INCubator Project

JTWO's [INC]ubator Project Brings you "Safe Sex Now"

Safe Sex Now

by Omar Alqahtani

I went through a lot of ideas when deciphering what to pitch to Jtwo for my first film made under the Incubator Project. My first idea got put down because it involved smashing Justin mug. Also it might be because the idea was not very well thought through. But, sometimes it’s more fun to live in denial. After the failed pitch I became a lot harsher on myself when coming up with ideas. I shut down some fun ones like, involving intense, slow-motion, homoerotic baseball, or a dramatic mockumentary about razor scooters. I eventually settled on a comedy about chlamydia. I was a little iffy on the concept at first, but the pitch went through without many questions asked, so I decided to run with it.

INCubator Project

I spent 1 day writing the script, and three days fixing up the typos. I was able to cast it pretty quickly, but got a little nervous because I didn’t really have time to rehearse. The short required the actors to react to each other in real time while in different locations, but also needed to feel lightweight. Getting that kind of timing and tone correctly seemed like it was going to be a daunting task, but I was lucky enough to surround myself with lighthearted people, that picked up on the tone pretty quickly, and were nice enough to listen to me agonize over minor line delivery.

We were able to have a light and fun shoot. It felt more like I was hanging out with friends than it was an actual shoot. In the end, I was able to capture all the footage that I wanted, but I still had this little nagging feeling that it wouldn’t work. The shoot went too well, I’m still not sure whether the scenes were timed 100% correctly or not, and it was kind of a weird concept with a weirdly planned execution. I kept thinking about every single way the edit could come out wrong.

INCubator Project

Turns out, none of the things I was worried about became true. The problems that unraveled were ones I didn’t really think about. My first cut came out a little dull. Even with all the funky editing tricks I tried to use it still felt a little dead. When I showed my first cut to Justin, he suggested I find a way to get rid of all the negative space, maybe use some colors here and there. “Use some color” was the advice I carried when re-editing the movie. Other than the colors in the background, I tried to add little bits of life in every part of the video. Scene too quiet? Put in some music. Joke isn’t landing? Maybe if I cut between two background colors. Hospital scene a little dull? How about I add a frame of a literal pool of blood and some horror synth. I still wanted the short to feel breezy and deadpan, but adding little bits of life here and there, if done cleverly, can enhance the tone of a film rather than detract from it.

I understand that “less is more”, but sometimes, “more is more”, and other times “more makes less feel more like less”, and sometimes but rarely “less is less than more but more is less so less becomes more than what you wanted”.  Art isn’t a science, add some color and see what happens.


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 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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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.

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incubator project

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "In Coexistence"

In Coexistence

by Elle Chernaskey

Well, it’s finally uploaded. After many weeks of trial and error, my intern project has come to an end. Although there have been some very stressful moments, I am so grateful for all that I learned.

Some key lessons that I’m taking away from this project: really focus in pre-production to avoid being totally flustered on the day of the shoot, be cognizant of background noise that could may just ruin most of your audio (wind ugh), don’t forget to turn the mic back on (worse than the windy audio), if you suck at post-production like me — become friends with Youtube videos – they are so helpful, kill your darlings (big thanks to Ian) sometimes you just have to get rid of some stuff your clinging to, and most importantly make sure there is a story. I still feel like I did not capture a sufficient story but it was my first film from start to finish and I’m happy with where I started.

Elle Photo 1

I feel good about most of my shots and I think I know where the subpar ones need improvement.  Shooting was the most exciting part of this project. I woke up at 6 am the day of, got my coffee, and studied my storyboard. I felt like a lot of what I visualized came to life which is a great feeling.

Elle Photo 3

Learning more about Premiere was a great experience. I feel like I now have a solid baseline knowledge of the application and can continue to learn with skills that I didn’t have before. Thanks to Maria Cantu for always answering my questions even when you were busy — you’re the coolest.

