Aly_Spengler_JTWO

JTWO Welcomes DP Aly Spengler

Introducing Aly Spengler

We are proud to announce the newest addition to our squad, award-winning Director of Photography / Visual Badass, Aly Spengler. We have been working with Aly for a few years now and we absolutely love her work. We couldn’t be more thrilled to add her in a permanent capacity as JTWO’s in-house head of Visual Storytelling.

She began her career producing behind the scenes fashion editorial videos and small-scale documentaries in the winter of 2008. While pursuing her bachelors degree, she worked with local Philadelphia organizations like FringeArts, Govberg Jewelers, iW Magazine, and the Philly iconic, MadDecent. She went on to produce videos for high-end luxury watch brands like Rolex, Breitling, Omega, and Bulova. After graduating with outstanding achievements and winning Best Portfolio in her graduating class, she quickly landed numerous high-profile opportunities working for Comcast, and some of the most elite names within the pharmaceutical industry.

While her core passion lies in documentary and features, she holds a unique admiration for motorcycles and 2-wheeled adventures. She has worked closely with some of the most famous female icons within the motorcycle subculture, as well as being invited to capture and produce work for both The Dream Roll and Babes Ride Out, two of the most prestigious all-female motorcycle events in the United States. These opportunities went on to land her collaboration works with Triumph, and Harley-Davidson.

Projects with Purpose

Because a large part of what we do here at JTWO is create projects through our Projects That Matter Initiative, we knew Aly was the perfect fit while we were looking to expand our team. She has been working on personal social change projects as a documentary filmmaker covering the recent Presidential Election and the Women’s March here in Philadelphia that has caught the eye of media outlets such as the Huffington Post.

In Aly's Words

“Teamwork is the most essential part of this industry. What we see in movies and on television wouldn’t be possible without a carefully curated group of individuals coming together to help execute a common vision. There is no “I” in team. This is not the industry to float on ones ego, but rather, help boost each other up and forward. I love this industry because it has given me the opportunity to meet and work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Writers, composers, directors, visual effects artists – those who grew up with riches, and those who grew up poor. We all have our own backstory and what lead us to this field and what keeps us driven and motivated. The thing we have in common is our passion for storytelling, whether it be in pre-production or the fine tuning in post. For some, finding a solid team can be hard to come by, but with JTwo, I have found a home.”


Brittany Bonanno - "Feedback is Your Friend"

Week 1

Hi, I’m Brittany…

Ever since I was little I’ve been entirely consumed of the idea that a camera can bring a person to life, both the one in front of it and behind it. That it can completely transform a person’s perspective and truths. That it can tell a person’s story without saying a single word. And that, no matter how ugly the world may seem, there is always a little beauty in everything.

I’ve always had a chameleon soul, forever changing directions and perspectives throughout life. I can be one hundred percent about one thing and change my mind in seconds. It’s the way I’ve been for as long as I can remember, but it’s not something I categorize as a bad thing. Through the uncertainties, I unveil the constants. Like film for example. Film has always kept an important place in my life because it is something I’ve always remained passionate about. It has gotten me through the worst of times and shown me I will never be alone in my doubts or confusions of this world. It has shown me the pleasures in simplicity and the perpetual magic of storytelling. It has taught me what it means to dream and desire in infinite amounts. I love film and have since my bike possessed training wheels, but I never saw myself pursuing a serious career in it. Until now…. until Jtwo.

When I found out about Jtwo on Internships.com, I thought it’s too good to be true. They produced documentaries and worked with non-profits (two components I always hoped to incorporate into my work life), they created sick ass animations for IMPORTANT causes, AND they shared relationships with thousands of people all over the world. Their stories were passionate and gravitating. I saw myself in their projects and what they stood for, and wanted so badly to be a part of them.

When I applied to Jtwo it was on a complete whim, with expectations lowered and realities raised. I never expected to have an opportunity with an award winning company as such. When I received the email that I had been chosen for the spring semester internship, I was shocked. Thrilled and excited…but ultimately shocked. However, mostly eager to get to work and let my creative juices start flowing.

Accepting the internship with Jtwo was a euphoric feeling, but anticipating the next steps made me nervous. I had never been a part of the professional film industry, so I was anxious to get started.

