JTWO bids farewell to Saba Ahmed

What's Next?

By Saba Ahmed

As my spring semester was coming to an end, the stress of figuring out what to do with my summer was growing daily. Where do I want to intern, what kind of internship do I want, and many more questions were circling around my mind. One afternoon out on campus, I looked up “Philadelphia production companies” and landed on JTWO’s website. I found their contact email, send them a link to my reel, and got a reply to come in for an interview. From my first interview at JTWO I could tell this was a place where I was going to learn about myself as a creator.

Coming in with a set of tools that range throughout the process of filmmaking, I was excited to grow in these skills which included cinematography, editing, and sound. What I wasn’t expecting to grow in was the role of a writer/director. Seeing myself mainly as a cinematographer, it had been a long time since I created an original piece. By going through this process of creating my own film, I am excited to do it again.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned during my time at JTWO was how important the story is and making sure you are telling it authentically. This theme of “authenticity” has been a prominent one for me this summer and will continue to be for my work going forward. Before entering the internship, I was abroad in South Africa learning the stories of the places I visited and understanding how to tell my experience in the right way. Coming into JTWO, I learned to tell my short film’s story authentically, seeing my fellow interns tell theirs, and understand JTWOs approach as well.

Connecting with people and building relationships is one of the most important things for me as a creator. I am thankful for the new friendships I have made during my time here at JTWO and knowing in the future I can reach out to the people I’ve created bonds with here. As I prepare to start my junior year at Temple University under the cinematography track, I am excited to take the lessons of this summer, the rediscovered passion for writing/directing, and the drive to tell stories right, and have a great year.

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 Saba Ahmed

The Next Steps

By Saba Ahmed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JTWO Welcomes Intern Viveka Galindez

New Chapter In My Life: Video Production


By Viveka Galindez

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

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

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

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

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JTWO Welcomes Intern Jordan Brown

GETTING LOST


By Jordan Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JTWO Welcomes Intern Chris Tocchet

STEP BY STEP


By Chris Tocchet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JTWO Bids Farewell to Derrick Kim

 

It’s crazy to think about how fast these last 12 weeks have passed by. It felt like it was just yesterday where I came in for my first day, asked to get my head slammed on a car. For those of you guys don't know, it was for a scene in this year’s Louix Award opener. To begin, I want to thank JTWO for making what would’ve been a dull spring semester, an incredible experience. A big thank you to Justin, Travis, Jelani, Maria, Brittany, Ian, Omar and more.

The best part of this internship was that it allowed me to do things I would’ve never done with my economics major back at Haverford. I got to pursue my passion in production and storytelling through various JTWO projects alongside great people. Not only did I get to direct a short film (Dibs: Solving the Problem of Waste in Colleges), but I also got to collaborate on shoots with the Louix Awards, Philadelphia Phillies, Comcast, and more. Just from being on set, I took in everything and used it as a learning experience. I would ask Maria about lenses and what situations she would use a 25mm, 30mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses. It was my first time on professional shoots, so it was an eye opening experience. Also, I got really good at slating.

Since I told Justin I wanted to focus more on the cinematography aspect, I got to learn how to shoot and utilize the Sony A7SII, Canon C100, and Sony FS7. I went around Philadelphia a bunch of times shooting time-lapses and practice shots with the respective cameras. On the other hand, I had the opportunity to edit videos as well. I got to edit the Instagram cut for We Raise as well as the Louix Awards highlights.

Through my time at JTWO, my eye and approach for visual storytelling has definitely improved. One of the biggest takeaways was the importance of organization. I learned how imperative it is to have a clean workflow for any project. Just ask Omar, who always made fun of me for what used to be my messy workflow. And thanks to Ian, I discovered the wonderful powers of the pen tool in Premiere.

I’m definitely going to miss the people here and the small talk we would have throughout the day. From working on projects to being part of Justin’s wrecking crew, it has been a memorable twelve weeks. I gained invaluable experience and can't wait to see where I go from here. Thanks JTWO. Until next time.

louix awards

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 Omar Alqahtani

The Good Kind of Stress

by Omar Alqahtani

I was filming my first narrative short outside of a 7/11. One of the characters was smoking a cigarette. We were stopped by a couple of strangers asking saying that they did not have cash for cigarettes but they had a personal bottle of Grey Goose that they didn’t want. I was 19 at the time so I was pretty excited.

