I’ve met a film writer and producer who used to live in the Chicago area. Zac now resides in Los Angeles with his alter ego Jeff the Killer. Zac (Or is it Jeff?), who remains a die-hard Cubs fan, has written and produced numerous music videos, commercials and original short films. All of this work can be viewed at his site CZsWorld.
CZsWorld is not a place for the squeamish. Once you step through the front gate, gothic magic and supernatural realities torment anyone who is bold enough to stray further inside. Or is it only your mind hiding something deeper? Darker?
Zac enjoys exploring these dark places of unseen worlds. His films take us to these places. Let’s have him take us to some forbidden realm, now.
Duda: Zac, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Or am I speaking with Jeff?
Zac: Thanks for having me! I should also issue a special, “Thank you,” to Jeff the Killer, for briefly allowing me out of his brutal captivity in order to take this interview. This may be the only light I see for months, so I’m very glad you reached out.
Duda: Jeff seems like a scary guy. But I can’t help and wonder if he is more complex? Does he have dimensions? Does he breathe in a delicate aroma of flowers at dusk before lurking in midnight corners?
Zac: I think that the reason Jeff has so many fans is just that: he’s often criticized because his life story isn’t nearly as captivating as his contemporaries, but what makes him interesting to me is his transformation from ordinary teenager to cold blooded killer. I think many of us have a little bit of Jeff residing deep within us — that rising feeling of violence that we can suppress or channel into something more constructive. But Jeff cannot.
Duda: So Jeff is your creative alter ego? The guy that ties down a critical Zac so as to release supernatural and forbidden magic on unsuspecting victims in your films?
Zac: I wish I could say that, but unfortunately for me, Jeff is all too real. But as far as alter egos go, I’m beginning to think that the dark, creative Zac that unleashes evil intentions on his narrative protagonists is the real me, and the seemingly normal guy who sometimes ventures out to buy more ramen is the alter.?
Duda: Speaking of films, you’re getting ready to release a new one titled Live Alone.
Zac: Yes, I’m very excited about this one. I’ve released so much Microhorror and Final Set this year, that it’s been a while since my last CZsWorld Original Short Film.
Duda: Would you expand on the story’s concept? Does it have a premise or logline?
Zac: Live Alone is about a young woman who (as you probably guessed) moves into an apartment to live by herself for the first time. Her feelings of welcome-ness are cut short when she begins to experience the psychological traumas of monophobia (the fear of being alone) and begins to question whether or not she really is alone in her new home…
It’s a lot more subtle than any film that I’ve done before. This is the kind of horror that won’t try to take you by surprise, but may have you lying awake, staring into the shadows for hours after you go to bed.
Duda: What was the original inspiration for the film?
Zac: I’ve always been creeped out with the idea of home invasion. I think it’s something that really gets under our skin because we think of the world as a dangerous place and the home as a safe haven. But when something threatens that sense of safety, it can feel devastating. I remember having nightmares as a kid where a stranger was living in my house; it’s a very unsettling thought.
Duda: Any complications with the production?
Zac: As with any production, we go in with a plan and try to stick to it as closely as possible. Obstacles always come up. Most of them involve time. Luckily, I work with an awesome crew of creative and intelligent filmmakers who really excel at making the most of what resources we have.
Duda: Hope those complications don’t discourage you from making new films…
Zac: I see them as a fun challenge. The more films we make, the better we get at dealing with setbacks. In turn, I set out to do more ambitious projects, which lead to a whole new set of challenges that we have to learn to overcome. I’m growing as a filmmaker with each project and I look forward to each month’s video more than the last.
Duda: Good to hear! You must be busy, so I won’t take up more of your time. Any last words? Or does Jeff have anything to say?
Zac: I don’t want to catch Jeff’s attention, but thank you so much for having me. Don’t forget to lock your windows tonight.
Duda: Thanks Zac!
Zac: It’s been a pleasure.
It was great of Zac to take this time for an interview. If you’ve enjoyed reading his interview, you can learn more about Zac’s–err, Jeff’s–work at www.czsworld.com. But be careful: There’s no telling what dark specter hides in that dark realm.