During my interview I became acquainted with Jelani and Justin but week one, I met the whole crew: Travis, Crista, Mika and of course, Nova and Griffey. Day one I’d gotten here early and met Travis, the first employee here. I sat on the couch and introduced myself. We started talking and I noticed a note on the speaker to my left.

So, that was the moment I realized I might die here…. at 11 S Strawberry Street, Philadelphia. This guys is serious as shit about his “nipple” and if I accidentally touch it, my life is over. So basically, I guess don’t mess with Trav…

Everyone else seems like they want me to live though, so that’s a plus!

Regardless of the murderous crewmember, I’m beyond pumped to start working at Jtwo.

In my internship, I plan to learn as much (+more) as I can. I want to focus on my weaknesses but enhance my strengths. I’d like to explore editing since I am not best familiar with Adobe Premiere as well as master the DSLR and its properties. I think it’s important to improve my writing skills for the film and television industry, so that one day I can produce compelling documentaries and feature films. I plan to learn more about Jtwo’s Projects That Matter initiative considering that is what pulled me to Jtwo initially. I want to meet new people, discover their voices, and bring their stories to the camera. It is extremely important that I make a difference in at least one person’s life and I know Jtwo will help me start.

Here’s to the next twelve weeks at Jtwo Films and becoming a stronger, smarter filmmaker!

“The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.” -Brooks Anderson

Week 6 Blog “You don’t stink, you suck!”

It’s been six weeks and I’m still alive so thank the Heavens for me, please….

This process has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. I’ve had my lows where I thought, I’ll never make it in this industry, but I’ve also had my highs where I’ve had the opportunity to travel to shoots, work with the other interns in improving our individual work, and get to know more about the team.

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(Fred’s Footsteps Shoot with Mike and Mike from Accenture.)

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(Bringing Hope Home Shoot with Beth and Ryan!)

When I was assigned my introductory project to do a 90-120 second video on Mika Maloney, our non-profit consultant for Projects that Matter, I was eager to begin. After meeting Mika, it was a match made in Heaven! Both our hearts lay in philanthropy and our obsessions in shoes; it was clearly a perfect duo. I had three weeks to complete the project and I would finish in a breeze, with time left over, in tip top shape.

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It’s week six and my project’s still on the chopping block…

I know what you’re thinking, what an idiot. But excuse you for even doubting me. Here’s how it all went down.

The beginning felt like a race among the other inters (Pat and Andrew) and I. We were given our assignments and sent off, only to come back with something mind blowingly amazing.

It didn’t take long to disappoint.

Round 1:

If you guys could have seen Justin’s face when I showed him my first rough cut of the video. Remember that time when you parked your (parents) car in your slanted driveway just after receiving your license and turning it off, only to realize you forgot to put it in park…the next day…when it’s slammed head first into the garage. (Sorry, Dad) That look. The sheer face of disappointment. But, I expected it, honestly. I remember thinking, okay, he’s going to shit on me. But if you’re prepared, you can at least catch it.

I knew my footage was shaky and my video didn’t exactly match the message Mika was speaking. I knew changes had to be made, but I didn’t know HOW to make them. I wanted help, but I was unsure how to ask. I was scared.

Round 2:

I re-shot with Mika and was able to get some “better” footage…only to fail all over again. I remember Justin saying: “Now I’m even more confused with your project.” Well, fuck. He sat me down and gave me some feedback. The reason I was assigned this project is because I’m a writer. I cancreate compelling stories that will hook audiences…why was I forgetting that?

Mika has gone through some backwards ass times in her life. She has held her husband’s hand through emergency heart surgery, lost a dear friend to murder, and fought the excruciating battle of cancer. But I was not including ANY of this in her video. Why not? Isn’t it important to know why a person does what they do, what guided them to their career in the first place?

Then I thought of something amazing….

Asking my co-workers for help!!!!!! For instance, maybe the fabulous cinematographer, Crista Pillitteri, could shoot for me on the FS7 camera that I was completely unfamiliar with. Uhm, what? IF I KNEW I COULD DO THIS, I WOULD HAVE.

And then there were Pat and Andrew. We struggled to work on our own projects individually, ignoring each other’s convenient strong points. I was the writer, Andrew the editor, and Pat the producer. Together we were the dream team. BUT, of course we brushed this right under the rug.

