Tissue! Do not be deterred this is not a Kleenex commercial! It instead is a smart, funny comedy from the mind of writer and director Stu Wahlin.
Now on YouTube, Tissue is a result of the 60-hour film festival challenge, Tissue is a statement of the beauty that can come in filmmaking when one is limited creatively and with time.
Despite what the title implies, the story follows a struggling writer as he struggles with what appears to be writer’s block and a progressively worsening day. This quite comedic and sour tale concludes with a power outage that Wahlin paints perfectly as the icing on a turd sandwich for a protagonist, but actually in an amazingly unique and refreshing twist turns out to be a blessing in disguise.
Stu Wahlin’s Tissue is aesthetically pleasing, and tastefully shot. Despite the fact that the film production design consists primarily of less than stellar in house locations, Tissue makes up for this with its punchy dialogue and humorously written lead character. Known as “Writer” actor North Roberts does a great job of capturing the disdain and frustration that comes with this horrid task [writing]. Accompanied by narration, his performance will keeps audiences chuckling and laughing off their seats.
"Tissue" follows a booze-addled writer (North Roberts) as he struggles through his day. This is a short we put together for a 60-hour film challenge. Regrettably, I wasn't able to finish editing by the deadline. It also ended up over the 5-minute limit, although I could have tightened it up to meet that requirement. Our criteria was for the short to be called "Tissue," to have a line of dialogue saying, "I've seen what happens to people like you," and an action of someone dropping a torch (flashlight).
- Stu Wahlin
Tissue is truly a short film that allows you to see a glimpse into the life a certain type of individual. Similar to works such as Inside Llewyn Davis or The Wrestler, the glimpse it gives is bittersweet. All in all Tissue presents a theme of unhappiness that can be found in doing the thing that you love, but also the happiness that can be found by doing the thing that you love. It’s a complicated, though that Tissue presents amazingly in this short film.
TISSUE was actually for one of those weekend film challenges. We received our criteria on a Friday afternoon. The title was to be "Tissue." It must contain, "I've seen what happens to people like you," as a line of dialogue. And there must be an action of someone dropping a torch (being a British competition, I took torch to mean flashlight). Unfortunately, we didn't get to start filming until about 12 hours before the film was due, and I wasn't able to finish editing in time for the deadline. So, I opted to just upload it to YouTube.
- Stu Wahlin
Like with any great short film, Tissue will leave audiences wanting more and exciting for whatever Stu Wahlin has next in store. Whalin’s charm and skill for creating character’s and plots in a mere 7 minutes is breathtaking and a must see for all fans of comedy.
INTERVIEW with Stu Wahlin (Director/Writer)
First, what's your story? How did you become a filmmaker?
Looking back, I think filmmaking dug its hooks into me when my parents bought a video camera when I was high school. It was one of those early models that used full-sized VHS tapes, which provided the instant gratification my brother's old Super-8 film camera couldn't. And now that film stock and processing costs were no longer an issue, I found myself rushing home from school every day to shoot. I went on to earn a degree in film and TV production with a directing emphasis. Before graduating, though, I took a job with a local TV station, and soon became a news photographer, which gave me the opportunity to work with high-end cameras, lenses, and editing systems. But more importantly, my years as a video journalist really helped to develop an eye, which is not something you can really learn in school. Later, I somehow crossed over into print journalism, covering city and county government, politics, and investigative beats. And just as being a videographer had developed my eye, being a reporter honed my skills as a writer. It wasn't until about 2010 that I thought to myself, what am I doing here? I tendered my resignation to the newspaper, and returned to my first love, film, with a much stronger skill set than when I'd graduated from college. I wrote and directed my first real feature, HAND OF GLORY (2012), which was really just meant to be an exercise in shaking-off-the-rust. But it earned us some encouraging distinctions, including Best Actress and Best Director, so I knew I hadn't made a mistake by quitting my writing gig.
What inspired this short?
As a writer, I'm a big fan of Charles Bukowski, so I'd have to claim his works as the inspiration for what the film became. We're kicking around the idea of turning it into a series, where our crude, booze-addled hero is actually forced to deal with eventual success as a writer.
Any interesting production stories?
Because this was shot in a single afternoon, I don't have much in the way of production stories for TISSUE, aside from what I described above perhaps.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
What I enjoyed about making TISSUE was the fact that we had rigid criteria to abide by. In a way, these restraints made the process easier, in that the criteria served as a sort of skeleton to build upon. Like many obstacles in indie filmmaking, it forces you to be creative in your approach, but without the luxury of time to focus on some of the minute details you might otherwise languish over on bigger productions. You learn things on every film, and you bring that knowledge to future projects. I think what I learned on TISSUE is that it doesn't always have to take weeks, months, or years to make a film you can be proud of. (By the way, this past weekend, TISSUE earned a Best Director award at a Chicago-area festival).
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
I hope to have my second feature, SLAY UTTERLY, in production next year. We've got some fantastic genre actors attached, including Zach Galligan, Bill Oberst Jr., Lynn Lowry, and Melantha Blackthorne. The story is a modern adaptation inspired by the Villisca (Iowa) ax murders of 1912, which was also the subject of my 2013 documentary, THE AX MAN ENIGNA. Meantime, we're about to start shooting a Lovecraft-inspired web series called THE MISKATONIC FILES. The series should hit the net in late summer or early fall. I also do a bit of acting, which affords me the opportunity to study my fellow directors, and to meet new folks to work with. By the end of the year, FANGS VS. SPURS, in which I have a supporting role, should be making its premiere. Joe Esteves plays the sheriff in that cowboys-and-vampires horror-comedy feature by Patrick Love. In November, I'll be co-starring in a Justin R. Romine feature called PUNCH AND JUDY. THE MISKATONIC FILES and both films, by the way, also feature TISSUE's North Roberts.
Any advice to filmmakers?
Advice for (new) filmmakers? Don't feel like you have to go to film school. If you want to work on a Hollywood union crew, it's a good way to go. But if you want to make your own films, I wouldn't recommend it at all. Taking a page from Robert Rodriguez, I'd advise you to take the money you'd spend on film school, and make a movie instead. The learning is in the doing. You can learn everything else from Google searches and making-of documentaries in the special features of your favorite DVDs. Have fun, and never stop learning.