Steve Murphy was given a book called What is Sound? in First Grade, and he is still asking that question. Soon after he won a reel-to-reel tape recorder in a competition, and used it to make his first sound recording: the theme to Green Acres, live from the family TV. His life in screen sound was just beginning.
In 1978 Steve entered the Australian Film and Television School and had the best education in sound anyone could have hoped for. After graduating, he worked on commercials, corporates, and short films, then moved on to the big time of telemovies, mini-series and feature films. He has worked on location and in post-production, enjoying the catering in the case of the former and the air-conditioning in the case of the latter. He has learned that films and celebrities come and go, while bacon and egg rolls pretty much stay the same, and one black hole of a sound studio is just like any other, no matter where it is in the world.
Thinking that others should learn the real truths behind film-sound, along the way he began teaching others how to work for more hours than is really healthy while complaining about how the sound department is, at best, taken for granted. From 1988 to 1994 he was Head of Sound at AFTRS, and is proud to say his best students didn’t listen to him and have gone on to be quite successful.
For 16 years Steve worked for Dolby Laboratories as a sound consultant, and, after his time at AFTRS, he continued to record, edit and mix sound for film and television productions of all formats and genres — a few were actually quite good.
Steve has returned to teaching, and now works for TAFE NSW, at North Sydney College. To ensure he is capable of completing a Sudoku puzzle in his retirement, he is keeping his mind in shape by undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Despite working in the industry for over a quarter of a century, Steve remains passionate about sound and film — so don’t get him started!