Round Three:

We are finally getting somewhere, people. The project has come together quite nicely with a captivating script and footage to match. But now the team and I have decided to bring in a few new shots of Mika in a different environment, away from the chaos of the world. Crista and I will be shooting next week in Mika’s hometown and I’m excited to learn more about where she comes from.

The truth is, I got lucky. I was nervous to show Justin my rough cuts because I didn’t want to recognize that I could do better than this. Which is weird. Usually when you can do better at something, it motivates you to work harder. But sometimes, people are afraid to see all that they are capable off. It rests outside of their comfort zones.

Moral to the story: FEEDBACK IS YOUR FRIEND. Whether it’s “this fucking blows” or “I’d rather listen to my grandma talk shit about her hairdresser than watch your project again”, it helps you eliminate bad choices you’ve made and make room for the good ones. I can’t let it discourage me if it’s in fact helping me.

I’m grateful for the past six weeks and the experience I’ve gained along the way. I am learning so much each day and it feels great. I hope these next few weeks don’t go too fast. I’m not ready to leave these guys. Or Nov and Griff…

 

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Final Blog “Intern Out”

If I’m writing this, it means it’s over and I don’t want it to be over…not yet.

It seems like just yesterday I started my journey with JTwo. I cannot believe that twelve whole weeks have already flown by. But wait, that makes no sense, I thought time only flew by when you were having fun…? I’m KIDDING…relax.

I’m so beyond lucky to have been given the chance to intern at such a hardworking, passionate, and experienced company. There was never a day that I didn’t want to come in to work. Travis, Justin, Jelani, and Crista, these guys all make the workday something exciting, fun, refreshing! They are a unique clan and I’m going to miss them beyond words.

When I started working here, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Every internship tells you, you won’t be making coffee runs, or answering phone calls all day, or sorting through a six foot stack of UNNECESSARY papers until your knees are weak and fingers, bleeding. Yes, unfortunately, companies lie to us (the interns). You see, we’re not important to them, we’re young, naive…stupid.

But, JTwo came up with this amazing idea…why don’t we actually teach the interns something valuable so that they can succeed in a career, just like we are now!? And so, they did; and the knowledge I’ve absorbed in this short 12-week period, is incredible. I am so grateful.

When I interviewed with Jelani and Justin, I told them I’d like to strengthen my experience in post-production since I wanted to be an editor. If someone could have punched me in the face right then and there, I would have thanked them. Editing….EDITING. No. Never. I’ve learned that the extreme attention to detail, long hours in front of the computer, and searching through footage until your face is numb just isn’t what I always want to be doing. I give credit to all editors, Trav especially, because he’s rocks.

What I really wanted to be doing, was writing. I didn’t know that yet, but I would soon.

For my semester long project, Justin gave me the opportunity to write a field journal on JTwo’s Projects That Matter initiative. In the beginning, I was super excited. I’d be able to interview some of their nonprofit clients, hear about the teams individual experiences with PTM, and all together gain a better understanding of this philanthropic program. But, I wasn’t expecting such a major setback.

I love writing. It takes me to a better world, one outside of this crazy, overwhelming, loud one. I become the person I want to be when I write, free and expressive in all my natures. But one thing that absolutely sucks about writing, and I mean SUCKS, more than anything, is when you experience a block. And half way into my field journal, I hit one…hard.

I wanted to write something that the team would be proud of, something compelling and brilliant! But why would anything I have to say, be useful? I struggled with my limited knowledge on PTM and the fact that I’d only been a part of the initiative for a couple months. I didn’t believe that my words would be appealing to anyone. But then, I realized I was overthinking it.

I had never worked on a field journal/ newsletter before, so I was naive to the entire process. Once I began interviewing clients and the team themselves, I felt much more comfortable with my writing. I knew what I was talking about now, and it felt good. Once I stopped panicking, everything fell into place. That’s usually what happens with writing.

So, now that my projects are done and my time here has come to an end, I have some words of advice for the next interns…take it or leave it, it’s your choice.

