JTWO Welcomes Intern Izaiq Jeanty

JTWO Welcomes Intern Izaiq Jeanty




With a Z and a Q

When I was in the second or third grade… Well whenever Isaac Newton was first

introduced in school. Everyone always asked me why my name Izaiq was spelled with a z and a

Q and not the common way or how it is spelled in history. At this young age I never really

thought about it that much and honestly had zero answer. So later that day when I got home

after school I decided to find out. I wiggled into my parents bedroom before bed and asked them

why my name was spelled the way it is. My mom grabbed me and laid me on the bed next to my

father and told me that when I was born they knew I would be unique and be different from

everyone else, So they wanted to give me a name that would perfectly fit me. Since then that

really motivated me to be more creative and outside the box as a person in my own unique way.

When I was young everytime my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I’m an adult, I

always told him I wanted to be a lawyer. Since I spent so much time watching television and

every genre of movie I could get access to that didn’t happen. Growing up usually kids after

school participated in after school programs or played sports. Nope not me I was going home

trying to consume every form of visual entertainment I could find on the internet or any DVDs

around the house, If I couldn’t find a good movie to watch it was always a tv series as my

backup form of entertainment and if I couldn’t find another good tv series then my last resort

was always youtube. For some reason growing up as a kid I was just a huge fan of

entertainment and anything that was visually different from my typical day to day reality. The

things people were creating from scratch with the help of their imagination just always amazed


So what brings me here ? When I first started college at Rowan University I spent my

first two years as a Communications major. I figured since I was also a huge fan of pop culture

music and streetwear fashion I could find a way to try to fit myself into that field since

communication is just so broad, that all changed towards the second semester of my

sophomore year. After the fall semester ended an alumni from my fraternity who happened to

work for Ellen DeGeneres at the time reached out to us looking for production assistance to help

him out with a Christmas special episode for the show. Me and a friend of mine decided to give

it a go and being behind the scenes of production while also appearing on live tv was a whole

new experience for me and the push I needed to make the switch from communications to

Radio Tv and Film. Typically people within this major or film industry start out within high school.

I felt as though starting the second semester of my sophomore year I have a lot of catching up

to do. So since then I really been focused on learning as much as I can within the production of

film and media and Grateful for the opportunity JTWO has given me to stretch my creative mind

and get my feet wet within the industry of production.

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 mark milano

JTWO Welcomes Intern Mark Milano




Growing up in South Philadelphia has truly shaped who I am. I come from a small Italian American family, with a tight knit bond. As a young child I spent most of my days in my parents shoe store on Passyunk avenue. Learning to have an entrepreneurial spirit. When I wasn’t there I would spend my time with my grandparents or my aunt. My grandfather was a professional artist for over 50 years. My creative eye can certainly be attributed to the time I spent with him in his studio. I think it’s important to take the lessons my family taught me and follow them because they all worked so hard to give me a great life. I owe it to them.

I wish I could say I picked up a camera at a young age and never put it back down. But It wasn’t until high school when I picked up a camera for the first time and found my passion. At the time, I thought film and video production only consisted of Hollywood films and TV commercials. As I’ve matured I’ve learned to have a love for the avantgarde and film essays from that era. I think there is something so beautiful within cinematic exploration. The moments where you aren’t too sure where a piece may take you but you keep going anyway. I love films that are up for interpretation, where only the directors themselves know the deeper meaning. These films mean so much to me because they are a reflection of the lives of those producing them. These are the types of films I look to produce for all those reasons. It is such a beautiful medium for self expression.   

After high school I began attending Temple University for Film and Media Arts. I have loved my time there, as well as the ability to network with like minded people who have a passion for film and creating art. I can’t say I know exactly where the future will take me in the film industry. There are so many different avenues I see myself going down. Sometimes this is certainly a scary thought but at other times it is what excites me the most. I think it’s important to try and learn as much as possible and leave no stone unturned because there are so many important jobs in this field.

I know one thing is true, as long as I am creating films that tell great stories and move people, I will be happy. I think interning at JTWO is a great place to be and I am so excited and eager to learn as much as I can from everyone here.