Audio was the most difficult part of the project. In some of the early morning recordings there’s a lawn mower that I didn’t even notice because I was so focused on the shots. Luckily, I was able to include other audio that surprisingly worked. I had to come back another day to record audio. I recorded in a rush (the subject needed to get to a surprise party — another lesson for me — plan ahead better) and it came out pretty poorly. I also had to use someone else’s computer since my hard drive had recently crashed. In the end, I made some adjustments to the audio that made it workable. I definitely could have spent more time fleshing out the script but time was dwindling. I got lucky with some things that I was underprepared for.

This internship so far has been wonderful. Now, I am ready to improve on my shortcomings, learn as much as I can about gear and applications, and hopefully get on set more. I am so excited for my next film and to incorporate the knowledge I have gained. Thanks to everyone at JTWO for the support!


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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incubator project

Former Intern Wins Best Documentary in Bucks Fever Filmfest

"Barre None"

We are proud to announce that our former intern, Maria Cantu, won Best College Documentary along with Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction in the 2018 Bucks Fever Filmfest for her documentary “Barre None” created under the JTWO [INC]ubator Project.

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

incubator project


eagles

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings You "Fandom"

Directed by Rich Owens

I love sports. I always have. And I’ve always had a borderline unhealthy emotional connection to the teams I root for. Why? I have a couple theories. Thus, this seemed like a logical question to explore in a film. The only problem? How could I possibly explore sports fandom in sufficient detail in only a few minutes? And what happens if I don’t actually come to a satisfactory conclusion? Well, it’s in those moments of maddening indecision that it’s most important to be decisive. So I went for it.

While I have some directing experience, I’ve never been so responsible for every facet of making a film. From being behind the camera, to planning a shoot, to editing, color correcting, interviewing and writing…it was all on me to ensure the final product was up to standard. I’m very thankful for the help I had along the way from my fellow interns and the crew here at JTWO, but the sheer control I had over the direction of the project was both enthralling and terrifying. Let’s call it ‘territhralling’.

I find it hard to like anything I’ve done after tinkering with it for 40+ hours and thinking about it every possible hour (yeah, I saw it in my sleep) but I’m proud of the final product. It tells a complete story that I sincerely hope people are able to connect with.

I learned more than I possibly could have hoped for working on this project over the past couple weeks. While I’d love to go back and do this film again—incorporating several critical lessons learned—that’s what the next project is for, right?


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 Brings you "Lost in Fear"

Directed by Greg Fry

In most creative situations, one of the toughest parts for me is developing the first steps of an idea.  This project was no exception.  I struggled for nearly a week, unable to think of a plan that I was happy with.  As my time was running short, I finally came upon the idea of creating a action based commercial.  My plan was to tell a story about a man conquering his fear with the help of an energy drink.

When I arrived on location I felt fairly confident in my ability to shoot good looking video, but when it came to telling a story through that video… that was a different story.  I got all the shots I needed in about three hours and packed up for the day.  Now, it was time for editing.  I quickly laid all my clips out but began to realize that I failed to bring a true cinematic element to the video.  Most of my shots looked the same and one didn’t stand out or seperate itself from another.  I attempted to trim the video in order to get to the point faster but even then, I don’t think a great story was ever achieved. 

Looking back on the project, I was very pleased with how the sound design and color grading turned out.  Having never used Davinci Resolve before, I was excited to work and be somewhat successful with a new program.  I wish I would have planned out my shot choices just a bit more, not only to create the more cinematic shots… but also to tell a more engaging story.  Overall, I liked my project, but with some more planning ahead of time I think it could have been exactly what I imagined. 


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 Brings You "Mirror"

Directed by Adam Nitzberg

For this project I wanted to challenge myself but at the same time I didn’t want to overextend myself. I wanted to do something that would test my skills as a director while being realistic in regards to the short timeline and lack of budget. I had heard too many horror back at school of ambitious directors overextending themselves and the product coming out sloppy. The main factors that people were overzealous with, I realized, were having too many actors, too many locations, and/or making their films too long.

