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100 Words Film Festival: What Not to Do in Lisa's Advice

by Nicole Fisher

September 20, 2015

Having trouble choosing a costume for an office Halloween party? No worries! Lisa has the answer: "Be Stephen Hawking," she says. "It's edgy, smart - and you can borrow my wheelchair."

I didn't say it was a good answer.

Lisa is a sublimely assertive, confident and clueless character essayed by Regina Taufen in Lisa's Advice, a series of three one-minute-or-less long vignettes produced directed and written by Taufen and her comedic partner Anna Christopher. The product of brainstorming and improvisation by the two Los Angeles based actresses, Lisa's Advice was an audience favorite at last fall's 100 Words Film festival, and a delightful sampler of a web series that totals 14 episodes. 

Presented with economy of set-up, presentation and punch line, each episode of Lisa's Advice is a compressed comedy, a sit-com for the Vine generation with a primary location of a funky hang out, recalling the settings of Monk's Diner in Seinfeld and Central Perk in Friends. We're dropped mid-scene into each scenario, an elliptical snippet where a nameless put-upon straight woman played by Christopher presents her current quandary. Taufen's Lisa whips up on-the-spot advice, caught up in the brilliance of her crackpot ideas. Her assertions are so awful, they bear the verisimilitude of real life - the kind of utterly worthless crap we're unafraid to share with our closest friends.

Lisa's pearls of wisdom include getting pregnant to save a dead-end relationship, and the aforementioned equal-opportunity-offender costume. She saves her worst advice for the weightiest problem, encouraging her friend to ignore a potential medical issue with a string of stale New Age babble.

Each vignette is appallingly funny because Lisa is so well-intentioned. The bonds of friendship at the core of each episode ring true because Lisa is determined to offer affirmation and support in lieu of common sense. Her ill-advised cheerleading will surely lead to disaster, but that's what friends are for, right?

Lisa's Advice

Written, Directed and Produced by Anna Christopher and Regina Taufen

Director of Photography: John Dabrowski

Editor: Sarah Broshar

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Tags: Friends, short films, vignettes, 100 Words Film Festival, Regina Taufen, Lisa's Advice, Anna Christopher, Seinfeld

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