Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Unlock Your Inner Screenwriter

This weekend, I have the honor once again to be a guest at the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  On Saturday, between 1pm and 2pm, I will be delivering a dynamic workshop that will vault the participants to screenwriting success -- or at least that's what the brochure says.  The workshop will take place at the Courtyard Marriott, 87 International Blvd, Elizabeth, NJ  07201.

I think everyone had a great time at last year's seminar so come on by.  I will also be attending the Red Carpet Gala on Friday night.   Feel free to introduce yourself.

Here's the website for the festival:  Churches Making Movie.

Also, be sure to check out my book.  Click for a free preview:

Monday, September 26, 2016

RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis

Herschell Gordon Lewis with my wife Deborah Lynn Murphy
Many years ago I helped edit the film Jimmyo Burril's "Chainsaw Sally"starring April Monique Burril and Mark Redfield.  The true highlight of the project was the opportunity to meet horror icon Herschell Gordon Lewis, aka The Godfather of Gore.  I rarely venture onto the sets of films I edit, but I did go to meet Herschell, who turned out to be a really nice, unassuming guy, who, like myself, spent most of his career working in advertising.

I have been a fan of horror movies all of my life and I have always respected Herschell as an innovator.  His low-budget exploitative film "Blood Feast" initiated the "gore" subgenre and paved the way for films like "Night of the Living Dead."  Generally speaking, I am not a fan of gore for the sake of gore, but I really enjoyed Herschell's film "2000 Maniacs," a twisted version of the musical"Brigadoon," about a Confederate town that reappears 100 years so that the inhabitants can take revenge on Yankees.  Herschell infused the film with a certain goofy, maniacal gleeful charm that kept the proceedings entertaining throughout.

Rest in peace, Herschell.  I'm glad I had the chance to meet you.

You will find considerably less gore in my book "The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God" than Herschell's films.  Be sure to check it out:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"The Company Man" Wins Three Emmys!

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter, recently awarded "The Company Man" three Emmys.  The film won Best Director, Tom Feliu, Best Photography, John St. Ours, and Best Program/Special.  This brings the total of Emmys won by films I wrote to six.

Yours truly with one of the previous Emmys.
"The Company Man" was made by Rocket Media Group and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It was directed by Tom Feliu, produced by Ward LeHardy, Tom Feliu, Jarett Melville and Dean Chappell III, and written by your humble narrator.  It is a narrative short depicting the very real threat of economic espionage at the behest of foreign powers.

The film is based on an actual case of attempted economic espionage that was successfully thwarted by the joint efforts of the targeted company and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Some names and details were changed in the film to obscure the actual identity of the company itself.

"The Company Man" might be my favorite project for the FBI.  As a screenwriter, I was really drawn to the case.  It was very Hitchcockian.  The story revolved around a mild-mannered everyman who reluctantly finds himself in the center of an international game of cat and mouse.  In order to catch the foreign agents, the FBI needed to use an employee at the targeted company as bait because it was easier to teach the engineer the necessary spy craft than it was to teach an FBI Agent the detailed engineering knowledge.  The film is told from the perspective of the courageous engineer.  It was a great story with a great result:  Thousands of American jobs saved.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked on this film.  I always enjoy working with Rocket Media and the folks at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Each project has given me great insight into serious problems facing our country.  I am hopeful that the films will be part of the solution.

And, despite whatever National Public Radio thinks, they are not propaganda.

Here's the film:

Have you read my book "The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking to God" yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Check out this free preview on Amazon:

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Company Man: Featured on 60 Minutes

This Sunday's episode of the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes" used footage from my FBI film "The Company Man" in their story Collateral Damage, about Chinese-American scientists falsely accused of espionage.  The point of the story is that the Justice Department is throwing too wide a net in their attempts to combat the state sponsored theft of intellectual and scientific property.  All I can say is, based on my research, the problem is very real and very damaging to the United States.

Our film, "The Company Man," which was produced for the FBI by Rocket Media, was based very closely on an actual case.  I am very proud of it.  Here's the trailer:

Be sure to check out my book The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God.  It is available in paperback and on Kindle courtesy of TouchPoint Press.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"The Coming Storm" on Fox News

Yours truly on the set of "The Coming Storm."

