Shawn Shepard has always loved how great images combined with equally great writing can tell amazing stories. Growing up in the 1970′s and 80′s, he can easily admit that television pervaded every facet of his life. By watching sitcoms, cartoons, movies and ample doses of public television, he learned how to frame an idea into a modular form. As a kid, he drew comic strips and epically detailed flipbooks. As a teenager, he wrote elaborate stories and shot short films and videos exploring themes such as life and death, and the struggles between good and evil. It was during this period that he developed an innate sense of storytelling. Some people told him he had a gift. So when he attended Clark Atlanta University he decided to major in Radio, Television and Film . And that was when his personal story began.
With years of experience in the Broadcast Media Industry, Shawn thoroughly understands the entire creative life-cycle. Working at the Coca-Cola Company as a producer/director in corporate communications gave him big company experience. He worked across multiple departments to develop video content that was used throughout the company’s national and international offices. Try creating a video about the benefits of a new lightweight can design into something people actually found interesting to watch. It wasn’t easy, but Shawn did it. The International Olympic Committee tasked him with creating a visual chronology of the 1996 Olympic Torch Run. He recalls that after a private screening of the video, his manager at the time, turned to him and said: “Wow, you really have a gift!”
This gift also translated to stage and screen. Throughout the 90′s, Shawn acted in variety of productions including Edward Albee’s seminal play Zoo Story to Harper Lee’s poignant social drama To Kill a Mockingbird. He had the good fortune of playing characters on opposite ends of the spectrum such as the crazed street punk child killer in Charles Fuller’s, Zooman and the Sign to the morally conflicted George Garga in Bertolt Brecht’s In the Jungle of Cities. He performed in three plays directed by the late avant garde actor and director Joseph Chaikin. Under Chaikin’s direction Shawn played Malcolm X in Adrienne Kennedy’s Sun, the bumbling Donald Martin in Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano and the emotionally repressed Harry in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance.
In 1998, Shawn directed a workshop performance of Worry Days, an original one-act play that he wrote. He also co-produced and directed Icarus Dreams, a comedy about a bizarre meeting between a prostitute and her guardian angel. He later performed the title role of Gabriel Prosser in Gabriel, at the 2000 New York International Fringe Festival (NYFF) for Austailian based Theater Lazuli. A year later, he returned to New York to premiere Worry Days as part of the 2001 NYFF. Shawn has performed in such films as The Sorrow and the Pity, Mad Scientist Productions, Mama Flora’s Family, Hallmark Entertainment; Passing Glory, TNT; and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Lionsgate. He also performed on television series including Army Wives, Lifetime TV; Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, TBS; and for four seasons he played Principal Turner on the hit series One Tree Hill, Warner Brothers Television.
Shawn continued to use his special gift in the broadcast news arena, an area where creativity and tight deadlines rarely mix. Yet sometimes, he managed to successfully meld the two. At WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia, he edited compelling programming content in the heat of key events such as the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster, the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina. During that period, however, he is most proud of an inspiring story he produced about America’s first African-American female fire chief. He recalls the day it aired and watching how everyone in the control room sat quietly with faces beaming. He knew then that he had hit all the right notes.
For the past four years Shawn’s work has been focused on energy and the environment. At Clean Skies News, he produced a three-part series digging down into Georgia’s decades long water war. It required exhaustive research, detailed analysis, constantly vetting through mounds of information, and Shawn loved every minute of it. At energyNOW! he traversed the Gulf Coast conducting interviews and gathering stories for an in-depth look at the lives of those impacted by the BP oil spill. He also handled large, complex projects as a coordinating producer for landmark events like the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the 2010 Conference of Parties (Climate Talks) in Barcelona, Spain and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Now Shawn wants to use his skills and creativity in an environment where risk taking is the mode of operation. He wants to tell important stories and help others find ways to effectively communicate their messages. He wants to unearth those hidden gems of storytelling, and he believes some of the greatest stories and life lessons are rooted in the simple things.