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 Joe Roberto

JTWO Welcomes Intern Joe Roberto




Growing up most kids spend their afternoons playing baseball, soccer, basketball, or some other sport. My friends and I were not like most kids in the sense that we spent our afternoons making “movies” instead of playing sports. One Christmas morning I was given a little video camera, and I was hooked.  I would bring it over to my friend’s house and we would use it to create stories of epic proportions with brave heroes, evil villains, and tons of action. While we were too young to actually figure out how to edit, we were nonetheless passionate. As we grew up we began to stop making movies as it became boring especially if we could not actually watch them. This all changed once we got to high school. 

The first day of high school I walked into my final class of the day called media. I didn’t know it at the time but my life was about to change for the better. This class taught my friends and I all the skills we needed to make actual video content. As soon as we were able to write, direct, shoot, and edit an entire video we were hooked. We found ourselves spending as much time as possible in our media classroom and with our teachers in an attempt to learn as much as we could. We each began to develop our skills and push each other to create the biggest and best videos we could. 

When it was time for graduation some friends pursued work in other fields, and some pursued film. I felt unsure about what I wanted to do and so I decided to go to Immaculata University without declaring a major. Within the first five minutes of my intro to biology class it hit me that if I continued on this road I would never write, shoot, or edit a video ever again. That thought drove me to see an advisor, and by the end of the day I had declared myself an Interactive Digital Media major. From that moment on I looked for any and every opportunity to make videos. I began to shoot videos of almost anything happening on campus. I soon became the go-to video guy on campus for the next four years. 

Upon graduation, I knew I wanted to continue to expose myself to different areas in production until I am able to find what I like best. I was so excited when I found JTWO and saw the type of environment they foster as they work. I am ecstatic to continue to grow my skills while interning here.

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 Brooke Gollmer


By Brooke Gollmer

My name is Brooke Gollmer. I go to Temple University, and I will be graduating next Spring in 2023. I would like to focus on post- production, but I am a jack of all trades and a quick learner. I got into film making because I like to listen to people’s stories and find the synchronicities of life through the thoughts and feelings we have universally. The universal feelings that we have are what connect us to each other, so if you are observant of those thoughts and feelings, you will be able to present them on screen in a way people relate to. I believe that curiosity is important because it can reveal to a person a lot about what is around them, maybe even things that are always there and go unnoticed. Being passionate within the presence of our purpose is one thing I live by.

One project I finished in November truly defines who I am as a person and a filmmaker. My Air Conditioner broke, so the mechanic came to fix it. As he was fixing my Air Conditioner, let me remind you I have never met this man in my life, I was having a conversation with him, making him feel at home, and he asked me what I did. I told him I was a student filmmaker, so he asked me if I would film a music video of him to surprise his wife at their wedding. I said yes because why not. So, as he was fixing my Air Conditioner, he gave me his pitch of everything that he wanted to see within the music video. I listened and took notes, not knowing if he was truly serious about filming this music video, and we exchanged contact information. Still not knowing if he was genuinely serious, I made a storyboard with the vision he was describing to me and sent it to him.

I matched his vision pretty well, we ended up creating a short film before the music video which lead to the video being 13 minutes long, starting with the short film representing his wife and how she is a rose growing from a hard place, followed by a song called Flor Palida which he did a cover of changing it up a little for his wife. 13 was an important number for Reynaldo Deane and his wife, so I had to pay attention to detail and hid the number 13 throughout the video in subtle ways. He paid me for it, more than I asked for, which gave me the courage to say hey maybe I can do this storytelling thing for a living. I love to create and you cannot create without love. Finding love in everything will show that everything is already created with love, so if you re-create that love then it will be understood by the audience.

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 Alyssa Capitini


By Alyssa Capitini

Have you ever wondered why you desire what you desire? Or why your brain is wired a certain way or why you’re so drawn to that one thing? You continue to pursue that thing knowing it gives you a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment but uncertain why that is until one day it all clicks. It all clicked for me one day and since then I’ve been on a nonstop journey of creative expression through the eye of the camera. I realized that from a young age I’ve always desired a life of creative expression.

