Tulsa Beacon Article
Treasure Blind, a film written, produced, directed and filmed entirely in Tulsa, will have its world premier here late in September.
Writer/producer/actor Brian Shoop, a devout Christian, said releasing the film after two years of work is a dream come true.
"This is meant to be something other than your typical Christian movie," said Shoop. "It's not like a Billy Graham film or even Facing the Giants or Flywheel."
Cliff, the main character, is a simple taxi driver who is not an expert on the Bible or Christianity. His only exposure to the Gospel is through a 10-year-old blind boy who has trusted Christ. Together, they search for a treasure.
Shoop's idea to produce a movie began when an associate pastor at Tulsa Bible Church rented a movie called Flywheel. He told Shoop that the movie had been produced by a church in Georgia.
"He said that when I got done with a play I was working on, I should do a movie," Shoop said.
It took about a year to write the script. The shooting and editing have taken a second year.
"We are approaching the end and we will be releasing it next month," Shoop said.
The budget was low, particularly by studio standards, but some investors saw enough worth in the project to give it the backing it needed.
"We spent the money on the camera, editing equipment, lighting and sound," Shoop said.
The movie has no actors than anyone would recognize.
"My son, the dentist, plays a role," Shoop said with a smile. "I of course play the lead because I wrote it. The blind grandson is played by Daniel Brookshire, who attends Tulsa Bible Church. He's actually blind. He's a wonderful Christian fellow and a pretty good actor."
Shoop held auditions and relied on friends who are actors and friends who have never acted. The movie has 52 speaking roles.
"They were very kind to donate their time," Shoop said.
Does a movie have to include sex and violence to be a success?
"I think that is changing a little bit," Shoop said. "I think the market is a lot more friendly to wholesome themes, including overtly Christian movies because of recent successes.
"The Passion of the Christ had some to do with that. The follow-up movie to Flywheel was Facing the Giants. It had a budget similar to ours and netted over $10 million.
"Money talks and Hollywood is paying some attention. There's more of a market and opportunity for Christian movies than ever before."
Shoops’ road to the movies began when he moved to Tulsa from Ohio. He was working in the construction business when he was asked to take part in some skits for a church retreat at New Life Ranch.
"I really enjoyed that," Shoop said.
He received an invitation to audition for a play at the Broken Arrow Community Playhouse. Much to his surprise, he got the leading role in Plaza Suite.
"That really struck a chord with me. I started taking some classes and got noticed by an agent and was cast in the first commercial I auditioned for," Shoop said.
Since then, he has been in hundreds of commercials, most recently the Nelson Mazda commercial in which he plays a worried dad.
"I play a couch potato," Shoop said, smiling. "I'm not worried about my kid - I'm worried about my car."
Shoop has learned a lot in 20 years as an actor.
"The actor is a bottom feeder," he said. "He's at the bottom of the pecking order. You have no influence, virtually, over the production. That's what motivated me, among other things, to do something myself."
Shoop played the Durham public relations director in the movie The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid.
"Ironically, it was a movie about the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball and I was a rookie in professional film at an older age," Shoop said.
In pursuit of his acting career, he spent some time in California. What he discovered was puzzling.
"What I found out was that the culture is so different there. You have to go through several layers to ever get to audition. All those layers are resistant to newcomers, especially older newcomers," Shoop said. "Your talent doesn't matter so much - it's your experience. All my experience was local.
"I made some headway and got an agent. I made a lot of contacts. I studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse with some really excellent actors. But I noticed that I kept coming home to work. When I came home, I could read for the directors I was trying to see there but couldn't get in to."
He does not yet have a company to distribute the movie.
"A distributor won't talk to you until you have a movie," Shoop said. "You have to get the movie 100 percent done and then you show it to a distributor and that's our plan."
The movie's website is www.treasureblind.com.
"I would hasten to give the credit to the Lord for this movie," Shoop said. "I am an average guy. I am not a mover or shaker. You can see the Lord's hand all the way through the process. I can take any credit. I look forward to see what He does with this."
- August 16, 2007
WE'RE SELECTING THE VENUE FOR OUR LONG-AWAITED PREMIER. We're meeting with theater owners, investigating projection equipment, and collecting bids. We're starting to prepare the invitations and looking at menus for the reception. It's all very exciting!
Meanwhile, we're still trying to finish the movie! We're sweetening sound, adding sound effects, music tracks, and correcting color. The pace is gaining momentum and promises to approach frenetic before too long.
Please keep praying for deadlines to be met, details to be handled, and the Lord to be exalted in everything.
Watch here for breaking news.