Workshop Your Filmmaking Skills with SNL's Alex Buono on 'The Art of Visual Storytelling Tour'

Art of Visual Storytelling - Alex BuonoReferring to him by his work on Saturday Night Live is easy shorthand, but it's only a small part of Academy Award-nominated DP Alex Buono's toolset. He has shot features, docs, shorts, commercials, and everything in between, and he's decided to take what he's learned and go on a workshop tour of the US (including stops in Canada). The difference with this workshop series is that it's not just about learning to shoot, but about everything that goes into the creation of a shot, including the theories behind why shots are design visually in particular ways. Check out his introduction below:

The tour has already been through Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Columbus, but there are still many stops to go. Here is the complete list of dates, starting with June:

  • Jun 09 Chicago, IL (Sold Out)
  • Jun 11 Detroit , MI
  • Jun 13 Toronto, ON
  • Jun 15 Boston, MA
  • Jun 16 New York, NY (Sold Out)
  • Jun 20 Newark, NJ
  • Jun 22 Philadelphia, PA
  • Jun 23 Washington DC, VA
  • Jun 25 Charlotte, NC
  • Jun 27 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Jun 28 Tampa, FL
  • Jun 30 Atlanta, GA

July Dates:

  • Jul 07 Baton Rouge, LA
  • Jul 09 Houston, TX
  • Jul 11 Austin, TX
  • Jul 12 Dallas, TX
  • Jul 14 Phoenix, AZ
  • Jul 16 San Diego, CA
  • Jul 20 Irvine, CA
  • Jul 21 Los Angeles , CA
  • Jul 23 Las Vegas, NV
  • Jul 25 Denver, CO
  • Jul 27 San Jose, CA
  • Jul 28 San Francisco, CA
  • Jul 30 Salt Lake City, UT

August Dates:

  • Aug 01 Portland, OR
  • Aug 02 Vancouver, BC
  • Aug 04 Seattle, WA

Alex has been shooting all of SNL's shorts and other films for many years now, but he's also got some features under his belt, including Green Street Hooligans and Bigger, Faster, Stronger:

While not all workshops will be helpful to all skill levels, I think something like this will actually have a bit for everyone. The visual structure and design part of the workshop sounds incredibly fascinating, and it is certainly one of the ways this particular workshop is separating itself from everything else out there. The full day is about $300, which includes a number of things, including a pass to NAB 2014. You can also apply separately to just the day or just the night workshop on any of the dates above, and those are $220 and $80, respectively.

For more information and registration information, head on over to the to the Art of Visual Storytelling website.


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I went to this in Minneapolis. I didnt go to the first half, but the last half on visual structure was very informative. Well, worth the money.

June 7, 2013 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Emilio Barrientos

I attended this course along with a person just starting out, Both of us liked it. He is really accessible and very eager to help. The first portion of the course basically shows how he works to set up lights and shots for a wide variety of situations, But that is just the surface, what he really teaches is how he looks at the world and transfers that vision onto film, The entire process. Gives an excellent intro to beng a DP.

The optional evening session is a fabulous introduction to usmg carefully planned progressions of color and shape to drive the story line. Really the difference between an artist and a technician. Alex then ties different patterns to different directors.

Since this site is about not having to attend film school, here is the basis of a understanding that should transform the way you work, taking it closer to the polish of the great talents. See you don't need film school, just someone showing you where to look, and how to look. This course will do that. It is not really a series of techniques as much as teaching the way to look. Take this day long experience and then play with it. You will see new thngs everywhere with your new eyes.

The latest toys, including the Movi 3 axis gimbal stabilizer, are demoed and then available for hands on experience.

The real differentiator is Alex. He really opens upand gives freely, genuinely trying to help each person, both during the lecture and in informal conversation, He is a really good, caring, person, and just being able to interact with him makes this course worth every penny.

June 8, 2013 at 3:12AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Philip Lipetz

Signed up for the NY session!

June 7, 2013 at 3:39PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Why did it have to come to South Florida on a Thursday? :(

June 8, 2013 at 10:48AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


this looks really, really great, but for those of us outside the u.s i wondered if there was a dvd/book, turns out there is, but for some reason they are having a good joke on the website and asking 349 dollars for the book and dvd. tried to find the real price but for some reason they are real jokers that insist that is the real price....

June 10, 2013 at 9:11AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Me and two friends attended and it was well worth the money. For us it was extra expensive since I learned about it the very day it was in my town... so we road tripped to his next destination to catch the show.

The first part is very practical, with heavy emphasis on lighting and general shot setup. The script break down and other skills are also nice to see.

The second half is about visual composition and is very eye opening. You spend a lot of time wondering how much of that sort of thing is intentional or conscious at least and how much just happens intrinsically when you have a good cinematographer. But... knowing it makes you think about things very differently.

if you have a chance to go, go. Don't even think about it. You'll love it.


June 13, 2013 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

David Whatley

I really wish this could go onto the web... for us outside the US... I'd pay to watch them.

June 14, 2013 at 12:58AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


oops, there is a DVD... my bad - pricey though.

June 14, 2013 at 1:01AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I attended the Boston seminar this past weekend. Now, I have a very very small studio, and $300 is pretty much my entire training budget for the year, but I can't imagine a better investment then this seminar. I'm always looking for hands on experience and this was the first seminar I've ever attended where you actually get up, get your hands on the lights and camera, light and shoot a scene from scratch.

It was just overall a great experience, and the take away t shirts were pretty nice too.

June 16, 2013 at 5:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Anyone else going to the LA session? I'm looking forward to learning new techniques and brushing up some old ones.

July 19, 2013 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Alex is back on tour! July 22nd - Sept 20th,

June 29, 2015 at 5:10PM

Amanda Killingsworth
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