Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"I, John" -- Kairos Prize Screenplay Semi-Finalist

Good news.  My original spec script, "I, John," has just been named one of fifty semi-finalists in the $50,000 Kairos Prize Competition for spiritually uplifting screenplays.   It is quite an honor, and I am grateful to be included.

Generally, I am not a big believer in screenplay competitions.  I have only entered four over the course of my writing career, and each of them was narrowly focused on a genre or subject matter where I felt I had some expertise.  "I, John" for the Kairos Prize, obviously.  I also entered "Desecrated" in a Slamdance horror screenplay competition, where I was one of twenty semi-finalists.  Also, over the course of two years, I entered "Desecrated" and "An Italian Restaurant" in a local competition sponsored by the Maryland Film Office for scripts with Maryland locations.  I never made the cut in the local contest.  Oh well.  Hopefully, I will have better luck this time!

Here's a shout out to my fellow semi-finalists.  Good luck, God bless, and let the game begin:

Brook Abbey of Meadville, PA for SONG OF SOLOMAN
Manuel Ansoleaga of Spring Hill, FL for SOON
Paul H. Boge of East St. Paul, Canitoba, CAN for MULLI
Bret Eugene Boyer of Scottsdale, AZ for TEXTING WITH GOD
Jeffrey Bruner of Des Moines, IA for SIGNS AND WONDERS
Randall Burgess of Charlotte, NC for SCHIFFER'S REDEMPTION
Eric W. Carlson, A.J. Hill of Williamsburg, VA for UNDER PRESSURE
Brian R. Chambers & Charles A. Harrington of Dennis, MA for THE WORK OF ART
Josh Childs of Nashville, TN for PROPHET
Romeo Ciolfi of Toronto, Ontario, CAN for WALK
Michelle Cox, Torry Martin & Marshal Younger of Spring Hill, TN for JUST 18 SUMMERS
Jack Davidson of Sparks, NV for THE GREAT SIGN
James M. De Vince of Wallingford, CT for THE BASKETBALL
Marty Delmon of Neauphle-le-Château, FR for FACE TO FACE
Dennis Doud of Eagle River, WI for LIFE, LEAVING, AND THE MOTHER ROAD
Betty Ellington-Smith of Santa Fe, NM for A CERTAIN CHARM
Stan Evans of Valley Village, CA for LORD OCKLEY AND THE ALIEN
Charles Felton of Colorado Springs, CO for THE POSTULANT
Jeffrey Field of Overland Park, KS for UNDELIVERED
Joseph Fieramosca of Shorewood, IL for THE FINAL ACT
Antony Ford, Jeffey Hayden, Walter Trobisch of London, ENG for HEARTS OF AFRICA
Jon Freda & Letty Serra of New York, NY for SAY NOTHING
Domenic Fusco & Jack Murphy of Sanford, FL for JEWELS FOR THE JOURNEY
William Gebby of Indianapolis, IN for NORTH STAR
Jeanne Griffin of Hamilton, OH for GRANDMA'S LACE
Cynthia Harford of Washington, IL for JOURNEY WITH HALLAH
David (Nicholas) Hartmann of Mason, OH for A DOLPHIN IN OUR LAKE
Judy Klass of Nashville, TN for A SISTER FOR CHRISTMAS
Beverly Kuhn-Moyer of Lincoln University, PA for HIGHER POWERBALL
Bryan Lake of Stevenson Ranch, CA for BOB
Jeremy David Lee of West Hills, CA for ROCK POINT DRAW
Ryan Lee of Los Angeles, CA for WILL TO LIVE
Jacinta Maria Landrum of Westerville, OH for IN A FALLEN WORLD
Kenneth R. Marken of Casper, WY for UNAWARE
Jacalyn S. McLeod of Lee's Summit, MO for HOUSE OF HOPE
Clark McMillian of Bowie, MD for INVESTMENT IN TIME
Heath W. Miller of Cochrane, Alberta, CAN for BEAUTIFUL CATASTROPHE
Sean Paul Murphy of Baltimore, MD for I, JOHN
Brian Nelson of White Bear Lake, MN for WHITE LIGHT
John Patus & Paul Duran of Los Angeles, CA for THE STORY OF PAUL
Carol L. Paur of Delavan, WI for VALENTINE
Scott A. Peterson of Champlin, MN for THE CURRENT
Bryan Ready of Shoreview, MN for HOLEY CHILDHOOD
Marcia Chandler Rhea & Margaret Ford Rogers of Charleston, SC for THE CONFEDERATE LEGEND
David P. Searby of Panama for THE CHAMBERS CHALLENGE
Diane Short of China Spring, TX for CROSSROADS CAFÉ
Neal Sibley of Knoxville, TN for DREAM CHRISTMAS
Mabel Elizabeth Singletary of Somerset, NJ for CAMP KALEIDOSCOPE
Melissa Marie Sneed of Kingsport, TN for CASTLE IN THE SAND