While working on a different movie, I called a casket supplier to ask for permission to film at his store. There was a scene where a grandma has to pick out a casket and I wanted it to be as visually compelling as possible; caskets hanging up on the wall felt like they would get the job done. The owner of the store was actually really cool about the whole thing. He gave me a tour around his little factory. He showed me his patented casket technology for people who only want to rent caskets, he explained to me how different types of caskets work, he even showed me how bodies get cremated. He has this giant machine that just sets bodies on fire for several hours. He showed me a can of ashes with leftover body modifications, such as braces, metal teeth, metal bones. It was all wonderfully morbid, but by far the weirdest part of that whole interaction is that he did not seem to mind my pretentious man bun.

For one short summer I worked with online media content company, so they send me on all kinds of weird prop runs. One time was especially different. They sent me out to carry a $10,000 chair through the busy streets of Manhattan. They half-assed the wrapping of the chair and made it my responsibility to return it without any scratches. I’m a pretty clumsy guy, and I did not want them to know that, which led to the most stressful 10-minute walk of my life. It was only 4 blocks, but it felt like 27.

All of those experiences lead to recorded moments on video. I would plug all those experiences onto a computer, and I would have to reappropriate all those memories to create a compelling narrative. To me, this is the beauty of filmmaking. The fact that the making of a narrative is a story within itself. Yes, for the audience, the narrative o the screen is completely divorced from the experiences that formed it, and for the sake of the art, it should be that way. However, the making of a movie leaves me with a lot of stories that I get to carry with me, and be able to tell my friends, family, maybe even grandchildren. I can’t think of many other professions that leaves you with so many stories to tell. That’s why I chose this profession. That’s why I took the internship at JTwo.


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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brynn

JTWO Welcomes Brynn Antaran

Old Paths, New Footsteps

by Brynn Antaran

I’ve shelved most of my high school experiences, but there are a couple lucid moments that come back to me regularly.

The first day of playwriting class, sitting in the second row as our disheveled teacher paced back and forth in front of the white board, nodding and stuttering wildly: “ Real writers, y’know, the ones who are born to write, they never stop writing. Never. They’re seeing all these things around them and writing in their head, y’know, constantly .”

And then one of my summers at a musical theatre intensive, stretching on a stage amongst twenty other teens in jazz shoes, baking alive in an old church without air conditioning in the middle of June as the artistic director told us to think very seriously before pursuing a career in theatre or art because it would be an extremely difficult way to live. “I hate to break it to you kids,” she said in her lilted British meter, “but that’s the way it is.” We should only take this path only if we absolutely had to, only if we could truly do ​nothing​ else in this world but create.

Brianna

I was still a young, doubtful creative–I didn’t understand how anything could feel so sure and natural. In college, though, I fell into filmmaking and everything clicked. Directing and writing makes everything else pale in comparison, I can never get enough of it. I have this quiet certainty in it; it is the only thing I want to do.

I’m very excited to see how interning here at JTwo will help me along my career path. Besides directing/writing, I also produce and assistant direct–I look forward to flexing those muscles in commercial settings with coworkers who I can also call friends.

Brynn


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


Derrick Kim

JTWO Welcomes Derrick Kim

An Unlikely Path to Film

by Derrick Kim

If someone told me three years ago that one day I would be interning for a film production company,  I would’ve laughed at them. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I always had a passion for sports as a kid. I played one year of AYSO soccer and then absolutely fell in love with baseball through Little League. In fact, in first grade, my dream was to become a professional baseball player for the Dodgers. My love for baseball continued to grow until it hit me. Literally. I got hit in the face with a baseball and fractured my nose. It really sucked and I stopped playing.

However, in middle school I discovered that I was really good at volleyball where in 8th grade, I lead my team to its first ever league championship. I was hungry for volleyball and moved up to the varsity team by the end of my freshman year. That summer I worked incredibly hard, training and practicing to become a better outside hitter. I even went to open gyms before the season to get extra reps in. Hard work pays off right? Yes it does! But…I got hurt again. This time, I fractured my left ankle. I was never back to my normal self but, I embraced my passion throughout the next 3 years of varsity volleyball.