From dancing to singing to painting that was how I expressed my enjoyments as a little girl. I’ve looked back on old family videos when my dad would record me with his camcorder, and all you can see and hear is little five year old me saying “let me hold it!” Fast forward to middle school and I had developed a passion for photography. I remember my dad buying me a small point and shoot camera and I thought it was the best thing in the world. I would take my brother to soccer practice and while I waited I would take pictures of the flowers on the field or action shots of the kids kicking soccer balls in the goals. This all brought me a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment but it didn’t click until high school that this was more than a hobby, but rather a lifestyle that not only can bring myself fulfillment but others as well. I moved onto high school being accepted into an accelerated 4 year video production program. My time through high school was full of learning moments and experiences in a variety of film settings. I loved every bit of the program but could not help shake the feeling that I felt and thought differently from my classmates.

My peers all desired a career in the Hollywood industry, and for some reason I did not desire that same path. I questioned why I did not feel the same and often tried convincing myself that would be the path I take. It wasn’t until I dipped my foot into other aspects of the production industry that it all clicked that there are other paths to this vast world of film. After visiting New Mexico on a missions trip my Junior year and experiencing the life of the Navajo tribe and the impoverished life they live I realized there are so many stories to be told of places most people don’t even know about. During that trip I was able to build relationships with children in the community and tell their stories on camera. A documentary I created my Sophomore year on the school’s musical showed me there are stories to be told even right in front of me at my own school.

Continuing my passion for photography in College helped me to instill confidence to the people I got to take creative portraits for. The music videos I’ve helped create have taught me there are people in this world that need help also expressing themselves creatively and I have the tools and the skill to do it. All of these experiences in so many routes of film have taught me that my path in this industry is my own and its unique to me. I was able to have confidence in high school and moving forward in college that I knew my own path and why I was driven to create. I want to continue creating for the rest of my life, in whatever capacity that may be. I want to not only express myself but share the stories of others, and create stories that are waiting to be told. I am excited for what the next chapter of my life looks like as I finish up school and continue my internship with JTWO films. I hope to grow in creative ways where what I produce can impact those in inspirational and thought provoking ways.

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 Benny Flora


By Benny Flora

The waves rolled in under a quaint and colorful town in southern Italy. A small, aged villa that had been converted into a hotel housed a single family of Americans; a mother and three sons. It was March and on the colder side, and so an off season for visitors. The family ran out of their picturesque cottage and sat looking at the ocean. There were two brunettes and a blonde kid. The blonde one happens to be me, the writer of this very blog post, and the middle of the three brothers. So I can speak from experience when I say it was a truly breathtaking environment. My oldest brother, 15 at the time, was the tallest and clearly undergoing puberty, with awkward mannerisms and an asymmetrical face (sadly for him he is still ugly). My little brother was short with long straight hair, and a little chubby (in a couple years he would outgrow both of us). And I was on the brink of puberty, with straight blonde hair and sporting a European soccer zip-up. Carefully painted tile lined the walkways of the hotel and moss hung from the stone walls. We had everything we needed out there in southern Italy… Except one thing was missing: Video games! As a 13 year old kid I could not go without my video games for more than a week. I loved them as much as any other 21st century adolescent, and I was eager to return home so I could crack open the latest Dragon Ball Z game that had released while we were abroad. I could not wait to play it. But we still had about a week left on this trip, so I began to play the game in my head, seeing the characters in the beautifully aged palaces and streets of Italy in order to appease my cravings. I tried to get my brothers in on it, too, but they weren’t interested. Funny enough, viewing Italy in this way did not increase my love for Dragon Ball Z or even video games; instead it allowed me to see how much story and life can exist in a setting. Suddenly, I was imagining stories that came from the smallest and most ancient cracks in the stones lining the European streets. I came up with stories that came from the blocked off and crumbling staircases in the background of our tour of the coliseum. 

Naturally, upon our arrival back home I busted out my new game and played it for hours. What was strange though, was that it was not as exciting as my imagination made it out to be. Surprisingly, not playing the game was actually more fun than playing the game. I longed for the streets of Italy that let my imagination go crazy. Video games did not satisfy my imagination anymore. I wanted to see the stories in real life, not on my screen. I started paying closer attention to details in life, the things that make an object look worn or old or aged. Those are what the stories originate from; every crease, bend, bruise, or crack has its own story. 

