…Deep meaningful relational Connection! You must connect to God and to your fellow human beings, without both of those we will suffer a lonely life of quiet desperation. As an American and a U.S. Marine, I’m fiercely independent but our independence takes a toll on our soul. We were built for family, friendship, and deep meaningful relationships. Fight for that and it will pay dividends. Bury your pride and make that call to your prodigal son or that friend or loved one you haven’t talked to in a long time. Pray that prayer you’ve been so quick to avoid. Connect with my friends!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Pryor.
Scott is a U.S. Marine Veteran who as an Atlanta-based celebrated trial lawyer turns his real-life courtroom tragedies into award-winning screenplays and films. He is the Director, Star, and Writer of the new upcoming film TULSA hitting Regal Cinema theaters nationwide this August. Inspired by true events from one of his actual trial cases, TULSA follows a desperate marine biker whose life is turned upside-down when he is united with the sassy 9-year-old daughter he never knew existed.
For Scott who is married and has 3 sons, the film business is a family business. Together with his wife Laura, they are Pryor Entertainment, a thriving Georgia-based independent production company that creates films, TV, and content that inspires, empowers, and educates so that others may truly live.
In TULSA, Biker ‘Tommy Colston’ (Scott Pryor) 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. Inspired by true events from Scott Pryor’s client as a trial lawyer, TULSA is a funny and heartwarming story of redemption, family, and forgiveness, even in the darkest of times.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
My family moved around a lot growing up. I lived out West in Montana and Wyoming and settled in Northwest Indiana — southeast of Chicago. We didn’t have a lot but we made do. My parents instilled in us the value of working hard. I thrived on competitive sports, martial arts, and muscle cars. I worked every job I could get even from a very young age. When I was eleven I had multiple paper routes where I rode my bike at 5:00 a.m. to the next neighborhood over from my house in the freezing cold snow and ice. (I sound like an old man)! I saved my money and bought my first car at fourteen. A 1969 Camaro that needed work. I would sneak it out of the garage and race it down the back roads and race anything that would move. Eventually, I got in trouble with my driving habits and was almost arrested, thankfully by then I had my driver’s license. I ended up polishing fire trucks and police cars on the weekends as part of my penance.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’m drawn to powerful storytelling and the effect films can have on people’s lives. When I was a kid, my dad and I would watch war movies together. We watched Full Metal Jacket and seeing the intensity of the Marine Corps portrayed in that film, I decided to join the Marines and I did so at seventeen. In addition, I went to my buddy’s house and we watched Rocky IV, four times in a row back to back while singing and shadow boxing with Ivan Drago, right in his living room. I read about Sylvester Stallone writing Rocky and insisting that he play the character. This really inspired me. Several years later I remember watching Good Will Hunting and I read about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck writing Good Will Hunting and I was moved by the story and their journey bringing this film to light. This fertilized the creative seeds that were growing inside. I ended up becoming a trial lawyer fighting for people who had been catastrophically injured or their loved ones who had been killed in horrific injuries that weren’t their fault. I am drawn to telling my clients story of loss and the new battles they face after the tragedy in front of a jury, judge, or mediation. The love of storytelling propelled me into film making where I regularly draw from my experiences with cases and clients as a trial lawyer.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Last Christmas, a lady reached out to us on our social media and said she just watched our first film “The List” and that it inspired her to call the suicide hotline. She was planning on committing suicide and the film made a powerful impact in a very critical time in her life. We immediately reached out and began a dialogue to support her during this crucial time. I was honored that she reached out and shared that with us and felt fortunate that we were able to help her.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
After a big audition, I landed a role in a Shakespeare play in college that was to be performed in a packed 2,400 seat auditorium for a ten-day run. This was my first real major role and I had no idea about the process. I was a Finance Major at my school. When I showed up to the first reading, I realized that I didn’t have the same script as everyone else. The actor beside me informed me that I was supposed to have cut the script down already. As I read my part, I was greatly mispronouncing some key Shakespearean language that everyone else seemed to be well versed in. Everyone was patient with me and we had a great run but I was definitely the rookie in the room.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I learned to attack a role as soon as I’m attached. I want to know everything I can about the script, the character, the relationships between the characters, the director’s vision and I prepare like a mad scientist for the part. I’m a perfectionist and I take my work extremely seriously.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
On August 21st our next feature film called “Tulsa” will be released nationwide exclusively with Regal Cinemas. Tulsa is a movie about a desperate marine biker’s life is turned upside-down when he is united with the sassy 9-year-old daughter he never knew existed. ○ Also, I’m working on a very exciting action script that has to do with a family that lost a son to ISIS. In addition, I’m working on a family drama that tackles the mental health crisis on a very personal level. I’m always searching for other great opportunities to collaborate and work with a passionate team to tell powerful stories through creative films or television shows.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television?
