2011 | in post-production | Facebook | Tumblr | Kickstarter (completed)

This is the story of a lonely waitress, Tressa, whose sexy young neighbors drill a tiny hole into the wall between their rooms. At first it’s just a question of temptation and propriety, but it doesn’t take long to start wondering, why is the hole there? What were her neighbors thinking? For Tressa, there’s only one to find out…

UPDATE: Sneak Preview Screening! Click here for details.


The Plot

Tressa Willoney lives alone in a crummy apartment. One night, after another long, thankless, shift waitings tables in a greasy spoon diner, her exhausted late-night routine is interrupted when a drill-bit comes grinding through her bedroom wall. It withdraws, leaving a tiny peephole into the bedroom of Luke and Chia, her attractive pot-smoking twenty-something neighbors. She does her best to ignore the temptation, but she can’t hold out forever. Having no idea if this was an intentional ploy or some kind of strange accident, Tressa slowly gives in to her curiosity and explores a new side of herself.

The Story of the Story

In mid-2005, while waiting at the Night Light Lounge for a friend, I sat doodling in a notebook and eavesdropping on neighboring tables. One table was having an argument, and they kept saying either “waitress” or “mattress,” and for some reason it struck me that that was a pretty good beginning point for a story. Somehow I transformed that into a two-part story — one half about an old man who plays chess with his mattress; the other half about a lonely waitress and the hole in her wall. I called it The World of Missing Persons, from a slightly obscure line in a popular Talking Heads song. I got it to where I was really proud of it — and promptly sat on it. I didn’t feel like I was ready as a filmmaker to tackle a story I liked this much, to be honest.

That story has evolved quite a bit since. The mattress is long gone. Then two years ago, I expanded the sparse 10-page story into a sprawling 118-page feature script (with which I was a second-time finalist for acceptance into the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s and Director’s Labs). The feature became a very different, more complicated beast, of course — in fact, it ended up taking place in 1962 and involved at its edges the famous real-life “Escape From Alcatraz” and the Russian Sputnik program. I’m very proud of it, and I’d jump at the chance to direct the feature version, if the opportunity presents itself. Hopefully some day…

But in the meantime, The World of Missing Persons (sometimes affectionately reduced to “TWOMP”) returned once again to the short format earlier this year — or rather, half of it did. The old man storyline (a cute one involving misinterpreted morse code signals and bandits on the lam) has been cut entirely and now the script focuses on just one character and just one story. With the benefit of hundreds of pages to explore the characters, my “lonely waitress” Tressa and her neighbors Luke and Chia feel more like real people than any others I’ve ever written, and I am very excited to bring them to life on the screen.



Check back for updates, but as of December 2011 a rough cut will be preview-screening (see above) and our projected completion/release date is February 2012!

Cast & Crew

Check back soon for a complete list of everyone who made this possible!

Special Thanks

Thanks in large part to Regional Arts & Culture Council and a very successful Kickstarter campaign. We’ve also received generous in-kind donations and technical support from Purple Macaroni Productions and Portland’s own LAIKA/house, and many others. A complete list is forthcoming, I assure you!



Click here for our archived page explaining fundraising details, or or click here to see the extant Kickstarter page for The World of Missing Persons.

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