JTWO-INCubator-Project-Brings-You-The-Journey-Rachels-Story

JTWO's [INC]ubator Project Brings You "The Journey: Rachel's Story"


GO DEEPER

From the beginning, I knew I wanted a change of pace for this project. I’d spent the last year or so working on a narrative film as my thesis for college, and by the time I was done, the thought of doing another narrative piece made me want to tear my hair out. Don’t get me wrong, I love narrative work with all of my heart, but I was just so burnt out. Naturally, I shifted to another form that I greatly admire, documentary. I wanted to do a piece on an individual or organization that really stood out to me. I wanted to tell someone’s story and be able to give them a piece that they can use on social media doing just that. I soon ended up with the idea to do a piece around tattooing. I’ve always loved tattoos and have long admired the large amount of skill and effort that goes into making pieces of art become a part of someone’s body. I spent so much time in my adolescent years watching various tattooing tv shows (Best Ink, LA Ink, Ink Master, to name a few), daydreaming of what I’d get tattooed on my body once I was old enough. I think young Lauren would be a little disheartened to know that she’d still only have one tattoo by the age of 23, but hey, quality work is expensive, and rightfully so. 

Seeing so many memes and forums dedicated to exposing people trying to shortchange artists for their work has gotten me more and more fired up as time has gone by. Being an artist myself has only increased my awareness of it. A field I see so often treated this way is body modification, specifically tattooing. In the age of cheap piercing guns at malls and anyone being able to buy tattooing and piercing equipment online, the value of these skills seems to have decreased. Sure, it’s great that these things are accessible, but the appreciation of quality work has also decreased. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve seen friends and acquaintences get poorly-executed tattoos or piercings because they were cheap, resulting in infections, blurry lines, regrets, and keloids alike. That, and many years ago body modification was seen as reserved only for “bad people”. If you had a tattoo, you were up to no good. I knew that once I thought about doing a piece on tattooing, I had to do it. It’s my belief that the more exposure that can be given to the art and artisans in this field, the more people will come to accept and value the practice as an art form. I think it’s worked so far in the grand scheme of things! With each generation, more people are expressing themselves through body modification. So that was my plan. Once I figured this out, I still had one issue: Who do I do a piece about? I had several different ideas, but the one that stuck out to me the most was reaching out to an old friend from high school: Rachel Friel.

I’ve always admired Rachel throughout our time in school. If you had asked me to give an example of someone “cool” during this time, my answer would have been them, hands down. As someone who struggled with fitting in and suppressing who I was, I was in awe of the way they expressed themselves. They just seemed to march to the beat of their own drum, and that alone was badass to me. Rachel was also one of the most talented people I’d met during this time. Whenever I’d see anything they’d be working on I would ooh and aah over the quality of it. I knew they’d go places. Going forward, I kept tabs on Rachel’s journey through art school as mine progressed as well. I found that their journey of figuring out what the right path was for them reminded me of my own. When I saw Rachel had started tattooing over at Ahava I was thrilled! I had reached out to them a bit before even starting the internship to tell them that I was so happy to see that they were doing something with their artistic skills that really seemed to be something they love doing. It made me so happy to see them find their niche. I think small Lauren and small Rachel (pictured below) would be stoked to see just how awesome the quality of current Rachel’s work would be.

My biggest piece of advice: Have all of your ducks in a row before you pitch an idea. This just isn’t for future interns at JTwo, but everyone ever all the time always. This was my biggest mistake, and it lost me the entire first week of my 2-week period for this project and set me back substantially. I had waited to hear back from a potential subject for my documentary for a whole week with no response, and did not get an answer until that point. My line of thinking had been that I should wait until my pitch was approved so I don’t seem like I’m flaking on a potential subject if it isn’t up to par, but in trying to be considerate to others, the whole thing just kinda blew up in my face. Not fun. Thankfully, I was also considering Rachel at the time, and quickly reached out to them. They were gracious enough to let me poke around their apartment and Ahava on such short notice, and I’m very thankful for it. Having your head in the game is more than just lining up your documentary subject, however. I’m talking about shot lists, storyboards, call sheets, equipment lists, the whole thing. Thinking of these things in advance is something I’m getting better at, but wish I had down to more of a science like my co-intern Lana does. (I was in her project, so I got to see her organizational skills firsthand.) Seriously. Planning is so much of the battle. It’s nice to have everything in order when you step on set so you can really just focus on what you’re doing in the moment. All in all, I think I’ve learned so much during this process, and at JTwo in general. Sometimes the important lessions are learned the hard way, but even when you mess up and lose an entire week on your project you can always pull yourself together and do your best, learning from your mistake going forward. It can feel hard to admit that you messed up (in any way), but it’s more freeing when you acknowledge it, learn from it, and let it go as you move forward.

Meet the Director

Lauren Koob is a recent graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, with both a BFA in Film and a BFA in Acting. She seeks to create work that is rooted in the exploration of the depths of the human condition and hopes to show through her work in directing and cinematography what she believes to be beautiful.

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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Credits

Writer and Director – Lauren Koob
Cinematographer – Lauren Koob
Editor – Lauren Koob
Editor – Lana Duda
Sound: Audrey Zycinsky
Talent: Rachel Friel
Music by Dani Jalali – “NY Girl”
Music by Capt QUBZ – “Get Down”
Music by Rex Banner – “Easy Money”
Music by Ziv Moran – “Listed Thoughts”


Jtwo Welcomes Intern Lauren Koob

FIRE AND FILMMAKING


By Lauren Koob

For as long as I can remember of my 23 years, I’ve been labeled as “difficult” by others. Passionate, over-emotional, fiery, intense, whatever word you want to use for it. It was what frustrated teachers who didn’t have answers to my constant questions and irritated other kids. It was what I was told made things hard for me with socialization overall. When working in groups, I was labeled as “bossy” because I usually had a vision for whatever was being done, artistic or otherwise, and would give people directions. And yet, it was also praised by those same teachers, who would remark to my mother that I was the best out-loud reader in class, that I was the best kid to pair up a new student with, that I was a “pleasure to have in class”. It was confusing, to say the least. The same parts of myself that were applauded in gifted and talented programs and drama club were shunned in my realm of human interaction. This confusion added fuel to the fire, and led me to be even more of a “difficult child”. My angry crying when some boy would make a snarky remark in class increased tenfold, and I grew frustrated with myself. Over time, I grew tired of crying, tired of being the difficult girl, and by the time I was in high school, I wasn’t even myself. I was a shell of the person I was as a child, a mere flame compared to the roaring fire that I came into the world as. I became quiet and docile. I started to stutter when reading aloud in class. I sweat bullets any time someone spoke to me, regardless of who they were. But I was finally no longer “difficult”. In cutting out this part of myself, I had lost touch with who I was as a person, and began to question everything about myself. It was only in the world of art that I still felt that connection to the child I had been a long time ago. It was acting and film that kept me tethered to that last piece of myself left. 

By the end of my time in high school, I had grown bored with trying to fly under the radar. I wore weird clothes and strange hairstyles and said obscene things to make people laugh or get pissed off. I reveled in making people angry, a complete 180 from before. So when it came time to pick what to do with my life, I threw caution to the wind and kicked up even more of a storm than I usually did by deciding to go to art school. I was still an anxious little clam, though, so the concept of becoming a filmmaker and potentially being labeled as “bossy” again still scared me, despite my volatile fashion choices and sailor’s mouth. I decided instead to go to school for acting, and ended up at the University of the Arts (which I just graduated from) here in Philadelphia. Yet, I soon found myself deeply unsatisfied with just doing Acting Major things, and declared myself a film minor my first semester of freshman year. During the single film class I had, something had awakened in me. At the end of the year, I sat down in my advisor’s office and felt a question jolt through me out of nowhere:

“Can I be an Acting Major and a Film Major?”

The short answer was no. The long answer is that the two programs did not mesh schedule-wise, and there seemed to be some resistance towards the idea in general, as it had never been done before. Both my Acting and Film advisors were invested in the idea, though, so the three of us collectively pushed to change the system. I had chosen the school due to their narrative of interdepartmental and interdisciplinary crossover, so why not? It was exciting for all of us, and for once, it felt like I was being truly commended for pushing for what I want. From the beginning, I knew I would have to tack on an extra year of school to pull it off and go over the regular credit limit some semesters, but I had made peace with that. And so… it happened, making me the first of my kind at the University. Most of my time was spent running down Broad Street, booking it from my Stage Combat classes five blocks away to make it in time for Film History or anything else in that vein. Moving forward, I noticed that despite my constant grind, some professors didn’t take me as seriously as other students. At first, I had thought it was due to some lack of skill of mine, or the fact that I was originally just an Acting Major. I distanced myself from my theater school identity when in my film classes and pushed to learn everything I could, but soon realized it wasn’t my acting history; it was that I was female and the students that were treated like actual filmmakers were mostly male.

Growing up, I was the filmmaker of the house. Armed with a small digital camera (one which would be replaced every couple of years due to their inevitably short lifespan back then), basic editing software, and a bored friend or two, I made my first works as a filmmaker. Music video remakes, dramatic puppeted movies using American Girl Dolls as our actors, fake talk shows where I hosted; these were the works that came out of my adolescent mind. I commanded the controls of my ancient version of Windows Moviemaker with the ease of a expert pianist performing for thousands and churned out my 480p masterpieces. Sadly, many of these were lost to time and outdated technology, but honestly… it might be better that way. Those that have survived on old flash drives and laptops are cringeworthy at best, but it’s still nice to have something to look back on. And when I wasn’t making, I was acting in the yearly musical at school and watching anything I could get my hands on. I anguished over not being old enough as an actress or filmmaker to contribute to my favorite films in the ways I knew how. I lamented over the fact that I wasn’t swordfighting or directing a crazy scene or being hailed as my generation’s next big creator. But even during my gripes, I felt more alive than I had felt since I was that child kicking up dirt and driving the adults around me crazy. I clinged to that.

This is by no means me condemning all men in the industry or my male/masculine presenting peers. Men are just as lovely and talented as women! But time spent in feminist film classes and having a space with my female/femme friends to discuss what had been happening to all of us made us realize that our experiences weren’t singular by any means. It was the realization that we were being treated differently that launched me back into my childhood self, full of angry tears. Suddenly I was the same little girl who clenched her fists and demanded respect and an apology from a kid who said something I was told to ignore. I had grown tired of sitting by and letting my friends and I be disrespected, treated like we weren’t real filmmakers and that our work made about the female experience was inferior. Many of us chose to channel this into our work, myself included. But I was also not afraid to speak up. It was during this experience that I truly felt myself become free of my fear of being seen as a “nuisance”, and I realized why I had been labeled the way I have been my whole life.

Because I am female.

Knowing that there wasn’t something wrong with me, that if a boy were to do any of the things that I did which were considered “troublesome”, he would be applauded for “strong leadership skills” or “good character”– it was such a freeing realization. To know that I’m not wrong, but the patriarchal standards set for women, especially in the film industry, are wrong was mind-blowing. I started to actually believe the things I had been telling myself for so long, like that I was talented and a good filmmaker. This whole epiphany came while filming my senior thesis project, and the difference in my presence as a director and filmmaker in general was palpable on set. I learned something valuable. That I need to walk into the room and know that I am talented, that I am of value, and that if whoever it is I may be auditioning for or applying to can’t see that, then there will be someone else who does. I think that’s such an empowering perspective to take. There is nothing to be gained professionally by downplaying your skills and making yourself lesser, aside from patriarchal approval. I have come to embrace who I am, flames and all. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be passionate or intense or a leader or anything other than submissive and smiling as a woman. Those are qualities you need as a filmmaker, as an artist, as a person. As I’m writing this, I’m dealing with the internal struggle of “do I put this kind of thing out on the internet and potentially not get hired by someone because of it, or do I stay true to who I am and be open with that?” which is proof that I still have a lot of work to do, but I know I’ve come a long way. I’m not different from anyone else in that I have “too many” emotions or fire back when something upsets me. I am a person, just like men, just like other women, just like non-binary folks. It’s just in my nature to be more open about my thoughts and feelings, and I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of that. My journey as a woman and student of feminism and my journey as a filmmaker are so deeply tied together that if I were to separate the two for this, I think it would be a truly disingenuine representation of myself and the heart of my work. So here we are.

