One Day at a Time Cover Photo

JTWO's Incubator Project Presents "One Day at a Time"

Written & Directed by Valerie Genzano

A young female tries to keep it together while dealing with her college finals and her mother’s cancer diagnosis from 100 miles away.

Project Breakdown

Nora Ephron, an intern, and a project assignment walk into a blog.

My first week at JTwo felt a little rough for me. I was a little rusty while going through JTwo-U, made some mistakes, and learned things that were totally new to me. I was the last intern to start this summer, so I had to catch up on meeting the others and had to get used to the workflow. Now, by the start of my fifth week, I have found my rhythm. Every morning I visit my favorite coffee shop, and I start the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I have officially started working on a few projects and am now finished the ever feared intern project.

This wasn’t an easy road for me. It took a few tries to get the idea right. When I told Justin I wanted to do a mini-doc, he said, “You and everyone else.” I explained that I didn’t know if I had it in me to do another narrative piece – well, it turns out I did. When thinking up ideas, I turned to my personal hero and creative inspiration, Nora Ephron. Ms. Ephron consistently wrote about ideas she was connected to or had lived through herself. Her greatest inspiration was true life. So, I sat down, and I wrote a few drafts of a narrative piece about my life. (Not my whole life, of course, that would be a really long, boring movie about someone drinking too much coffee and watching a lot of Twin Peaks.) The last month of this past semester, the end of my junior year of college,  someone very close to me was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I go to school a hundred miles away from home, was in the middle of finals, and had no way out. It was one of the hardest times in my life and I wasn’t really sure how to cope.

And so, given this opportunity, I decided to make a movie about a girl trying to cope with her mom getting cancer during finals. Slightly on the nose, but it was an exploration for me of myself and of my situation. On top of ending up with a completed project, I’ve ended up with a better understanding of myself and saw what I was enduring through a different lens than I had seen it through before. The process of filming was difficult, but thankfully I had an amazing DP (@ Maria) and a wonderful actress, Jenna Lam. They really understood where I was coming from and each of them added so much to my first idea.

The second problem I had was that I was too tied to my idea. I ended up with around an hour of footage that I had to cut down to around 3 minutes. My first cut was around 6 minutes long, and after Justin gave me feedback, I bit the bullet and cut it down to around 3 minutes. It’s hard watching some of my favorite shots go, but I think everything turned out the way it was supposed to. I ended up with something that means a lot to me and that I am very proud of. I’m grateful JTwo gave me the opportunity to make this, because I know I wouldn’t have otherwise.  I learned a lot and now I can move on with the new knowledge and understanding of creating and of myself.

Going forward with my internship here, I’m so excited to see what I have the chance to do. I’ve already started working on some assignments here and there, but mostly I’ll be excited to focus fully on doing what I can to help the company. Cheers to the next few months, I can’t wait to see what’s accomplished while I’m here. Until next time!

Meet the Director

Val is an undergrad at Towson University studying Film and Art History. Her focus in film is Producing and Assistant Directing and she has a love for creating experimental films as well as narrative shorts. In the next few years she hopes to attend grad school in Philadelphia and find work in the fields she loves.

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

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JTWO's Incubator Project Presents "Operation Save Our City"

Directed by Austin Smock

After Roz Pichardo lost her brother in 2012 due to gun violence, she knew that she had to take a stand and combat this growing problem in Philadelphia. Her way of doing this was by creating Operation Save Our City, an organization dedicated to bring awareness and justice to families, who like Roz, have lost someone due to gun violence.

Project Breakdown

When talking with the guys from Jtwo about the summer internship, I was really excited when I learned that I will have the ability to create my own project within the first few weeks of being there. When it came time to start my project I immediately knew I wanted to do something under their Projects That Matter Initiative – a program that works directly with Non-Profit Organizations since my focus is documentary film.

I find myself very interested in projects that place me in situations that I would have otherwise not been exposed to, or know nothing about. I tend to focus on short form documentary with a cinema verite style. With all this mind, I usually begin searching google for articles about people in Philadelphia that are doing something in their community or for a story that really catches my

The process of getting my subject locked down wasn’t easy and it seems to never really be that easy. I was constantly researching potential subjects and reaching out to people, while not having much luck getting someone locked down. I kept pushing and eventually found my subject.