I did well academically, but felt like I never gave myself the chance to explore my creativity through classes. But, I did indirectly. During high school, my friends and I loved to go out and explore LA, Whether it was finding the best taco truck or nighttime view, we lived for adventure. We started going to spots like Griffith Observatory and Joan’s on Third to take pictures and try new foods. It was really the first time I was documenting my adventures through a visual medium and enjoyed it. So for my senior trip to South Korea and Taiwan, I bought a Canon Rebel T6i DSLR. This was my first camera and surely, I discovered a new passion for content creation and storytelling.

I packed this passion in my backpack and brought it all the way to the east coast to attend Haverford College in Philadelphia. To many’s surprise, I am majoring in economics and minoring in visual studies. Now that my playing days are over, I help out as a student assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make creative content for places such as Hatch Yakitori, The Pie Hole, Alfred Tea Room, and more. It was my first time getting real world experience and I loved every bit of it. The best part was all the complementary food I received. It really reminded me of my high school adventures.

volleyball

Fast forward a couple months, and here I am with this incredible opportunity to intern for JTWO Films. Although I’ve definitely gotten better over the years, I have so much more to learn and am at no better place. Hopefully, I won’t get hit by any camera equipment and fracture anything because this time, I think I discovered my real passion.


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


Elle Chernaskey

JTWO Welcomes Intern Elle Chernaskey

Myself from Five

by Elle Chernaskey

I have always been a vessel of energy ready to expend it in any possible way. For as long as I can remember, I was go, go, go, in all facets of my being. Physically, I would happily exhaust myself. Running laps around the house, challenging boys in basketball, and riding my bike until sun-down forced me to return home. Socially, I wanted to interact with everyone. I would practically trip over my feet running down my windy stairs to pick up the phone JUST for a few seconds of dialogue (no one was ever calling for me lol). Mentally, I pushed myself to my limits. In college, I often said yes to one too many commitments and found myself rushing from club meeting to a nanny job to an internship to the climbing wall. Whenever I felt my energy fading, I thought back to myself at age five.

incubator project

Although five is young, I was determined, didn’t give a crap what anyone thought, and loved a challenge. Like any five year old, I took in the world around me with attentiveness and curiosity. Every new moment was different and exciting. At this age I vehemently believed with every blink, a photograph was logged in my “picture book,” that would be compiled after a lifetime of blinking. In my highschool years, I would try to channel this perspective, hoping to see the world with similarly fresh eyes.

In college I upgraded my DSLR and vowed to travel as much as possible. I wanted to answer to my creative urges which was definitely not going to happen in my backyard. I spent hours researching ways to travel on a budget. I think my face still infiltrates the financial aid dude’s nightmares. But my perseverance to see the world worked. I was lucky enough to study in Costa Rica and Italy. I moved to Alaska for a summer. I climbed pyramids in Mexico. Saw the juxtaposition of cleanliness crossing the border from the U.S. to Canada. I backpacked Europe a few times solo and then once with friends. I owe this ambition and zest for new adventure to my five year-old self. That is who reminded me to be free-spirited, to not be afraid, and just go for it.

During my times of travel I found digital photography incredibly rewarding. Not only was I able to see beautiful places, I could also capture exactly what I wanted to remember and cherish. This excitement  led me to photographing solo backpacking trips to glaciers, cloud rainforests with eclectic species, and my friends drinking too much wine at biodynamic farms. Super sick experiences that I’m so grateful for. After graduating college a few months ago, I knew my traveling would come to a hiatus. I had some big decisions to make like where to work and where to live and nothing was really happening. A few months of crippling anxiety ensued and I was scared I’d end up climbing the corporate ladder. Five year old Elle would have none of that.

Through a painstaking job search and very stressful summer, I finally decided to apply to some creative internships. I felt really nervous about applying and knew I would be up against incredibly talented film students with much more talent and knowledge. But the mindset of Elle at five surfaced and I had to tell myself to not doubt so much and apply. A few days later I heard back from Jelani and was so stoked. After researching JTwo’s incredible work, I was surprised and excited to be considered and eventually get the position. Although I have the typical week-one nerves, I feel so lucky to be in this seat and I cannot wait to learn from this dynamic staff. Thus far I have felt extremely welcomed. I am ready to bust my ass and do everything I can to contribute and collaborate. Although I know I’m never getting my picture book, I hope to look back at times like these and smile.

incubator project


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