Wow, you made it through all of that! Now here’s the part you’re probably looking for: I am ridiculously excited to be interning at JTwo. I seek to create work that explores the depth and complexity of the human condition and am dedicated to raising the voices of those who cannot be or will not be heard in my work in both large and small ways. In addition to that, I have a passion for Stage Combat, and hope to have more opportunities to choreograph fights and expand my list of certifications so that I can use those skills in my work. I think combat is an extension of the extremes of human emotion, and am deeply fascinated by that. (Plus, I was raised by massive nerds, so my Lord of the Rings fangirl self has always loved it.) Overall, I just really want to tell a good story in the best way possible. It’s my belief that giving yourself to the story, to put your body and soul into your work, is one of the most selfless things possible that you can do as an artist. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, to let yourself dive all the way in, but the best work always seems to be made by those who put all of themselves on display and channel that into their creations. I think this philosophy reflects my work as both an actor and filmmaker, and why I was so drawn to this company. After all, “the story is everything”. If your heart and soul isn’t in the things you make, be it a feature film or just an introductory blog post for your internship that probably only five or so people will read, what’s the point?

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 Welcomes Intern Lex Forge

THE TRAVELER - A SHORT AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BLOG STORY


By Lex Forge

Character Description:
Lex Forge (male) – 21 Years Old
A Pennsylvania State University film major seeking inspiration

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

A man — early 20s, unshaven, disheveled hair — sits on the floor leaning against a bed. He’s occupied the same position for some time now. He sits unmoving, his eyes staring forward into space — they seem to be focused on everything and nothing at once. But his outward stillness is deceptive. 

INT. THE MAN’S HEAD – DAY

He’s wading through a thick haze. The room is quiet but a low rumble fills his ears. It sounds like a muffled chattering, an ensemble of indecipherable voices. They coo, they hiss, but they remain unclear. There’s too many, only the occasional word cuts through the noise. The man is tempted to listen closer, to try to understand them. But he knows following them will only pull him further into the fog.

The ever present fog. It envelopes him. In every direction there only seems to be more of it. It’s beginning to slow the man down. Moving through it is disorienting. There’s no tether to follow back to where he started, no indication of where he’s going or where he’s been. Has he always been in the fog? Was there ever a time without it? He just knows he has to keep wandering. He has to keep wandering through that oppressive uncertainty. But suddenly he stops. He has the distinct sensation that he’s reached a precipice. That one more step will send him plummeting over an edge and into that fog forever. Then the whole struggle will have been in vain. There’s a reason he’s reached this point. He believes that. He was meant to reach it. He doesn’t dare move. The rumbling has stopped. There’s an eerie sense of quiet. Is… is the fog thinning?

Then a bright flash erupts through the fog. It explodes with such force that everything is instantly illuminated. There’s nothing but the light now. It washes over the man and for a moment everything makes sense. The fog is gone. The journey is complete. Then as quickly as it appeared, the light vanishes. The fog descends once more.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY 

The man snaps back to reality, feverishly scribbling an idea down on a piece of paper. It was only a brief glimpse but there’s no mistaking it: inspiration has struck. He knows he will have to travel into the fog once more. But at least, momentarily he has silenced his doubts and remembered why he chose to be a filmmaker.

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 Lana Duda

READY TO BE HEARD


By Lana Duda

I see filmmaking as the ultimate form of art. It’s visual, auditory, emotional, informal, and can bring people together. Visual media is something that has become so accessible and dominant in how individuals see and understand the world. Being a part of the film industry gives me the opportunity to create media that accurately represents the truth and heart of a story that can inspire and educate viewers. Film is a window into the cultures and the lives of others. My goal in this industry is to be a part of those stories and help those individuals be heard.