1. Don’t wear black to the office unless you want to leave with mounds of dog hair swallowing your soul.
2. Be on time. 1) No one likes a bum. 2) Your time here is valuable and will fly by fast, take in every minute you can.
3. Make friends with the other interns, whether they smell or not. They are YOUR team, under the team at JTwo. If you want to succeed here, you’ll have to help each other out. Plus, you’re going to need people to vent to when the guys are
pissing you off.
4. Ask questions. I am 100 % sure Jelani, Travis, and Justin told you guys in the interview, “If you have a question, google it first.” Although you should definitely do that, don’t feel like an idiot if you have to double check with them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Bring your own cup…just do it.
6. Write things down. Let me say that again. WRITE THINGS THE FUCK DOWN. There is nothing more annoying then having to repeat yourself. These guys hate that. If you have a question, there’s a 90% chance that you are going to have that question again, so always write down the answer.
7. Be a sponge. Absorb everything and anything you can. Don’t limit yourself to learning about only one part of production. Writing, editing, business planning, producing, directing…everything.
8. Work hard. 1) No one likes a slacker. 2) These guys chose YOU because they saw your potential. Don’t waste their time by not giving a shit.
9. STAY ORGANIZED or Trav will actually murder you. I’m not entirely kidding. RIP Intern A, B, and C.
10. Have fun. This was one of the best experiences of my life. I can only wish the same for you.

I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with JTwo. I’ve learned so much from traveling to shoots, to writing scripts, to shooting on the DSLR and FS7. I have worked with the most amazing organizations met the sweetest people. I’ll never forget my time here.

Justin, thank you for pushing me to write more and for teaching me the in’s and out’s of a writer’s world. You’ve taught me more than you think. I’m forever grateful for that.
Jelani, thank you for always making sure I’m doing okay with my work/ life in general. You are literally the nicest guy in the world.
Trav, thank you for pushing me to be organized because I normally score incredibly low in that category. Also, thanks for that one time when you told me it’s okay to ask for help, it changed this experience for me.
Crista, Pill, my friend, thank you for being a girl and being here. I have no idea how you survive with these guys on your own. And, thank you for showing me the aesthetics behind shooting. Your talent will never go unnoticed.

As for my intern crew, Pat and Andy, I’m going to miss your faces. Pat, I’ll be contacting you when I need a 10 page business plan, and Andy, when I fulfill my skateboarding dreams and want to catch them on film.

You guys are all wonderful and I’m going to miss you beyond compare. Thank you for everything.

 

Video Project


Chris Coughlan - "Originality in the Physical Form"

Chris Coughlan

Getting Started


Hello, my name is Chris Coughlan. I’m a recent graduate of Temple University with a Media Studies and Production degree.

When applying for the internship, I felt like this was my last resort. Nonprofessional sets weren’t giving me the experience I desperately needed. I’d been out of school almost a year. Not having a job right out of the gate pushed at my buttons.

Here at JTwo, my experience is like I’m at work. That has helped me feel more settled. I’ve been thrown right into working and creating. I’ve been one of the first to play around with the new A7S II. The FS7 looks quite appealing (Guys, this is my official request to try it. I’ve spent the past couple of days reading up on it). My goal is to work in the camera or lighting department. I want to help make the images that you see on a big screen.

At first, it was pretty daunting to be in the office. My bootcamp consisted of me in a room all by myself. That’s the very last place I’d hope to be. The inspirational videos are actually something I come back to when I feel in a rut. Especially when Jelani reminds me, or tells other people, that I look like Kenneth from 30 Rock. Thanks man, now I lack originality in the physical form as well.

Chris Coughlan, Jack Mcbrayer Doppelgänger

I came to JTwo with the intention to hone my skills and work with higher grade cinema equipment. On top of that, I was looking for a team. Week 3 is coming to a close, and I’m happy to say I’ve been enjoying my stay. Opportunities to work on actual client projects are abundant. Your greatest learning experiences will come from these. Say yes to any of these opportunities. Volunteer as a tribute/slave to the Film Gods. I mean…be a PA.

You should absolutely read the blogs, they’ll do you justice. They may scare you, they’ll worry you, but they will HELP you. What’s most important is that you pay attention, they’re speaking from experience. Get through the bootcamp and reap the rewards of working on REAL things. I’m happy to say I’ve started shooting, and I will be going on my first set with the gang tomorrow.  (UPDATE: I went, I shot, and had a blast with people of Bringing Hope Home.)