Project Breakdown

So, I decided to push forward with an idea that I had been juggling with for a while, a microshort, a film under one minute in length. This would allow me to focus on telling an effective story in a concise amount of time. I chose the genre of horror because I thought that would be the most effective for the length and it would allow me to explore an unsettling concept. Mirrors and reflections stuck out to me because they are something we deal with every day so the horror of them is not foreign like a monster isolated to one specific patch of wilderness or a ghost that haunts one particular house.  Nearly everyone looks at themselves in a mirror at least once a day. My goal was to make those people wonder about the face they saw looking back.

Logistically, this tested my all of my skills do the inherent difficulty of the concept. I used Maria’s  (one of the other interns) apartment and covered the wall mounted mirror with green screen. She then had to mimic all of her actions exactly the same twice, as would the camera operator. Then, in post-production, the two shots would be composited to give the illusion of it being a real mirror. Directing this proved to be quite a challenge.  

Directing was a very different experience for me.  I’ve always only captured people with a camera and didn’t interfere with what they’d naturally be doing.  Kind of like a fly on the wall. The extent of my directing/staging during a shoot was positioning someone for an interview shot.  So I felt really annoying and pushy telling people what to do this time. Pretty much every shot besides the found footage was staged.  I planned everything as well as thought of more shots on the spot, I positioned my friend exactly how I wanted her, and told my crew what I wanted them to do with the camera.  I even did Sierra’s hair and makeup. After I saw the footage on the monitor, I couldn’t wait to get editing. It was so incredibly beautiful (Shoutout to the best crew ever).

I think in that regard I mostly succeeded. I did make a couple mistakes that proved to be costly and caused me to abandon the original ending and to trim more off of the film than I originally intended. I think it is certainly not the best film I have done but it is without a doubt the most I have ever learned in a single 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.

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JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "Barre None"

Directed by Maria Cantu

 When I started planning for my intern project, I was initially going to go with a non-profit organization.  I have a natural interest in non-profit work, so I thought it was inevitable that my project would be sort of like a promotional video for a local organization.  But, that didn’t happen at all… and I’m glad.

Project Breakdown

I reached out to three non-profits.  One responded, another didn’t, and the last one got back to me too late.  I had to get creative because I was supposed to film the following week and I didn’t have time to.  So I thought, “Ok, who do I know personally that can be a super reliable back-up plan and who has some kind of interesting story?”  The first person to pop in my mind was my best friend, Sierra. I’ve known her almost my entire life, which I figured would make the production process smoother working with someone that I know so well.  I liked that I was still sticking with nonfiction, but diverging from my original plan. It would challenge me more, but this is why I wanted to intern for JTwo in the first place.

I pitched my idea.  Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous because I was so confident in the story.  I had a story structure all worked out from start to finish, a list of a bunch of aesthetic idea, location options, as well as the “who, what, when, where, why, and how”.  Justin seemed to like it and he gave me some great ideas to add. He suggested to have Maria, JTwo’s director of photography, come along and test out their new RED camera (Uhhhh… hell yeah) since my video would have a lot of movement.  I decided I would direct and edit, and Maria, along with my fellow interns, Greg and Adam, would work the camera. This ended up working out beautifully. I was so grateful for their help during the shoot and having someone on site that was more experienced than I was.

jtwo_internships

Directing was a very different experience for me.  I’ve always only captured people with a camera and didn’t interfere with what they’d naturally be doing.  Kind of like a fly on the wall. The extent of my directing/staging during a shoot was positioning someone for an interview shot.  So I felt really annoying and pushy telling people what to do this time. Pretty much every shot besides the found footage was staged.  I planned everything as well as thought of more shots on the spot, I positioned my friend exactly how I wanted her, and told my crew what I wanted them to do with the camera.  I even did Sierra’s hair and makeup. After I saw the footage on the monitor, I couldn’t wait to get editing. It was so incredibly beautiful (Shoutout to the best crew ever).

jtwo_internship

Editing was one of the biggest challenges.  I wanted this to be the greatest thing I’ve ever done, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to make that a reality.  I ran into some issues, both technical and with the interview. My friend was nervous about saying the wrong thing, in fear that it would have a negative effect on her career.  So, I had to respect her concerns and make them a priority, I had to exceed my own personal standards, and I had to prove myself to JTwo that I deserve to be here. The pressure was on.  