Years later, when it was time to decide where to go to college, I had my sights set on sunny Los Angeles. I had to get out of the cold weather, and I wanted to be in an action-packed environment for film school. When I finally got there, I quickly noticed that everything is a whole lot newer than the Philadelphia area where I am from. Suburban sprawl and motor malls dominated most of the land, with the “new” and “fashionable” taking precedence over the historically buildings. When I’m in LA, I feel uninspired by the modern simplicity of everything. Often I turn my back to my friends who want to go downtown to check out the fast excitement of modern urban living. I prefer the run-down beach shacks that sit by the water, stained by sand and ocean salt. There are still buildings and environment that hold the history of Los Angeles, but my worry is that they will soon all be gone. 

Returning home to Pennsylvania for this summer reminds me of how I felt as a kid in Italy: distracted by the stories that are overly manufactured and consequently missing the ones that are real and inspiring. Without the hustle and bustle of west coast life I feel free to explore nature and the historic setting the grew up in with a more mature eye, and in doing so I will take my storytelling to the next level. It seems fitting that my life led me to interning at JTwo, in the heart of old-city Philadelphia where every building is aged with a good 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.

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JTWO Welcomes Intern Jul Heiden


By Jul Heiden

When I was a child, I found the monotony of my cushy, comfortable life in the East Coast incredibly boring. As the product of a father who grew up in New York City during the seventies and eighties, my parents were understandably protective of myself and my younger sister during childhood. However, the routine of school -> homework -> swim practice -> home -> repeat was hard for someone like me, and I was often envious of my friends and classmates whose parents let them stay out unsupervised until the streetlights turned on. Because of this, I spent a lot of time at home reading books, losing myself in page after page of fiction and fantasy novels. I was especially fascinated by the characters’ relationships with one another, the small things that made them intrinsically human, even relatable. I would spend hours during school daydreaming about the characters in the novels I was reading. I would always alter the story, though, imagining situations that I felt should have happened instead based on the characters’ personalities and relationships with one another. Eventually, as I aged from a child to a “preteen” I started to create my own original cast of characters with the help of a brand new internet phenomenon: social media. When I was around ten years old I began writing my own stories on Word 2003 on my mother’s beat up, virus-infected Dell computer which began my transition from daydreamer to storyteller.

Throughout my middle school years I would consistently start writing stories without actually finishing them. Something I would write in one novel would inspire me to write another with a whole different cast of characters and an entirely new setting. And onceI got the ball rolling with the second novel my attention would be drawn to something different. By the time I reached eighth grade I had a flash drive full of unfinished stories perpetually inserted into my mother’s laptop.

However, during this time in my life I had began to focus my attention on music. I had been discovered by Jennifer Diamond, a successful opera singer and Juilliard graduate who helped me hone my vocal abilities for the better part of five years. While I continued to daydream, I began to write less and less in order to make time for choir practice, voice lessons, and performances. Opera became my whole life—my identity—I rarely had time for anything else. I was in Midtown five days a week for hours on end after school when I was recruited by the New York City Youth Opera, I would commute to Bergen, New Jersey twice a week to rehearse with the Verismo Opera Company, and I even performed at Carnegie Hall with my high school choir. When it was time to submit college applications, I had all but stopped writing stories in favor of preparing for music school auditions.

When I got accepted into music school I was ecstatic, and my first semester at Boyer College of Music & Dance at Temple University was exactly what I expected it to be. However, as I continued my higher education, I felt like something was off. I didn’t know what it was, but I began to feel miserable. How could I not be happy? I thought to myself. This is everything I ever wanted, the culmination of my blood, sweat, and tears. But it wasn’t. I felt myself withdrawing from my studies, my grades began to drop, I stopped practicing as often. For the next two years I tortured myself in music school, trying to force myself to enjoy singing like I used to. It was useless. In the Summer of 2020, I switched my major to Tourism & Hospitality Management, but after taking one class I realized that it was not for me. In a panic, I turned to my advisor who asked me a question that turned the course of my college career on its head: “Was there anything you used to be passionate about before music?” Yes, yes there was.


