Lisa Carlson plays the role of Trainer Terry.
How would you describe In-World War (the film itself) in no more than seven words?
Sci-fi for a planet off its axis.
What was your role on IWW and what did you do?
I play Trainer Terry. It's a short scene early in the film. She introduces a desperate group of people gathered in a classroom to what may be their only opportunity to survive by becoming workers in the In-World War virtual world.
Why did you get involved with it? How did you hear about it?
I was captivated by the premise of the script - that there could actually be global warfare forever. I read it during a time that brought radically new changes to American foreign policy, three years ago. This script is incredibly prescient on so many levels. Heard about it on Craigslist.
Did you enjoy working on the film? What was the best part for you?
I totally loved working on this, figuring out my wardrobe, and participating in a slice of futurism.
What interested you about this film in particular?
The political framework fused with the sci-fi context really captivated me. For example, the story posits that to keep one’s credit in check some people would do almost anything. And, that was written before the recent credit crises and foreclosure debacles!
How long have you been working in film/involved with film?
At age 16, after shooting an award-winning 16-mm documentary, Cleo, I wanted to be a filmmaker. Instead, I become an audio-visual producer for business, went into creative services sales, then morphed into a tech writer/editor, and did not realize a whole new career awaited me as an actress until a couple of years ago – a lifetime later.
What is your goal in filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of photography, key grip, etc.) and why?
Acting has scooped me up. I hope to be cast in more captivating roles in film and theater. Meanwhile, I am also developing new skills as a live storyteller.
In your view, why is filmmaking and making art important to society as a whole?
Without art our souls wither and die. No matter what else we are involved in, the arts are our lifeline to our deepest humanity.
Did helping make an indie film leave you with a positive or negative outlook on this type of ultra-low budget filmmaking (and why)?
I loved the work, the scope of the film, and the commitment of the talented crew and director towards this visionary creative goal. I find it difficult, though, to wait out the process and the funding. It’s frustrating, as a new actress, to have to wait several years to see how I looked on one particular day of shooting. I am skeptical of most audition invitations by directors with skeletal budgets and support. But, if I read the script and like it as much as I loved In-World War, I am likely to want to participate.
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?)
I love sci-fi when it’s well written and embodies greater truths and consequences through the narrative.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like working on the film?
I had no idea what to expect, at first. But, the call for actors on Craigslist was actually pretty honest. There would be a lot of actors involved, a lot of extras, and we would not be paid very much. We would provide our own wardrobes, and we could spend a lot of hours on set. All true.
What did your experience of working on IWW tell you about humanity and people in general?
People are kind. Many people are unexpectedly gracious under pressure. The greater humanity in all of us embraces artistic visionaries. Our director Brant Smith [aka DJ Bad Vegan] embraces gratitude, and it shows.
What have you been doing since you worked on the film? What other film projects have you done?
I have worked on dozens of projects. I have done several TV commercials, including one for Blue Shield of CA, where I played myself as a caregiver, and a recent one in Spanish, for Discount Diabetic, where I play a housewife who loves pie, and a lot of training videos. I played the Head Nun in a production in Danville, CA, of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves, and an aging Valley girl in The Little Nebbish, in a black box theater in Long Beach.
Why should people get involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
Involvement, financially or artistically, in the film gives you an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a captivating project by a totally original director who has talent, vision, and probably a couple of more astounding scripts in his back pocket.
What else would you like to say about your experience on IWW? Any funny anecdotes or behind the scenes stories?
I ran out to Dress Barn to buy an inexpensive gray business suit for my character, Trainer Terry. Little did I know that more than two years later I’d actually be wearing it again, to business meetings, in a real marketing communications day job, in a continuing effort to hang on to my good credit rating. Oh, how art imitates life, how life imitates art…
To learn more about Lisa Carlson's other film work: