post-screening bliss

Thank you to everybody who attended our preview-screening event for The World of Missing Persons! It was a huge thrill for us to show it to you, and a huge thrill for me personally to get so much feedback on what was working and what wasn’t. I myself hadn’t had a chance to sit and watch some of the film we showed, so it was also an honor and a thrill to get a look at what Cassie, Laurel, Darrell, and Brooke & Tracy have been up to, and what Montetré and Dave Drusky have coming up early this year. (Quick shout-outs: Dave’s month-long Westfalia-bound VANVENTURE Vanuary is under way right now, and check out (and why not help out) Montetré’s brilliantly surreal upcoming feature-film project, Be Meaner!)

Check out the TWOMP Tumblr for some quick amateur snapshots I took at the screening — or if you were there and have some, please send ‘em my way!

The edit picks back up this weekend, and more news will come as I approach the final stages and release the polished film to the world. If I owe you an email or other correspondence (and it’s getting to where, if you’re reading this and you’ve ever met me, I owe you at least an email) please be patient! I haven’t forgotten you!

But again, and in the meantime — thank you all so much for attending. It was so much fun showing you where I’m at, with a film I’m so proud of and excited to finish.

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Rough cut ready for the world / Screening line-up announced

Tomorrow night, 12/29, at shortly after 7pm, I hope to see you at the Waypost for the unveiling of The World of Missing Persons.

It’s a rough-cut, which means it’s 99% of the way there, which is actually great because any imperfections you notice I can just wave away with a magic wand — “Oh that? Yeah, it’s just a rough cut. That’s going to be fixed in post. Don’t worry about that.” It will be the least pressured you’ll ever see me about the film!

Along with my 21-minute film, we’ll be screening a quick program of recent and upcoming projects from my brilliant cast & crew, including a music video for a rap song about flossing and a short doc about bunnies. Just as listed above (though not necessarily in that order), the full line-up includes films by Montetré, Darrell Brett, Cassie Cohn, Tracy Pitts & Brooke Budy, Laurel Degutis and co., and Dave Drusky.

How can you say no to all this?

See you there.

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Preview Screening!

As mentioned before, we’re celebrating the end of a fruitful year by having a SNEAK-PREVIEW SCREENING of The World of Missing Persons, and you are invited!

Thursday, December 29th, we’ll be at The Waypost on N. Williams. In addition to an unpolished-but-damn-near-close cut of the new film, we’re excited to show off some of the great pieces the cast and crew have done lately, and some teasers and previews for their upcoming efforts. Everything is subject to change (such is the nature of these things), but right now the tentative line-up includes Laurel Degutis, Cassie Cohn, Tracy Pitts, Darrell Brett, Montetré, Brooke Budy, Alex Heubsch and Dave Drusky. Doors will open at 7:00, the program should begin around 8:00. Beer and wine and sandwiches available (check out the Waypost’s menu here).

Admission is ABSOLUTELY FREE, by the way.

See you there!

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Overdue update!

Updates are about to come pouring in.

For a little while, the reason there were no updates was the progress we were making with The World of Missing Persons was just too fits-and-startsy to get worked up about. Then about three or four weeks ago, the ball got over whatever final hump it had to get over, and things have been moving so fast I haven’t had a chance to document every piece of good news as it’s come!

Post-production soars forward, as the edit approaches the refining stages and the next steps begin! Except for one song-and-dance number [this phrase is more literal than you'd think], a complete cut of the film exists and has been shown to a couple of the crew. Some of the most exciting news is that we have officially brought in the marvelous and talented McKenzie Stubbert as our composer and sound designer, and the film will feature songs by the Portland blues-rock group Little Volcano, plus one other artist/group still TBD.

But the most exciting news of all is that we have scheduled PREVIEW SCREENING and end-of-the-year celebration for December 29th, at the Waypost Cafe. Details will follow in the next day or two (or check Facebook or Twitter for more updates), but we’ll be showing a short program of current and upcoming projects by many of the brilliant collaborators, at the end of which will be the first public screening of (a rough cut of) The World of Missing Persons.

I’ve already seen it, so I know you’re gonna like it.

Like I say, much more specific updates will be pouring in soon.

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WRAPPED PRODUCTION: The World of Missing Persons

Hopefully you’ve all been following along on the Tumblr, because that’s the only page I’ve had the time to update as we rocketed through the shoot, and now we have wrapped production! August 20th was our last shoot day, and now (as we all decompress back into our daily lives) we start looking forward at post-production (also, I suppose, looking forward to post-production). Color correction, conforming and sound-syncing will begin later this week/early next week, and with any luck the momentum will carry through to editing, compositing, sound design, music supervision, and on. Keep checking for updates, the occasional screenshot or clips, and news of screenings and release parties later this year.

