We had the good fortune of connecting with Gloria Shellman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gloria, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose to pursue a career in the arts because it literally chose me. I have been writing since I was 4 and I have always been creative in making stories and scenarios for different situations. I used to dream of telling compelling, life changing stories, that empowered and encouraged people to live their authentic lives. Now, I don’t have to dream it, I’m doing it. I get to write the script about coming out. I get to write about justice and equality. I get to create worlds where everyone has a voice and everyone is accepted for who they are. It allows me to evoke emotions and, for some, even change how they view certain things. My artistry is a journey that ultimately makes me a better person with each script I write.
The photography side of JMT allows me to speak with pictures. I love creating the memories that my clients want. When they tell me their vision, it is so much fun putting the pieces together to make their vision come to life. And the smiles they give once they see their works of art makes it all worth it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Getting to this place of business was not easy. Though I started putting in the leg work years before the paperwork was done, I still had to find myself in order to really begin expressing in a way that blessed others. I try to really show personality in my writings and in the pictures I take. I try to make sure that the small details are just as important as the large ones. In my scripts, I really dive into a character’s personality and will often rewrite until everything matches perfectly. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I can get the obsessed with the details. The first full play that I wrote, I was extremely nervous about. I had no money to put it together nor to pay my cast and crew, but they stayed anyhow and not only made the vision come to life, but they embodied their characters.
For me, success isn’t about the money, it’s about the message and the people we help along the way. I want JMT to not only tell stories through writing and acting, not only show memories through photography, but to create stories by giving opportunities to other creatives along the way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For just hanging out, I would definitely say we would hit any place that has live jazz and r&b music or spoken word. I love a good karaoke lounge because I like the freedom it brings. Heroes Lounge and BH Lounge are always two of my favorites. We would definitely see what’s showing at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters and maybe check out a Mavericks game. For food, we would go to some of my favorite places like Krab Kingz, Taste of Jamaica, or The Daiquiri Shoppe. But mostly, because my friends love my cooking (and I love to cook), we would be at my house watching movies and plays, eating home cooked meals, and playing old school video games.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would most definitely like to thank my loving and supportive family and my close friends who always have my back and have encouraged me to keep going even when I fell down. Especially my mom, my pops, my siblings, my lovely love, my honorary siblings, my dad, and my aunts and uncles. And I will always shout out my sister, Cortosha Scott, who never let me forget how much she was rooting for me.