I grew up watching films that changed the way of visual storytelling, Citizen Kane, Tokyo Story, Vertigo, Touki Bouki, etc. Those films have become a foundation towards my storytelling, representation, and the history of film. Film is so powerful and I want to be a part of the new age of filmmaking that elevates these stories to a more equal, realistic, representative level that has allowed more individuals, innovation, and ideas to be seen. 

The funny thing is, I never saw myself heading down this career path. I always had a very natural creative ability, but I grew up in a very math and science dominated school and unfortunately, the arts was something to be budgeted and cut. Not until my senior year of high school did I question filmmaking. I applied to Temple University as a Biology Major and I was not happy. I was doing things that I thought others expected of me instead of taking the risk to say “I don’t know what I want to do”. I declared undecided and took a film class. I finally felt like I was in a space where I could be creative with others. 

From there I declared film and fell in love with Post-Production. In those four years I learned and dedicated myself to working on projects that told an important story. I cannot imagine doing anything else. Post -production is the perfect amount of creativity and technological ability that continues to teach and challenge me everyday. It’s something I can do for hours on end and never be sick of it.

As my final semester at Temple came to an end, I talked to a mentor who told me about JTwo Films. I reached out to their head editor to talk, connect, and ultimately learn from their experiences as an editor in Philly. They themselves interned at JTwo and through hard work and dedication they were recognized and rewarded. Besides their amazing works and stories, that is something that really stood out to me. I had nothing to lose. I applied for the internship and now I am extremely thankful to have this position and be a part of JTwo’s storytelling experience.

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

Cleaning-Is-Caring

Jtwo collaborates with agency BRG Communications


PROJECT DETAILS

BRG Communications out of Alexandria Virginia came to us about producing a couple of projects for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI). The first one we produced is a national PSA for TV. This was created for ACI’s new campaign titled, “Cleaning is Caring” to communicate the value of cleaning in today’s society as a way to protect one another from the spread of illness and encourage consumers to maintain proper cleaning behaviors adopted during the pandemic. We worked hand in hand with BRG Communications to make sure the project brought the awareness that ACI was looking for to spread the new campaign across the US.

The Second project entailed our animation team creating a whiteboard animation for ACI’s “Packets Up!” initiative. This animation was driven by the theme of bringing awareness on liquid laundry packet safety not only to adults but for young kids as well. It is a light-hearted animation detailing that proper storage and use of all cleaning products is a daily practice that can help prevent accidents in the home.

Cleaning is Caring


Client: BRG Communications

We partnered up with BRG Communications to produce a PSA for American Cleaning Insitute.

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Liquid Laundry Packets: Simple, Sustainable, Safe


Client: BRG Communications

We partnered with Virginia based agency BRG Communications to create a whiteboard animation for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) Packets Up Initiative. We were tasked with creating a light-hearted informational 2D animation detailing that proper storage and use of all cleaning products is a daily practice that can help prevent accidents in the home.

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JTWO-Creates-Animations-For-Frame.io-Camera-to-Cloud-Series

JTWO Creates Animations For Frame.io Camera to Cloud Series


PROJECT DETAILS

Our VFX + Animation team recently partnered up with Frame.io to create multiple animations for their recently released 13 part series, “Camera to Cloud.”  Camera to Cloud was created for filmmakers to have the fastests, easiest and most secure way to get their footage directly from the camera to their collaborators. Our team incorporated animations in the 13 part series showing breakdowns of how this is possible through Frame.io’s platform. We are thrilled to be teaming up with their team to roll out this new technology that will change the game for filmmakers everywhere.

CAMERA TO CLOUD SERIES


Client: Frame.io

This animation is from Frame.io’s 2nd episode explaining the breakdown of modems and routers.

