Marching Band Movie Needs Help To Make It To Big Screen
Screenwriter David Yarbrough’s voice is filled with enthusiasm as he describes the journey his film script has taken in the past few years. After several false starts, the project is riding a wave of momentum and Yarbrough is now working around the clock to move the film to the production stage.
To ensure that the film gets made, Yarbrough is reaching out to people who have a passion for music and marching, and he often sends them the complete script.
“When people read it, they become huge fans of the project,” Yarbrough said.
And it’s not only marching insiders who like the story. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have given the script a thumbs up as well. Among them: actor Paul Newman and The Sound of Music director Robert Wise.
“Wise had been searching for five years for the right project to be the final movie of his amazing career. He said he knew this was the project the moment he was halfway through the screenplay,” Yarbrough said. “When he passed away, the project fell into turnaround and I picked up the rights to produce it.”
Quotes from these men and other prominent players in the film world are presented on the project’s website at www.TheSoundOfPerfection.com. Yarbrough is quick to point out these reactions have resulted from people simply reading the screenplay.
“With this story capturing so much power from the printed word, it will generate twice this reaction on the screen,” he said.
The Sound of Perfection is based on the true story of band director Bob Barr and his Jordan Vocational High School “Red Jacket” Marching Band from Columbus, Georgia. The piece initially appeared in Reader’s Digest as a short feature written by Dick McMichael, one of the original band members.
In the story, the year is 1947 and the underdog is a fledgling marching band that lacked a director and, according to the script, had a membership that “varied.” There were 17 kids in the band the day Bob Barr visited the school to consider taking the job as director. Barr took the job, and within six years the Jordan band had won a national title for both field marching and concert band at the American Legion national band competition.
“It’s one of the most requested article reprints in the 90-year history of Reader’s Digest. It’s easy to see why when you read it,” said Yarbrough, who first got involved with the project when he was asked to expand the article into a full movie script. “I’m a sucker for true underdog stories and this is a great one. When I was asked to write the screenplay, I immediately said yes.”
As is the case with modern-day band programs, the Jordan band’s rise to prominence was not easy. Director Barr and the students made personal sacrifices to ensure the band’s success, and together they had to overcome a variety of naysayers along the way.
Perhaps the universal themes of hard work and dedication are what make this project so important.
“There is an emotional connection to this story,” Yarbrough said. “We’re grateful that people are responding so well and we’re encouraged by the many wishes for success. People recognize that this film can become the touchstone for the power of music education.”
While writing the script, Yarbrough traveled to Georgia to interview people who were actually part of the story.
“I was struck by the deep emotions that were brought to the surface. These people spoke of their teacher, Bob Barr and his wife Annie, as the reason their lives were forever changed in a profound way. Many chins trembled and eyes filled with tears. And all of this came through the power of music education and being part the band.”
Make It Happen
After the death of director Robert Wise, Yarbrough regrouped and took the leadership role for the project. No stranger to the business, Yarbrough has credits on projects that have appeared on Showtime, The Movie Channel, HBO and The SyFy Channel. He is now assembling a team for The Sound of Perfection and is raising funds to move the project through pre-production. He has set a goal to raise $150,000 so they can make offers to the first four A-list actors and a top director.
“We’re being very careful to protect the vision of this project,” Yarbrough said. “With donations realized, we can get the first stars onboard and begin pre-production immediately. The extra benefit is that a number of people can be part of this project at this early stage and participate in the movement to see it made. Donors and sponsors will receive their name in the credits plus great ‘thank you’ packages. We’re already off to an excellent start.”
Yarbrough’s ultimate goal is to use proceeds from the film to support music.
“We’re confident this project will be successful and allow us to create a foundation that will serve music education,” he said. “This will be exciting to have a place where schools, students and educators can receive help, and serve as a think tank for creative ideas from everyone.”
To donate, visit the official website at www.TheSoundOfPerfection.com and click the Donate tab for a description of suggested levels and thank-you gifts.
“The most important element for us now is to get the word out regarding the website and reach our goal quickly. Please donate and spread the word! I was amazed to find out that 110 million Americans have played in a school band since 1940,” Yarbrough said. “We need to make sure the next 110 million students have this opportunity. I believe our country is paying a very steep price to allow music departments to close. People say I’m on a mission and they’re right. There is a higher purpose to this project and that is what drives me forward.”