I have heard about Roz, from other subjects I worked with, but for whatever reason really never thought to try and pursue a project with her. After reading a few different articles and hearing tragic life story I knew that it was the project I wanted to create. Roz, was a victim of an attempted murder, lost her boyfriend at the time to gun violence, and years later her brother was murdered. After a short phone call with Roz, I knew instantly she was the subject I wanted my project to be about.

When I approached JTWO’s Creative Director, Justin Jarrett with my project idea, he liked the project, but wanted to see me try something different from the normal style that I roll with for my projects. I decided to use Roz’s interview more as a narration and using the visual’s than to illustrate the story Roz is telling. I also knew I needed to have compelling imagery because there would be no talking head throughout the video, so I immediately began researching films on vimeo that utilized the same style I wanted to go with for this project.

Vimeo is a great place to find references and I also find it very easy to find films that I like. Another great thing that vimeo provides, is the ability to add a video to a “watch later” list, which allowed me to constantly revisit the videos that I wanted to use as references for my project.

Since 2006, more than 14,500 people have been shot in Philadelphia.

At first I had scheduled two shooting days with Roz. The first day I would go with her to a motorcade that she was participating in, that was organized to bring awareness to gun violence. I shot quite a bit this day, but was also really focused on doing a bit of pre interviewing so I was 100 percent ready for the day I would do the interview her. A few days later I would be filming the interview with Roz and the rest of the broll. Due to the days I spent researching references and working on pre-production I went into this shoot day knowing what I wanted. We went to the location where her brother was murdered, her brother’s gravesite, shot the interview and then shot some broll around her house. After reviewing my footage, I realized I needed more that would really illustrate what she is saying throughout the video. Luckily, there was an event happening the following week where families would lineup on the art museum steps with photos of someone they have lost to gun violence. After capturing this event I knew I would have what I needed to complete the film.

I got back to Jtwo and immediately started editing my project, I had shot a majority of this project in 60fps and right away made the decision of having most of my broll in slomo. I felt it gave this angelic feel that really worked well with Roz’s story. I also decided to use music that wasn’t overpowering and distracting when watching the video. I decided to open the film, with the footage of her brother’s murder and then eventually bringing the film full circle with Roz speaking about the creation of her organization.

The editing process is something I struggle with, mainly because I get married to certain things that really do nothing for the video. I found that the time I spent of pre-production really helped make the editing process much easier. The second I had all of my selects and interview cut I knew how I wanted to edit the video together. This was also the first time I would be implementing statistics into a video and this was something new for that I was skeptical about at first, but it proved to add a really nice touch to the video. Overall, I this project showed me the importance of being open to trying new things and the potential benefits they can provide.

This project was a great experience that really showed me how crucial pre-production is if you want up your chances of creating a successful project. After the completion of this project, I realized it is good to try new techniques because it is a great way to grow as a filmmaker. This project was a great way to kick off the internship and I can’t wait to get started on my next project.

Meet the Director

Austin Smock is a Philadelphia based film-maker with a passion for creating documentary films. I love exploring new places and the people that inhabit them. Through my work I hope to give voices to people that are usually left without one and showcase people that are fighting for social change.

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

Chris Coughlan - "Originality in the Physical Form"

Chris Coughlan

Getting Started

Hello, my name is Chris Coughlan. I’m a recent graduate of Temple University with a Media Studies and Production degree.

When applying for the internship, I felt like this was my last resort. Nonprofessional sets weren’t giving me the experience I desperately needed. I’d been out of school almost a year. Not having a job right out of the gate pushed at my buttons.

Here at JTwo, my experience is like I’m at work. That has helped me feel more settled. I’ve been thrown right into working and creating. I’ve been one of the first to play around with the new A7S II. The FS7 looks quite appealing (Guys, this is my official request to try it. I’ve spent the past couple of days reading up on it). My goal is to work in the camera or lighting department. I want to help make the images that you see on a big screen.

At first, it was pretty daunting to be in the office. My bootcamp consisted of me in a room all by myself. That’s the very last place I’d hope to be. The inspirational videos are actually something I come back to when I feel in a rut. Especially when Jelani reminds me, or tells other people, that I look like Kenneth from 30 Rock. Thanks man, now I lack originality in the physical form as well.

Chris Coughlan, Jack Mcbrayer Doppelgänger

I came to JTwo with the intention to hone my skills and work with higher grade cinema equipment. On top of that, I was looking for a team. Week 3 is coming to a close, and I’m happy to say I’ve been enjoying my stay. Opportunities to work on actual client projects are abundant. Your greatest learning experiences will come from these. Say yes to any of these opportunities. Volunteer as a tribute/slave to the Film Gods. I mean…be a PA.

