Oscar nominiated cinematographer talks to BGSU students about his work, career

Jodi Abazoski and Jodi Abazoski

Usually students watch Saturday Night Live on television, but 150 people got to go behind the scenes Monday night at the Gish Theatre.

Alex Buono, an Oscar nominated cinematographer and director of photography for “Saturday Night Live,” spoke at Gish Theatre Monday night about his career.

Buono is part of a group of professional photographers who share their experiences shooting film through the Canon Explorers of Light program.

He spoke about the first film he worked on after graduating from University of Southern California, which was “Twister,” He described it as an eye-opening experience involving Bill Paxton, a pick-up truck, and a 747 jet engine.

“It was somewhat overwhelming, but when I finished with that, I was definitely more comfortable going off on my own and working on my own little independent films and crappy music videos,” he said.

Not only did he explain about Digitial Single—Lens Reflex cameras but also about his personal experiences working in movies and his 15 years working at SNL.

“[DLSR] is specifically shooting video with a still photography camera, which is something I love to do” he said.

Buono has worked on films such as “Green Street Hooligans,” and other TV shows, notably “True Blood.”

He spoke to his audience in a casual, conversational tone and laughter could be heard throughout his presentation, as many more clips from SNL were shown.

Buono got the most reaction when he spoke about specific spots he shot for SNL, including the first time he used the DSLR camera on set while shooting the commercial parody, “Bladdavan” in 2009.

“I really like a spot we did with Christoph Waltz called ‘Jesus Uncrossed’, although I’m not showing that one anytime soon here,” he said.

Almost every point made was supported with a visual representation from one of Buono’s works.

“I’m a filmmaker, I enjoy his work, and since was talking about the DSLR camera and that’s such a big influence on film students today, I figured I could learn a thing or two,” said sophomore Micheal Pelaez, a film major.

The film students and enthusiasts had the opportunity to ask technical questions after the speech.

He covered topics from low-light sensitivity to image censors to time lapse. Throughout all of these subjects, he emphasized the advantages of using DSLR.

Sophomore film-major Brit Kerns said what she took away from the speech most was, filmmakers don’t need big or expensive equipment to make a good film.

“(I also learned) that for getting jobs in the future, if you have the talent to shoot something, your personality and your connections get it for you,” she said.

Buono, who spent the summer teaching a cinematography workshop that can be purchased on DVD, recommends internships for students who want to break into the film business.

“When you go intern, just be the hardest working person there,” he said. “You’re not there to prove that you are already an amazing filmmaker… the interns that people just like their personality, they get hired.”