Shemar James: Future filmmaker and entrepreneur

Jessica Peterson
November 30, 2017

Shemar James, a DePaul senior majoring in business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship and minor in Spanish, has always had a love for the art of film. Majoring in business to pursue a career in filmmaking doesn't appear to make sense at first glance, but his major and his variety of experiences at DePaul are helping him develop as a person and an artist. Ultimately, he believes, his studies are setting him up for success as a filmmaker.

James' love for film stems from grade school, where he began writing in his free time as a creative outlet. He spent many years designing, developing and writing storylines for his characters. Childhood excursions to the movie theater with his siblings sparked an interest in film, as another form of storytelling.

For James, movies bring his characters and stories to life.

"I wanted to take visualization of my stories to another level and enhance them by using another platform," he says. He began a hobby of video editing, which led to animation and film production.

Since arriving at DePaul, James has kept himself busy. He is a STARS Peer Mentor and works with first-year, first-generation and low income students and students of color to support their educational success. He is also a Leadership Scholar, and as part of that program, engages in regular community service and discussions around current affairs and social justice.

James also has worked as a student office assistant in the Dean of Students Office for nearly two-and-a-half years. The office primarily handles conduct cases, but also serves as a resource point and advocate for students when they find themselves in difficult situations. As an office assistant, James responds to walk-in visits and phone calls to the office, as well as administrative withdrawals and absence notifications for students.

"Students come to the office crying, screaming, laughing; they may have lost a family member or their apartment to a fire," James says. "Learning how to interact across many people and crises on campus, center myself, understand information quickly and meet the needs of students and faculty has developed my emotional intelligence. It makes me a more well-rounded person."

In previous years, James also served as a coordinator for Sankofa, a student organization that celebrates black community and spirituality, and as an executive board member for DePaul's Gospel Choir.

With his DePaul degree, James first wants to explore the business side of film production. He hopes to work for a film company and manage content production, while learning how films transition from screenplays to the screen. Ultimately, his goal is to become self-sufficient in the industry and write, produce and film his own movies. He also hopes to publish his writing, products of the creative writer in him that never left.