Over the past decade, Justin Marshall has created a successful career that encompasses his two great life passions, writing and film making—and as an essay coach for Forster-Thomas, he combines these two passions seamlessly.
Justin is the author of the book How To Write An Essay, which was published in 2006 for SparkNotes' Ultimate Style series and is currently in its second edition, having sold over 10,000 copies. He also wrote the introduction for the SparkNotes book Film Classics, and has had personal essays published both in print and online. His journalism has been featured in various publications including The Huffington Post, the Minneapolis City Pages, and Firstwivesworld.com, where he served as Managing Editor from 2007-2008.
Justin is also an active, award-winning screenwriter and a member of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA-E). Since earning his MFA in Film from Columbia University in 2005, he has sold and optioned both short and feature-length screenplays, and has developed television projects with various producers. His most recent project, Promised Land, was the recipient of both a development and production grant from ITVS (PBS), and was in season four of the online series FutureStates. His understanding of narrative structure and character development is a true asset to the work he does at Forster-Thomas, allowing him to help candidates tell a compelling story in their own unique voice in each of their essays.
As an educator, Justin has taught English in Japan, Screenwriting at The Katharine Gibbs School, and Film Directing at Columbia University, where he also served as an admissions reader for the MFA Film Department for two seasons. He has tutored various subjects both privately and with non-profit organizations, served as a camp counselor for at-risk youth, and continues to try to teach his pet parrot to speak (with little success).
Finally, Justin has a deep commitment to helping the underserved and underrepresented. He has spent many years working for different organizations that serve the homeless, and as part of an independent research project sponsored by the Department of Anthropology at Macalester College, he lived on the streets of Denver for a number of days to experience homelessness first-hand. Justin has also been a lifelong advocate of animal welfare, and currently volunteers with both the ASPCA and Mercy for Animals. This year, he is excited to recruit a team of fellow unathletic artists to run a 10K charity race for the ASPCA.