Exclusive Interview W/ Scott Pryor & His New Film ‘Tulsa’

Scott Pryor discusses his new film ‘Tulsa’ starring; Livi Birch, John Schneider, Michael Milligan, Nicole Marie Johnson, and Cameron Arnett. When he’s not acting he works as a trial lawyer and discusses how he turns some of his cases into films.

Chelsie Overocker

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: August 18, 2020 5:00 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

Scott Pryor is a U.S Marine Veteran who is a trial lawyer that has turned his real-life courtroom cases into award winning screenplays and films. His upcoming faith based film,Tulsa, will be hitting Regal Cinema theaters nationwide August 21st. 

Credit: Pryor Entertainment

Chelsie Overocker from AfterBuzz TV sat down with Scott to discuss Tulsa and how the story was inspired by true events of one of his trial cases. 

As soon as we connected with Scott over the phone, we wanted to know how he has been doing during Covid. Right now he is currently in Georgia. 

“Yes crazy year but it’s been great. We were super excited that Regal picked us up nationwide for the film, a dream come true for an independent film.”

We agree, it is definitely a dream come true for an independent film to be played nationwide in theaters. Scott walked us through his childhood and when he first took an interest in acting. 

“Acting started in 6th grade [laughs] I didn’t go to fine art school or anything..in high school I had a teacher who had me do skits for several weeks and we would make up these skits, and we had a blast. I would be asked by a bunch of other groups to be in their skits and that really peaked my interest in acting.Then I was in college, I did a fair amount of student body work and auditioned in front 300 people I landed a speaking role in a Shakespeare play and there were 2,400 people that attended. We packed out the auditorium  for a week in half.  I always loved acting but  I wasn’t considering it as a professional career.”

After College Scott started law school but still had a passion for film. When he got his own firm and took on cases he noticed that there was a connection between film and law. 

Credit: Philip Wages

 “I went to law school and started my own firm. What I do as a lawyer is handle very serious wrongful cases. I would represent my client and their family. In these cases what I found was I would sit my client down and really get to know them. I will tell this story to a judge and jury, who is this person and why should the jury care about their injury or death. So all of this was tied in the power of story. I loved going into court and fighting for my client and letting people know who this person is. The power of story really stuck with me and that’s where the production and writing tied in together…so I look at law and film through the one filter and through the lens of storytelling.”

Tulsa is about a biker Tommy Colston [Pryor] who is a hopeless addict. When Tommy discovers he has a long-lost daughter named Tulsa [Livi Birch], he reluctantly welcomes the 9-year-old into his home but tries to keep her out of his heart. The headstrong girl attempts to use her strong faith to save Tommy from his addictions and the demons of his past. When tragedy strikes, Tommy  is forced to face his demons and attempts to become the father of Tulsa’s dreams.

Credit: Still Pryor Entertainment

The film is inspired by one of Scott’s cases.He explains why this client’s case touched him and how he started writing the script for this story. 

Tulsa was inspired by true events. I give my clients as much privacy and I stay out of the news. I was preparing a case of trial a number years ago and asked the jury how did this affect your life. Those are the things that make life so precious and special..I had a conversation with the father and he told me how this injury affected his life. He brought up a daddy daughter dance with his daughter and they danced the whole night and they had an awesome time. As a result of what happened to this family they could no longer enjoy the dance and they could only be there for 10 minutes because of the circumstances. It hit me and as a storyteller I need something to hit me and this hit me so hard that it struck me.”

Scott continues. 

“We just filmed Blackbear which is our second feature film…flying back to Atlanta I usually don’t drink soft drinks but I had a Coke and the sugar rush and caffeine hit me. Suddenly the daughter father dance came to me and the story formed and their relationship is what pulled me to write Tulsa. I whipped out my pen on the airplane napkin and started writing. I knew there needed to be a lot of work for this film but from there I did my outline and built out the script.”

Livi Birch who plays Scott’s on screen daughter worked a lot together on this film and their characters have many emotional scenes together. Scott explains how he developed a relationship with Livi before shooting.

