Ken Burns made history again with his lauded "Country Music" Documentary series that aired on PBS in 2019.
Links to Songpreneurs' Amazon Affiliates Portal to watch episodes
Just as predicted, Internet searches about country music have increased, and catalog music sales for heritage acts featured in the series outstripped new releases for Top 40 chart spots. [see sources below]
By now most people are aware of the effect Burns' work is having on the buying public, but not everyone knows about why or how he made the project to begin with.
In a CRS 360° webinar interview titled The Impact of Ken Burns' "Country Music" Documentary, Ken was asked this question and his answer is a wealth of information for creative entrepreneurs.
When asked why he made the Country Music Documentary project, Ken Burns answered, "It started with a question."
Ken went on to describe the steps in taking this question from its humble beginnings to the wildly successful documentary series it is today.
Here are the steps Ken listed for his creative building process:
1. Start with a question. Make it compelling enough to be interesting, and limited enough to be answerable.
2. Research and conduct interviews. This is the stage where Ken and his team learned more about the subject of country music by asking noted professionals about it. The answers they got helped define the direction the project would take.
3. Write - tell the story. After conducting the interviews and research, the team wrote the story they wanted to tell to the viewers. They didn't get bogged down trying to edit and write at the same time, but stayed in the flow until the story was told.
4. Edit. Now that the story was written down, Ken and his team went to work editing it down to the best form they could manage.
5. Peer feedback. After Ken and his team edited their work, and got it into the best shape they possibly could, they showed it to peers for additional feedback and suggestions for improvement. Think only songwriters need feedback? Think again.
6. Improve the work based on feedback. Research has shown that one thing many top arts entrepreneurs have in common is having access to and utilizing regular peer feedback. Ken and his team took some of the suggestions of their peers and improved the work at this stage beyond what they were able to do previously.
7. Finish. Put a bow on the work and send it out into the world with the best promotions and marketing plan your budget can buy. Having a great work alone doesn't complete your work if your goal is to create a hit, but great work combined with a properly planned, multi-faceted marketing plan helps expose it to more of your target audience.
By using these principle-based steps, you can complete and ship your best creative work, too.
Join us for the Songpreneurs 2020 Courses to improve your odds of success in the new music business as a creative entrepreneur.
What is your favorite episode of the Ken Burns Country Music Documentary?
Rolling Stone "The Ken Burns Effect: How 'Country Music' Doc Surged Sales for Country Legends" by Jonathan Bernstein 10/1/19.