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Father Murphy Screenplay (scene one)

EXT- STREETS OF A RURAL IRISH TOWN - EARLY MORNING

We follow a freckled, red-haired eight-year-old Irish boy as he rides an old, beat up push scooter down an old Irish street, tossing rolled up newspapers left and right. Although the papers are strapped on, they keep falling off one by one, leaving a trail behind him. A sidewalk-sweeping shopkeeper waves as the young boy passes just before a hurled newspaper slams into his knee. He reaches down rubbing his knee, shaking his head as he picks the paper up, then yells out:

SHOPKEEPER ONE (yells)
Morning Lad! Good shot!

The young boy passes another shopkeeper with a small sidewalk vegetable stand, the shopkeeper waves, the young boy tosses the paper and hits the stand square in its 2x4 leg, spilling vegetables all over the street. With newspapers continuing to drop off his scooter sporadically, he passes a butcher shop and the butcher yells out:

SHOPKEEPER TWO (yells)
Hey! You dropped a paper!

The young boy just waves over his shoulder. He scooters past a bakery with a tray of muffins cooling on a stoop outside and snatches one as he passes. A little further down the road he snatches a bottle of cream sitting on a railing. Then he snatches a waiter's tip from a curbside table at an outdoor cafe. Turning quickly down an alleyway, he pulls his scooter up to a shadowed doorway and knocks three times.

EXT - BLACK ALLEYWAY DOOR - EARLY MORNING

A wrinkled gray old lady wearing a black shawl cracks the door slightly and peers out. Her eyes open wide as she shuffles the young boy inside. The door slams shut.

INT - ONE ROOM HOUSE - EARLY MORNING

OLD LADY OS
What ya got there boy?

The young boy pours some cream into a dish by the fireplace and a black cat walks up and starts to drink. He then hands some coins and a muffin to the Old Lady.

YOUNG BOY
A little cream... a few pence... and a muffin for yer breakfast.

The young boy smiles wide. The Old Lady takes the change and the muffin, sets it on the mantle, reaches into a jar on the mantle, hands the young boy three cookies and escorts him to the door.

OLD LADY
Thank you son. You're such a blessing to have around. You'd better be off to school now. I'll see ya tomorrow. Be good now.

EXT - BLACK ALLEYWAY DOOR - EARLY MORNING

The young boy hops on his scooter and waves over his shoulder as he rides off down the alley.

YOUNG BOY
Bye.

INT - OLD IRISH CATHOLIC PAROCHIAL SCHOOL ROOM - EARLY MORNING

GIRL AT BLACKBOARD
OW! Jerk!

The young boy slowly lifts up his elbow to peek out with a sheepish, self-satisfied grin. As his face is exposed we notice chewing gum stuck to the bridge of his nose.

SISTER GRACE OS (in heavy Irish accent)
What in God's name is wrong with you child?

GIRL AT BLACKBOARD OS

The girl at the blackboard turns to give the young boy the look of death and he quickly re-hides his face with his elbow. Sister Grace looks angry and grits her teeth as she speaks.

SISTER GRACE
Good! Then get back to work before somebody gets the stick!

The school bell rings loudly, the students pack up their books chattering noisily, and they all rush the door at the back of the room but Sister Grace runs and blocks it holding her arms against the jambs.

SISTER GRACE OS (cont.)
Hold it! Everybody just sit down! Now! Get back in your seats... hurry up... scoot!

Sister Grace waits until everyone is back in their seats and the room is totally silent. The young boy is the last to make it back to his seat in the front of the room.

SISTER GRACE (cont.)
That's a little better. I want you to read the next twenty pages for a test on Monday. Now everyone say Good Day Sister Grace.

We hear the children in unison except the young boy's voice can be heard saying good riddance instead of good day.

CHILDREN (in unison)
Good Day Sister Grace
(Good Riddance Sister Grace)

Sister Grace looks over to the corner where the young boy is sitting and
reacts with a sharp grimace.


EXT - RURAL TREE-LINED DIRT ROAD OUTSIDE SCHOOLHOUSE - AFTERNOON

YOUNG BOY (yelling ahead)
Hey! CAROLINE! Wait for me! Want a lift?

Caroline is walking as fast as she can without running, making it a challenge for the young boy to keep up.

CAROLINE (yelling back without turning)
Drop dead and drown in a lake MURPHY!

In trying to keep up with Caroline, MURPHY loses his grip and all his books fall off his handlebars and into a puddle. He stops to retrieve them.

MURPHY
Oh don't be such a stick-in-the-mud, get it, stick-in-the-mud, it was just a joke Caroline.

Caroline stops and turns back to face Murphy.

CAROLINE
You think everything's a joke! I think you're a joke... and a jerk!

Caroline turns and continues walking at a brisk pace as Murphy scrambles to collect his muddy books and papers. He jumps back on his scooter and races after Caroline.

MURPHY (yelling ahead)
I think you're a joke too!

CAROLINE (yelling back)
Good! Then quit following me.

Murphy finally catches up to Caroline and scoots along side her trying to keep pace.

MURPHY
I'm not.

CAROLINE
Yes you are. Jerk!

MURPHY (singing teasingly)
No I'm not, no I'm not. I am not. No I'm, no I'm, no I'm not.

Caroline tries to walk even faster, accelerating to a heel-and-toe, but Murphy keeps pace, cutting in front of and circling around her.

CAROLINE
Murphy I hate your guts! Leave me alone!

MURPHY (singing teasingly)
Leave me alo-one, sticks and stones will break my bones, Carol-ine's the
one that moans.

Caroline stops and tries to grab Murphy.

CAROLINE
Shut ya fat trap before I punch ya out ya little jerk!

Caroline walks on, backwards, with Murphy following.

MURPHY
Oh like I'm really scared of ya Caroline.

Caroline trips backwards and falls into a puddle, dropping all her books and papers. The books fall in the water and the papers scatter down the road, blown by the wind. Caroline jumps up and stands with her hands on her hips, boiling mad.

CAROLINE (screaming)
Murphy that's it! Now see what you did! Ya little jerk, I hate you!

Caroline picks up a muddy textbook and heaves it at Murphy. It clocks him square in the side of his head and knocks him off his scooter. He quickly gets up, dusts off his knees, checks his head for blood with his hand, and pauses to watch Caroline running helter skelter, as she tries to grab her blowing papers in the wind.

CAROLINE (cont.)
I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

Grinning and rubbing the side of his head at the same time, Murphy races towards Caroline, plinks her on the back of her head, and continues scootering on. We look back past Murphy to see a frustrated Caroline sitting in the dirt, fading further in the background, her papers in the bushes and trees lining the road. Murphy makes the "I didn't do anything" face and snickers to himself.

More about this screenplay. Inspired by a true story, and rated PG, 'Father Murphy' is a Disney-type story about an Irish boy forced by his parents (and circumstance) into priesthood, and then on to create his own non-denominational church. Though many positive messages are in the screenplay, as well as humor, the overall message is that believing in God may make one's life better. The Blind Boys of Alabama have been written into this motion picture screenplay which also features their gospel music. Robin Williams (or another with similar personality) may be contacted to play the adult Father Murphy - or another with that type of personality. Contact Rob for details.

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