To everyone who helped out: I can’t thank you all enough. It was an amazing, only-slightly-grueling, disaster-free experience. My cast and my crew were effing amazing.

I can’t wait to show you all the work we’ve done.

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And… go!

GO, DOG. GO!

THE LIGHT IS GREEN NOW.

Sorry. It’s almost 2 in the morning. I have some emails to write. We have a call time at 7. Without exaggeration, last night I slept a little over 2 hours.  The two nights previous were about 3. I didn’t eat and I barely drank anything (not even tea!) all day. It was — like all low/no-budget film shoot Day Ones seem to be — a day for hiccups and speedbumps. I spent an awful lot of time driving around on PA tasks or fielding organizational or budgetary questions for a director (though I did sneak in one lovely sit-down with Micki, which did feel very directorly), and it’s probably not appropriate for me to tell you how incredibly overbudget we are, and that I have no source for that income. So let’s pretend I didn’t just tell you any of that. Tomorrow’s going to start at a stumble, but I’m hoping we pick up some momentum quick, as it’s the first day of actual shooting!  Tomorrow afternoon, Tressa comes to life — a moment about six years in the making!

And don’t get the wrong idea. A lot of things are going really, really amazingly, and I’m still very excited and proud of the product we are making. Today, and possible this whole shoot, alas, lacks the buffers that leave me unaware of how teeteringly close to the edge things sometimes feel when you’re still trying to get that boulder up the hill.

Or something. Anyway –

Follow along with pictures and upbeat glibness as I tumbl something every time there’s a chance to breathe.  Is tumbl a verb?  (Q: Is tumbl a verb? A: You need to be asleep if that’s the kind of question you’re asking.  Good night.)

http://twompfilm.tumblr.com/

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T minus 3 days

I hate to be dorky and quote myself, but here’s pre-production in a nutshell:

The last few days I’ve felt like Wile E. Coyote when he runs off that cliff: he can keep going just so long as he doesn’t think about it, or hesitate, or look down. The truth is, faith and momentum can carry you pretty far (I don’t mind the more pragmatic translation of those ideas: stubbornness and tenacity).

But there’s an ingredient here a thousand times more valuable and crucial than the triumph of my pigheaded will, and that’s my staggeringly amazing production team. Laurel Degutis, my producer; Cassie Cohn, my production coordinator; and John Petrina, my assistant director. Add to them the department heads — Scott Braucht, my production designer, Jon Beanlands, my director of photographer, and Sam Naiman, my gaffer — and I’d say right now it feels like the film is more theirs than mine.

Well — give it just four more days and it will start to feel like the film belongs more to my brilliant cast as well. My brilliant cast who, by the way, I’m happy to now announce: Micki Selvitella will play Tressa, Page Grace Ryder will play Chia, and Montetré will play Luke. I’ve seen these three read together. I’ve seen all three breathe life into the characters and scenes — and in more interesting ways than I originally envisioned, which is pretty thrilling — and that was just at auditions. Wait until there’s that energy when the camera rolls!

There’s an old saying (or if you prefer, a dirty secret) that directing is 90% casting. I’ve written the script, so other than a couple of tweaks here and there to adapt as we go, that’s all behind me, and I can take off the writer’s hat. And now, I’ve chosen or in many cases stumbled into having this stellar team of department heads, each of whom I’ve communicated thoroughly my intentions and my vision. Now that the main cast and the main crew are locked into place*, I almost feel like I could hang up the director’s hat, too.

We’re working on a tight schedule. We have a lot of micro- to medium-sized crises to contend with still. The simple fact is we may not get a couple of our fancier shots, due to some logistics and timing. And the less said of the budget the better; let’s just leave it at that. It’s not going to be a breeze, but it’s going to be great. The crucial pieces are in place. Now it’s just a matter of filling in some nuts and bolts, building up a stronger support structure, and pulling the trigger.

Sometimes the hard work is the easiest part. And between you and me, I can’t wait until pre-production is over.

* (Full disclosure: a handful of crew positions remain unfilled, including the sound department. But, quiet you! — just let me have my glass-half-full moment.)

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Wheels turning!

August is here!

