Ken Burns Explains His Storytelling Philosophy of Acceptable Manipulation [Video]

One plus one equals three. It’s a fascinating idea in its simplicity and in its wrongness, but it’s the key to Ken Burns‘s work. According to the iconic documentary filmmaker (and sometimes Community homage subject), that’s the math that adds up to his storytelling success.

The director is now the subject of a short documentary (because art has a sense of humor) from Sarah Klein and Tom Mason called Ken Burns: On Story (via The Atlantic). In it, they ask the central question of storytelling’s nature, and he answers with a little fuzzy math.

Check it out for yourself:

An interest in always complicating things. This guy is a genius. Plus, it’s great to hear a documentarian talk about lying and manipulation.

“An emotional truth is something you have to build.”


What do you think?


A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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