Lizanne Southgate & Alan Sproles of Visalia, CA for ABE AND EVERETT
Lizanne Southgate & Alan Sproles of Visalia, CA for FIFTY SEVEN CENTS
Amy Swanson of Downingtown, PA for THE LEFTOVERS
Kathryn F. Taylor of Cary, NC for GUARDIAN ANGEL
Cody W. Urban of Palmdale, CA for NICHOLAS
Beverly Varnado of Athens, GA for BRAVE GIRL
Keith Ward of Westminister, MD for BROKEN BOW
Anthony Watson & Shelia Watson of Charleston, SC for GUARDIANSHIP
Marcus Webb of Stamford, CT for AND THERE WAS LIGHT
Rusty Whitener of Pulaski, VA for ALLAH'S FIRE
Amy Williams of Marina Del Rey, CA for HALO THEORY

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"The Wash of Time" Music Video

Since I have been highlighting some of music videos have done for other folks, I have decided to add one I did myself.

The Atomic Enema, aka The New Catholics, 1985
I was writing songs long before I wrote my first screenplay which was a somewhat difficult task since I am not and never have been a singer.  Then again, since most of my songs, whether jokey or serious, were highly-personal, I appreciated the emotional distance that another singer afforded me.  The singer in our dreadful garage rock band, The Atomic Enema (the name, at least, immortalized in "Hidden Secrets"), would sometimes bring girls to our rehearsals.  More than once, a girl pulled me aside to ask if the singer had written one of the songs about her.  I always said yes, and they always seemed strangely happy about it.  I say strangely because none of those songs were symptomatic of a healthy romantic relationship.  When we formed the band, three of the four members had just broken up with a long-time or significant girlfriends and the material definitely reflected that fact.

The Atomic Enema, 2009
This song came into being when my wife told me that they were taking her beloved uncle Sonny off life support two days before Christmas.  Her father had died two days before Thanksgiving the previous year.  We had also recently been to the funeral of my uncle Brian, who died way too young at fifty-nine.  It seemed like we were attending a veritable flood of funerals and the thought of the unending wash of time came to me.  The song came instantly.  I wrote it in about five minutes.  I recorded it on my mac using the voice over tool in Final Cut in about ten minutes, and, by the time my wife came home from work to record her harmony vocal, the video homage to our departed relatives was essentially done.

It's not necessarily a great song or a great recording or a great performance, but I wanted to do something to honor those who have gone on ahead of me.   Here's who the people in the photos are:

Mary Jordan McLane.  A paternal 2nd great-grandmother.  An Irish immigrant, she was the long-lived matriarch of my Irish Scranton family.
John Rosenberger.  A maternal 2nd great-grandfather.  Born in Krombach, Bavaria, he was one of my diminutive German immigrants.
Douglas Wayne Sartor.  The husband of my aunt Sharon.  He was a Jesuit-trained Vietnam veteran who died too soon.
Wapee (Dhu) P'tu Kumphan Murphy.  The wife of my uncle Paul.  He had to go to Thailand to find the right woman.  She was worth the trip.
Brian Robertson Murphy.  My uncle.  He fought a courageous battle against cancer.  A real man to the end.
Patricia Elsie Protani.  My 1st cousin, once removed.  MS stole her mobility, but never her spirit.  A true inspiration.
Jan Nepom Kostohryz.  A maternal 2nd great-grandfather.  He was born in Bernartice, Bohemia, but found a home in Baltimore, Maryland.
Juliana Fuchs Engel.  A paternal 4th great-grandmother.  I always find it fascinating to look into the face of an ancestor who was born in the 1700s.  Talk about the wash of time.  Will anyone be looking at a photo of me hundreds of years from now?
Donald Leroy Crum, Sr.  My wife's father.  An inventive, fun-loving guy with a great sense of humor.   I was proud to be a member of his family.
Harold Kenneth Crum.  My wife's uncle.  A true Kentucky gentleman.
John Albert Yurcho, Jr.  My wife's ex-husband.  (Fortunately, for me, it didn't work out between those two.)
Nora Hyden Crum.  My wife's paternal grandmother.  She was a homespun, hard-working woman.
James Murphy.  A paternal granduncle.  I didn't even know he existed until I started the family tree.  Now here he is on the internet.  Gone but not forgotten.
Vincent Alvin Rosenberger.  A maternal granduncle.  Another sibling of a grandparent that I didn't know even know existed.  His grave is unmarked, but his image will remain on the internet.
Mark Brendan Murphy.  My brother.  A tragic figure.  There but for the grace of God go I.
Laura Murphy Valenti.  My sister.  Her death devastated the family.  Damn.  It was pretty hard for my siblings to make it through their 30s.
Margaret Robertson Murphy.  My paternal grandmother.  I really enjoyed doing the family tree with her.
Violet Harvey Evans.  My wife's maternal grandmother.  A sweet woman.
Anthony Ignatius Rosenberger.  A maternal granduncle.  Uncle Buzzy.   A World War II vet who saw some real action.  I wish I went fishing with him more.
Helen Rosenberger Ernst.  A maternal grandaunt.  A sweet lady.
John Norbert Rosenberger.  A maternal granduncle.  Uncle Butch.  He helped put me through college.  And, had the world blown up during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he would have survived in the Presidential bomb shelter.
Vincenzo Protani.  A maternal great-grandfather.  My Italian immigrant forbearer who came to Baltimore in 1903. A colorful character to say the least.   I plan to be buried beside him in due time.
Paul James Murphy, Sr.  My paternal grandfather.  I always use my middle name professionally as a homage to him.  A great guy.  I wish I could be more like him.
Douglas Ernest Murphy, Sr.  My father.  A genius.  Gone too soon.  I don't think he gave himself much reason to live after losing two children.
Gino J. Protani.  My maternal half-uncle.  Never had the chance to meet him.
Candie Protani Garbarino.  My maternal half-aunt.  Never had the chance to meet her.
Kenneth Joseph Protani.  My paternal grandfather.  I never met him.  Had I known he lived until 1983, I would have tracked him down.
Carole Hagan Protani.  Ex-wife of my maternal uncle.
Merrill Leroy Crum.  My wife's paternal grandfather.  Probably a descendant of the old reformer Martin Luther.  Still waiting for verification.
David Archibald Evans.  My wife's maternal grandfather.  A happy-go-lucky guy.
Carolina Stark Robertson.  My paternal great-grandmother.  She never approved of her daughter marrying a Catholic.  She died of heart attack walking home from the cemetery after tending her husband's grave.
Francis John Murphy.  A paternal granduncle.  He was a great guy..
Robert Burns Pollock.  My maternal step-grandfather.  A great guy.  He always took me to get my buzz hair cuts as a kid.
Frank John Murphy.  A paternal great-grandfather.  The fire chief of Dunmore Pennsylvania, and, by all reports, a really great guy.
Mary Kostohryz Rosenberger.  My maternal great-grandmother.  She died the year I was born.
John George Rosenberger.  My maternal great-grandfather.  He went to Broadway to be a buck and wing dancer before settling down in Baltimore as a carpenter.  I do remember him, but I never saw him dance.
Assunta Mastracci Protani.  My maternal great-grandmother.  Born in Italy, I do have vague memories of meeting her as a child.  I do, however, now have her home-made spaghetti sauce recipe.
Bruno Protani.  A maternal 3rd cousin.  A sweet guy.  He was one of the first cousins I met in Italy.  I will never forget the time I spent with his family.
Loretta McLane Murphy.  My paternal great-grandmother.  A school teacher in Scranton who married for love instead of money.  I do have a melancholy poem she wrote.
Arch Robertson.  My paternal grandfather.  A nice guy.  Died of black lung.
Marietta LeStrange Zeher.  My 1st cousin, once removed.  A free spirit.
Eileen Murphy LeStrange.  My paternal grandaunt.  A sweet woman.

