Everyones-A-Critic

Intern Memories: Reflections From the [INC]ubator Project


We've had a lot of interns over the last decade. We asked a few to share their favorite memories.

In the midst of my end-of-semester haze, I accidentally showed up a week early to my internship interview. Instead of kicking me out, or holding my aggressive earliness against me, they all made time to talk to me; like, have a real conversation, where we discussed our goals as filmmakers, how we all got started and what I wanted most to learn from them. That’s so emblematic of who the guys at JTWO are — they always make time for their people, and I’m so thankful they made time for me.

Happy 10th, JTWO!

Caitlin Riggsbee, Former Intern

intern-memories-simeone-caitlin

When Trav almost fired Jake the intern for jamming the printer with Hershey Kisses. Trav interrogated him in the conference room for a good few hours. We found out later that week it was just a rogue mouse. Still cracks me up. For the record Jake, I did believe you were telling the truth.

Scott Cumpstone, Former Intern

On the first day we were given skull covered binders and strict orders not to touch the server… or else. I never found out what the “or else” was, but we quickly realized how special of a place this is and how dedicated they are to helping you grow in whatever direction your interested….you just gotta get over the skulls.

Erin Lynch, Former Intern

My best JTWO memory, hands down, is going to the Kid Rock concert my first (second? third?) week of my summer internship. Travis had some extra tickets and we went. To this day, I still bring up some of the events we witnessed. Drunk pregnant women rolling around in the mud was hilarious and sad… but, mostly sad.

Logan McGee, Graphic Artist (Former Intern)


Everyone's A Critic: Our Team's Favorite Projects


WE DON'T LIKE TO ADMIT IT, BUT WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVORITES

For Aaron: The Documentary

This project will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the one project that defined who I would become as both a filmmaker and a man. It was deeply personal and taught me more about life then I had learned in the 23 years combined leading up to it. No matter where we go in the next decade or what projects I have the opportunity to direct, “For Aaron” will always be my favorite.

Justin Jarrett, Director

FOR AARON: THE DOCUMENTARY

Jtwofilms.com 1.0

My favorite project of all time would have to be the first iteration of the JTWO website. We transformed an alley from Ninja Turtles into a functional website. I had to learn Flash in one weekend in order to create all of the functionality Justin wanted incorporated. It was pretty cool until Apple killed Flash and everyone stopped using desktop computers.

Andrew Broft, Web Designer

Two Lou’s. One Club.

I think I’ll always love this project for a number of reasons. First, it was the direct sequel to, “This is Lou” which we had created the year before to open the Louix Awards. We wanted to create our own take on a Guy Richie film and we just had a blast on set experimenting with transitions, camera angles and makeup. For “Two Lou’s” we wanted to up the ante and really go all out.I grew up on 80’s action movies like Bloodsport and if you watch it today it is one of the most over the top ridiculous pieces of popcorn cinema out there. You can’t watch it and not laugh! So we wanted to take that and put our spin on it. When my sound guy Steven got his teeth knocked out in the opening credits, I knew we had succeeded.

Justin Jarrett

My favorite project with JTwo has been the Louix Award openers that we shot the past two years. It’s rare you get to have complete creative control and boy did we. Over-the- top characters, dramatic lighting and JCVD-inspired fight scenes are just some of the chaos that we cooked up in our narrative masterpiece.

Maria Vattimo, Cinematographer

TWO LOU'S. ONE CLUB.

Barre None

Of all the videos I’ve had the pleasure of working on at JTWO, my favorite will always be the one that started it all, my intern project: “Barre None.” I love this piece not only because it’s about my best friend, but because it was the first time I worked with everyone in the office. I’ll always be grateful for the guidance they gave me. From working through challenges during the process to then watching the final cut win multiple awards, I had really proved to myself that I can do this. Now if I hit points of frustration in my work, I’ll give my video a watch to remind myself that it can be done, it will be done and it’ll be pretty damn good.

Maria Cantu, Director

Barre None


Directed by Maria Cantu
The [INC]ubator Project

In her short documentary, Maria tells the captivating and beautiful story of a young ballerina who is able to push through the harsh realities and overbearing pressures of the dancing world with unconditional love for the art.

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The BluePrint

My favorite project is the book trailer for The Blueprint. It is the first true test of all the After Effects work that I’ve been learning. I got to work closely with Maria Cantu which is a fun and different dynamic than being directed by Justin; I love working for Justin but he’s more of a mentor figure while Maria is more of a peer figure. This is just a fancy way of saying that I feel more confident being rude to Maria. Working long nights is tiring, but when you get to make the single greatest book trailer of all time, it feels like it’s worth it. However, please consider the fact that I am the type of person that would brag about beating a 6 year old at monopoly. My favorite memory was when Travis and I tried to get the Popeye’s chicken sandwich on 4 different occasions. The 4th one was the only one where the sandwich was actually available. It was a good day.

Omar, Editor

THE BLUEPRINT

Fred’s Footsteps

 Kyle’s Story: Getting a chance to sit in a room and hear Kyle Pszenny’s story with Fred’s Footsteps was really an incredible experience for me. After hearing all he went through and to still have a positive attitude about his life and to really use his tragedy as a springboard to help others was really impactful to me in my personal life and I have to say he was an inspiration that still sticks with me today.

 Jelani Thomas, Sound Engineer

FRED'S FOOTSTEPS: KYLE'S STORY

Visit Philly

Working on a series of Visit Philly Commercial spots was fun for our team for many reasons, but to be given the opportunity to really put a stamp on the city we call home was special. Our content was everywhere from TV to billboards.

Travis Capacete, Producer

"City of Summer Love"


Client: Visit Philly + Wawa

This Spring we teamed up with Visit Philly to produce a spot for Wawa Welcome America’s July 4th annual celebration, which features 7 days of 50+ free events citywide including fireworks, concerts, block parties, and more! In an effort to showcase the event’s festive family atmosphere, we worked closely with Visit Philly and actors to bring a giddy, light hearted sketch to life.

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Finley Untamed

Right out of school in 2013, I interned with JTWO. This was the first time I was able to work on something that wasn’t graded. I was tasked with a few projects, but one had stuck with me and that was the Jermichael Finley documentary project, Finley Untamed. It was my first project outside of school that I felt connected to. The story was inspiring and being part of such a dedicated team made it that much better.

Logan McGee, Graphic Artist

FINLEY UNTAMED

Lost Boyz of Chicago

My favorite project that we worked on was our first ever project in Chicago on the South side with the Lost Boyz of Chicago. We placed our crew in the south side of Chicago to understand exactly what day to day life is like there while on production. We got to see first hand how the community pulls together to help each other through the rough times that can come about, while being surrounded by gun shots as we were outside on set.

Conor Hare, Producer

LOST BOYZ OF CHICAGO

Victus Product Catalogue

Victus has given us so much creative freedom and variety in design projects, so creating the layout for the entire product catalogue was one of my favorite projects overall. It was exciting to not only create the catalogue, but to incorporate and showcase years of our design work throughout.

Monica Grevera, Graphic Artist

Responsibility.org

My favorite JTWO project I got to be a part of was the mini doc we filmed in Texas for Responsibility.org in November of 2018. On this shoot, we followed a man named Issouf throughout his daily routines as a recovered alcoholic and got his story first-hand on how he recovered through the DUI Court program. His story of hitting rock bottom and getting back on his feet was very powerful and getting to film him graduate from the program and give his speech was heartwarming. The b-roll shots we got all had a grittiness to them that I really loved.

Alex Siwik, Cinematographer

Victus Vandal

The Victus Vandal bat was easily my favorite project to work on. The incorporation of hand-drawn elements and usage of gold foil made for great printed pieces. Being able to be the face of the Vandal and the artist on set is something I’ll brag about for the foreseeable future.

Christian Debuque, Graphic Artist

My favorite project I’ve worked on would probably have to be the Victus Vandal series. Working together with Federal Grip Co. to create the sets in their studio was a blast, but my favorite part was mixing all of the spots. There were a lot of cool drones, music and sound effects that made mixing everything a fun challenge, especially the main spot. Sonically speaking, it was all over the place and I really enjoyed trying to make a punchy mix that was just as aggressive as the edit. I’m super proud of the final product, and I’m even more proud of all of the hard work our team put in.

Steven Layton, Sound Engineer/Swiss Army Knife

VICTUS VANDAL

Philadelphia Flyers: Playoff Hype Video

Our crew loves Philly sports so when the Flyers asked us to get the city hyped with a new spot for their playoff push we couldn’t say no. We had fans getting haircuts, tattoos and going crazy all across the city.

Philadelphia Flyers - "Get Hyped"


Client: Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers reached out to our team to produce their postseason playoff hype video. As a studio full of fans, we couldn’t wait to get to work.

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Janssen Storytellers

San Diego: My favorite JTWO project was the Janssen storytellers shoot in Los Angeles. I got to drive a solid 2002 minivan with super cushy seats (a lot of butts sat where I was) and the shoot itself was dope. It was my first time in LA, it was the longest flight I’ve ever experienced and the first time using my new drone. Solid shoot with all around.

Jay Miller, Cinematographer

JANSSEN STORYTELLERS SERIES

Avian

This opportunity was identified in 2013 through one of JB’s colleagues in Leonardtown but it wasn’t a referral gig. We had to respond to a proposal as well as additional questions. What set us a part was our responses which embodied JTWO’s deep rooted creativity and approach to designing a solution that told AVIAN’s story. The outcome was a modernized website (simple, single scroll, responsive) with embedded content that created a marketing stunt from within and outside of the their organization (their customers were mainly Department of Defense) that ultimately demonstrated their capabilities of being progressive and forward-thinking to solving client challenges. It also led to follow-up media work!

Jim Pettit, Account Manager

Legion Transformation Center

As I looked over the extensive collection of JTWO projects I’ve had a hand in editing into existence, it was tough to find a favorite. Was it the project buoyed by intense, emotional interviews? The one with the most beautiful sunset drone shots? Which challenged me the most? Or felt right when I made the last cut? Comprehensively, it has to be “Legion Transformation Center: Why Franchise With Us.” It’s got real people (unlike those horrific chevy commercials) some quick sexy cuts, good music tracks and a story that cut through my skepticism and actually managed to resonate with me. Though I don’t have any ambitions to own a franchise of anything, I think this project will tip the scale for someone who actually does.

Ian Schobel, Editor

WE ARE LEGION


For-Aaron:-A-Retrospective

For Aaron: A Retrospective


The most difficult project we’ve ever made, was easily our first. Honestly, it will most likely be the most difficult project we ever make. Back then, in 2009, we weren’t worried about payroll or commercials or trivial notions of trophies. Rather, we were simply trying to discover if we could even make the project. Was there enough funding? Would we have enough time before we had to get “real jobs”? Did we even know how to make a movie?

For us, it was the project that started everything. It was our origin story and our ethos all wrapped into 120 minutes of a digital love letter. Without it, there would be no Projects That Matter. There would be no JTWO. There would be no us. That project was, “For Aaron: The Documentary” and it’s been ten years since the day it was born.

For those of you that may not remember or maybe you didn’t even know us back then. In 2009, our co-founders Justin Jarrett and Travis Capacete were students together in Penn State University’s film program. They had just made their first documentary, “Failure by Design” about how they wanted to tear down the entire film program and start over. It was controversial enough for one professor to tell Justin, who was directing the project to “take his check and go to NYU” if he wasn’t satisfied with the current structure of the program (Needless to say, that the professor isn’t on our Holiday Card list.)

With only a few months left before graduation, tragedy struck when Justin’s lifelong best friend, Aaron, was killed in a car crash. Prior to his passing, Aaron and Justin had decided to bicycle across the United States after graduation. One last hurrah before “life kicked them in the teeth” they would say. When Aaron passed away, Justin decided to take the trip in his honor and document the trip. It was in this moment that JTWO was born.


WHAT IS A (JAY)-T-W-O?

Justin Jarrett

Travis and I had always talked about starting our own production company since the first time we met at Penn State University. We both shared a similar vision and really respected each other’s work ethic. Above everything, I think we just trusted one another. In order to make a film, we thought we had to start a production company. I had asked that we keep the name that I had been using since fifth grade, “JTWO Films.” This was out of respect for Aaron. The first time I ever actually used the moniker was in one of my first video projects in fifth grade – one in which Aaron did the filming. When the credits rolled (because every two minute video needs credits, right?) “a JTWO film” came across the screen. I don’t really remember why, but I thought this was cooler than saying, “a Justin Jarrett film.” The name stuck and the rest is history.

Over the course of the next 65 days, a skeleton crew made up of Justin, his lifelong friend Kylar and two college buddies took off on a trip across the country which would ultimately total 17 states, 6000 miles and numerous close calls. When it was all said and done they had over 800 hours of footage and a lifetime of memories.

Justin Jarrett:

I had just spent my final semester in college trying to raise money for the film while juggling classes in order to graduate. I held fundraisers, sold t-shirts my brother, Jason, printed out of the back of my car, asked for donations and even cashed in every savings bond I had in order to come up with the funding for our upcoming trip. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and the 3000 mile trip hadn’t even begun.

I can still remember the day, however, that our camcorder arrived in the mail. We purchased a brand new Panasonic HVX300 that shot on P2 cards. Despite only having one lens and limited media It was a great little documentary camera for its time. I was so excited to own a “film” camera. This was our first purchase as a newly formed company.

IT WAS IN THIS MOMENT THAT JTWO WAS BORN


FILM SCHOOL

Justin Jarrett

For Aaron was only the second documentary film I had ever made and by far the longest project of my life to date. Those 65 days of filming gave me more of an education than a lifetime at film school. I was learning to make a movie as we went. Each day we would face challenges and I would learn something that would completely change how I viewed the project. None more so, than a day in Kentucky on the home stretch of the trip.

I was eager to get home and I was pedaling as fast as I possibly could. Kylar was exhausted and for good reason. We were pushing hard during those weeks to get home because the weather was starting to turn on us. I remember we separated and I had pulled ahead. At one point the follow car called me on the radio and asked me to stop and wait for him to catch up. I was in a great mood because we were making good time that day.

However, Kylar, didn’t share my sentiment. He pulled up, slammed on his breaks, screamed at me to slow down and threw his helmet into a corn field before walking off into the field. He was done. Completely finished and ready to go home. To me, this was the film.

I knew we were both still mic’d up. I walked up to Kylar (with our cameraman Jon filming from afar) and we talked. At first, he didn’t want to hear a word I had to say. He just wanted to go home and I can’t blame him. It had been almost two months of sleeping in cars, tents and sleeping bags. After awhile, the mood softened and we spoke about Aaron and why we were here in the first place. It was the most heartfelt conversation of my life. It summed up what the entire trip and experience was all about. As Kylar’s friend, I was thrilled that he was willing to keep going. As a director, I was elated. That conversation was the movie in a nutshell – my emotional pivot into the last act. The most important scene in the entire film. That was… until my cameraman told me he forgot to hit record. I learned a valuable lesson that day – documentary filmmaking is unpredictable. You can’t control it, you simply have to capture it because every moment is a story and those stories only last if we hit the record button.

Upon returning home, our fearless leaders had close to a thousand hours of footage between the trip and archive footage from Justin’s childhood. They had P2 cards, portable harddrives, DVD’s, mini DV, VHS Tapes and VHS-C that they had to digitize. Justin set up a makeshift office in his bedroom and went to work.


SO, THIS IS EDITING

Justin Jarrett

When we got back from the trip, I had $14 left to my name, literally. My parent’s let me move back home while I was editing the movie because Aaron was like a fourth son to them. For 14 hours a day I sat in my bedroom going through footage and trying to figure how to craft a story out of a lifetime of footage. At the 6th month mark, I finally was ready to admit that I was in well over my head. That’s when I called Travis and asked if he would help me finish the movie.

 

Travis Capacete

I remember standing in Justin’s bedroom watching the first half For Aaron (the second half/end wasn’t finished), knowing that moment that we were going to win a ton of awards. I was really excited to take the film and shop it around. I was waiting for a call from Justin to finish the film and was looking forward to jumping in and start editing together, especially since the beginning of For Aaron started off a bit rocky. I was supposed to go on the trip and drive the RV. Instead, I stayed back in Philly and took a job. Thank god I did because we probably wouldn’t have had a company today, for so many reasons, many of you probably understand why haha. It also then turned into creating a network which ultimately turned into us getting the film color corrected and finished at one of the top finishing facilities in the world.

Travis Capacete

One of my favorite moments of the post process was the day I saw how the For Aaron footage was backed up and how the projects were organized. That day I realized that file structures, backups and organization are three of the most important things in filmmaking/production. I remember very vividly cutting the Trailer. Justin had had most of the film put together and the story was there but there was still a lot that had to be done including writing the end of the doc. At the time, I was working a full-time job and trying to network/build a base of clients so that way we could actually start a company and was trying to get funding to finish the film. He and I spent about 20 hours a day for a long weekend back-to-back in my parent’s house, finishing the trailer. The trailer, specifically, was the hardest thing I have ever edited. Once the trailer was cut, Justin wrote and recorded the end of the doc. Finishing the film became second nature to me. I loved the finishing process, adding in the graphics/animating and getting it ready for a color grade and mix. Finishing the film, in general, was one of the coolest things I had ever done. For Aaron was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.