You should absolutely read the blogs, they’ll do you justice. They may scare you, they’ll worry you, but they will HELP you. What’s most important is that you pay attention, they’re speaking from experience. Get through the bootcamp and reap the rewards of working on REAL things. I’m happy to say I’ve started shooting, and I will be going on my first set with the gang tomorrow.  (UPDATE: I went, I shot, and had a blast with people of Bringing Hope Home.)

If I could give you the biggest tip of them all, research it before you ask a question. Half of my internship has been research and studying that research. Be prepared for whatever it is you are about to do. Learn more about what you currently do, you do not know as much as you think you do. I haven’t been yelled at or scolded just yet, but I’ve been avoiding it by staying on my toes and trying to get ahead of the game. It’s mostly because I worry myself. It’s probably a matter of time before my feelings get bruised.

Here’s to good luck and preparation. I look forward to the next blog, as I’ll likely have much more to say. You’re reading this because you proved yourself. Now, you have to keep that up.


Jake Price - "Don't Get Too Comfortable"

Jake Price

Rowan University

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these. I’ve been interning at JTwo for about six months now and I’m loving every bit of it! A lot has happened since my last post, so I’ll run you through some quick updates:

  • I DJed the JTwo New Years Eve party (lit)
  • I wrote a more unified script for the interns video (now titled “The Studio Life” by Justin)
  • I started shooting scenes for said video
  • Oh, there’s a new intern this semester, Scott. He’s a cool guy!
  • I got to star in a video for Comcast. I felt like a big star, having a makeup and wardrobe department at my disposal. But don’t worry, I’m still humble about being an amazing actor.
  • I went to the Addy Awards with Scott and Travis and we took home 3 awards for JTwo!
  • I started working on another video series to help with revamping the JTwo U program.
  • I did some client work for Century 21 and a lot more client work for FAAR.
  • Also, another intern, Chris, started a couple weeks ago.

Jake Price - Addy Awards

So that’s a rushed overview of where things have been going, but I think what’s most important isn’t what I’ve done, but what I’ve learned. Sure, I learned skills here and there with editing or when using a camera or light, but I think some of the bigger things I learned had to do with my own work ethic. When I first started at JTwo, I was eager to show my bosses what I could do — this hasn’t changed — and I think I really kicked ass my first semester. I’m not saying I stopped trying, but I noticed that I definitely didn’t feel the same need to try as hard when I came back from my winter break. I felt more comfortable in the office (for the most part, a good thing!), but I got a bit too lax about it all. I came in late a few times and sometimes forgot to say when I was going to be in or not (my schedule this semester is confusing and changes week-to-week). For the most part, things have been great, but I learned that I need to always stay hungry for more work, always be at 100%, and always communicate with people. These are life skills I learned through trial and error, but hopefully you, future intern reading this, can see where I went wrong and do things right for yourself.

Comcast Shoot - Jake Price

But, like I said, getting comfortable around the office isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Working at JTwo for six months means I’ve had more opportunities to bond with the people around me (the dogs, too). Some of the best parts of being at JTwo are the (unfiltered) conversations that pop up randomly throughout the day. I know that when this internship ends, that will be one of the things I miss most – the people.


I still have a month left, and after coming to terms with some of my flaws in the past, I’m committing to turning myself around and having an amazing last 4 weeks of being a JTwo intern.

Until next time,

Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman

Crista Pillitteri - Rowan University

Crista Pillitteri

Rowan University

When JTWO Films took me in, I was a college senior. Yet, I still had a ton to learn.  As an intern, I could have never expected the amount of experience they would give me.

…Or that I wouldn’t leave.

In my previous internships, I watched my supervisors during the shoots. I shadowed as they setup the wires, and they held the camera. I listened as they ran the show. But at JTWO, I was part of the crew. I had responsibilities, and as an intern so will you.  I ran a camera. I setup the audio. I edited videos. And I had an opinion. Because I knew that the work I was doing was serious,  for real clients, and because JTWO treated me as part of their crew, I worked harder. And it made me better.

JTWO gave me opportunities to both perfect a craft I was interested in, and to figure out new ones. I came in wanting to be a cinematographer and left dabbling in After Effects.

