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Ken Burns Quotes and Sayings

I hope you find great value in these Quotes by Ken Burns from my large collection of motivational and inspirational quotes and sayings.

In a sense I've made the same film over and over again.
In all of them I've asked, 'Who are we as Americans?
- Ken Burns

In most films music is brought in at the end,
after the picture is more or less locked,
to amplify the emotions the filmmaker wants you to feel.
- Ken Burns

I enjoy total creative control right now.
Nobody tells me to make it longer, shorter,
better, sexier, more violent, whatever.
- Ken Burns

Jazz is a very accurate, curiously accurate accompaniment to 20th century America.
- Ken Burns

 

I have made all my films for my children with the exception
of my first film because my oldest daughter wasn't
born when I was making the film about the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Ken Burns

By its very nature, no one person can ever be the center of jazz.
- Ken Burns

Wynton told us that Miles sold out, just wanted to make more money,
just wanted to sell more records.
I don't believe that Miles sold out but I'm not in a position to say.
- Ken Burns

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You can learn as much about the history from reading
about the present as you can vice versa,
that is learning about the present through history,
which is what I do for a living.
- Ken Burns

I don't use composers.
I research music the way I research the photographs
or the facts in my scripts.
- Ken Burns

I grew up certain for a while that I was going to be an anthropologist,
until film turned my head.
- Ken Burns

I am passionately interested in understanding how my country works.
And if you want to know about this thing called the
United States of America you have to know about the Civil War.
- Ken Burns

We're having a hard time understanding where jazz is going.
What happened to jazz?
- Ken Burns

History's just been made for sale to an inside deal.
- Ken Burns

You don't work on something for six years and be blind
to the myriad of other approaches.
- Ken Burns

The genius of our country is improvisation,
and jazz reflects that.
It's our great contribution to the arts.
- Ken Burns

The way I work, the interview never becomes larger
than the person being interviewed.
- Ken Burns

Louis Armstrong is quite simply the most important
person in American music.
He is to 20th century music (I did not say jazz) what Einstein is to physics.
- Ken Burns

One of the things I really like about Ford's films
is how there is always a focus on the way characters live,
and not just the male heroes.
- Ken Burns

The stories from 1975 on are not finished and there is no resolve.
I could spend 50 hours on the last 25 years of jazz
and still not do it justice.
- Ken Burns

To say that an artist sells out means that an artist
is making a conscious choice to compromise his music,
to to weaken his music for the sake of commercial gain.
- Ken Burns

Like a layer on a pearl, you can't specifically identify the irritant,
the moment of the irritant, but at the end of the day,
you know you have a pearl.
- Ken Burns

You need, as a historian, essential triangulation from
your subject and the only way you get that triangulation is through time.
- Ken Burns

Good history is a question of survival.
Without any past, we will deprive ourselves of the
defining impression of our being.
- Ken Burns

History is malleable.
A new cache of diaries can shed new light,
and archeological evidence can challenge our popular assumptions.
- Ken Burns

A jazz beat is a dynamic changing rhythm.
- Ken Burns

I subscribe to William Faulkner's' view that history
is not just about what we were before but who we are now.
- Ken Burns

The flame is not out, but it is flickering.
- Ken Burns

You know, you meet some people, and do a lot of interviews,
and you come across a Buck O'Neill and you know you
are going to know him for the rest of your life.
The same thing happened with Curt Flood.
- Ken Burns

I never, ever want to apologize for a film.
If it's bad I'll say it's my fault.
And that's what I can say so far in all the films that I've done,
that if you don't like it, it's entirely my fault.
- Ken Burns

When a documentary filmmaker, working in the style that I do,
suggests that there has been a shooting ratio of 40
hours to every one hour of finished film,
that doesn't mean that the other 39 are bad.
- Ken Burns

When you are editing, the final master is Aristotle and his poetics.
You might have a terrific episode, but if people are
falling out because there are just too many elements in it,
you have to begin to get rid of things.
- Ken Burns

I read cover to cover every jazz publication that I
could and in the New York Times,
every single day reading their jazz reviews even though
I didn't put them in the films.
I wanted to know what is going on.
- Ken Burns