When it was all said and done, For Aaron: The Documentary, premiered to an audience of over 1,200 people in Justin’s hometown before going on the film festival circuit – claiming numerous awards for Best Documentary, Audience Choice and Best Spirit Awards.

Justin Jarrett:

Being able to share Aaron’s story with as many people as we were able to was a dream come true. In addition to the festival circuit, the film was shown at high schools and non-profits around the country. I still have all of the letters I received from complete strangers telling me how much the film meant to them. It was in those letters that our Projects That Matter Initiative was born. From that point on we knew we wanted to create meaningful content that could effect change within the world. It was the best decision we ever made.

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Design Or Die: Our Best Kept Secret is Our Design Department


Our best kept secret is our design department.

TIME TO OPEN PANDORA'S BOX.

For the past four years, we have been quietly working on the next chapter of our story by working diligently to build out our design department. Why design? Because, for us, it’s the next evolution of storytelling.

Whether it’s brand development, package design or even product design – our crew of creatives, led by our Creative Director, Justin Jarrett and Lead Designer, Monica Grevera, approaches each new challenge with the same attitude.

JUSTIN JARRETT

For us, design is a natural fit. We are storytellers by trade and it was an honest and genuine move for us to transition into that world. We just kept having clients ask us if we could design or create this or that and it just became something where we said, you know what? Yes, we can do that. From there we were off to the races.

Within a year, we brought on Monica and a team of graphic artists who began working on projects for clients such as Victus Sports. Victus, based in King of Prussia, PA is the maker of the number one used baseball bat in Major League Baseball. Our video production team began working with them a few years ago. Now, in addition to video marketing, we handle all of their marketing needs – including product and apparel design, print, web and package design.

Graphic Designer Monica Grevera

MONICA GREVERA

I started working with JTWO looking for an opportunity and challenge in design. I was eager to take on any design project, and they certainly provided an interesting assortment. I don’t always know what project I’m about to jump into, but I rely on the core design principles for everything no matter the format or request. This mindset allows us to fearlessly take on any project big or small, and do it well.

Working with Justin has molded me as a designer. His vision for projects are challenging and cutting edge. We trust each other’s separate experiences in design and art direction so we make a really great team. My favorite projects have had creative direction from Justin, and I think his secret lies in pushing a design until he likes it, then asking “how can we make it even better?” It’s the JTWO way to push the limits and aim to surpass expectations. We are creating work that we are truly proud of.

Designing for Victus has been a lot of fun because their brand is geared toward changing the game and breaking the mold is what we do at JTWO. We start all Victus projects asking “What are the possibilities?” rather than seeking the parameters. It’s a glass half full approach, and I find it to be the most refreshing way to design.



Memory-Lane

Memory Lane


We have had a lot of talented people come through our doors. We asked some of them to sound off on some of their favorite memories and moments.

IAN SCHOBEL, EDITOR

My favorite memories in my two years at JTWO is the night I slept over on the couch in the cave. It was very cold. The second is (I remember it like it was yesterday) when our glorious band, Sonic Deepthroat, delivered a Golden Guitar-worthy performance at the prestigious Foundry at the Fillmore. We snagged second place, but I still felt like a winner!

CHRISTIAN DEBUQUE, GRAPHIC ARTIST

The 2019 Battle of The Bands practice and performance. JTWO’s Sonic Deepthroat ripped through a 4-song set list and played a much more memorable cover of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” than another agency’s weak attempt.

OMAR ALQAHTANI, EDITOR

My favorite memory was wearing a wedding dress onstage at battle of the bands and getting fake married to my girlfriend. This was followed by us disgustingly making out for 3 whole minutes onstage and NO ONE was able to stop us.

CONOR HARE, PRODUCER

My favorite memory about JTWO would have to be the first year we entered the Battle of the Bands. We went into the concert only practicing 2 days before the actual show and we had to change the entire setlist due to a couple bandmates dropping out. Our band practiced for a total of 6 hours and pretty much winged it on stage and ended up winning the Golden Guitar as Champions.

MONICA GREVERA, GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Working with Victus has been filled with interesting experiences. One of my favorite memories was photographing all of the Victus baseball bats for Player’s Weekend. Josh and I really enjoyed touring the space, meeting the whole team and seeing the detail in the artwork on each bat up close. Also, I never imagined I would design a tattoo, until I saw the baseball player, Tim Anderson had inked the logo I designed for him prominently on his inner forearm. That was quite a surprise!

STEVEN LAYTON, SOUND ENGINEER

I have a lot of fond memories from my time here at JTWO, but the ones that stand out the most are from some of our most exhausting shoots. Between Kumho Tires, the NBA, the Penn Relays Documentary and all we did with the Victus Show Series, our team has put in so much hard and rewarding work. With these shoots specifically, I gained closer relationships with all of our crew members. One of my favorite memories is sitting down after the relays with everybody back at the office, having a drink and just rehashing the crazy events of the weekend together. Whether it was from the interviews, carnival, or centerfield crew, it was so cool to regroup and hear everybody’s individual accounts and stories from the weekend. Even though they were some of the longest, most exhausting days, I will always look back on these shoots and remember the great times I had with our team.

ALEX SIWIK, CINEMATOGRAPHER

My favorite JTWO memory was getting to go out to LA for the Janssen Storytellers shoot in December of 2018. This was one of my first real travel jobs and my first time on the west coast. While on the job as a camera assistant, I got to learn a lot about the Ronin 2, which was very new to me at the time. We shot at some awesome locations, my favorite being the hilltop in Loma Linda where we got stunning shots of our talent doing yoga with the valley and mountains in the background.

MARIA CANTU, DIRECTOR

My favorite JTWO memory was at the 2019 Louix Awards. The JTWO fam all had a great night together, I won my first Louix, and when it was over, we were the only ones on the dance floor breaking it down. Ian did a backbend out of nowhere and I had never laughed harder.

JELANI THOMAS, PRODUCER

My favorite memories are mostly based around the people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with and the incredible stories I’ve gotten to hear particularly through The Projects That Matter Initiative. Some of my favorite clients to work with were responsibility.org, Fred’s Footsteps, Mission First Housing and Bringing Hope Home.

ANDREW BROFT, WEB DEVELOPER

Favorite memory: anytime I had the chance to visit the Philly offices from NYC and hang out with the JTWO family. VIBES all day.

JAY MILLER, CINEMATOGRAPHER

My favorite memory would have to be that time me and Trav pulled an all nighter. Shot, slept for one hour and then started the next shoot. Learned my physical and mental limits that day.

CHRIS HARLEY, CINEMATOGRAPHER

My favorite memory is also that very same Victus Sports shoot. It was Ian’s first day as an intern at JTWO, and for the interior shots, his job was spraying sweat on the players. He will forever be known as Sweat Boy.

MARIA VATTIMO, CINEMATOGRAPHER

My favorite memory at JTWO will have to be filming the Lost Boyz Documentary in Chicago in the summer of 2018. I remember showing up feeling incredibly nervous with this being my first large documentary project, but once the interviews started rolling and we walked the streets of South Side Chicago with our main subject, LaVonte, I felt a great confidence that we were making something really special.

RICK ANGELI, PRODUCER

…that time we were shooting with Al Roker and I yelled, “that’s a wrap” before Justin could. Lesson learned: only the Directors gets to yell, “that’s a wrap.”

NOVA/GRIFFEY


Lunch.

EVERYDAY.



Projects-That-Matter:-A-Decade-of-Meaningful-Projects

Projects That Matter: A Decade of Meaningful Projects


Following the release of our award-winning feature film, For Aaron: The Documentary in 2009 and the digital campaign that accompanied it, we saw how important digital storytelling was as a tool to engage and inspire change in the world around us.

We saw first hand how rapidly the marketing of a social cause or an impact organization was changing with the advancements in technology and with our access to filmmakers, web designers, photographers, digital artists and branding specialists, we knew we could be a large part of that change. We understood that if we committed our time and talent to the world, we could create a legacy of impact. So we came up with drastically reduced costs for marketing & advertising services, flexible & affordable payment plans and began working side by side with social impact organizations around the world to make a difference and help share their stories.

Now ten years later, we look back on some of our favorite projects.


REDWOOD GIVES BACK

HAITI
New Story/Century 21 Redwood Realty

In 2017 our team travelled to Haiti with California based non-profit New Story and Century 21 Redwood Realty as part of their Redwood Gives Back program. We spent four days talking with the resilient people of Haiti about their experiences following a deadly earthquake and how the Redwood Gives Back program has helped them to return to a sense of normalcy through their community home building project.

Century 21 - "Redwood Gives Back"


Client: Century 21 Redwood Realty / New Story
Location: Haiti

CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty has been a client of ours since 2010. We have created over 60 video projects, built websites, presentations and advised their marketing team for the past seven years. However, it was just in the past 12 months that they launched a new non-profit, 501-c3 charitable organization called Redwood Gives Back.

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CORA

INDIA

Our Principal Director had a chance to travel to India with Cora CEO + Founder, Molly Hayward, for 20 days in 2017 in order to capture the company’s brand story.

CORA


Our team traveled to India with Cora to tell their brand story and announce their social mission to the world.

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A VOICE IS HEARD

KENYA

Our team’s first international project took us halfway around the world to Kenya. We spent almost a month working with the Maasai Tribe and non- profit, A Voice is Heard to tell their story.

A VOICE IS HEARD


A Voice is Heard works in partnership with children and families of developing nations who are in need of the basic necessities of life. They find sustainable solutions for the provision of land, water, medical care, education and alternative sources of income.

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SIMONE BILES

ASK, LISTEN, LEARN

Ask, Listen, Learn - "U.S. Attorneys General PSA's"


Client: Ask, Listen, Learn

Ask, Listen Learn asked us to concept, write and produce Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring Olympic Gold Medalist and Dancing with the Stars ContestantSimone Biles and some friends along with Attorneys General from over 25 states aimed at helping educate parent’s on how they can help their kid’s say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking.

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HEROES

FRED'S FOOTSTEPS

Our team spent the day with Philadelphia based non-profit organization, Fred’s Footsteps and their extraordinary heroes. It was one of our team’s favorite days on set to date.

"HERO"


Client: Fred's Footsteps

Watch as these brave children redefine what it means to be a hero.

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SHAQ + BELLA: iDECIDE

RESPONSIBILITY.ORG

Our team’s first shoot in LA couldn’t have been any BIGGER. No really, working with NBA Superstar Shaquille O’Neal for the first time (the start of a very mutually beneficial relationship involving Shaq Soda and Shaq the Cop) and TV/Movie Star Bella Thorne was just the kind of introduction to the City of Angels JTWO revels in.

"iDecide" F/t Shaq + Bella Thorne


Client: Responsibility.org
Agency: Brian.

Our crew teamed up with Responsibility.org to help bring their iDecide Campaign to life which encourages teens to focus on the importance of formulating and following individual decisions such as saying no to underage drinking.

PLAY


One-Decade-Deep

One Decade Deep

TEN YEARS IN


AND NO SIGNS OF SLOWING UP

Up until last year we still considered ourselves the new kids on the block—the arrogant young kids who thought they could take on the heavy hitters who have been staples in the Philadelphia film scene. And in many ways, we still are, but over the past twelve months something has changed. We’ve grown, not only as a company (we have gone from two to twelve staff members and opened a Chicago studio) but as artists. We openly admit that nine years into this that we are still figuring this thing out. We are a film company run by filmmakers. That is rare these days. We were never meant to be businessmen, we were meant to be creators, storytellers in love with the romantic notion that the story comes first, no matter what. We understand that we’re different than a lot of other production companies. We always have been and honestly, we like it that way.