With JTWO, you can go in any direction, once you (and they) realize what your passions are. As an intern I did work with editing, camera, interviewing, graphics, and social media.  You’ll quickly realize that there are so many areas for you to fit your interests into.

I think what is most important though, what really made JTWO different from any other internships I could have done, is that the JTWO guys genuinely wanted me to grow as a filmmaker. They took time to keep pushing me. And having people behind you like that is something that is a really big deal when you’re still trying to figure out where you’re going.

Jake Price


Week 1 Blog

My first assignment at Jtwo was to create a short film about the other intern, Brian. Justin talked to us about doing something more than just a simple ‘about me’ type video that was unmemorable: “Hi, my name is Jake and I love it here at Jtwo! I got interested in TV and Film when I was-” *yawn*. The goal here was to take the subject, in my case Brian, and to find a story that people could connect with. Justin stressed that we should find an audience and reach out to them; this film needed to carry a message, and it needed to know who to deliver it to. So now, at the end of this process, I’m looking back at how the PSA “Relapse” came to be.

It all started with Brian and I sitting down and having a deep discussion about our lives. I wrote down everything we talked about and started piecing it together, connecting dots, drawing lines between different parts of his life (read: A Beautiful Mind) to find a story worth telling.

I originally focused on telling the story of Brian, the guy who made it to this point in his life because of a bunch of experiences that shaped him, including his history with drugs, getting a job in the entertainment industry, going to community college, meeting his girlfriend, and taking classes at Rowan that helped him decide he love documentary-making. I brought it to Justin. Scrap the idea. Rather, cut the fat – The story doesn’t have to be about why or how Brian got to Jtwo. Find a story that features Brian, but goes way deeper in meaning. So I trimmed down, cutting out anything that explained why he loves tv and film. I cut out school. The theme that hit harder and felt like something I could really work with was addiction.

I rewrote the script two more times until I had something good. I thought, “what if I could still incorporate his love for tv and documentaries?” He told me how as s child he loved watching National Geographic. So, the first shot in my film about Brian was just that – National Geographic. It served a purpose for the story, but using a NG clip felt like the right personal touch, something subliminal for me or Brian, but not for the audience.

Brian’s girlfriend let us shoot at her apartment. The whole shoot was done in one afternoon. I bought an old CRT TV from a thrift store (points for dedication). We blocked every window we could to get the room as dark as possible. I then placed one light right in front of the TV facing Brian. We used no other lights whatsoever for this shoot, which worked out really well (albeit unconventional, don’t try this at home kids). I had him do a bunch of different gestures and had him just sit staring into the (probably blinding) light for a while as I got different angles around him. We did a few shots of him grabbing the bottle and voila, I had my footage. We also did his voiceovers that same day and I brought it all back to Jtwo and loaded it into the computer.

I liked the concept of him reflecting on his life, while also literally reflecting back to the television. I had been gathering footage for a few days already from different online sources to use as the TV content. I wanted it to feel real, so I needed to have the TV be like a single camera shot I could cut to, meaning that at any time there needed to be something on the screen. I made a copy of my script and broke it down line by line, finding footage that matched each line so the TV would reflect what he was saying. I downloaded all the videos I found and started editing everything together.

I first lined up the voiceovers and the shots of Brian. I wanted him to match his VO. Once I had my radio edit (audio-focused edit) complete, I started adding in TV clips to line up. Once all the TV clips were ready, I exported them into After Effects to give them their realistic TV-look. I used a video I shot at Brian’s girlfriend’s of the TV turning on and off as reference for the TV monitor and made it look like these web videos were actually playing on the TV. I bought it back into Premiere when I was done and did work on the audio and sound design (the whooshes, muffled tv sounds, reverb when you hear his thoughts, etc.). I made a few more tweaks from there, but that was basically it.

I remember a few clips of Brian accidentally worked great, like one where I said something to him and he let out a small smile (first thought: ‘bad take, don’t use it’). It was perfect to match up with when he said that taking Vicodin made him, “feel… better.” The credits were also fun to make, since I already had the idea of showing the definition of the word relapse. I thought it would be a perfect name for the video, to I left the title up, going through the rest of the credits to show this wasn’t just a definition – but the name of the film.

This was a really fun and satisfying project to work on, and if this is just an inkling of a taste of what’s to come here at Jtwo, I can’t wait for what I get to work on next!

Until next time,

– Jake From State Farm

[TL:DR] I made a short film. I tell you how I did it.

Jake Price
Jake Price
Jake Price Blog Post