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behind the scenes HOLLYWOODeast www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com 37 WBM Amy Tipton is the kind of art department coordinator who can find or build anything. She’s been working on Wilmington TV and film productions for almost ten years, and during that time she has honed her skills as an expert prop scavenger. Need a vintage tin ceiling for a 1940s episode of “One Tree Hill”? Check. Need an Army Abrams tank for a film set? Check. But now here she is, on a cold rainy Friday in May, putting the finishing touches on her own TV show pilot, her first ever, and she can’t find a square of sod in the entire city of Wilmington. Why is the sod so important? Because it’s the last piece of the renovation project Tipton and her crew are doing for Wilmington-based United States Marine Captain Murphy and his family for the first episode of her television show, “Home Again.” Tipton says Capt. Murphy’s first name can’t be used because Camp Lejeune officials prohibit active duty Marines from being publicly identified in media projects. “Home Again” is a home improvement show with a meaningful twist: It honors deployed military troops like Capt. Murphy by renovating their houses while they’re away. The episode’s ending, which will film on the coming Tuesday, will be the ultimate surprise when Capt. Murphy comes back from deployment to a new laundry room, deck, shed and landscaped backyard. But Tipton says the moment will be diminished if she can’t get this important piece of landscaping finished. The first person she calls is her co-producer, Beth Crookham. The two had met on the set of “One Tree Hill” where Crookham was an assistant to the series’ executive producer. “This was a passion project for us,” Crookham says. “We worked on it every weekend for almost five months.” Between Tipton’s many contacts with vendors from her art department experience and Crookham’s film production connections, the two had amassed a sizable group of crew members, volunteers and vendors, includ-ing Wilmington contracting company Old School Rebuilders, to bring “Home Again” from idea to actuality. Together, the crew worked with Murphy’s wife, who’s also a military captain, on the renovation, which even included an art project for 3-year-old daughter Solenne Murphy and 9-month-old son Ronan. Crookham reassures Tipton that the show would go on, grass or no grass. But Tipton wants things done right. She next calls Chuck Bennett, head of Wilmington firm Morpho Designs, who had designed and landscaped the Murphy’s backyard. “When Amy said we didn’t have grass for the yard, we were frantic,” Bennett says. “I called all of my suppliers and no one had anything.” Bennett is a good example of the typical volunteer on “Home Again,” which attracted dozens of people with military backgrounds. Bennett served in the 82nd Airborne and spent a year and a half fighting in the first Gulf War. “I was drawn to work on the show because I could understand the feeling of wanting to come home after being overseas,” Bennett says. “I lived that life,” he adds. Bennett finally has a breakthrough. He finds a supplier who has sod, but it’s been set aside for another project. Home Again Captain Murphy embraces his daughter after a long deployment. By D.J. Bernard Photography by Brownie Harris


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