Swing Dreamers

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "The Swing Dreamer"

Directed by Alex Siwik

A film student attempts to complete a class assignment on Marilyn Monroe, but instead falls asleep, not realizing his hypnotic trance that lies ahead.

Project Breakdown

I will start off by saying my journey with this project was not necessarily the smoothest. Midway through shooting what was supposed to be a mini-documentary, I hit a bit of a wall. I realized that my vision for the project I pitched was not so clear after all, as I was no longer able to see where the piece was heading. After some heavy contemplation, I decided to put the documentary idea on the back burner and figure something else out.

I made it my goal to keep things simple but visually interesting. As someone who is more of a cinematographer than a writer or director, I did not want to fret with writing a script or having to direct actors too heavily. I also knew that I really loved the footage I already shot for my previous idea, so I decided to incorporate it into a fictional piece and shoot new footage to go along with it.

The film features a boy, Noah Lovas, in a sleep-dance trance with Marilyn Monroe (played by Kaylie Minzola). My background in music often leads me to make my projects very musically driven, so it was almost a no-brainer for me to make a dance piece. I have worked with Noah on dance projects in the past and we work great together. We constantly bounce ideas off of each other and make magical things happen, however, this time was a bit trickier than the rest. The only direction I gave Noah was, “Dance around with a broom in a drunken manner with your eyes shut.” Nevertheless, Noah handled it like a champ and killed it.

I focused heavily on lighting and the color grade with this piece. All of the Marilyn dream scenes were lit rather high-key, much like a fashion or beauty commercial. My inspiration for the color grade for these scenes comes from those old-time photo places you find on the boardwalk. The photos are edited to look very washed and with sepia coloring. For the nighttime dance scenes, I kept things contrasty, with the TV and moonlight being the only motivated sources of light. I feel that the overall contrast between both scenes worked to my advantage in keeping the piece interesting to watch.

Although my original idea for this project did not work out, I am still super satisfied with how things turned out. I certainly learned some things, too. If I could take away one thing from this project, it would be to always have a thorough vision in mind for every project you take on. See it from beginning to end before you even think about breaking the camera out.

Meet the Director

Alex is a senior at Temple University, where he studies Film & Media Arts with a concentration in Cinematography. During his college years, Alex gained production experience through shooting narrative shorts, music videos, and commercial content for local businesses. As a cinematographer, Alex believes that lighting is one of the most crucial elements in establishing a scene and enhancing what the director wants the viewer to feel. In his downtime, Alex enjoys playing music, skateboarding, and reading about new camera and lighting technology.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "Never Let Me Quit"

Directed by Kyungchan Min

After the introduction of universal basic income, the world transitions into a more ideal post-capitalist society. In midst of the changing world, a young dancer attempts to process the death of their mother.

Project Breakdown

The idea for this project came from a conversation I was having with my friends: what if the widespread adoption of universal basic income led to an ideal post-capitalist society? In a nutshell, universal basic income provides a steady stipend to individuals in order to remedy widespread unemployment brought on by automation. The key concept here is the idea that unemployment is not necessarily bad. Rather, it will soon become the default status of the average individual. With the elimination of the capitalist system, we imagined a society where the abundance of free time would promote more artistic endeavors and empathetic interpersonal relationships free from the “time is money” ethos of today.

During my pitch to Justin and Maria, I was told that the project seemed “very ambitious”. With so much backstory, I recognized that it would be hard to condense it into a sub 3-minute narrative that is both compelling and meaningful. Especially in just two weeks. In the end, I decided to keep it simple: one shot, two characters, no cuts.

Visually, I was inspired by James Paxton’s work on Moonlight—particularly the shot below in the second act where Chiron meets Kevin on the beach. The softness of the light, in conjunction with the dark background, paints a beautiful scene with a lot of natural contrast. I decided to film from behind the actors because I wanted to give my characters a sense of privacy during an intimate conversation that the we, the audience looking through the lens, do not disturb.

Thanks to my friends, I was able to gather up a crew rather quickly. I worked with my friend Gabriel Meyer-Lee to write the dialogue and pick out the costumes during the first week. Since I’m not a director by any means, I received directorial advice from my director friend Julian Turner. On the day of the shoot, we arrived at the location with plenty of time and waited for the actors to rehearse their lines.

Although I found the lead actor early on, locking in the supporting role was quite difficult. Because it was closing in on midterm season, most of the potential actors were too busy to be a part of the project. I also expected rain—the final dance sequence was meant to be carried out in the rain as a baptism metaphor. Despite the forecast showing 80% chance of rain, it stopped raining three hours before the shoot. To salvage the shoot, I had the crew water down the background to mimic a post-rain environment. I think the biggest pitfall was the failure of the prop lighter. In order to inject the vignette with as much futuristic detail as possible, I borrowed a plasma lighter from my friend. It was a futuristic looking device with a purple plasma arc that acts as the combustion method. However, it failed quite miserably during the shoot, so we had to switch to a normal lighter.

