Making Moves: UNCP alumni share the keys to success in the film and music industry | Features

Up-and-coming actor Joshua Shipman has starred alongside Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo and Ethan Hawke on the big screen. Chris Adams, a successful music producer in his own right, has shared the stage with gospel greats Beverly Crawford and Donnie McClurkin.

Prior to their rise to stardom, the two distinguished UNC Pembroke alumni were mastering their craft and honing their skills in broadcast and music programs, respectively. Recently, the couple returned to their alma mater to share advice and help students like Tatiana Sims find their purpose.

“I’m at a stage where I’m trying to find my passion,” said Sims, a sophomore art and social work double major. “Coming here tonight made me realize that I had to figure out what I was passionate about and stick with it.”

Shipman and Adams spoke to a roomful of students at a dinner and fireside chat hosted by assistant dean of students Abdul Ghaffar.

After graduating in 2013, Shipman landed roles in major feature films and TV shows such as Harriett, The Good Lord Bird and Swagger. The Hallsboro native is making a name for himself in the independent film industry with starring roles in Hair, Love & Racism, Kingdom Men and Christmas Proposal. Although her degree was in mass communication, Shipman was equally talented as an acting student, playing lead roles in several UNCP productions. He credits drama teacher Holden Hansen with his early success.

“Holden saw something in me. He was always encouraging me and saying, ‘I know you can do it. You really should go.'”

The UNCP is also where Shipman was introduced to short films. He had always had a love for the theater, but after having tasted the cinema, he turned to it.

“I thought, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ Growing up, I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be on TV. I held on to that dream, so when I came to (UNC) Pembroke, it was like watering that seed.

Like Shipman, Adams – who goes through CA – knew what he wanted to do at a young age. He started making rhythms on a Casio keyboard when he was 13 years old. He kept that focus while earning two degrees in music and mass communication, which he completed in 2009.

“I was a studio rat when I was a student here,” he said. “I would be in the studio for four to five hours, always learning something new.”

After UNCP, Adams moved to Raleigh. He has toured internationally with gospel singer Travis Greene and produced music for household names in the gospel music industry, Chandler Moore, KJ Scriven and Tyler Little.

“UNCP is a big part of my story. I grew up a lot while I was here. I learned the value of work ethic and discipline,” Adams said.

Adams’ advice for the student public: Understand your destiny. Read and study your passion. Seek mentorship. He ended his speech with a quote from his former teacher George Harrison who said, “If you don’t grow, you die.

Shipman encouraged students to focus on their passion and block out everything else.

“You will lose friends. You might even lose family members, but you need to have your morals and priorities in order. Be a leader, not a follower.

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