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CAMERA TO CLOUD SERIES


Client: Frame.io

This animation is from Frame.io’s 7th episode: Digital Dallies

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Not-On-Sundays

JTWO Produces Commercial for Responsibility.org


PROJECT DETAILS

We recently partnered with our long-time Projects That Matter partners Responsibility.org to produce a commercial titled, “Not on Sundays.” This spot was produced for several states that currently do not prohibit liquor sales on Sundays. It can be seen on web-based platforms such as Youtube in select southern states. Responsibility.org gave our team an opportunity to be creative with the script, which in return let our crew have a lot of fun with the production in this spot. We even had the chance to have some of our Jtwo crew members make cameos in it as well!

NOT ON SUNDAYS


Client: Responsiblity.org

Our team partnered up with Responsibility.org to produce a witty commercial for several states on prohibiting liquor sales on Sundays

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BEHIND THE SCENES


Gasalia

Jtwo creates animation for Gasalia


PROJECT DETAILS

We were tasked by Boiron USA’s branding department to create a series of animations for their product, Gasalia, the Homeopathic medicine that is made with plant-based active ingredients that relieve bloating, pressure, discomfort, and pain associated with gas. Boiron is the World Leader in Homeopathic Medicine and the largest manufacturer of homeopathic products in the world.  The art style for these animations called for our team to have some fun with the concept while driving the products purpose. The entire spot was completed remotely in post production.

GASALIA


Client: Boiron USA

Our team partnered up with Boiron USA to create the animations for their social media commercials for Gasalia, a homeopathic medicine that is made with plant-based active ingredients that relieve bloating, pressure, discomfort, and pain associated with gas.

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Lost Boyz Doc winner at Prairie State Film Festival

The Lost Boyz of Chicago was recently awarded “Best Film” selection in the 2020 Prairie State Film Festival. The documentary director Justin Jarrett, also received a nomination for “Best Director”.  Located in DeKalb, Illinois, The Prairie State Film Festival was founded in 2011 as a multi-genre film festival offering awards in several categories, and includes one award dedicated to films made at least in part in the great state of Illinois. We are proud to to have been selected for “Best Film” for this year’s festival.  Read more about The Lost Boyz of Chicago below.

 

About the Lost Boyz Doc

Dig Deeper

After serving a short term in prison, LaVonte Stewart, a lifelong south side resident and founder of Lost Boyz Inc., became inspired to give back to his community’s youth. Through baseball and softball training, he helps provide a safe space where he can teach leadership and life lessons to neighborhood kids. We were humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to share their stories and tell about how LaVonte and the Lost Boyz are changing the south side of Chicago for good.

PRESS KIT

BEHIND THE SCENES

With only three days of filming we made it our mission to really immerse ourselves into the south side culture and come to know the Lost Boyz family. We could not thank LaVonte and the players enough for being so vulnerable and trusting of our team with their stories.

In the Press


Credits

Client: Laureus USA
Production: JTWO

Producer: Conor Hare

Director: Justin Jarrett

DP: Maria Vattimo 

AC: Aaron Preusch

Location Sound: AJ Olestad

This project was made possible through our Projects That Matter Initiative.  The Projects That Matter Initiative is a Philadelphia based video production program with the mission of  providing professional digital media services to Non-Profits at a discounted rate. To learn more about how your organization can join the initiative and qualify for creative content production discounts click below.


HemCalm

JTWO creates animation for HemCalm


PROJECT DETAILS

We were tasked by Boiron USA’s branding department to create a series of animations for their product, HemCalm, the Homeopathic Hemorrhoid Medication. Boiron is the World Leader in Homeopathic Medicine and the largest manufacturer of homeopathic products in the world.  The art style for these animations was light and uplifting, complementing Boiron’s natural, homeopathic branding. The entire spot was completed remotely in post production.

HemCalm


Client: Boiron USA

Our team partnered with Boiron USA to create the animations for social media advertisements for HemCalm, a homeopathic medicine that is made with plant-based active ingredients in a paraben-free formula that soothes and moisturizes; protects against irritation; and lubricates.

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