Sarah-Jane (SJ) Murray, Ph.D.

Award-winning Story Designer
®-nominated Writer and Producer
Executive producer
Author & Speaker
Award-winning Educator


Business Manager


SJ's love of storytelling began at a young age. During her childhood in Ireland and France, her father read to her every night -- especially J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Today, as an author and tenured professor at Baylor University, she imparts the tools of insanely great storytelling to her students, and to participants worldwide in her highly sought-after story workshops. Inspired by her own research into how stories shape our cultural landscapes, and the field of Story Design (TM pending), in which she is recognized internationally as a pioneer, SJ is deeply committed to shifting the needle on important social issues through film and media. She has written, produced, advised and executive produced acclaimed several feature-length documentaries. More recently, she is migrating back towards her early love for narrative feature films, with several projects in development, and has directed several short films -- both for brands (including an award-winning project for CatSpring Yaupon), and for an exclusive project featuring trafficking survivor and activist Brooke Axtell. Her work in film has been released at major film festivals and acquired by major distributors, including PBS and NETFLIX. SJ is also passionate about using storytelling to build movements for individuals and businesses and is a sought-after non-profit and for-profit business strategist and advisor, who understands the power of story to hack growth and scale market share. She is the founding co-chair of the NEXUS working group on film, media & story, and has spoken and curated panels for the WhiteHouse, the United Nations, Sundance, Harvard, the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, and beyond. She is the author of two books and has delivered two very popular TEDx talks, "Hardwired for Story" (2014) and "Write and Wrong" (2015). In 2018, SJ was selected for the inaugural cohort of #50WomenCan, celebrating the rising female stars in the media and entertainment space, most likely to revolutionize the industry and help achieve gender parity in Hollywood. She lives in Austin with her feisty Wheatonpoo, Coco Chanel, and travels frequently to both coasts.

Film Selections:

Feature-length Films:
Beyond Fantasy (2018), Executive Producer – in post-production
We go Higher (2018), Executive Producer – in post-production
Drain (2018), Executive Producer – in post-production
Liberated (2017), Executive Producer – distributed by Netflix, exclusive world premiere Feb 2018
Primary Concern (2013), Writer and Associate Producer – distributed by PBS

Short Films:

After Earth (2018), Executive Producer – completed
Seattle's Bikini Baristas (2018), Executive Producer – in post-production


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Brand and Campaign Selections:

Caring across Generations: We All Care (March, 2015), Writer
Jerry the Bear: It Takes Two (September, 2015), Writer
Nomi Network: Beyond Impact (June 2016), Writer and Producer
CatSpring Yaupon (November, 2017), Writer and Director


Book and Course Selections:

Murray, Sarah-Jane. Basics of Story Design: Twenty Steps to An Insanely Great Screenplay. New York: AnderEd, 2017. (in press)

To take the online course, sign up for that Story Design master community, and other offerings, visit:






Talk Selections

Hardwired for Story TEDxSanAntonio

Write and Wrong TEDxSantaCruz