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A look at Severson’s journey in the acting business

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY – James Severson aka James Sjurson in the movie world, went from being a small town Glenwood City graduate to hitting the big screen while living in Las Vegas.

Severson was born in Wilmington, North Carolina to Captain Ernest and Pearl Severson. His family purchased a farm on the outskirts of Glenwood City, which is where he was raised and later attended high school.

After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and earned a degree in Elementary Education.

He taught with CESA 13 for about 4 years before moving to Utah due to his rising interest in skiing. By skiing in Utah and not being prepared, he started to have problems with his knees and back. That brought the end of his skiing days. Cross Country skilling was alright.

Severson taught in Utah until 2006 when he decided to retire after a total of 35 years in education. Utah was too cold and snowy, so after retirement he headed to Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, Severson worked some odd jobs for a few years before he decided he wanted to develop his voice which led him to a voice program within the College of Southern Nevada.

Severson had never done theater work, but decided to dive head first into his first play presented through the school that was called “You Can’t Take It With You”.

From there he moved on to doing voice over classes through the Media Guild International, which put his voice on different ads and public service announcements.

It was during this time that he also began hosting a radio show over the internet, which he still does today.

Through a meeting at one of the Media Guild International meetings, auditions were mentioned. Severson had no experience in this, but went for it anyway.

Three weeks after he did the audition, he got a call from a director of an independent film, offering him his first acting job so he became “Cowboy Bob” in Searching for Life.

Following that role, he played “Pastor Dave” in Killer Monroes, another short film that lasted about 45 minutes.

After that, Severson participated as an actor in the ‘Las Vegas 48 Film Festival’ where he had the part of Mr. Wraughtmen, in, “The Wraughtmen Portraits”, along side a small crew of people. Doing a ‘48 Hour Movie’, ALL activities pertaining to making a movie, had to be completed in 48 hours.

Severson met with a major casting director a couple weeks after the ‘Las Vegas 48 Film Festival, to whom he read some lines and did a few sketches with.

From that audition, the director came up with a movie part for Severson to play a role in, “Mall Cop 2”, starring Kevin James.

This will be Severson’s first time ever being on the big screen through a large production company, Columbia Pictures.

The movie is scheduled for release in 2015. Severson’s character had no verbal parts, but had generous parts as a background actor.

Following that, Severson went to having speaking roles, first playing a principal in the full length independent film “Guard Dog” and then another full length film called “Sterling Silver” which is filming at this time. In “Sterling Silver” Severson plays a detective, both of these films are Independent Films. Both films are centered around bullying. Both roles are speaking parts.

Most recent, Severson will begin filming late this month and into September, for now, the part will be a pizza delivery man, in the film “Social Status” for a major motion company.

Severson now goes professionally by “James Sjurson” in the movie world and his list of past films and those in the future can be found by searching that name on IMDb.