Janell Shearer

Janell Shearer

Professor, Chair, Media Arts Division
Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Expertise: Public Relations; Design Strategy; Feature Writing;
Office Location: Marion Knott Studios 343
Phone: (714) 997-6647
University of the Pacific, Bachelor of Arts
University of California, Los Angeles, Master of Journalism


"I'm just naturally curious about people," says Janell Shearer, who found magazine writing an excellent fit for someone who wanted "to talk with people I'd never otherwise get to meet and ask them why they do what they do."

Shearer quickly moved up through a variety of editorial positions to managing and then executive editor.  It was here, working with writers, artists, designers and photographers, that she began to realize the joy of one of her other lifelong dreams—to be a teacher.  "Editing—helping a writer shape a story—is all about teaching."

As she began to write for public relations, Shearer also produced corporate and non-profit videos and a wide range of award-winning public relations pieces.  At Chapman, she also served a four-year stint as Director of Public Relations.

In the end, it all comes down to finding the words to produce the effect the writer intends.  "For me, it's all about strategy, about finding the right words to humanize the story.  Whatever I've done—from designing an entire campaign to writing a simple brochure—it's always about finding how the subject affects people.  If you ask enough questions, sooner or later you'll find out why people care."

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

In Production Spring 2017: • A Celebration of Life: Remembering Larry Dodge • See Me/CU facing mental health together: PR students create an open conversation about mental health • From Pulp Fiction to Avatar: Filmmakers-in-Residence share their unique experiences • Paying it forward in the arena • At Pixar: A marriage of cinematography and computer science
In Production Spring 2016: • Reflections on What We Do and Why We Do It • Dodge College on the World Stage • Teaching the Art of Editing • Reflections on How We Create Meaning in Our Lives
In Production Fall 2016: • What we learn from others • Producing a film school • Memories of Chapman: A father/daughter perspective • Students Campaign to Support Student Vets • A Tragic Loss in the Dodge College Family (Safar Shakeyev) • Advertising Students Win Regional Title • Women in Focus Conference • Matt and Ross Duffer Helm Break-Out Netflix Hit; Stranger Things Launches Chapman Alumni to National Media Acclaim
In Production Spring 2015: • Teaching News: Preparing Students to Work in a 24/7 Broadcast World • PR Students Recruit Good Neighbors • Dodge College Launches Focus on The New Era of Television • The Marketing Perspective: Academy President Shares Insights On Getting a Movie Seen • DMAC Officially Opens • The Barber Screens Nationwide
In Production Fall 2015: • Academy Win Marks Rising Talent in Digital Arts • And the Awards List Keeps on Growing • Academy President Back in the Classroom • Petrie Brothers Bring Industry Expertise to the Classroom • Teaching the Art of Story • Meet the Film Division Chair Eric Young • Dodge College Ranked #7 in America • Plaque Dedicated to Marion Knott • Women in Focus Explores the Changing Media Landscape
In Production Spring 2014: • Sundance Successes and A Cinematography Sweep • Previsualization: Seeing A Film Before the Shooting Begins • Following Industry Trends, Narrative Television Takes Off
In Production Summer 2014: • What does it take to successfully Kickstart a project? • Women in Focus: Film Marketing in the Global Arena • PR Students Soar in National Bateman Competition • Advice from Industry Insiders • Chapman Filmed Entertainment Finishes First Feature • The Power of American Films (National Defense University)
In Production Fall 2014: • Film Studies: A Critical Approach to the Literature of this Century • The Evolution of Film Language: Faculty look at innovative storytelling strategies • The Barber in Busan • Film Faculty from Around the World Gather at Chapman (CILECT) • An Interview with William Friedkin • Marion Knott: A Living Legacy • Justin Simien Rides the Wave of Media Attention
Research, interviews and reporting for articles written for In Production magazine: • Dean Bassett Conducts Master Seminar with Legendary Television Director • Senior Variety Critic Bring Cutting Edge Cinema to the Classroom • Finding Nemo Director Fills the Folino Theater • Industry Guests Offer Frontline Perspectives • Dodge College Continues Asian Outreach • Documentary Filmmakers Learn Lessons from the Frontlines • Dodge Student Launches TV Initiatives in Asia • Project W Highlights Women’s Stories • Chapman Filmed Entertainment Pulls the Trigger • Student Documentarians Explore What Defines Beauty in China • Industry Guests Share Insights • PR and Advertising Teams Compete • Women in Focus: Serious Advice from Funny Women • PR Students Connect Classroom and Community • Painting with Light • Students Learn the Lessons of Producing from A Hollywood Great • Digital Arts Students Get A Taste of Pi • The Joys and Challenges of Filmmaking in India
In Production Fall 2013: • John Chichester: Imaging and Creating the World of a Film • Hollywood Takes Notice: Dodge College Ranked #7 in America • Story First Brings Faculty From Around the Country to Chapman • Judging Animation In Annecy • Connecting to Creativity: Music Editor Scott Stambler Shares the Lessons of a Lifetime • Academy President Addresses Grads