Fox 4's Shawn Edwards isn't just a blurb whore 

Page 5 of 8

Edwards' goal is to keep it light but not too light. To set movie stars at ease, to show that they're real people. "You have to make them comfortable, and if it's someone with an ego, you have to make them feel really good about themselves."

A comfortable star, of course, makes it easier for Edwards to collect clips for his various projects — a tricky task, considering he usually gets between five and 15 minutes of face time.

On the Channel 4 set, Edwards wears all black. A crease is ironed into his crisp black pants, and a stud earring glints in his ear. After the morning show wraps, he keeps checking his phone. He's expecting a call from Colin Farrell.

Eventually, the call comes. Edwards answers, stands and wanders toward the doorway. There, after a couple of seconds, he erupts at the publicist on the other end. "What? You mean I can't ask any personal questions?"

A joke. He gives her a warm laugh. Seconds later, Farrell comes on.

Edwards: "Hey, how's it going?"

A pause. Even though the call's being recorded for a Web exclusive, people on the studio floor can hear only Edwards.

Edwards: "It's going well for me, too, but I think it's going a lot better for you!"

A few minutes later, Edwards is doing what it takes to make a star comfortable: "I've been checking you out. I've seen your last couple of movies, and one thing I noticed is you seem to be perfecting your craft. You seem to be getting better and better. What's keeping you hungry?"


Remembering his childhood, Edwards smiles big and starts mentioning films and theaters: Car Wash at the Metro Plaza, Star Wars at the Glenwood. "I remember seeing Superfly at the Fairyland Drive-In," he says. "That was cool — at the time, they had two screens, and they used to show pornography. You'd turn the wrong way and see gigantic penises."

Purple Rain, from 1984, was a thrill untopped until the late '80s and early '90s, a period Edwards calls the zenith of black film. "That's when you had Do The Right Thing, Boyz in the Hood, where you were like, damn, this is how we've been living. And then you have the most realistic movie ever. I mean ever — House Party. We were like, This is what we do! This is who we know!"

In second grade, at Nelson Elementary School, he wrote a comic book about Mars, Superman and a giant robot; from this, he discovered an interest in making movies. His mother hauled him to the Plaza Library and checked out books on filmmaking. In seventh grade, he acquired a Super 8 camera from a pawnshop. Soon, he and some friends converted a little-used room at their school, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, into a studio, where they put together a movie called Cave Man. "The claymation joint," he calls it. "We convinced the science teacher we were working on a science project, built these sets out of papier-mâché and started shooting our epic. It was about a group of cavemen who hunt for a dinosaur for a big celebration and please the volcano before it gets mad."

Lincoln also offered a TV class; Edwards worked on Check It Out, the school's news show, and he was lucky enough to use professional equipment to edit his films. Cave Man won an NAACP Act-So Award, given for academic excellence among African-American students. Other Edwards films, including one about three old men standing around at 18th and Vine claiming to have invented hip-hop, placed in contests.

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