"The Coming Storm," a film I wrote for the Federal Bureau of Investigation was discussed on Fox News a few months ago.  I recently saw the clip and decided to post it here.  Despite Shepherd Smith's snarky comments about the musical score, it is a pretty favorable story.  Watch here if the player below doesn't work for you:  Slick FBI video trains first responders.


"The Coming Storm" is the fourth film I wrote for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It was directed by Tom Feliu and produced by Ward LeHardy and Skip Coblyn at Rocket Media Group.   The film depicts an active shooter event at a college and the chaotic aftermath as law enforcement and first responders and victims try to come to grips with tragedy.  Unlike my other films, I don't think this one will be released to the general public.  Although the story is told dramatically, and I believe it carries an emotional punch, it is a little more training oriented than my previous films.

This, however, is the first of the films I appeared in.  My wife Deborah and I play worried parents.  I think I even see us blurred out in background periodically....

My wife Deborah and myself with our star Elliott Bales.
I really love working on these films for the FBI.  Great, dedicated people.

Be sure to check out my book The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God.  It is available in paperback and on Kindle courtesy of TouchPoint Press.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince and the Nexus of Music and Memory.

This poster was my introduction to Prince.

I heard about it before I actually saw it. It was 1981. My girlfriend was getting a new dorm mate at college.  The new girl proceeded to hang the large poster on the wall over her bed.  My girlfriend was repulsed. She thought it was disgusting, and quickly told me as much later that day on the phone.  It would be weeks before I finally got to see the poster myself.*  It was my introduction to the late Prince Rogers Nelson.

I had never heard of him before seeing the poster, although I soon would.  I would become a fan.  Not a big one.  I bought the iconic "Purple Rain" album -- who didn't?  I later got a greatest hits package that filled in most of the remaining blanks as far as I was concerned.  Yet, despite my lack of devotion, Prince's death really hit me hard and I think I know why.

When you're young, I think you are attracted to music that speaks to your immediate emotional needs at the moment. You seek out performers whose words and music impart something into your life. It also helps you build a sense of community with others. You instinctively feel that other people who are attracted to the same music must share your background and needs. Music reinforces your feelings and helps you find your place in life.

It's different when you're older. Popular music from the previous decades speaks to you differently.  It is no longer about what the recording artist imparts to you through the words and music. It is about what you impart onto the music.

Generally speaking, I hated the music of the eighties during the actual decade itself.  I found it gimmicky and over-produced and too heavily-laden laden with synthesizers and electronic drums.  Ick.  Now I love it.  It's amazing how songs I once viewed with disdain can illicit a deep emotional response from me.  Why?  Because the songs themselves no longer matter in and of themselves.  The emotion comes from the context in which I heard them originally.

For example, when I hear Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," my mind races back to a fun company party held at the home of two of the executives.  When I hear "Raspberry Beret," my mind goes back to a sunny, carefree Saturday morning when I first saw the video.  It put me in a chipper mood for the rest of the day.  Prince's original intentions with the music are irrelevant to me.  Now the songs serve as little audio time machines -- transporting me back to bygone days.

When I wrote my memoir "The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God," I found pop music to be one of my most effective tools.  I created massive playlists of songs from each of the years depicted in my book.  And, for example, when I wrote a chapter about 1980, I only played randomly-shuffled songs from that year.  I was shocked how much emotion and memory those often lame AM-oriented Top 40 songs packed.   They recaptured a time frozen in the past.

And that is why I mourn Prince.   There was a time when he was positively ubiquitous.  His voice rang out from every television and radio and turntable and boom box.  Even if I didn't deliberately seek out his music, Prince was always there providing the soundtrack to a sad, crazy, exciting time in my life.  His sudden death serves as an unwelcome reminder that the past that he provided a steady beat for is also gone forever.

I guess the poet John Donne summed it up best when he said: "Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

I do mourn Prince as a person.  My prayers go to his family and loved ones.  But I also realize he takes a little of me with him.  And I know I will soon follow.

Until then, Let's Go Crazy:

*Funny, I never noticed the cross in the poster until I looked at it again after Prince's death.

Be sure to check out my book The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God.  It is available in paperback and on Kindle courtesy of TouchPoint Press.