Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking – Masterclass



From first treatment to final edit, Ken teaches his documentary filmmaking techniques that “wake the dead” to bring their stories to life.

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1. Introduction
Meet your new instructor: award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns. Ken shares why he’s teaching his MasterClass, what you’ll learn, and encourages you to break free from the rules of conventional filmmaking.

2. What It Takes
Your life experiences, personal goals, and early films are all fodder for your career as filmmaker. Learn the highs and lows of Ken’s first film and his advice for navigating the filmmaking process.

3. Choosing Your Story
Using examples from his own project files, Ken teaches you how to identify powerful, universal themes that will resonate with audiences.

4. Finding Your Story Within The Subject
You’ve selected your topic, but what’s the story you’re telling? Ken teaches you how to use research to seek out different perspectives, discover your story, and anchor it in facts.

5. Telling A True Story
Learn how Ken sculpts stories to honor opposing viewpoints and portray a larger narrative picture.

6. Treatments, Pitching, and Funding
Filmmaking requires passion, vision—and money. Using an example from The Civil War, Ken teaches you the purpose and process of writing a treatment and his tips for navigating the world of fundraising.

7. Structuring a Documentary Narrative
A bold beginning, engaging middle, and compelling end—the laws of storytelling can and should be applied to documentary filmmaking. Learn how to structure your narrative to keep viewers hooked.

8. Sourcing Archival Materials
Archival materials are some of the richest storytelling resources available. But how do you navigate the huge volume of possibilities? Ken teaches you his time-tested methods for unearthing rare audio and visual materials.

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Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking – Masterclass