The "Z" Word

David, a recovered and generally imposed upon zombie, attempts to find himself a normal place in society and in life (after death).

This film is currently touring the film festival circuit and is unavailable for public online viewing. If you would like to screen this film for a sample of my work, please contact me via email.


The Z-Word was one of the first projects I shot in Chicago. Kayla Rosenberg is a freelance writer and producer, now based in LA. She is also quite the stand up comedian, evident in her comedic style as a writer. She hired me to shoot this short film, which has been a passion project of hers for a long time.

This was the first time I met director John Lerchen; we would work together again on his debut feature Dearest Jane months later. We synced up pretty well and had fun working on this film with him.

Kayla successfully reached her funding goal on Kickstarter and pre-production hit the ground running. A fan of Chicago, she wanted this film to have a distinct feel of the city. She turned to her friends at Second City and came into contact with Tim Baltz, our lead.

Tim was an absolute pleasure to work with. His positive attitude, pleasent demeanor, and dedication to his role is what I expected from a Second City alumn. I looked forward to shooting someone who did comedy with the company that I admired since college.

John and I agreed that the film should look and feel zombie like in the beginning and then progress to light hearted and romantic towards the end. In essence, the film starts like Dawn of the Dead and ends like The Vow.

For the zombie film aesthetic, we chose practical and unflattering light. The beginning scene simply used the overhead flourescents, with the colors desaturated in post. As we progressed towards the ending, I slowly made the depth of field more shallow, adding in practicals in the background to get the beautiful circles The Vow prominantly used.

My crew as small, but fantastic. My 1st AC Michael Gleeson was great; he was always ready with the camera and efficient. My gaffer Jacob Quinsey was suggestive, quick, and fun to work with. Key Grip Taylor Frontier gave some good suggestions and made some very clever rigs for our low budget.

I'm very grateful for Kayla for giving me the opportunity to shoot her and John's short film. The piece was an absolute pleasure to shoot. I've done a lot of improv before starting my cinematography career. To shoot for and use Second City alumn, and Chicago comedians in general, is a dream come true.