JTWO Welcomes Intern Saba Ahmed

The Next Steps

By Saba Ahmed

Everyone has their own individual path that leads them to realizing why they want to be apart of the creative industry. The reasoning behind my spark with filmmaking is as specific as it can get. My parents did not play a bunch of the traditional classic Hollywood movies that inspired me to make films; I grew up watching Bollywood films. I wasn’t given a camera at the age of 8 and made little short skits with my friends; I mainly took “photoshoot” pictures for my older sisters when they dressed up. My introduction to filmmaking was editing, but before I dive into that let me give you some background about me.

My family is made up of my parents, my one brother and my two sisters (I am the youngest). My dad moved to the USA around the same time I was born in Pakistan. When I was two, we all moved from Pakistan to the suburbs an hour outside of Philadelphia. The intention of my parents move was to build a better life for my siblings and I. For us to have standard careers and to become successful. Filmmaking was definitely not on their radar as what they saw in my future, but it’s something they have learned to accept.

Since my siblings are much older than me, they all got married when I was super young. In my culture, weddings last for multiple days and with these multiple days means lots of photos and videos. One of my sisters got married in August 2008 (when I was in 3rd grade) and shortly after this was when I was introduced to filmmaking through editing. I discovered a fun little software called Windows Movie Maker on my sisters computer and began to import in all the photos and videos from the wedding and add music to make sort of a “visual scrapbook”. As simple as it was, this visual scrapbook began my learning of telling stories. Instead of just photos over some music I would take specific love songs and tell the story of my sister’s wedding by matching the lyrics of the songs to corresponding visuals. This was where I learned many simple yet fundamental techniques that I still use to this day.

Fast forward a couple years, middle school was when I was first introduced to Adobe Premiere and high school was when everything kicked into gear. I got involved immediately with the film classes that were offered my freshman year and the following three years I was apart of RedAlert a 20 minute live show production that aired every Friday. I took on the role of a crew member my sophomore year and producer my junior and senior year. This show taught me how to seriously edit, to write and bring a package together, to pitch an idea, along with more specific live TV roles such as using a switcher, directing for live TV, and even anchoring live (my least favorite yet still beneficial to my learning). I was fortunate enough to know what I loved from a very young age which helped guide where to go for college and what to be involved in.

For me, community has been a very big part of my filmmaking career at Temple University. I was fortunate enough to help found and be the founding President of DKA a Professional Cinematic Society this past year and watch our community go from 14 members to 42 in just one year. With many of these members, I was able to make my debut as Director of Photography and work on a short film called “Stuck in a Hard Place” which is now in post-production. Lastly, I have gotten pretty involved on campus by creating content for many organizations. This has built a great foundation of networking skills for me. Below is a t-shirt promo I shot and edited for a campaign on campus.

These past two years I have really focused on the kind of storyteller that I want to be. What I am starting to realize is my roots (yes the silly wedding video edits) have shaped what is important to me when it comes to filmmaking: telling real stories. Learning about places, people, certain ideas, whatever it may be, and telling this story authentically. I am dedicated to understanding the best way to tell stories that may not be my own but need to be shared.

I was immediately inspired by JTWO and their commitment to telling stories authentically. Their impact on their community through capturing stories of people, places, companies, etc got me really excited to apply to be an intern here. Now that I am here, I am eager to learn more about my specific passion which is cinematography however still grow in all of its surrounding parts because each is fundamental to telling a story.

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.

Learn More


JTWO Welcomes Intern Viveka Galindez

New Chapter In My Life: Video Production


By Viveka Galindez

Growing up I always had a fascination for photography. I was 14 when I got my first camera. It was a Nikon to be exact, and it had what I used to call “a fancy lens”. I was born in the United States but moved to Argentina at a young age. I grew up in Buenos Aires, a romantic but chaotic city with a strong passion for soccer. Yes, we love Messi. We also love good wine and steak. 

Before Instagram was even a concept my friends would ask me to take their Facebook profile pictures and we would organize shoots. Mind you, we were all between 14 and 15 years old. I would scout locations in the city or build a “studio” in my house with different light bulbs and backgrounds. I like to think that was the official start of my career. Everyone in school knew me for my photography skills, and later on for my short films. I carried my camera everywhere, even to house parties and the most random places. I didn’t want to miss a perfect shot. It was fascinating to me to have the ability to capture moments constantly. I wanted others to see the beauty in things that I saw through my eyes.