To me, diversity is the spice of life. From my work to my personal friends I love to have a diverse mix of people around me. It makes life more fun and interesting. As a writer, I’m always fascinated by unique people and write a lot of my friends into the stories we create. In addition, I think diversity allows your life to expand. Growing up we never had a lot but my parents were always giving what we did have. I remember we picked up a poor hitchhiker in the middle of wintertime who was from Vietnam. My family made quick friends of him and he was usually at our house for holidays and many a meal in between. He became part of our family. This is how I was raised and I how I am raising my family.
How can that potentially affect our culture?
When we establish friendships and take care of people that are different from us, this changes the world.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Silence the voice inside of you that screams you are not enough. EVERYBODY hears this voice no matter what confidence they may project. My very first lead role for a film, I was anxious and at times petrified leading up to the shoot. I didn’t have much acting experience especially for a lead role and I prepared like crazy. The first day of the shoot, I remember working out that morning and walking to set, I was nauseous and literally weak in the knees. I remember thinking you’re the biggest idiot that ever walked on the face of the earth and it’s all going to get captured on film, which makes you an even bigger idiot. That being said, I love to challenge myself and so I find myself in those situations a lot. Like bungee jumping or skydiving, I refuse to give into the fear and make myself move forward at all costs. It all starts with controlling my thoughts and fighting through the doubts.
Go after your dreams with a vicious determination. I’ve always wanted to produce my own films and I decided that I wanted to make a feature film right out of the gate. Everyone thought I was crazy, but we ended up making it and got a distribution as well as winning multiple awards. It was extremely tough, and we had multiple setbacks and failures, but it is so worth it!
Our problems, when handled right, make us stronger, wiser, and tougher than we’d ever been without them. Growing up and in life, we fought for everything, every inch of the way. Nothing has been handed to us, but that is the greatest gift God could give us because it’s out of that ache and struggle and feeling of being the perpetual outsider that the hunger and grit were forged in my soul. It’s a pure blessing. If I see myself as a victim of circumstance I automatically forgo the victory.
Keep the faith at all costs.
Have a mentor and ingest inspiring content. I drive a lot so when I’m in the car I usually listen to Ed Mylett who has one of the largest podcasts in the world. He has a show “Max Out” where he brings inspiring stories from people across a broad spectrum of industries. I love listening to Ed and the probing insightful interviews he shares on his show.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Know your WHY and always keep that in focus. Why is it that you do what you do? What were you created for? If you’re living or working outside of that, it will drain the life out of you and you will hit that wall at 90 miles per hour. That doesn’t mean sitting on the couch eating donuts waiting to be inspired to do anything either! If you’re working in your strengths and passions you’ll be energized. It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and adjust. What you say NO to is just as important as what you say YES to. Build-in periods of rest and time to get away to think, laugh, and spend time with friends and put it on your calendar in advance.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Deep meaningful relational Connection! You must connect to God and to your fellow human beings, without both of those we will suffer a lonely life of quiet desperation. As an American and a U.S. Marine, I’m fiercely independent but our independence takes a toll on our soul. We were built for family, friendship, and deep meaningful relationships. Fight for that and it will pay dividends. Bury your pride and make that call to your prodigal son or that friend or loved one you haven’t talked to in a long time. Pray that prayer you’ve been so quick to avoid. Connect with my friends!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First, my parents who worked so hard and sacrificed to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. My sister who always had my back. My MVP is my wife, Laura. She’s always supported my endeavors and never wants to take credit. She’s the type of woman who is beautiful but doesn’t think so and is quick to help everyone in need while putting her needs last. She tells me the tough truths that at times I don’t want to hear. She’s loyal and a great partner. When I think of her, the word treasure always comes to mind.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. See Deep, Meaningful, Relational connection.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
This is a brutally tough question because it pains me to exclude so many. I’ll narrow it down as best I can. In addition to those mentioned above: Actors- Chris Pratt- I love his sincerity and his sense of humor that comes out in his acting. I feel he doesn’t put on airs and would be great to hang out with. I also feel he’s a person who really cares about other people. I know people who have worked with him and they all say he’s a genuinely great guy.
Tom Hardy- Is an actor that can reach down into a character and inhabit his bones and make the character want to be Tom Hardy. He’s a huge inspiration to me and I love his work. In addition, I’ve heard about his giving back to troubled teens and working to help better his community.
Casey Affleck- I think Casey’s acting style is superb. I love the way he plays his characters in a very understated way. It draws me in and allows the audience to connect to his characters and fully relate on a deep emotional level.
Directors- David Ayer- I love the grit he brings to his storytelling through his writing and directing. Here’s a guy who moved to Hollywood and went for it and now he’s at the top of the game.
How can our readers follow you online?
officialscottpryor.com, FB & IG @officialscottpryor
pryorent.com, FB & IG @pryorentertainment
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!