Ken Burns On Transcendent Stories

August 7, 2016 - Cinematography, Film Production, Useful Resources
Ken Burns On Transcendent Stories

Master Documentarian Ken Burns shares his love of story with up and coming filmmakers.

“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts…”

Ken_Burns documentarian

In a recent short video, Burns explains that while logically we know that 1+1=2, when it comes to telling a truly great story filmmakers should be looking for a 1+1=3 equation. A story where that extra, potentially unseen, element “love”, “god” or “reason” is what truly matters most to the audience. A story where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is what is required for a more engaging tale.

Flawed heroes, compelling villains.

Burns finds that sometimes a complicated tale is the tale that’s most worth telling.  For example, provide rich characters who are good but flawed and villains who have identifiable motivations. Because this will connect with the audience.

Emotional truth must be earned.

Most of all, Burns understands that films -and as a byproduct, the stories they tell -are manipulation. Even though that word has negative connotations, it’s not necessarily bad. As a filmmaker, Burns looks to move his audience through sincerity and truth. Consequently, he utilizes his truth to connect emotionally with his audience and build a story that is transcendent. And most of all, a story that reminds us that it’s ok to be human.

Watch the full video of Burns passionately talking about his love of story in the full video below.

To help tell your stories cinematically, check out PowerProduction’s line of storyboard software and begin to make better movies today.


Finally, if you’re interested in creating a ‘Ken Burn’s effect’ for your project, check out this feature in StoryBoard Artist storyboard software

Ken Burns Effect created in StoryBoard Artist Storyboard Software


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