I wasn’t too familiar with Ken Burns until fairly recently. But I’ve checked out some of his work and, more to the point, his online interviews on “Story” and what it takes to be a storyteller – and I am amazed.
A very well spoken guy, so direct and to the point – I just love what he has to say. One of the quotes he came up with on one of the interviews I was watching was something like “a good story means making 2+2=3″, for some reason that really struck me as a wonderful way to look at the art of storytelling. Another way of putting “the total adds up to more than the sum of its parts”, a reference I’m very familiar with but hearing it from another angle made me really stop and think about what it means.
We all know when we get into a really good story how much each chapter and scene adds to the whole. How putting it all together makes it so much more compelling than if you were to just pick a section out at random and read only that part. At least in most cases, anyway. That has certainly been true of most of the stories I’ve read and enjoyed over the years. Granted, some literature is so perfectly crafted that any one piece is wonderful in and of itself, but you don’t need to reach that level of genius in order to craft a compelling story. At any rate, that one simple comment really made me stop and think about what makes for a good story.
I will certainly make it a point to learn more about Ken Burns and check out his work. I’m definitely looking forward to it!