I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism,
and what we're lead to is a life not fully lived.
Cynicism is fear, and it's worse than fear -
it's active disengagement.
- Ken Burns

I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through
jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people.
I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model
of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities.
- Ken Burns

I record all of my music with authentic instruments
in a studio before we start editing,
doing many, many versions.
The music shapes the film as we edit so it has an organic
relationship to the content.
- Ken Burns

I can understand why some of these drummers and bass
players become cult figures with all of their equipment
and the incredible amount of technique they have.
But there's very little that I think satisfies you
intellectually or emotionally.
- Ken Burns

I treat the photograph as a work of great complexity
in which you can find drama.
Add to that a careful composition of landscapes,
live photography, the right music and interviews with people,
and it becomes a style.
- Ken Burns

I began to feel that the drama of the truth that is
in the moment and in the past is richer and more interesting
than the drama of Hollywood movies.
So I began looking at documentary films.
- Ken Burns

I think the problem with a lot of the fusion music
is that it's extremely predictable,
it's a rock rhythm and the solos all play the same
stuff and they play it over and over again and there's
a certain musical virtuosity involved in it.
- Ken Burns

I think my expectations for myself are much more severe and much more direct.
You can't work on a film for six years without being
your own toughest critic.
So you can't really be distracted by the expectations
based on your previous performance.
- Ken Burns

A well-developed sense of humor
is the pole that adds balance to your steps,
as you walk the tightrope of life.
- William Arthur Ward

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it,
or who said it, no matter if I have said it,
unless it agrees with your own reason
and your own common sense.
- The Buddha

Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
The real miracle is the love that inspires them.
In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.
- A Course in Miracles

A person without a sense of humor
is like a wagon without springs.
It's jolted by every pebble on the road.
- Henry Ward Beecher

Know that the greatest fear is fear of the unknown.
Seek to meet the unknown with courage and a sense of adventure.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The possession of knowledge does not
kill the sense of wonder and mystery.
There is always more mystery.
- Anais Nin

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never let your sense of morals
get in the way of doing what's right.
- Isaac Asimov

That sense of sacredness,
that thinking in generations,
must begin with reverence for this earth.
- Paul Tsongas

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are,
and doing things as they ought to be done.
- Josh Billings

We must respect the other fellow's religion,
but only in the sense and to the extent
that we respect his theory that
his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
- H. L. Mencken

The more we care for the happiness of others,
the greater is our own sense of well-being.
- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

If your tendency is to make sense out of chaos, start chaos.
- Carlos Castaneda

So long as you have courage and a sense of humor,
it is never too late to start life afresh.
- Freeman Dyson

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
- William James

The first step in the evolution of ethics
is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.
- Albert Schweitzer

A sense of humor... is needed armor.
Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips
is a sign that the person down deep
has a pretty good grasp of life.
- Hugh Sidey

Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.
- Emily Dickinson

In all our contacts, it is probably the sense
of being really needed and wanted
which gives us the greatest satisfaction
and creates the most lasting bond.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melody Beattie

It is important to do what you don't know how to do.
It is important to see your skills as keeping you
from learning what is deepest and most mysterious.
If you know how to focus, unfocus.
If your tendency is to make sense out of chaos, start chaos.
- Carlos Castaneda

The pendulum of the mind alternates
between sense and nonsense,
not between right and wrong.
- Carl Jung

Sense the life force -
what the Chinese call "Qi" -
radiating powerfully.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Service to others is only noble when is is a choice
- a free-will gift.
Anything done out of a sense of obligation
or responsibility or duty becomes a burden
rather than a spiritual empowerment.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

We each have a sixth sense that is
attuned to the oneness dimension in life,
providing a means for us to guide our lives
in accord with our ideas.
- Henry Reed

Love is what we were born with.
Fear is what we learned here.
Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
The real miracle is the love that inspires them.
In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.
- Marianne Williamson

Nothing can bring a real sense of security
into the home except true love.
- Billy Graham

To a very young child, mommy and daddy are gods.
We spend our lives looking to regain
that sense of being cared for and protected.
Thus religion.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

If I were to wish for anything,
I should not wish for wealth and power,
but for the passionate sense of potential -
for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.
Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.
- Soren Kierkegaard

If I had no sense of humor,
I would long ago have committed suicide.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi


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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 


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