I moved to Washington DC for college and was undeclared for 2 years. I didn’t really know what to do with my life career wise, I was lost and confused. I knew deep inside I wanted to go to film school, but because of fear to fail in the film industry I went into Graphic Design. Then, I went on to a full time position as a designer at an agency. Every night I would go to bed thinking to myself “Do I want to be 40 and regret never having taken a chance in video production?” Thats when it hit me and started to look at video production opportunities. I got an interview at JTwo Films and was extremely nervous as I had no background in video, It had always just been a hobby. A few days later I heard back from the team, I had been accepted in the internship program. This mix of adrenaline, anxiety, happiness rushed through my body. It was such a positive and exciting feeling, because I knew deep down this was life giving me a chance to do what I really wanted to do. I packed my things, moved from DC to Philly in a matter of days. Crazy right? Today as I write this post I am sitting in JTwo Films taking a chance in my career and doing what I should have done years ago. Can’t wait to learn from the team and do amazing work!

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.

Learn More


JTWO Welcomes Intern Jordan Brown

GETTING LOST


By Jordan Brown

I think I’ve always had a thing for getting lost. As a kid, I’ve been lost in grocery stores, lost in amusement parks, I’ve even been lost in school. The more I grew up the more I started to discover. I no longer find myself getting lost- but sometimes grocery stores still get the best of me. To me, getting lost is an adventure. To my mom, it’s a heart attack. Whenever I create a film, no matter where I am at in the process, I find myself getting lost. I lose track of time. I forget my surroundings. There is nothing in the world but me and the story. I think I love creating films and telling stories so much because it reminds me of being a kid- just getting lost.

I’ve been interested in cameras and telling stories for as long as I can remember. However, I come from a small town in south-central Pennsylvania called Lebanon, which is the polar opposite of any sort of Hollywood setting. My grandfather used to have this old Sony that he would take with him everywhere and he would record everything. Anytime he ever came by to visit, holidays or just because, he would have his camera in his hand and would walk around filming everything and narrating what was happening. He was telling a story, even if that story was as small as four-year-old Jordan falling down the stairs and busting his eyebrow open. I remember I used to love to be around him when he was recording, often pulling him to record certain things and wanting to mess with the camera myself.

When I was eight years old, I started to make my first comprehensible films. Well, as comprehensible as the mind of an eight-year-old is. One year we had a snow day. I was bored, it was too cold to go outside. Christmas had just passed and I got a whole bin of plastic army men. That day, I grabbed my mom’s camera, locked myself in my bedroom and created a stop-motion film. I was obsessed. Of course, I had to upgrade to Legos and over time I upgraded to people. I fell in love with thinking of a story, creating it and showing it off.

Fast forward some years to high school, I got serious about film. I had always known that I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I viewed high school as my time to make this dream come true or not. I was heavily involved in sports, but had a passion for storytelling. I was like the real-life Troy Bolton. I immediately got involved with my school’s media club (I was literally the only member my freshman year) and showed up every week and worked on a new project. I got involved with my school’s morning announcements and broadcast program. I remember begging my teacher to create narrative projects rather than news segments, but him telling me to be patient. I had gotten involved with PBS Student Reporting Labs, even airing a segment on PBS Newshour and later securing an internship with PBS for the summer. As great as all this was, this was not me and this was not what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.

I had heard of a film festival for high schoolers called the All American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF). There was a film invitational part of the festival where you applied by sending in your work, and if you were accepted you went to New York City for several days to create a short film and compete in the festival. Sure enough, I applied and was accepted. At this point, my teacher looked at me and told me that he would support me in the festival and making the switch from broadcast to film (I will always be grateful for this, Mr. Schwalm). This was my chance to do what I wanted to do. I gave up almost everything for this film. I quit football, I stopped working for PBS and I even left my homecoming date alone at the dance to work on the script (I’m so sorry, but it’s the hustle). I created a team of four other students and myself. We were by far the smallest team at the festival. By the end of the festival, we created a short film I wrote, directed, acted in and edited. Although I held the reins, I am beyond grateful for that crew and my teachers that went along. They saw my vision and supported me even with the odds we were up against. We finished that festival in fourth place out of 28 teams.

After the success of being able to assemble a crew and create a quality short film, I made the switch to film for good. I took any and every opportunity I could grab. I created PSAs, short films, documentaries and whatever I could get my hands on. I loved it. I went back to the same festival, AAHSFF, and placed second which put me in position to work with IMAX by the end of my senior year of high school as a part of their In-Focus Program. I am now able to attend to Ithaca College on a communication scholarship called the Park Scholarship studying film production. This is all because I took a risk on myself.

I am a people person. I believe that film offers a special medium that gives a voice to the voiceless. That is why I base my films off of real issues. I have created films on cyberbullying and teenage depression, immigration into the United States and even the inequity of public educational funding in Pennsylvania. I consider my work realistic fiction. I study topics like a documentary and turn them into a fictional narrative film. My films almost always pertain some sort of message or address a social issue in them. My mom might tell you I’ve always been an activist. When I was a kid, I would create a film with my Legos and my mom would comment on the story something like, “Wow, Jordan. I see the way you had the Lego man in prison as a way to comment on the criminal justice reform system and how people convicted of even peaceful crimes often struggle to ever make it out of the system and adjust back into society.” I would turn to her with an eyebrow raised and agree, but it was clear that she thought I was much more intelligent than I actually was. My Lego-man was in jail for jaywalking and only serving 15 minutes of “hard time”. Now, this is a topic I’d love to actually address.

