather, the art of crafting a story. So much so, they’ve made a wonderful short documentary about Ken Burns and the craft of story… starring Mr. Ken Burns.

Iconic film director Jean Luc-Godard stated “Cinema is truth at 24 frames a second.” in  Ken Burns: On Story, KB counters this with his own view on story; “Maybe. It’s lying twenty-four times a second, too. All the time. All story is manipulation.” Mr. Burns continues; ” Is there acceptable manipulation? You bet.” He adds; ” People say ‘Oh boy, I was so moved to tears by your film’. That’s a good thing? I manipulated that!”

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Kick off some dialogue with your comment, below.   – M

(Orig Article:

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