For the first five years we were in business we avoided going head to head with the “big guys” because we felt we weren’t ready. We were two 25 year old kids playing dress up and going into countless capabilities presentations. You know the ones I mean. Where everyone shows up for the free lunch and doesn’t give a shit what you have to say. Meanwhile, my website has all of this exact same information and more if you bothered to look just once. I can still remember when a creative director looked at my my co-founder, Travis Capacete and me and winked when we were describing the capabilities of each one of our team members and said, “I used to have a production company too” when we told him we had more than just two full-time staff members back at the studio. He was insinuating that we were two producers that outsourced everything while selling smoke and mirrors. Did he want us to bring a soccer mom van full of employees from our office and parade them into the meeting just to prove there were more than two of us? I walked out of that meeting infuriated. I wasn’t sure if anyone would ever grasp the concept of a small, but adaptable in-house production team capable of doing everything under one roof, because they were so used to the old way of doing things where you need a team of 30 to do what to us was a job for three.

It hasn’t always been easy. We’ve come a long way since we would roll up with a Canon 7D, one lens and Zoom Mic. We’ve had growing pains, lost jobs and failed. But that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. Eventually, you just figure it out, because that’s the only option. Eventually, you simply stop caring and start creating. We let our work speak for itself and we forged friendships with people in such an authentic and honest way that we completely avoided the muddy politically charged waters that has become the Philadelphia film scene. We were outsiders and if you wanted to work with us, great, we welcomed you with open arms. If not, then it wasn’t meant to be, but that wasn’t going to stop us from moving forward.

We worked hard not only to build a team, but a family and I would stack them up against any team on the east coast and I say that not because I handpicked the team, but because these are people who bought into what we were trying to build since day one. Our philosophy has always been, if you don’t know it, learn it. And I don’t just mean that – we live by that.  It’s why we have Producers who became sound engineers and editors who are DP’s. We want every employee to know every piece and part of every project. Because then, it’s theirs. They have as much ownership as the Director. It’s not a production assembly line or a factory cranking out projects to appease account reps. Each project is an Ozmandian moment behind the curtain into our company ethos.

We are about to enter our tenth year and we are finally being recognized for our work. Last year at the Louix Awards, we decided to make a statement. We opened the show with something so far out of left field that we made you look us in the eye and take notice and if you didn’t we were going to punch you in the face over and over until you realized it was us throwing the punches. We took home awards for everything from our film work and our graphic design and branding projects to fashion design. Yes, we designed an entire line of clothing. Why? Because we can. Because sometimes you wake up and decide to do something new. Something scary. Something so far out of your comfort zone that it forces you to succeed or crumble in the process. We can do that, because we are artists that don’t need an open PO to create.

I guess that’s why we’re still here ten years deep. We’ve watched as some of the production companies we’ve admired and fought against have crumbled and our former mentors and advisors are now coming to us seeking jobs. It’s a bit strange to be honest, but here we are. We learned a lot and we are still learning. We’re open and honest about that with our clients and that’s gone a long way. The scary part is, we still feel like we are in chapter one of our story. The scarier part is, we as authors of that story don’t really care who reads it. That’s not what drives us. We care about the work and our work keeps getting better. We get to collaborate with some of the most talented, intelligent human beings on the planet day in and day out and they honor us by entrusting us to carry their metaphorical torch in the form of their story. We don’t take that lightly and we never will. I hope that carries us to the next ten years.

If we’ve crossed paths in the past decade, I want to thank you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me something. Each one of you has in some way, shape or form influenced our thoughts or actions at JTWO and I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated your input.

"WE WORKED HARD NOT ONLY TO BUILD A TEAM, BUT A FAMILY"



Intern-Of-The_Decade

Intern of the Decade


Jake "Mr. Italiano" Price

In 2009 we launched JTWO.U – our internship program which later became The JTWO [INC]ubator Project. During the past ten years, we have had some amazing students come through our doors (along with a bevy of disasters), but one intern stood on the shoulders of giants and claimed the coveted title of “Intern of the Decade.”

That intern is Jake Price,

class of 2017.

WHY DO YOU THINK JTWO NAMED YOU INTERN OF THE DECADE?

Jake Price : Isn’t it obvious? I’m the best. Honestly, I’m not sure why — truly. I know Jtwo has had a lot of great talent walk through their doors over the years. I’m floored, and I humbly accept this prestigious honor. Thinking about it, it definitely helps that they’ve been hearing my voice every time an intern was trained by my JTWO.U videos.

HOW DID YOU EARN THE COVETED TITLE?

JP : Can you believe that 17 people were too emotionally distraught to answer their phones when Justin Jarrett’s name flashed on screen? And if that didn’t scare ‘em off, I know a guy who knows a guy who makes peop— problems disappear.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF WE TOLD YOU THAT YOUR PRIZE FOR BEING NAMED INTERN OF THE DECADE WAS A GIFT CARD TO COSI?

JP : Ah, mi amor — Cosi. They don’t call me ”Mr. Italiano” for nothing. (I always ordered the Italiano sandwich even though it had been off the menu for over a year. I have written to Cosi HQ multiple times about this egregious typographical error.)

A gift card would make me cry. And then smile. And then cry. I live in St. Louis now, where there are no Cosi watering holes. (Don’t worry, though; I separately wrote to Cosi HQ about this issue.) All they have here is Panera. And they don’t even call it Panera. Google it. So, I’d finish crying, buy a ticket to Philly, head to Cosi, spend every last penny I’ve got (I have a job that actually pays me money now) and fly back.

WHAT ABOUT US? NO VISIT?

JP : If I have time, I’ll try to think about considering the possibility of wanting to inquire deep within myself about the truths pertaining to whether I would want to step foot in JTwo as a quick pit stop or not. So, yep, anyways. Back to what I was saying, Cosi — it’d be a classic cry-and-fly.

