People from our pasts really are rooting for us to make it. Even people we don’t know.
(Yeah, they probably just want to use us to get into the biz, but, hey, isn’t that the supreme sign of success?)
This Shipley has sailed: Kenyon alum hits the small screen
by Claire Oxford
Justin Shipley ’11 is in the Caribbean, but not for a vacation. “I’m actually down in Puerto Rico shooting for the next two weeks and my days are pretty jam-packed,” he wrote in a Facebook message to the Collegian. A drama major while he was at Kenyon just four years ago, Shipley has already made remarkable strides in the television industry — he co-wrote the pilot for the upcoming television show Wrecked and is currently overseeing its production in sunny Puerto Rico.
“My brother [Jordan Shipley] and I are a writing team; we primarily write comedy for TV,” Shipley wrote in an email. “We sold a half-hour comedy pilot to TBS in early 2014, and this past fall we got [the] green light to go into production. We’re currently … shooting the pilot, which follows a group of survivors trying to survive on a deserted island after their plane crashes.”
In marketing this idea to potential buyers, Shipley highlighted its humor. “We basically sold it to the network asLOST with jokes,” he wrote.
Humor isn’t anything new to Shipley, according to his former professors. “He had a wacky streak, particularly in his playwriting,” Professor of Drama and Playwright-in-Residence Wendy MacLeod said.
Associate Professor of Anthropology Sam Pack, who had Shipley in his course “The Anthropology of Borat,” wrote in an email, “He quickly distinguished himself as somebody who understood and appreciated the power of satire. One of the course assignments involved the students producing their own Borat-esque mockumentaries. Justin decided to play the role of a renegade professor based not-so-loosely on me. It hit a little too close for comfort at the time, but I can laugh at the memory now.”
In addition to Shipley’s quick wit and distinct voice in his writing, Assistant Professor of Film Jonathan Sherman spoke to Shipley’s affability. “He’s just very personable, very charming, very funny and very talented,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll go into feature films eventually, but you could kind of tell that it was gonna be TV to start. Just based off his sense of humor and style of writing. … [It’s] kind of shorter, funnier.”