Burns has won 12 Emmy Awards and has been nominated for two Oscars. All of his documentaries focus on major events in American history, and he said not only the events are highlighted but also the people who fought to make it through them.
"These are people that we know in our lives and when we see what we went through, it gives us an appreciation not just for that moment in history but for the people around us. And I think that's a huge part and component of the documentaries that we make."
Bill Chafin is one of many Dust Bowl survivors who gives his take on the blustery 1930s. As a child, he saw the life-changing events through different eyes, but even to this day he remembers many things in great detail.
"Grime and dust were a part of everyday life, in a sense," he said. "Not every day would it be bad; some days would be better than others."
Burns said the perspectives that come from survivors like Chafin are what make his documentaries real. Sure, photos and videos add to the drama, but he said the personal experiences are what give viewers true insight.
According to Writer and Co-Producer Dayton Duncan, relating to the people who were there and the experiences they had gives viewers the answers to the questions the film raises.
"How do we as Americans relate to the expansive, sometimes bounteous, sometimes intimidating continent that we inhabit?"