In my free time I like to explore. I like to get lost, literally. I like to go to places I’ve never been to and meet new people and hear their stories. I still love sports, especially football (go Eagles). I love to hike to the top of a mountain and be able to look out for miles and miles. I love music and concerts. I love my friends and family and wish I could spend more time with them, but they know that even though I can’t always be physically present, I’ll always be there for them. Life is an adventure and that is exactly how I am treating it. I don’t like to stay in one place. I am the guy that will call you at midnight and ask if you want to go on a road trip hours away in the morning. I consider myself predictably unpredictable. I like “spur of the moment” events, which is why when I was offered this internship, the first thing I did was smile and book myself a train ticket and a room in a hostel.

Now I find myself getting lost everyday. I just started a new adventure in my life, here at JTWO. This summer, I will be creating and helping others create all types of different projects with the company of two dogs in the workplace, who are easily the most popular staff here. I love it here already and I am very excited for what the summer holds for me. I am hoping to meet people in the industry and learn from them, after all that is the most important part. I have so much more growing and learning to do. I know that I took another risk on myself by choosing to not take the summer off, move to Philly and spend my time creating. I also know that this is a risk that I will look back on and say, “wow, I could have not have spent my summer in any better way.”

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.

Learn More


JTWO Welcomes Intern Chris Tocchet

STEP BY STEP


By Chris Tocchet

I have never been very talkative or outgoing but listening to people’s stories and experiences have always fascinated me. Understanding how people live their lives, make the decisions they do, and carry themselves through difficult situations is remarkable to me because it’s so different for everyone. Distinct human behavior is what I find most interesting – how two people given the same circumstances can have two completely different stories.

I grew up in a creative household. My dad is an illustrator and currently the Director of the School of Design at the University of the Arts. My mom is a graphic designer who has worked with some pretty big household names like M&M’s and Campbell’s Soup. Saying I have some big shoes to fill is an understatement.

My passion for photography began when I was eight-years-old. My dad got me a small point-and-shoot camera for Christmas. From that point on I was taking pictures of everything – school trips to family vacations – I have it all. Not too long after that, I wanted more technically and creatively. I upgraded to an entry level DSLR that also had video capabilities. While this wasn’t the reason I got the camera, it would soon become the main reason I picked it up.

Throughout my childhood, high school and even now in college, soccer has also been a huge part of my life. My passion for film had me recording things that I loved and knew. Early on, I started making videos of myself playing soccer – shooting, juggling, dribbling, and celebrating goals! While these videos of myself were fun, I realized I wanted to do more. I wanted to tell stories about people I was interested in, to get in deeper to understand them, but I also wanted anyone who looked at my films to relate to the stories and enjoy the experiences with me. This is when I became interested in documentary filmmaking.

I love being able to tell someone’s story, show what makes them unique, and reveal who they are from a new perspective. Sometimes the process leads to stories I wasn’t aware of before I started the project. I have become extremely passionate about this kind of filmmaking and want to continue working in this format and seeing where it takes me.

With this Internship at JTWO, I hope to develop my passions further, learning and collaborating from the creative people all around me and leaving my mark on the projects we work on.

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.

Learn More


JTWO | LISC Chicago Partner For Neighborhood Development Awards

LISC CHICAGO: 25th CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT AWARDS


Client: LISC CHICAGO

JTWO was tasked with creating ten videos for the 25th Chicago Neighborhood Development Award Show Winners. We shot the videos over four days of production from Hyde Park on the south side, to Logan Square on the north side and everywhere in-between.  During these four days our production crew got to see and hear the real meaning behind neighborhood development and what it really takes to bring it all to fruition. LISC and the city of Chicago have been hosting this award show since 1995, and have helped to create a better means of life for so many Chicagoans and the communities they live in.

When LISC and MK Communications came to us in November 2018 we knew we had some special stories to tell about the communities and neighborhoods of Chicago. Since 1995 LISC has been holding the annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards to recognize the non-profits and for profit developers who have enhanced the communities in Chicago. These awards are given to developers who acheived outstanding development and community building. View the ten award winners videos below.

CARLING HOTEL

PLAY

WHOLE FOODS

PLAY

BOXVILLE

PLAY

FARM ON OGDEN

PLAY

CITY GARDENS

PLAY

TRAUMA CENTER

PLAY

CHICAGO STREET MEDICINE

PLAY

BELMONT CRAGIN

PLAY

ACCESS HOUSING

PLAY

ST. EDMUND'S OASIS

PLAY