Ken Burns Talk

Various thoughts from Ken Burns talk

  • History is the best teacher
  • The goal is to make a film that … “drops out of your head and into your heart.”
  • Race is at the core of the American narrative
  • “All of our films are made in the editing room”  

Process: Reading, scholars, museums, archives, and interviews

  • We’re 80-100 hour a week people.  
  • “Remove the arrogance we have about the past”   
  • “Good history is making you think it won’t turn out the way it did.”   
  • “The internet equalizes…”  
  • “Most of what we do is subtraction…(Analogy to syrup: forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.)   
  • There’s no boundaries in music; WM quote: “Music as the art of the invisible”  
  • KB as conductor of huge orchestra.   
  • When something is going wrong: “Someone, somewhere, let something slide.”  
  • Note about teachers — “more about how to be a person than a filmmaker”  
  • Points at TJ and DoI: second greatest sentence in the English language.   
  • Laws of storytelling are the same, no matter what kind of film you’re making.   (Difference between me and Spielberg is that he can make something up and I can’t.)   

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