It took a lot of digging, but I was eventually able to find the flash drive I used to save all my stories on, buried in a box in my closet that I had not opened since I got to college. As I sat down and read through them, I noticed that the premises of many of my unfinished stories would make great television shows or short films. After several days of research, I officially changed my major to Media Studies and Production and started attending the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University.

Which leads me to today: nineteen months, two premiers, and one award later, starting my first day as an intern at JTWO Studios. I don’t know what’s in store for me here, but I’m excited to see where it takes me (and also to hang out with the dogs)!

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 Jake Horoshko


By Jake Horoshko

What do you want to do?

This is probably the most annoying thing a teenager can be asked. As you get older and learn to drive and take care of yourself you have to start thinking about college. When that time starts to come everyone is wondering what you want to do with your life. In reality it’s pretty crazy to expect a teenager to know what they want to do with their life when their biggest concern is their next intramural basketball game or what video game they are gonna play when they get home. Those are not the top priorities of someone who should be making major life decisions. So I said what most other kids my age said, “I don’t know.” I played sports my entire life and always intended to play football in college but I knew that my playing career would come to an end sooner rather than later. I had become so invested in sports that I thought maybe I could be a high school teacher and a football coach at the school. That was a path that many people I knew had taken and something I could see myself doing. In the back of my mind however my dream was to work with movies. While sports had become very important in my life, movies were my first love. My grandmother always tells me I learned to work the VCR before I could talk and I would watch the Toy Story movies on a loop everyday. However this just seemed too far-fetched for me to even bring up to other people, especially because my childhood home was about 5 minutes away from pure wilderness and no one I knew ever even tried to make a career in film. I was always considered the funny guy and prided myself on being the most creative person in the room. Looking back it frustrates me that I didn’t realize what I wanted to be for so long but I eventually did.

I started to come to a realization when I was 16 and I went on a vacation to California with my family. Our first stop on the trip to California was Los Angeles and we had a few studio tours planned. I am a massive fan(probably a little too big) on anything you would consider nerdy so this sounded like a dream come true. Our first trip was the Warner Brothers lot and the entire time I was in awe of what I was seeing. I saw home fronts that were used in iconic movies and shows, I saw sets that were being used just a few minutes before I was there and then I was shown the props and costumes from Batman v. Superman and I was at a loss of words. As we walked out I said to myself “I can do this.” After seeing those sets and the people working on them I realized that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of. Movies were movies that meant so much to me growing up and helped shape me as a person, so why wouldn’t I want to help create those moments for someone else? We continued on our trip and went on a few more tours and I continued to be mesmerized by what I was seeing. Countless props and locations that I watched everyday and my mind was made up, this was what I wanted to do. We eventually went home and I continued with my normal life of playing football and basketball and being a regular kid, however it felt like a small weight was lifted because I finally felt like I could answer people when they asked me “What do you want to do?”

As my college search began there were two things I knew, I wanted to study film and I wanted to play football at the highest level I could. After recruiting trips and long phone calls I decided to attend Monmouth University in New Jersey to play football and study communications. I was so drawn to the school because I was offered the opportunity to play Division 1 football for a team on the rise. However I grew frustrated being away from home for the first time and not knowing anyone. I enjoyed communications however I did not love it, and playing football was fun but lots of hard work. I decided I didn’t want to waste any of my time so I had to make a decision. Ultimately my life there did not last long as I left after one semester and I was once again looking for a college.