OKAY, HYPOTHETICALLY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF WE TOLD YOU THAT THE COSI GIFT CARD EXPIRED AND YOUR REWARD IS BRAGGING RIGHTS INSTEAD?

JP : I quit. Wait, I can’t quit. Hire me, I promise I won’t quit. Also, Mr. Italiano doesn’t exactly do consolation prizes.

OKAY, YOU'RE HIRED.


JP : I quit. Wait, what was my pay?

MOVING ON, TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIME AT JTWO. WHAT WAS IT LIKE? DID YOUR INTERNSHIP HAVE ANY LASTING IMPACT ON YOU?

JP : Excluding the day I was forced to build a desk — punishment for being, like, ten to forty minutes late — I made TONS of great memories in my time as an intern. I discovered parts of myself I didn’t know existed. All jokes aside, I wrote and directed a PSA about relapsing from addiction. It was nominated for an award.

I remember revising and rewriting and showing Justin and Travis what I was working on. I hadn’t dug deep within myself to create something of substance before. It was always easy for me to make comedies. But JTwo pushed me beyond my comfort zone. Originally, I was going to tell this dumb story about how someone got interested in the entertainment industry. It was a light piece, it was fluffy, and it was bland. Thanks to the guidance I received, I found the threads in that story that mattered and used them to make a statement. I created something that to this day I’m so proud of.

WHAT ABOUT SOME OF YOUR LESS “SERIOUS” WORK?

JP : After ‘Relapse’, I began working on ‘Studio Life’ – an ambitious, goofy ”little” project filmed over the course of roughly four months. I could pick out any day of shooting and talk about how hard we made each other laugh, but honestly, for “just some video I was being graded on for an internship program”, it never felt like work — everything I got to do while interning at Jtwo was a labor of love.

STOP, YOU’RE GONNA MAKE US CRY. DON’T READ INTO THIS TOO MUCH, BUT YOU’RE MUCH BETTER AT THE JOKES, STICK TO THAT.

JP : Okay—

AGAIN, WE AREN’T TELLING YOU YOU’RE FUNNY, YOU’RE JUST A LOT WORSE AT THE OTHER STUFF.

JP : I’ll try to work on that? Seems kind of ironic I’m winning your award and you’re insulting me.

JUST KEEPING YOU HUMBLE. NOW, RUMOR HAS IT THAT YOU WERE BULLIED BY THE OFFICE DOGS, NOVA AND GRIFFEY WHILE YOU WERE THERE.TRUE OR FALSE?

JP : I cannot comment due to a non- disclosure agreement but please know I am still receiving counseling. I have said too much. Nova, call me.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE INTERNS?

JP : First off, memorize every word your spirit guide tells you. He knows more than you do. Do you have an Intern of the Decade award?

Second, don’t show up thinking you know jack squat. I did. And then found out I didn’t. Be okay with being humble. Then go and make some great videos.

Third, and most important, don’t use your phone while on fire duty. Travis HATES that.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT YOUR FANS TO KNOW? ANY FAVORITE MEMORIES YOU’D LIKE TO REMINISCE?

JP : As a matter of fact, yeah, I do.

I was nearly fired because a rat was eating chocolate in the printer. Yes. This is a true story.

Back when I was an intern, there was a room that had a couple edit bays, a couch (chewed up beyond repair thanks to Nova and Griffey), a printer and a bowl filled with an assortment of those strange flavored Hershey Kisses you have to dig around in the bag to find the good stuff. I’m talking some seriously disgusting flavors like strawberry and candy cane.

So, for a week or so (about midway through my internship), I was just churning out revisions to scripts left and right, showing them to Justin for approval. On one of those fateful days, like any other preceding it, I tried to print. It wouldn’t work. I complained to Justin, Travis and Jelani. I must have asked them to come check out the printer at least five times that afternoon. I was about to take matters into my own hands; these scripts weren’t going to print themselves.

Finally, the guys came in the room as I opened the printer and found a Hershey Kiss lodged in between two spools. It seemed like there were indents, either because it was half eaten or had been shredded up by the printer. I didn’t linger on this for too long. I went to take a dump. Justin and Travis kept joking that I did it. I didn’t. I shrugged it off and went home at the end of the day. They just needed to fix their damn printer for me.

A couple days later, I showed up to work like normal and was subsequently ushered into a side room (let’s call it the non-sound-proofed, glass-walled interrogation chamber). It was just me and Justin. And everybody watching us through the glass. Justin was surprisingly stern. He asked if I sabotaged the printer. Seriously, he was not f***ing around. I was confused. They were still going on about this? I told Justin no. He pressed for an honest answer. He told me that Travis was ready to fire me. Again, I responded ‘no’. Justin said okay and we left the room. I thought that was the end of my interrogation.

Nope. Justin took me to the printer. We opened it up and saw the chocolate still lodged inside. First off, who leaves chocolate in a printer for days on end? Were they scared to touch it? Afraid I was the one who might have taken a bite out of it? Whatever. I digress.

Looking at it again, the chocolate really looked like it had been gnawed at. Travis was about to lose his s**t. Having realized I went from intern to prime suspect, I told them again — this time nervously — that it wasn’t me. I didn’t do myself any favors by (accidentally) sounding guilty.

Then, because I put literally the bare minimum effort into investigating further, I found little chocolate dots — you know, the kind that weren’t chocolate but were actually rat droppings — inside the printer and all along the wall behind it.

We started taking the printer apart to see if there were more and found a truly dumbfounding scattering of those little paper slips that come tucked into every Kiss. It was like someone had set off a Hershey Kiss paper slip confetti cannon in that printer.

All in all, I was almost fired because Ratatouille was eating and s**tting his dessert in the printer. Lesson learned: don’t leave chocolates out next to a printer, JUSTIN.