Credit: Amanda Hamlin

“I’m a big fan of rehearsal…Livi is very grounded. Her mom is hilarious and is from England. When Livi auditioned I heard the accent from her mom and she is quick witty. We rented an airbnb and we stayed with Livi and her mom. Livi and I would talk in the morning and her and I would joke around a lot. We had cupcakes stored in the fridge and she would write on the fridge, ‘hands off Tommy’. I would write back, ‘Tulsa thank you for the cupcakes they were delicious.’ We joked around and built that chemistry which was important.. So many things going on at once. We probably slept four hours a night and sometimes I would go, ‘Livi hey what’s my line?’ She was my helper and we had such a blast.. her family and my family become good friends.”

Scott also enjoyed working with Michael Milligan who plays JB in the film. Their two characters have a fight scene in the movie and Scott explains how the stuntmen helped him

“My background is in athletics that include wrestling and martial arts. I love fight scenes and want to do more. A lot times I will write out the fight scene and have a stunt choreographer help me out..they were a dream to work with and we knocked out the scene quickly… the stuntmen were awesome to work with and Michael is a great actor. The cast was very strong, loved working with everyone… Nicole Marie Johnson who plays Jaylene teaches in an acting studio here and I am in her class .We definitely developed a great friendship. Plus we loved having John Schneider on set.”

What an awesome opportunity to have John Schneider be part of the film. We remember him as Jonathan Kent from Smallville and The Dukes of Hazzard.

Credit: Abilene Reporter News

“So awesome to work with him and a great guy. I got a Dodge Camaro Hellcat. We both took that and did some stunts..there was a police car looking for a Camaro and said somebody was doing stunts. We said, ‘no sir we did not see a Camaro.’ [laughs] John was awesome to work with. I always picked his and Nicole’s brain on how I could grow. How do I master this craft? Him and I text back and forth occasionally.” 

While making this film Scott wore many hats. He was a director, producer, and actor for Tulsa. He shares some of the challenges he faced while filming.

“Acting in an independent film that we shot in 20 days is like sprinting a marathon. You are sprint mode the whole time and it’s a good way to sharpen up your sills. Wearing a producer’s hat is challenging especially when you’re setting a scene at 2:30 in the morning then if it’s a heavy emotional scene, as an actor you have to go in and nail that performance because we don’t have time for retakes. As a director I will try to calm the actor but as a producer I know we don’t have much time at this location. Time and resources were our biggest challenge but I feel like this is a super strong movie and proud of it.” 

But with all of the challenges Scott faced he very much appreciated the cast and crew.

“I have to give credit to everyone that came together to make this film. Everyone worked so hard. We had local support from the community and the church stepped up and a lot of the businesses let us shoot there for free. Many people we can thank. We were able to get this done.”

Aside from acting in movies, Scott also has his own production company, Pryor Entertainment, with his wife Laura.

Credit: Philip Wages

“We wanted to do our own work and tell our own stories but now we are open to working with other people…the  stories we created we wanted to tell them and do our own and take. Our very first feature won many awards and got distribution. We feel very fortunate.”

During Covid a lot of producers and writers are taking this time to write new scripts and get ready to shoot when it’s safe again. Are there any future projects that you are currently working on? 

“You nailed it. My wife is helping me write; she’s the secret sauce and she has been creating her own projects. I’m also going to stick to acting. I’m going  to be open and work on other people’s projects..I have a love for acting and want to grow and play more challenging roles.”

We wish you the best Scott and are looking forward to seeing you what new scripts you are writing, and what roles you will be playing next. 

“Thank you Chelsie we will have to connect next time I’m out in LA. Take care.” 

Make sure you check out Tulsa playing in Regal theaters August. Make sure to follow Scott on Instagram @officialscottpryor to keep up with his lattes projects.

Stay up to date with AfterBuzz TV for your latest news in entertainment. 

About The Author:

Chelsie Overocker is a host for AfterBuzz TV. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in communications and marketing.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

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