I showed Justin my first cut and he liked it for the most part.  He told me the middle to end started to drag, but I knew that was coming.  I made a second cut… still not quite there. By my third cut, I did it. The fast-paced montage gave the video a much needed energy boost.  Justin thought it was a really strong piece in the end.

I needed one more persons opinion before I could say I succeeded.  I showed Sierra the video hoping it catered enough to her concerns, while also exceeding her expectations.  Turns out, she was speechless. She said it brought her and her mother to tears. I’ve never been more proud of myself.  Nothing satisfies me more than a positive reaction from my audience, whoever that may be. My family and friends have all had a similar reaction to the video.  That’s the reason I chose to stick with this industry in the first place. I love making people feel connected with each other and sparking inspiration or some kind of emotion.  That’s what it’s all about.

The Result

The short film was a hit amongst student films this award season, taking home Best of Show in the 2019 Louix Awards and Best Cinematography in the 2019 Addy Awards.

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

Swing Dreamers

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "The Swing Dreamer"

Directed by Alex Siwik

A film student attempts to complete a class assignment on Marilyn Monroe, but instead falls asleep, not realizing his hypnotic trance that lies ahead.

Project Breakdown

I will start off by saying my journey with this project was not necessarily the smoothest. Midway through shooting what was supposed to be a mini-documentary, I hit a bit of a wall. I realized that my vision for the project I pitched was not so clear after all, as I was no longer able to see where the piece was heading. After some heavy contemplation, I decided to put the documentary idea on the back burner and figure something else out.

I made it my goal to keep things simple but visually interesting. As someone who is more of a cinematographer than a writer or director, I did not want to fret with writing a script or having to direct actors too heavily. I also knew that I really loved the footage I already shot for my previous idea, so I decided to incorporate it into a fictional piece and shoot new footage to go along with it.

The film features a boy, Noah Lovas, in a sleep-dance trance with Marilyn Monroe (played by Kaylie Minzola). My background in music often leads me to make my projects very musically driven, so it was almost a no-brainer for me to make a dance piece. I have worked with Noah on dance projects in the past and we work great together. We constantly bounce ideas off of each other and make magical things happen, however, this time was a bit trickier than the rest. The only direction I gave Noah was, “Dance around with a broom in a drunken manner with your eyes shut.” Nevertheless, Noah handled it like a champ and killed it.

I focused heavily on lighting and the color grade with this piece. All of the Marilyn dream scenes were lit rather high-key, much like a fashion or beauty commercial. My inspiration for the color grade for these scenes comes from those old-time photo places you find on the boardwalk. The photos are edited to look very washed and with sepia coloring. For the nighttime dance scenes, I kept things contrasty, with the TV and moonlight being the only motivated sources of light. I feel that the overall contrast between both scenes worked to my advantage in keeping the piece interesting to watch.

Although my original idea for this project did not work out, I am still super satisfied with how things turned out. I certainly learned some things, too. If I could take away one thing from this project, it would be to always have a thorough vision in mind for every project you take on. See it from beginning to end before you even think about breaking the camera out.

Meet the Director

Alex is a senior at Temple University, where he studies Film & Media Arts with a concentration in Cinematography. During his college years, Alex gained production experience through shooting narrative shorts, music videos, and commercial content for local businesses. As a cinematographer, Alex believes that lighting is one of the most crucial elements in establishing a scene and enhancing what the director wants the viewer to feel. In his downtime, Alex enjoys playing music, skateboarding, and reading about new camera and lighting technology.

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