If I could give you the biggest tip of them all, research it before you ask a question. Half of my internship has been research and studying that research. Be prepared for whatever it is you are about to do. Learn more about what you currently do, you do not know as much as you think you do. I haven’t been yelled at or scolded just yet, but I’ve been avoiding it by staying on my toes and trying to get ahead of the game. It’s mostly because I worry myself. It’s probably a matter of time before my feelings get bruised.

Here’s to good luck and preparation. I look forward to the next blog, as I’ll likely have much more to say. You’re reading this because you proved yourself. Now, you have to keep that up.


Intern_Jake

Jake Price - "Don't Get Too Comfortable"

Jake Price

Rowan University


It’s been a while since I wrote one of these. I’ve been interning at JTwo for about six months now and I’m loving every bit of it! A lot has happened since my last post, so I’ll run you through some quick updates:

  • I DJed the JTwo New Years Eve party (lit)
  • I wrote a more unified script for the interns video (now titled “The Studio Life” by Justin)
  • I started shooting scenes for said video
  • Oh, there’s a new intern this semester, Scott. He’s a cool guy!
  • I got to star in a video for Comcast. I felt like a big star, having a makeup and wardrobe department at my disposal. But don’t worry, I’m still humble about being an amazing actor.
  • I went to the Addy Awards with Scott and Travis and we took home 3 awards for JTwo!
  • I started working on another video series to help with revamping the JTwo U program.
  • I did some client work for Century 21 and a lot more client work for FAAR.
  • Also, another intern, Chris, started a couple weeks ago.

Jake Price - Addy Awards

So that’s a rushed overview of where things have been going, but I think what’s most important isn’t what I’ve done, but what I’ve learned. Sure, I learned skills here and there with editing or when using a camera or light, but I think some of the bigger things I learned had to do with my own work ethic. When I first started at JTwo, I was eager to show my bosses what I could do — this hasn’t changed — and I think I really kicked ass my first semester. I’m not saying I stopped trying, but I noticed that I definitely didn’t feel the same need to try as hard when I came back from my winter break. I felt more comfortable in the office (for the most part, a good thing!), but I got a bit too lax about it all. I came in late a few times and sometimes forgot to say when I was going to be in or not (my schedule this semester is confusing and changes week-to-week). For the most part, things have been great, but I learned that I need to always stay hungry for more work, always be at 100%, and always communicate with people. These are life skills I learned through trial and error, but hopefully you, future intern reading this, can see where I went wrong and do things right for yourself.

Comcast Shoot - Jake Price

But, like I said, getting comfortable around the office isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Working at JTwo for six months means I’ve had more opportunities to bond with the people around me (the dogs, too). Some of the best parts of being at JTwo are the (unfiltered) conversations that pop up randomly throughout the day. I know that when this internship ends, that will be one of the things I miss most – the people.

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I still have a month left, and after coming to terms with some of my flaws in the past, I’m committing to turning myself around and having an amazing last 4 weeks of being a JTwo intern.

Until next time,

Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman


Crista Pillitteri - Rowan University

Crista Pillitteri

Rowan University


When JTWO Films took me in, I was a college senior. Yet, I still had a ton to learn.  As an intern, I could have never expected the amount of experience they would give me.

…Or that I wouldn’t leave.

In my previous internships, I watched my supervisors during the shoots. I shadowed as they setup the wires, and they held the camera. I listened as they ran the show. But at JTWO, I was part of the crew. I had responsibilities, and as an intern so will you.  I ran a camera. I setup the audio. I edited videos. And I had an opinion. Because I knew that the work I was doing was serious,  for real clients, and because JTWO treated me as part of their crew, I worked harder. And it made me better.

JTWO gave me opportunities to both perfect a craft I was interested in, and to figure out new ones. I came in wanting to be a cinematographer and left dabbling in After Effects.

With JTWO, you can go in any direction, once you (and they) realize what your passions are. As an intern I did work with editing, camera, interviewing, graphics, and social media.  You’ll quickly realize that there are so many areas for you to fit your interests into.

I think what is most important though, what really made JTWO different from any other internships I could have done, is that the JTWO guys genuinely wanted me to grow as a filmmaker. They took time to keep pushing me. And having people behind you like that is something that is a really big deal when you’re still trying to figure out where you’re going.