Tom Schiller was a writer
for Saturday Night Live
in the 1970's who continued to do work occaisonally on the show up in to the 1990's. He wrote and directed a number of short films
that were aired on the program, which were collected on an SNL Special Edition VHS cassette
called "Schiller's Reel".
"Schiller's Reel" featured many of the not ready for primetime players as well as up and coming celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Desi Arnez Jr.. The films were offbeat and some of them didn't even seem to be intended as comedy. Particularly fascinating are the shorts "Don't Look Back In Anger", which stars an elderly John Belushi as the last living member of the original cast on SNL (a fantasy that couldn't be further from the truth), "Perchance to Dream" featuring Bill Murray as a homeless man who drinks a magic elixir and imagines a Shakespearean soliloquy for himself, and "L'art is ficial" (Artificial) - a strange mock documentary of a european artist in the last years of his life.
Schiller's work borders on genius because of the way he manages to use the format that is a "short film". He knows he can make a whole picture about something that will end up a ludicrous joke, or he can make something that stands on it's own as a piece of art, despite it being of minimal length. Some of the work on Schiller's Reel just appears to be made for strictly experimental purposes. Some of it seems extremely cerebral. And to think, it was all born of a writer for the original Saturday Night Live.
Tom Schiller wrote and directed a film in 1984 entitled "Nothing Lasts Forever". The film is apparently a carefully executed dramedy with bizarre science fiction elements. It is not available in the United States.
If you ever saw the infamous Chris Farley Folger's Crystals Hidden Camera sketch on Saturday Night Live in the early 90's, you were witnessing Tom Schiller's work. He played Knorben Knussen, the Swedish Hidden Camera Show Host. The sketch is a prime example of classic Schiller - A simple premise, recognizable and comical, that suddenly takes you in an unexpected and somewhat more deeper direction of comedy. Schiller is probably the least appreciated of comic geniuses alive in the world today. He currently directs commercials for Coppos Films and has garnered multiple prestigious Clio Awards, Emmy Awards, Cannes Lions Awards, Addies, and he is a two-time winner of The Andy Award of Excellence from The Advertising Club of New York. I hope his work continues, and that his legacy lives on.