ACTUALLY IT WAS TRAVIS.

JP : Who f**king cares? That’s it, interview over. I’m moving to Indianapolis. Have a great life. Thanks for the award or whatever. Go f**k yourselves.



Phase-II:-Chi-City

Phase II: Chi-City


CHICAGO, DECEMBER 28th, 2017

By Conor Hare

There was a breath of fresh air that morning as I took in the 32 degree weather outside of O’ Hare Airport. I had left behind an entirely different life in Southern California to start a new chapter, a new experience, and at the time, an unknowingly new career that was ahead of me.

I struggled for the first month or so seeking out my next career move while second guessing to hang up my past career as a Hospitality Director. It wasn’t until I decided to take a long weekend home to my roots in Philadelphia that the germ of the Chicago office idea started to develop. I would frequent JTWO when I came back to Philadelphia for years as Travis and Justin have been long time friends and I always made sure to come antagonize the office with each visit. This time around, I was dreading my second hotel move in Chicago and was just about at wits end to cut the cord.

LISC Chicago - "Hoops In The Hood"


Client: LISC Chicago

We teamed up with LISC Chicago and State Farm to write and produce the Hoops in the Hood brand video for their 13th Annual City Wide Tournament in Downtown Chicago.

PLAY

Travis, Justin and I stepped out for lunch one afternoon and they were asking me about the move and the new gig out in Chicago. I had to be honest and tell them it wasn’t what I had expected and I wanted out. Suddenly one of us jokingly said, “well let’s just open a Chicago office.” At that moment, on the corner of Chestnut and 4th, we all stopped in our tracks and looked at each other with wide eyes and large smiles.

As the Chicago office began to develop over the first couple months and we started to stomp our footprint in the Windy City, I met a very animated man by the name of LaVonte Stewart. He told me about his non-profit organization Lost Boyz Inc and how the Southside is misunderstood. During this encounter I could see that he was very invested in the kids that resided on the Southside of Chicago as he was once one of them. This began my interest in spreading the word of our Projects That Matter Initiative to help tell the story of the Southside Community.

THE LOST BOYZ OF CHICAGO


From the award-winning team that brought you For Aaron: The Documentary comes the inspiring true story of The Lost Boyz of Chicago – a youth baseball league playing to reclaim their community from gang violence within one of the of the most violent neighborhoods in America.

VIEW TRAILER

Over the past year and a half in Chicago, we have made a point to work hand in hand with many non-profit organizations who tend to kids who are growing up on the Southside.

Since opening our office in 2018, we have done multiple projects that ultimately help bring awareness and support to over 20 communities in the South of Chicago. We have partnered with Laureus Sport for Good, State Farm, Local Initiative Support Corporation and We Raise Foundation to assist the kids residing in these communities with their voice that needs to be heard on a larger stage so the rest of the world can hear first hand from them and not just from the National News stations.



chopping-it-up-an-editors-take

Chopping It Up: An Editor's Take


BY IAN SCHOBEL

In this lovely era of overt personality commodification in both mainstream and subversive cultural circles, we’ve insisted on merging the artist and their art, demanding voyeuristic insight into their lives. So, where does the editor fall in this landscape? The one who is often considered best when their presence is unnoticed, disconnected from your viewing experience, an afterthought that returns in the credits. When you finish watching your program and you’re simmering in the aftermath of a truly powerful experience we often take for granted or which gets muddled in the thousand other hours of on demand entertainment, that stupor is the result of one or many people watching this footage for weeks, even months. Yes, I am a thick cog in the machine. A puppeteer of nuance. I contort our productions to make you feel how I choose. They call me a lot of things, most of which I disagree with. They also call me editor.

I was born in the 90s. Aspiring editors born prior know that there was an implicit understanding you submit to when deciding upon this profession: tucked in a damp, dark corner, light will not reach your place of work; you must become familiar with darkness and isolation, your screen’s synthetic light the only illuminator. Your place on the totem is integral, but not meant for glory. “We’ll fix it in post,” they say. Perhaps a bowl of food will be intermittently lowered to your desk via rope. This is mostly false in my experience. The head honchos at JTWO are the collaborative sort and pretty good at treating their employees like humans with rights, not a perverse assembly line– there’s a wall of windows, running water, unlimited bathroom breaks, a fridge, coffee and dogs that sometimes let you smush their fluffy heads.

Of course, it doesn’t take a career in production to appreciate an edit. The fourth wall can break any time, for anyone. In the case of the editor, though, after 10 hours cutting, slipping and trimming, they tend to encounter two paths: lose all joy in watching screens, and seek shelter from all types of pulsating electromagnetic waves, or become hungry for more– just a good piece of production, maybe an analytical experience, noticing the cuts, learning movements that shape motifs, ideas that will resurface when you return to your footage.

In commercial film production, the editor is adaptable, and hops from a quick and dirty chop job to a mini doc worthy of festival submission, sometimes in the same day. Editors must operate on instinct within constraints (usually client-defined). Sure, you place a clip next to a clip, next to a clip, and you are editor. But wait– did you check that your codecs and frame rates match your sequence settings? Are you exporting for broadcast? Or simply web? Beyond the creative aspects, the tiny technical details are easy to overlook, but supremely important.

"BEYOND THE CREATIVE ASPECTS, THE TINY TECHNICAL DETAILS ARE EASY TO OVERLOOK, BUT SUPREMELY IMPORTANT."

I became an editor to learn while I create– about the stories I am entrusted with as much as individual craft. It is true that we do not see anything as it is except through the questions we put to it, and under the hood of a commercial film production machine, I don’t ask the same questions with each project. Before diving into the footage for a new spot, there’s a quiet moment where I recognize here is another opportunity to make something new, beautiful, or experimental, to break new personal groundal ground, to rip through the expectations of whoever will watch it. And I’ll let the art speak for itself.