Visual Storytelling With SNL DP Alex Buono

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Last year I was introduced to a company called MZed. They provide masterclass workshops from some of the best creative people in their selected profession (Adam Epstein, Shane Hurlbut, Vincent Laforet).Whether that be design, photography, film and so on. I had been invited to workshops before which and have watched several workshops on DVD, and none of them had ever fully grasped my attention. There was always something wrong; poor sound, poor visuals, one camera, all of these things, and this is just the tech side of things, the information was more often than not quite redundant.

I was invited to attend Vincent Laforet’s Directing in Motion workshop to review it, being a huge fan of Vincent’s I wanted to jump at the opportunity, but unfortunately I was several thousand miles away from the closest venue. Therefore as an alternative there the digital download was presented to me instead of a press pass.

It was clear from the first five minutes that an MZed class was going to be a lot different from what I had experienced in university. The information was clear and crisp, as was the audio and visuals. The next six hours was spent digesting this wonderfully presented talk on motion within filmmaking. The hour after that I pondered the thought on how well off I would be if I had heard of MZed before handing my bank details over to the student loans company.

MZed now have another tour in progress. This time the man at the helm is Alex Buono who has been the DP for SNL for over 15 years. This is actually Alex’s second tour with MZed (reasonably titled Visual Storytelling 2), the first one attracted over 4,000 attendees along with great reviews.

What I gathered from the Direction in Motion DVD and from recent pictures of the Visual Storytelling 2 tour, is that the attendees (and those watching at home), learn from practical gear. Far too often have I seen educational workshops where the mentor speaks with figurative examples and expects the audience to follow along. Mzed explains; “One of the hallmarks of Visual Storytelling 2 is that it will be taught using gear that is practical and accessible. There will be a limited gear package used during the class and the instruction will utilize the same set of tools in different ways. This approach will give filmmakers range and flexibility to create several different looks with a modest set of affordable and easy to acquire resources.”


Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling 2 Tour will expand your filmmaking abilities by immersing you in an all-day learning experience about the principles of Visual Style and Subtext. From his fast-turn around schedule as the DP of the SNL Film Unit to his role as the Co-Director/DP of the new IFC comedy series Documentary Now!,Alex is constantly challenged to recreate different looks. In this workshop, Alex will share his approach to shooting distinct visual styles with hands-on demonstrations that utilize attendees as the crew. By understanding the visual patterns for different film genres and how to manifest each style through both lighting and camerawork, you will harness the power of visual cues for your own projects. Most importantly, you will learn how to modify light quality and direction, color temperature, lens choices, camera movement and more through a modest set of portable and affordable tools and techniques that you can immediately apply to your own work.

You can find more information about the tour here

About The Author

Lewis McGregor is an aspiring filmmaker, photographer and online content creator from Wales.