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Cinematographer Majd Mazin talks Amazon's hit series 'The Millionaires'

Majd Mazin’s style of cinematography adapts to every project that he is given. His versatility is, in a sense, his trademark. He aims to constantly be composed and grounded, and this determination is evident in his work. He finds himself lighting for beauty and consistency, taking less risks with shadows and grittiness. His moves are well articulated and deliberate. He attributes this to his love of film and cinematography as a whole. His talent is extraordinary and is exactly why he is an in-demand cinematographer and camera specialist.

Throughout hiscareer, Mazin has shown the world just what he is capable of. Whether working on viral music videos like Red Velvet’s “Peek-A-Boo” or Fall Out Boy’s “Church”, or award-winning films such as Prodigal Son and The Fat One, Mazin manages to turn every shot into a work of art. This is also exemplified with his work on The Millionaires, a web series about the American Dream gone terribly wrong.

The Millionaires follows a middle-aged couple living in a fantasy world where they pretend to be millionaires, but in reality they are drowning themselves in debt and ruining the life of their teenage son. Kurt and Pam McCoy just want their piece of the American Dream and believe in order to get what they want they simply have to take it - no matter what. The reality of their unrestrained pursuit is destroying their home, their finances and the life of their teenage son Daniel (Gage/Thrasher) who has grown to despise them. The fun of the show comes from the tension between their inevitable demise and their potential for success. The question is - which will happen first? The show works because we can all understand the world and the characters. In the age of political trumping and capitalistic greed, the American Dream has been corrupted into a perverse, selfish, Darwinism where money rules and success is accounted for with dollar signs. Consequently, we all know what it is like to want more and what it feels like to not have enough. We all get angry that morons make millions while others, although far more deserving, struggle to make ends meet. From these ideas spawn the McCoys.

“A story about a dysfunctional and delusional family was just a funny one to me, but through the comedy I believe that The Millionaires shines a spotlight on American society and the dysfunction and materialism and illusion that it can sometimes live in. It keeps it light. If you want a funny show, you have that, but if you look a bit deeper it is still very relevant, but still easy to swallow,” said Mazin.

The Millionaires initially debuted on Funny or Die, where it found some success, but the second round of episodes premiered on Amazon Prime, where it still airs till today and is critically acclaimed. The show is free for Amazon Prime members and can be purchased separately.

“As my first comedy series to shoot, I am very happy that this show has found such a dedicated audience. I was in charge of the cinematography and I am glad that I did not disappoint,” said Mazin.

The cinematographer instantly fell in love with the script. Prior to shooting The Millionaires, Mazin had never shot comedy, and he was eager to explore the genre. He was able to bring a fresh eye to the project, providing a unique perspective on certain visual elements regarding how they show the web series. With his technical knowledge and resources, Mazin was vital to the show’s success.

As Mazin had never previously shot a comedy series, he began researching just how to shoot. The show has a documentary feel, and therefore Mazin began watching and studying shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, looking for inspiration. From there, he worked with the crew on location scouting and writing shortlists for each episode. He then organized his crew. While shooting, Mazin fell dreadfully ill from the rain and weather he encountered. Despite this, he kept working, making sure the director and show creator achieved his vision.

“This project introduced me to shooting comedy. The script was hilarious and the cast was phenomenal. Days on set were full of laughs and gags. It was sometimes difficult for me to keep the shot steady, because I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at the dialogue. The project brought many funny and talented people together, and the atmosphere was very relaxed. I felt like my input mattered and there was a real sense of collaboration between all departments,” he concluded.

If you are a Prime Member, be sure to check out The Millionaires.

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