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

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He found inspiration at Lincoln, then at Van Horn High (where he landed after spending more time on movies than on schoolwork) and among the hardworking single mothers at Friendship Village Apartments, a low-income housing development at 56th Street and Swope Parkway that produced business leaders and Ivy Leaguers. After high school, he headed south to Morehouse College in Atlanta where, his sophomore year, Spike Lee was filming School Daze. "My audition was wack," he recalls. "I had a cast on my left leg because I had broken my ankle at football practice. So I had crutches and a cast, and they were looking at me like, Baby, there's not a part in this movie where you can be walking around with a cast. I say, 'I don't sing. I don't dance. I can't act. And I'm not that funny. I just want to be in the movie.' So they took my Polaroid, Spike looked at me, and then I hobbled off."

After the cast came off his leg, he went to a callback. "I got a phone call from 40 Acres and a Mule Productions, saying 'You've been selected to be in "Da Butt" scene,'" Edwards says. "I totally hate that song now because that's all I heard all spring. It took three freaking days to shoot."

Studying Lee offered further inspiration as well as confirmation of what Edwards had long suspected: He belonged behind the camera, writing and directing, instead of in front of it.

His salary for School Daze? Free food and T-shirts.

By his own admission, he had too much fun at Morehouse so, without graduating, Edwards joined the Army. This he enjoyed. "It's fun. You're in the best shape of your life. I was rich. I didn't have to pay for rent, didn't have to pay for food. I got to fire an M-16. That's the biggest adrenaline rush besides watching a really good movie, especially at night with tracer rounds."

By the late '90s, he was back in Kansas City, studying film at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and working as a journalist. He wrote for The Pitch, reviewing music and movies but also trying his hand at news reporting. He wrote what he calls "hardcore cover stories," some of which were prescient. "I did one a long time ago, like '97, that said, 'The Jazz District is dead! It's never going to happen on 18th and Vine!' I was like a psychic. And I didn't want it to be right."

While at The Pitch, he scored his first blurb. His words appeared in national ads for The Wood, a 1999 dramatic comedy about friendship and adulthood among young black men: "It's an instant classic. You'll laugh, cry and cheer."

In 2000, he joined Channel 4. There, for the first time since Check It Out at Lincoln Prep, the behind-the-scenes man was on TV. Since then, controversy has occasionally shadowed Edwards. His squabbles with the Kansas City Film Critics Circle spilled onto Internet message boards and Hearne Christopher Jr.'s column in The Star. In 2005, he either quit or was expelled from the circle, depending on whom you talk to.

"I didn't feel comfortable interacting with some of the critics," Edwards says. "I thought there was a lack of diversity and openness and a little bit of snobbery. If you didn't like what they thought was good, you weren't cool. If I say DMX delivered one of the best performances of the year, I should be heard and I shouldn't be laughed at."

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