By Chloe Butler

If someone had told me four years ago that I would be interning at a film production company in Philadelphia I would never have believed them. I grew up in a small town in the South East of Ireland where the most exciting thing that’s probably ever happened is when a film crew showed up to shoot some scenes for John Crowley’s film Brooklyn.

It seems that most people have an unequivocally clear moment where they figure out what area of film is for them, but I can’t say the same. Even though I studied film in university I was still unsure whether or not it was the right fit for me. I’ve spoken Irish since the age of two and my whole life pretty much revolved around the language, anyone who knew me thought that I would turn out to be an Irish teacher at a school in my hometown and for a while I thought that was where my life was headed too. Even throughout my time at university I had that safety net behind me as I continued to study Irish, alongside film, just in case my little film dream didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until my third year at university after going on a study abroad to Drexel University that I came to the realization that there was absolutely no way that I was going to let that dream fail. Even after my time at Drexel and learning that the film industry was where I wanted to have a career, I still cringed away from that dreaded question ‘so what area of film do you want to work in?’.

Fast forward a few months, after studying at Drexel and moving back home to Ireland, I had one final year left at NUI Galway where I had no film classes my entire final year and I was miserable. All I was studying was my ‘safety net’ subject, Irish. I concentrated all my energy on figuring out how I was to pursue a career in filmmaking after gaining essentially no practical film skills after spending three years studying film while my graduation date was fast-approaching. I had this fanatic notion in my head that once I graduated and had that piece of paper in my hand, I needed to be on track to taking some sort of step in the direction of starting a career in the industry and that if I didn’t make the step then I never would. I’m not sure if I was driven by the hysteria of final year or by ambition or a combination of both, but however driven I made the decision to drop everything and move to the US after graduation. I figured that if I was to have any opportunity to get into the industry what better place than here, where my love for film was reaffirmed and the anxiety that I had made the wrong decision and wasted three years of my life was allayed.

After a year of planning and obtaining a visa I moved back to Philadelphia with no solid plan once I got here. I made a list of production companies in the area, and talked to a few professors I had during my time at Drexel and thus found JTwo Films. After researching the company and later speaking with some of the team I felt like it was a great fit for me. I still wince at the question of what area of film I want to focus on, but I’m confident that during my time at JTwo I’ll be much closer to having a clearer idea of where I’m headed.


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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