The Shoebox: Movie script changed to ease emotions

Published 9:50 am Friday, November 13, 2009

The opening scene is changing, but the show goes on.

Two Meter Films, a Washington, D.C., based production company, will arrive in Ironton on Dec. 5 to shoot the opening and closing scenes of the movie “The Shoebox.”

The movie is an adaptation of a true story based on three complete strangers who combine their talents on a songwriting Web site to pen a song in honor of a cancer-stricken little girl none of them will ever meet.

Email newsletter signup

The script is also linked to an Ironton teenager, Shane Jones, who passed away at the hands of leukemia in 2002.

Originally, the script began by recreating Jones’ funeral in the Ironton High School gymnasium.

According to Two Meter Films representative and “The Shoebox” author Bob “KJack” Gustafson, and contributing writer, Ironton-area resident Billy Bruce, that scene has been swept to the cutting room floor.

“That scene, the funeral scene, is an extremely powerful opening to this story,” Gustafson said. “It shows the connection between Shane, Meghan and the rest of us who were taken in by the whole thing.”

“If we shot that scene anywhere else, maybe it wouldn’t be a concern. But, it’s more than apparent that this particular scene doesn’t need to be shot in Ironton. And we want to shoot in Ironton because that’s where this all started.”

Bruce said he was thrilled that Two Meter Films chose to film the most pivotal scenes of the movie in Ironton after spending all summer filming in the Washington D.C. and Nashville, Tennessee areas.

“When they called to tell me their plan, I said, ‘bring it on. That sounds perfect,’” Bruce said. “I couldn’t wait to start telling people about it.”

The first people he called were Shane’s parents, Shawn and Patty Jones, who seemed “just as in awe as I was when I told them the news,” Bruce recalled.

Soon, however, the reality of that first scene began to stir emotions. “I asked Shawn and Patty several times if this was OK with them,” Bruce said. “Every time, they told me they backed us 100 percent.”

“What I failed to do was ask the right questions,” he continued. “Finally, it dawned on me to do just that.”

After Patty sent him an e-mail explaining that she was in favor of the movie, but wasn’t ready to participate in the actual filming, Bruce made a call to Shawn.

“We kind of skipped around about that scene and I finally said, ‘Shawn, would it make you two more comfortable if we changed it to something else?’”

After a long silence, Bruce heard the word that changed everything: “Yes.”

“Billy called me and hem-hawed around a little and then said, ‘We need to change the opening scene,’” Gustafson said. “I told him that wouldn’t be a problem and we kind of reworked it right there on the phone.”

As it stands now, the reworked opening scene will be a recreation of a fundraiser rally that occurred at Sta-Tan pool while Shane was still alive in Columbus Children’s Hospital.

For the movie, however, the fundraiser scene will occur at IHS.

“That scene works just as well,” Gustafson said. “We definitely want Shawn and Patty to be able to watch this movie.”

The other scene to be filmed that day, a Light the Night ceremony, will take place once the opening scene is shot.

Gustafson and Bruce both said that many volunteers will be needed to give the scenes, particularly the Light the Night scene, a sense of reality.

Gustafson also mentioned that The Shoebox is being endorsed by a prominent Website by the name of Caring Bridge (

“This is a national organization that reaches out to hundreds of thousands of families with sick children every day,” he said, adding that Caring Bridge has vowed to promote the movie on its Website.

“I really believe this movie is going to reach a lot of people.”

For more information about “The Shoebox” movie, contact Bruce at