Things are moving so quickly I haven’t had time to stop in and update. (The fundraising TWOMP page still reads like the Kickstarter campaign hasn’t ended yet. Among other needed updates.)

Production meetings have happened. Casting is almost complete. We have selected our actors for Luke and Chia (the “sexy bohemian couple next door”), and we have one last second-audition to hold for Tressa (our lonely-waitress lead). With any luck, by Tuesday evening we’ll know our actors and scheduling and rehearsals can begin.

We’ve secured our camera package. The World of Missing Persons will be shot on the much-touted, big-and-fancy RED camera. If we want to sound all fancy-pants about it, we could call it the camera used for The Social Network, District 9, Che and The Informant!. What it really means is, it’s going to be incredibly pretty, and much higher resolution than HD. It is going to look professional. We’re all excited about that.

Schedules are being set. Final locations being scouted. Crews being rounded up. Lists being made. Emails being sent by the hundred.

A couple of gaps to fill, things we would have liked to have locked already — always goes that way, doesn’t it? — but overall things are moving along really smoothly, and really promisingly. Easy to stay positive, even under the time constraints and workload. Although, I have to admit: the realization that it’s August right now sends a bad-kind of shiver down my spine.

But seriously, it’s going to be a hell of a good film, you guys. I’m really proud.

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Kickstarter Fundraising COMPLETE

Thank you everyone for contributing. It’s been an amazing month of support. We managed to get $5,060 dollars — more than $1,500 over the bottom-line goal. Traditionally Kickstarter projects for films (especially short films) don’t tend to raise any more than the goal requested, because the attitude tends to be, “Oh, they got what they need. Let’s look elsewhere,” so I feel pretty damn honored and proud that I managed to pull in so much more. (Sure, we never hit that “New Goal” of $6,000, but we only set that out there on the horizon as an optimistic point to drive toward.)

The World of Missing Persons is moving forward very quickly, and already some really exciting discussions have started thanks to all your generous support. We’ve done a round of casting, and another round next week should finish the deal. Location scouting begins. Murmurs on the horizon of a second producer to join Laurel, and our DP Jon Beanlands is in town from NY.

Gears turning. This is going to be such a great project. And I owe so much of that to all of you.

Thank you!

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CASTING CALL!

We’re opening the doors next weekend (short notice!) and auditioning actors for the parts of TRESSA, LUKE and CHIA.

Below is the text from our Casting Notice:

CASTING CALL for short film The World of Missing Persons by Travis Ezell

Low budget film production is casting for three principal parts.

Tressa Willoney lives alone in a rundown apartment. One night, after another long, thankless shift waiting tables, her late-night routine is interrupted when a drill comes grinding through her bedroom wall. It withdraws, leaving a tiny peephole into the bedroom of Luke and Chia, the overly friendly, attractive twenty-something couple next door. Tressa does her best to ignore the temptation, but she can’t hold out forever. Not sure if this was an intentional ploy or some kind of strange accident, she gradually involves herself more and more in Luke and Chia’s lives. (Naturally, hijinks ensue.)

For more info: www.iceninefilms.com

LUKE (18-25). Male. Sexy, bohemian stoner, just a hint of street kid in him. Good looking and knows it, easygoing and laidback. Unambitious and unassuming, full of love for everyone. Dynamite in the sack, but otherwise not an aggressive bone in his body.

CHIA (22-28). Female. Offbeat, sexually confident, a little bit punk (tattoos and piercings, hair-dye maybe; or the kind of girl who WOULD do those things even if she hasn’t). Very sensual and open personality — friendly flirting is her normal manner. Just at the age/ mindset where “doing nothing” and “having a good time” aren’t quite enough for her, but she doesn’t know what she wants yet.

TRESSA (30-40). Female. Greasy-spoon waitress, still decent looking but no longer feels like it, and is starting to give up on herself (socially, romantically). No close friends or family, so it’s been alone a while since she just relaxed and had a nice time with people; unless she’s asking how you like your eggs, her social skills are pretty rusty.

*************

Nudity Required: Actors must be comfortable being (tastefully) nude and portraying intimate situations on film.

Schedule: Shooting will take place no more than eight days between August 9th and 24th.

Compensation: This is a low budget production. Starting at $70+ per day. Payment
depends on experience.

Audition Date and Location: Auditions are being held Saturday July 9th at The Northwest Film Center 934 SW Salmon St.

Contact: To schedule an audition time or for more information, contact Laurel Degutis.

Feel free to email Laurel if you’re interested, or have any questions!

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