There they are.  Who would I be without them?  I only wish the song was longer so I could include more relatives.

Here are the lyrics:

[G] The wash of time breaks rock into sand
[C] The wash of time does the same thing to a [G] man
[D] The Wash of time.  [C]  The wash of time.  [G] The wash of time.

The wash of time turned my brown hair into gray.
The wash of time takes a little more every day.
The wash of time.  The wash of time.  The wash of time.

The wash of time turns babies into dust.
The wash of time it comes for all of us.
The wash of time,.  The wash of time.  The wash of time.

[D] You can’t run away.  [C]  cause each and every day is the wash of [G] time.

The wash of time took my granddad and his son.
The wash of time for me it now will come
The Wash of time.  The wash of time.  The wash of time.

[D] You can’t run away.  [C]  cause each and every day is the wash of [G] time.

The wash of time leaves lovers on their own.
The wash of time leaves us cold and alone.
The wash of time.  The wash of time.  The wash of time.

[D] You can’t run away.  [C]  cause each and every day is the wash of [G] time.

Copyright 2011.  Sean Paul Murphy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Sacred Ground: The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" to Premiere!

Good news.  My feature-length documentary "Sacred Ground:  The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" will premiere at the 2012 Macon Film Festival in Macon, Georgia.  The festival takes place between February 16th and February 19th.  Hope to see you there!

Additionally, the Cleveland International Film Festival, which we hadn't even entered yet, emailed director David Butler and requested a screener based on some internet buzz.  This is no guarantee that the film will ultimately be accepted the festival, but it was the first time that a festival contacted us rather than vice-versa.  It's a good sign.  Things seems to be boding well for our film.  Here's a synopsis:

A human bone with fabric from clothing still attached.
"Sacred Ground:  The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" is a feature-length documentary about community activists and family members battling a Methodist church for control of historic Mount Auburn Cemetery.  For years, Mount Auburn Cemetery was the only place in Baltimore, Maryland, where African-Americans could be buried.  It is the final resting place lightweight boxing champion Joe Gans, the first African-American world champion in any sport, and numerous leaders in the early civil rights movement.  It is a registered historic landmark that has fallen into such horrifying condition that bones litter the ground and weeds cover all but the highest monuments.  It is a tale of grave robbing, grave recycling and every other terrible thing that could possibly happen in a cemetery.

The film follows Lu Moorman, president of Preservation Alliance, an independent group of activists and family members, and her attempt to wrest control of the cemetery from its stewards, Sharp Street Memorial Church.  Dating back to 1787, Sharp Street Memorial Church is one of the first African-American Methodist congregations.  It was once the most influential African-American church in Baltimore, but its numbers have dwindled over the years and its financial resources have waned.  The current pastor, Rev. Dell Hinton, appointed her father, Rev. Douglas Sands, head of the cemetery.  They, too, have a plan to restore the cemetery with the help of Morgan State University, but who can be trusted to speak for the generations buried beneath its soil?

In 2009, conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery, the historic African-American cemetery in Chicago, aroused nationwide outrage.  This film should engender similar outrage upon its release.

Here's the trailer:

BTW, upon hearing the good news, my lovely wife and myself went to Mount Auburn to notify its inhabitants.  No one answered us, but we did find more exposed human remains.  Conditions at the cemetery haven't changed much since we started the film!