Until Next Time

by Maria Cantu

Well, my time at JTwo has come to an end and it went by pretty fast for me.  I’m really glad I got a chance to spend the summer with the crew here and make two videos of my own in a professional environment with their Incubator Project.  Before JTwo, everything I made had been for school, so I never really knew what I was fully capable of outside of the classroom. My first video for JTwo, “BARRE NONE.” is definitely the best thing I’ve ever made.  I couldn’t be more proud (half of the views on Vimeo are probably me, let’s be honest). After comparing this video to my school projects, I surprised myself with the progress that I’ve made and my eyes were opened to abilities I didn’t believe I had.  I can definitely thank Justin for being the one who kept pushing me to make my video better. He made me exercise my directing and editing skills so that the story could be told in the most effective way. In the end, not only did I tell a beautiful story, but I was able to have my voice come through in the editing.  This is something that doesn’t really get to happen for me in school projects because news packages follow more of a formula, as opposed to a documentary where you have more stylistic freedom. All in all, I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten this much needed experience from my first video. I’ll definitely apply everything I learned with directing and editing to all that I create going forward.

As the summer went on, my fellow interns and I started to do a lot with bats; baseball bats, not the animal bats.  One of JTwo’s clients, Victus, has a new line coming out and needed clips of each bat for social media… there were a lot of bats.  I never had to take footage of still objects before and try to find ways to make it interesting, so this was definitely unfamiliar to me, as well as doing any kind of media work for a professional company.  We had to take a couple of swings at it before we got into a groove (pun definitely intended). Adam (one of the interns) and I used moving light to make the products really pop. It made the bats look like they were emerging from the shadows.  Maria and I also used reflection to make still shots look sleek and fancy. I had never really learned about lighting before so that was my greatest take away from working on this.

Currently I’m working on my second video.  It’s for a non-profit animal shelter called Morris Animal Refuge.  One of the main reasons I applied to JTwo was because of the Projects That Matter Initiative, so I’m happy that I’m getting the chance to contribute to it before I go.  I only have a few days left to pull it together, so I’m definitely stressed. The reason being because I’ve run into some challenges (always expect that to happen and try to plan for it ahead of time).  I was supposed to interview this man, but of course he cancelled last minute. I now have to run with what I’ve got and make something with the interviews I do have that will still tell the story that I pitched to the shelter.  Without his interview, my original plan is totally changed, but Justin told me before to never be so in love with one idea that you don’t allow yourself to come up with more, some which could turn out even better than your original plan.  I don’t like to disappoint people, so as long as the shelter is happy with what I come up with, then I’ll be happy too. I know I’ll come up with something, I always find a way somehow.

To close out, I want to say that the JTwo fam is definitely one of a kind.  Not your mama’s typical work environment. I can wear my ripped jeans and my Selena t-shirts, joke around with my colleagues, and work alongside two adorable dogs.  To me, that’s the best kind of workplace. I know I wouldn’t fit in a corporate setting (I don’t even have the wardrobe for that besides my one blaser from Marshalls), so getting to see what a job would be like in this unique industry makes me more sure that I’m on the right track for myself.  I had such a fun time with the other interns, Adam, Greg, and Rich. They each bring their own talents and style into whatever it is that they create. I loved having them by my side to help me film my two projects. I couldn’t have done it without them. My favorite part of this kind of work is the people you meet.  Other careers don’t always allow you to socialize as much. So my advice to whoever is reading this is to use this to your advantage. Meet new people, work as a team, and experience new things; it can only make you better. JTwo was that new experience for me this summer. I started off a little nervous and unsure of myself, but I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn here and build my confidence as a filmmaker.  I’ll definitely be back to see how the ole gang is doing (mainly my girl, Nova). I love these guys!

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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