Leslie O’Neill wore many hats on the crew, while also playing one of the roles in the film.
What was your role on IWW and for those people not familiar with filmmaking, can you describe the job?
Oh jeez. I was a PA (doing miscellaneous tasks in pre-production and on set), head of wardrobe (made sure each character was dressed appropriately for each scene and made sure it was consistent throughout the film) and played the minor character George (the "sister").
Why did you get involved with it? How did you hear about it? What interested you in this film in particular?
I found out about it through UC Berkeley’s film club GIANT. At the time, they were looking for PAs. I ended up being promoted to Wardrobe Lead. They were casting simultaneously, and I had my very first audition and got the part. It sounded like a unique experience (which it was), and the script itself was very original. I was captivated.
Did you enjoy working on the film? What was the best part for you?
I loved working on the film. There is nothing like being on set. The best part was just having fun with your friends while making a movie. You keep those connections.
How long have you been working in film/involved with film?
I joined GIANT my freshman year of college (which was my first taste of film production), helped make and starred in about 20 films, did a few independent films in Northern CA, and started working as a pre-production PA for IWW. I ended up majoring in Film Studies and Mass Communications at Berkeley.
What is your goal in filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of photography, key grip, etc.) and why?
I actually really enjoy publicity and have been doing that in Los Angeles for almost 2 years now. It’s fascinating how crucial it is to a film’s success. I do love being on set, though, and help out on grad student films whenever I can.
In your view, why is filmmaking and making art important to society as a whole?
Escapism. Something we all need.
Did helping make an indie film leave you with a positive or negative outlook on this type of ultra-low budget filmmaking (and why)?
Definitely a positive view. It is an ongoing struggle to get the film completed, but it prepares us, I think.
How do you feel about the genre of science fiction? Is sci-fi just for fun or can we tell serious stories that are culturally relevant? (Okay, that’s a loaded question....but still, what do you think?)
Haha. Well with the expansion of human technology, the concept doesn't seem too far off. But for now, I think it mainly is for fun to think about another world out there.
The film takes an usual sci-fi approach to issues of racial profiling, Islamophobia and the so-called “war on terror” -- how have these issues impacted your life and your work?
Maybe seeing the completed film will help me answer this question.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like working on the film?
I had no idea. I had worked on smaller films, shorts mainly. I was unprepared for the chaos.
How was it actually, compared to that? What was exactly as you expected it? What was very different?
It was great. People thrive under pressure, and there was a lot of stress working on this. But a lot of fun, too. It was a great experience.
DIY filmmaking can be rough. What was the worst moment? If you have one, share a painful memory from making the film, to give a taste of how tough it got.
Having no bathrooms at the isolated park we were shooting at definitely stands out. I remember a co-PA and I had to drive around to try and find the nearest open bathroom. Another was finding legitimate SWAT team uniforms with no budget. But we ended up getting it all taken care of.
What did your experience of working on IWW tell you about humanity and people in general?
I don't know if our little group of cast and crew can really reflect humanity, but I met two of my really good friends while working on the set. Film people stick together.
What have you been doing since you worked on the film? What other film projects have you done?
I became president of GIANT after that summer, graduated and moved to Los Angeles, worked on major Oscar publicity campaigns, and now I’m working for an entertainer as an assistant and in-house publicist. I also helped a few friends on their Grad Films at USC. But I think publicity is where I will stay.
Why should people get involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
Just to support independent filmmaking.
What else would you like to say about your experience on IWW? Any funny anecdotes or behind the scenes stories?
Hmmm, I think some of the behind the scenes stories really need to stay behind the scenes...but it was a very memorable experience.
If people want to get in touch with you and/or see your work:
Email: lfvoneill @ gmail.com