Sean Lynch adjusts an eyepiece for a set worker.

When you think of the film industry, you generally think about Hollywood first, and not the state of Oklahoma. But the film industry in Oklahoma continues to grow and flourish, as filming for multiple series’ resumes.

Filming here in Oklahoma City and from the mind of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, upcoming Paramount+ series Tulsa King focuses on main character mob boss Dwight “the General” Manfredi, played by actor Sylvester Stallone.

Stallone’s character is released from prison after serving a 25-year sentence and finds himself exiled by his boss to work in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He begins to lose trust in who he considered his previous mob family and begins to develop a new criminal empire within his hometown of Tulsa. 

Other big productions out of Oklahoma currently filming include the FX hit comedy Reservation Dogs. The series is picking up where it left off after its first season and is being filmed entirely on the Muscogee Nation reservation, south of Tulsa and east of Oklahoma City.

Reservation Dogs follows four Indigenous teenagers attempting to rob and steal their way into enough money to escape rural Oklahoma, in pursuit of faraway California.  

Oklahoma City Community College digital cinema instructor Sean Lynch, and OCCC graduate of the film program himself says student interest in the program has also increased as well, as OCCC has the largest film school in the state.

“We’ve always had a pretty good reputation and so a lot of students come through. But I think there’s a lot more buzz in the community about it, which is good because we’re starting to actually get noticed in what we’re doing and what the students are putting out,” said Lynch.

The number of productions in Oklahoma have increased from about four or five within a one-year span, to more than thirty. In 2021 alone, the Oklahoma film industry brought in revenue of more than $170 million.

Lynch believes that in coming years, Oklahoma could work towards developing from being primarily an oil dependent state, to relying more on film as an actual industry. 

“It’s more than a fun little side thing that happens. And it’s not just a business, it can become an industry. It would be nice to have different diversification and Georgia’s proving it works, it’s a 4-billion-dollar industry there,” he said.

“We have students and graduates working on Reservation Dogs, and I have several students that were able to work with Tulsa King right now. Pretty much every production that comes in has our graduates and students on it,” Lynch added.

Casting calls for Tulsa King and Reservation Dogs continue to be posted periodically on the Oklahoma Film and Music Office website, giving locals further opportunity to not only work behind the scenes and on set, but to be included as stand-ins, extras, or possibly land a smaller role with lines. 

There are no release dates for either project as production is still active, but both are expected to air sometime in the fall of 2022. 

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