All in all, this project showed me that a random conversation piece can end up as a short film in just two weeks. It was probably one of the most stressful two weeks I’ve come across in a while—with a huge chapter of my senior thesis due the same week as this project—but it was also one of the most rewarding ones. I think I often find myself saying “oh, I would totally turn this idea into a film, but only if I have time”. This project taught me that I can actually just go out and wrap up a short film I’m pretty happy with in just two weeks. The folks here at Jtwo have been extremely helpful in providing guidance, and I look forward to learning even more in the next two months.

Meet the Director

Kyungchan is an undergrad at Swarthmore College studying anthropology and film. As a cinematographer and colorist, he brings in his background in photojournalism and anthropology to provide a unique perspective to his work. After his graduation this May, he hopes to stay in Philadelphia and contribute to its growing filmmaking community.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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JTWO's Incubator Project Presents "Plato's Closet"

Directed by Ian Schobel

I relish the rare opportunities to work on creative projects with absolute autonomy. Most of us interns are accustomed to developing our ideas in an academic setting, with lengthy rubrics that sometimes stifle our best ideas. JTwo’s intern project guidelines were barebones and direct: in more or less words, tell a kick-ass story, and keep it short.

Project Breakdown

From my study abroad film to a smorgasbord of videos for The Temple News, I’ve shot and edited most of my recent work through a documentarian/explanatory lens. It was time to break out of that groove and try working in fiction. I brainstormed for an hour or two and drafted a storyboard for my first pitch with Justin. My writing background betrayed me here; it lacked a concrete structure, and was just too ambitious given the two weeks I had to write, cast, direct, shoot, and edit. Putting words to paper, I’m not bound by anything but the limits of my imagination. So if I want to put a dozen on hang gliders above Dubai, it’s done. I just did it. That doesn’t exactly translate to film.

So when I left the office later that day (after pitching a completely different idea, which was also shot down) it gave me room to look at my project from a distance, and I decided I’d been approaching this the wrong way, focusing on the concept itself; instead, I should assemble the resources I’d have access to (mainly the actors and the setting) and build the idea from those pieces.

First: the talent. That was easy: it had to be AK and Liam, two of my closest friends. They’ve been best friends since high school, and they’re goofballs of the highest magnitude. I was pretty confident that if I experimented with a particular hypothetical scenario involving the two of them, they’d be down to play the roles, they’d respect me as director, and since their characters were largely based on their true selves/relationship, only minor character adjustments were required to fit them to my narrative. Next, the set: two years ago, when we were still in the dorms, AK and Liam roomed with a kid named Nick. We’ve all remained friends, and he now lives with two other guys in this kick-ass apartment (with adjustable mood lighting). The pieces now in place, I set to work on the script and shot list. We shot both scenes in one day, morning first, then night scene later. In the story, the scenes are reversed. AK and Liam took it in stride, though, and delivered a great performance. It took a few days to cut everything together, design a horror movie soundscape, play with levels, find the right music, color correct, and so on and so forth; and overall, I’m extremely pleased with the final cut of my first piece of fiction filmmaking (s/o to Alex for the super helpful C100 walkthrough). 

Meet the Director

Ian is a writer and filmmaker. He lives by a simple creed: learn the basics and find your own way. He aims to work internationally, write short story collections, and one day–teach.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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JTWO Wins Gold at ADDY Awards

2018 Philadelphia ADDY Awards

We capped off award show season the only way we know how: in winning style. A night of celebrating the best in Philly advertising saw us take home three ADDY awards –  A gold in Sales Presentation, Catalog – and silver in both Cinematography and Publication Design/Magazine Design

WINNER

GOLD ADDY  |   Sales Presentation Catalog

 

SILVER ADDY  |  Publication Design & Magazine Design

Victus Baseball


Victus is one of the leading wooden bat manufacturers in the world and used by Pro players in the US and Japan. They tasked us with expanding their product offerings and redefining their brand, entirely.  After establishing a new brand direction, our team got to work designing t-shirts, hoodies, hats, knob stickers and batting gloves. We designed everything down to the tags and packaging. [Some of which we can’t even show you….yet].

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WINNER

SILVER ADDY | Cinematography

Drive Like You Give A F*#%!


Drive Like You Give a #&%! is a cross-platform campaign two years in the making! Our team partnered with Responsibility.org and Shaquille O’Neal to create a series of videos to encourage you to Drive Like You Give a #&%! and think about those you share the road with every time you get behind the wheel.

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