As a master documentary filmmaker of series that can take years to make and days to watch, Ken Burns knows a thing or two about conquering a massive creative project. In a recent interview with Fast Company he shares his approach to long-term creative undertakings. Here are four of our favorite lessons on adopting "the Ken Burns way."
The amount of work required for the lengthy endeavors Ken Burns takes on can be enormous. Losing steam and becoming overwhelmed are common hurdles with any extensive project, but the way you see challenges along the way can make all the difference.
When researching and gathering material for a project, Burns often looks beyond the obvious and pursues subjects that diverge from his main subject. What might seem irrelevant at first could be just the source you need to tell the story you're crafting.
Preparing for a creative marathon usually involves planning. Outlining a strategy to navigate your way through the hilltops and valleys can be essential to seeing a project through. But while plans are often necessary, being flexible to change can also be vital.
Working on creative projects, large and small, can generate a ton of material. It's easy to find yourself digging your way out of too many ideas, notes, lists, places to start. Editing is hard. It requires decisions and letting go. But at the end of the day, editing is what makes a story.