Behind The Scenes of “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders”

Posted by Grant on December 16, 2013

For those who aren’t production buffs, something like a Saturday Night Live Digital Short may seem like a simple method to fill time between skits. However, those in the industry probably have a vastly different view of this, especially for the more intricate pieces like the one seen on their most recent Halloween episode. When they unveiled their horror trailer/Wes Anderson parody, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders, the SNL crew produced one of their best shorts in recent memory.

With Edward Norton as host, The Midnight Coterie had a particularly Anderson-esque feel to it. But that’s not just because of their fantastic cameo selection. A lot can be credited to Alex Buono, SNL’s director of photography. On Buono’s personal blog, he highlights the entire production process in a series called “How We Did It.” Running through color palettes to aspect ratios to panning styles, Buono chronicles every step of how he and the SNL crew emulated Anderson’s meticulous style of filming.

While the output may only be a two and a half-minute video, Buono’s account provides a thorough look at just how much work goes into video production. Buono’s crew was busy crafting the video to the very last second, so saying that it was “down to the wire” is an understatement. As Buono puts it, they were “basically in penalty time” as the crew rushed to get last-minute changes in place. As the spot was airing on live television, it was still being loaded into the switcher. Talk about a nail biter!

While there’s a lot of technical jargon that may be a bit daunting, it’s an awesome look behind the scenes, especially for folks interested in the industry, fans of Wes Anderson’s cinematography, or SNL in general.

Check out the hilarious parody below and read through Buono’s vivid retelling of the trailer’s process here.