When I was applying to colleges the first time I was really interested in Temple University because of its high level football, location, and great film program, however I did not get in the first time around. So when I applied again I knew that was where I wanted to be. It was the only school I applied to and that made me very nervous. I eventually got in and decided to attend as a film student and not pursue football anymore. My first few weeks there were great as I loved the school, the location, and the people but I felt like something was missing. I once again decided to take a gamble and tried to get in contact with the football coaches at Temple and tried to walk on. After talking with them I was offered a spot on the roster as a walk on and was once again a student-athlete. I worked hard and had so many great experiences on the team and made lifelong memories. As someone who cried when the Eagles finally won a Super Bowl it is safe to say running out of the tunnel at the Linc is something I could never forget. However I eventually had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life when I got a concussion during practice, which was not my first. When it first happened I’d decided I probably wasn’t going to play anymore for my health, however as I got better I decided I should play my final season of football. The more I thought about it though the more I realized that telling stories was my true passion. If anyone tells you they loved every second of playing football they are lying right to your face, especially if they played in college. I decided it was time to hang it up and focus on my passion that I eventually wanted to make my career.

Reflecting on my time as an athlete, I learned so many valuable lessons. I felt odd when I was playing because I felt a little different than everyone else on the team. I was a Division 1 football player who had aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. At the same time I felt different in my film classes because there were almost no other athletes that were studying film. At first this made me question if I was making the right decision because no one else was really like me. However I quickly realized that I was gaining experiences that no one else in my space had. This reflects me as a person and who I have always been, I have always thought about things differently than everyone else. I was always the funny creative one rather than the smart analytical one.

As my college career ends and I prepare to enter a new chapter of my life I cannot overstate how excited I am for my internship at JTWO. I know that during my time here I am getting to work with so many talented individuals on so many great and exciting projects. I cannot wait to see how my skills grow during my time here and see how much I grow as a content creator.

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 Matthew Sullivan


By Matthew Sullivan

As I was growing up my grandfather had a saying that he repeated to me over and over again – knowing I was the middle child of a big family and more than occasionally felt lost in the crowd: “You’re a combination of all these incredible people around you.” The idea was sometimes comforting and sometimes horrifying depending on how I felt about my family any given day. I clung to the idea as it gave me a sense of togetherness with my family, and provided me role models to look up to in my siblings. The concept of sharing qualities, interests, and points of view with those around me opened a world of new outlooks and took me from a little kid lost in the crowd to one learning from it. I have my older brother’s sense of humor, as I grew up desperately trying to make him laugh. I share in my sister’s relentless sense of empathy, and therefore her unending passion for social justice. Even my closet is full of vintage pants, t-shirts, and Hawaiian shirts after raiding my grandfathers’ closets to emulate, and revamp, their styles. These pieces, which I originally only emulated, eventually built a strong perspective and sense of self as I’ve grown and made them my own.

The idea of people having the power to influence each other is something that has always guided me creatively, personally, and socially. I’ve always kept in mind that my passions, interests, beliefs, and actions can all be shared to benefit those around me in the same way I’ve benefitted from others. This sense of impact whether it be with family, friends, or neighbors I barely know, has guided me to use film as a tool for change. Through storytelling, whether it be commercial, narrative, or documentary, we can communicate our struggles and solutions, and more importantly we can share in common experiences. In doing so difficult events, subjects, and possibilities can be dealt with and evaluated in a safe environment. These pieces of ourselves, whether they’re positive or negative, simple or complex, can be shared through stories in the same way they can be shared through personal relationships – and I think that holds a power to represent every community.

Though I don’t specifically know where I’m going with my journey in the film industry, I know that I’m bringing a piece of every single person who’s influenced me along for the ride. Whether I end up a Producer, a DP, or something else entirely different down the line, my goal, as vague and simple as it is, is to use the pieces of those around me and share them with others. When I work on social justice documentaries I hope a piece of my sister’s passion for others shines through, and when I’m working on a short or music video for YouTube I’m simply trying to make my brothers laugh. These pieces of others that I see in myself motivate me and help me keep my perspective.

I want to create work that reflects the incredible friendships, families, and communities that I’ve been a part of. This guided me to interning with JTwo, as their work brings attention to the stories of different communities, and brings to light issues and experiences that may not currently be solvable, but must be talked about, evaluated, and felt. The work JTwo does through its internship program specifically interested me as it not only gives young creators the space to figure out the route they want to take, but provides the steps and lessons required to get there. I see this internship as an opportunity to learn and develop both personally and creatively, and I couldn’t be more excited or thankful for the opportunity or to see what the next twelve weeks hold in store.

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 Lauren Koob


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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