Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling Tour made a stop in Chicago last Sunday. Since it’s only 2 hours from our headquarters in Indiana we got the gang together and made the trek to the Windy City. When you have the opportunity to spend the day learning from such an extremely talented and accomplished Director of Photography it’s a no-brainer. If you’re on the fence about going and you are wondering if it’s “worth it,” here’s 5 things I learned and my overall analysis of the event.

Alex Buono using Cineslider

1) The details matter.

As soon as we walked into the venue we saw signs pointing us where to go. Getting signed in and finding our seats was a breeze. When we sat down I noticed monitors on every single table. Now these may seem to be minor details but as someone who has attended a plethora of events over the years this kind of attention to detail speaks volumes. It means they have thought about the attendees experience and have planned carefully to make it as comfortable an experience as possible. Being in an environment that is condusive to learning is paramount. This translated through the entire event.

Once the day began you saw how this attention to detail was merely spill over from how Alex works and why we all need to pay attention and carefully plan out the small details in our own productions.

2) New ways to use things you probably already have.

I’m not going to give away the goods but let’s just say Alex Buono turned me into the filmmaking equivalent of MacGyver. Just give me Google Earth, Adobe Illustrator and a shower curtain.

If you’ve attended, you know what I mean. If you haven’t attended yet, now’s a good time to sign up.

3) Lighting, Lighting and some more lighting.

Lighting is such a crucial part of filmmaking. It’s also one of the most neglected and misunderstood. Watching shorts Alex shot as the DP of the SNL Film Unit, then having him show us why he chose to light things a certain way and then watching as they lit the scene in front of us as he peppered in practical tips and tricks while simultaneously fielding any questions we had was worth the price of admission alone. That part of the day was as intense as that last sentence. You’ll want to buckle up and take a deep breath.

4) The entire process from the initial script reading to finishing in post and everything between.

The sheer amount of information that was covered in the day time session could be enough to make your brain ache. However, the style and method used by Alex during his presentation broke down every aspect into easy to digest and entertaining bite size chunks. What could have felt like an overwhelming information overload instead was delivered in a way that left me blown away but still able to retain it all.

5) Alex Buono is the real deal.

Alex combines a rare mix of talent, humility, and exceptional presentation skills. It is one thing to be a great public speaker. It is another thing to be an amazing DP. To be able to do both at such a high level and still be down-to-earth and genuine is a rare find.

If you want to get better at any aspect of your production, meet like-minded creatives, and play with the Movi and tons of other awesome gear this tour is the one stop shop. No stone is left unturned on the quest for bettering ourselves as filmmakers. Increased production value ultimately leads to more work and the ability to charge more. So if you like making money or just want to make better films I highly recommend Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling Tour.

  • Jeff Hanley

    Thanks for the report, Jon. Alex is coming to town this weekend. I’ve been really pumped about the event, but your report turned up the volume.

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