image credit: Kevin Stiller client: Acer

image credit: Kevin Stiller

client: Acer

I was born in 1990 in Chicago, Illinois. As a kid, I would sneak downstairs to watch scary movies with my dad. One night I watched Jurassic Park and everything made sense. I reenacted every scene with my sister. One day on my way to high school I saw a commercial shoot setting up.  Never seeing a real set before I asked if I could help and a grip told me to get lost. After seeing other people walking on set with binders I decided to dump out my backpack and take my binder out. I snuck on the film set and nothing was ever the same. 

During high school/college I worked at the local YWCA and shelter teaching kids how to swim. Near the end of high school I got my first professional credit was a cinematographer on a Spanish short film. I attended Northern Illinois University to pursue Engineering till I convinced my parents to let me go to film school, Columbia College. I ended up failing my intro to film class and my family was weeks away from losing the house. I went back to teaching at the YWCA and the shelter. 

I kept watching movies and writing in my spare time. I knew in my heart I wanted to give it a real shot at moviemaking. In 2014 I packed up my car and drove across the county to LA with only $200 and a Canon T2i. After working numerous small jobs I eventually found myself camera operating for Discovery Channel. Later I got into shooting stylized music videos for artists such as A.J. McLean and Tahj Mowry. 

In 2015 I was hired by BuzzFeed Motion Pictures as a Director/Cinematographer/Editor. Combining the fast-paced shooting from from Discovery Channel, and the highly-stylized music video work, I was quickly promoted. 

I became the first full-time staff cinematographer for BuzzFeed’s Branded department, working on brands such as Toyota, Acer, and Purina. I left BuzzFeed after 18 months and shooting close to 200 shorts. To become a better director I decided to learn VFX and took a job at the VFX house, Pixomondo.

In the summer of 2017 I decided to make my first horror short for the My Annabelle Creation Contest called The Nurse. I gathered my friends that I shot my BuzzFeed projects with and we made the entire project in 4 days. It won and was bought by New Line Cinema. It received praise from Screen Rant, Collider, Bloody Disgusting, SlashFilm and more. While still at Pixomondo I made another horror short for Halloween called Whisper which received praise from Nerdist, Mashable, The Mary Sue, Fast Company and CNET. 

Now I’m working on a proof of concept for a feature. My deadline is this Christmas and I’m very excited push myself even harder on it. My goal is to begin developing my first feature in 2018!