Oral Histories

Interview of Leslie Diller Zollo

Scenic artist working in film, television, and opera, and fine artist.
Series:
The Crafts in Hollywood: Production Design
Topic:
COVID-19 Pandemic
Film and Television
Interviewer:
Collings, Jane
Interviewee:
Zollo, Leslie Diller
Persons Present:
Zollo and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Sessions one, two, and three: the Art Directors Guild Archives in Studio City, California. Because of the necessity of restricting personal contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth session was conducted by phone.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, principal editor and interviewer, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Diller Zollo was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff. Some months after the oral history interview was completed, the UCLA Center for Oral History Research recontacted Zollo to invite her to participate in another interview session documenting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film and television industry. The final session thus focuses primarily on the personal, professional, and industry-wide effects of the pandemic.
Length:
4.25 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
This series of interviews was undertaken in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild. Its aim is to document the lives and work of Guild members and staff who have made a significant contribution to film and television history. Interviews capture the work of title artists, set designers, art directors, production designers, and many other categories. The contribution of labor unions in shaping the conditions of the work is also addressed.
Family background--Parents’ aesthetic sensibility--Attends an “alternative” school--Interest in art and politics--Family participation in therapy, encounter groups and Unitarian church--Travels to Europe and Israel--Becomes a Fischer-Hoffman therapist--Attends Sonoma State University in the School of Expressive Arts.
Home life growing up--Mother’s roots in Tennessee--Cultural climate in California while growing up--Sonoma State University School of Expressive Arts--Professional work as an artist--Volunteers for TreePeople in Los Angeles--Artists Contributing to the Solution--Learns to paint backdrops--Works on Nuts, She’s Having a Baby, Married with Children--Pressures on female scenic artists--Prevalence of drugs on shop floor--Work for LA Opera--Leaves work to have a child.
Recent death at Disney Studios scenic shop--Zollo’s scenic tool kit--More on learning backing work--Use of Zollo’s artwork in LA Opera production--New procedures for high- definition TV on the General Hospital set--Toxic materials on set--Abilities required in scenic art--Difficulties facing those starting today--More on Artists Contributing to the Solution--Safety practices in the studio--Nola Kurtz--Work for Art Directors Guild archives.
First saw coronavirus as something distant—Contact with cruise ship passengers—Becomes ill—Maintains complete self isolation—New production guidelines for re-opening—Production changes due to high-definition TV—Participates in Black Lives Matter protests—Doing artwork while in isolation.