By Megan Swick

It seems now, that the most successful personalities in different fields can pinpoint a particular moment when they fell in love with their craft. It’s almost as if there is a spiritual urge, guiding them directly to their life’s passions. The most noble leaders, artists, and scientists recall that moment with a certain tenderness in their hearts, as it was the dawn of a lifetime of devotion to perfecting their craft. When Galileo first watched that swinging pendulum, could he feel the Gods calling upon him to become the father of observational astronomy? When Edgar Allan Poe first picked up a pencil, could he feel the spirits of centuries of artists possess his tortured soul, begging him to become a central figure in American literature? When Rosa Parks refused to move seats on that bus, did she feel compelled by her ancestors to become one of the most well-remembered civil rights activists? Because for me and the start of my life’s ambition, all I did was pick up a 2009 Flip camcorder and press record. 

For the record, I buy the life’s calling and predetermined purpose spiel. I actually find it inspiring and comforting. However, I must admit, no God called upon me to go into the production field, and I certainly never felt Stanley Kubrick’s blood pulsing through my veins. In high school, I was mostly unamused with most learning material, but also found my extracurriculars lackluster. As graduation approached I was convinced I’d have to decide on a neutral major like communications- I just didn’t have the passion for anything specialized. 

The last half of my senior year, I dropped my environmental science, and took a broadcasting class that produced the morning news. This was the first time I held an actual camera and filmed something other than my teenage self and friends doing something cringey and/or stupid. 

Was this my Galileo-pendulum moment? No, it wasn’t an irresistible pull towards my school’s morning announcements, but I found I really did enjoy making something. As the year went on, I got a taste of creating something from nothing. I experienced the rush of working in teams to produce something for an audience. I found a community in production, and I found a passion. 

Flashforward a year, and I’m going to school at Temple for Media Studies and Production. It didn’t start out that way though, because my college career actually began over 2 hours away at a different school in an entirely different major. But hey- I made it to Temple- it’s that Galileo calling working its magic right?

At Temple, I was launched into Media Studies and surrounded by people enjoying the same passion as I was. But after a while, I noticed a pattern regarding what content was more acceptable to enjoy. Perhaps all people in this industry are familiar with the age-old icebreaker question of “what’s your favorite movie?”. Depending on who you are speaking to, there is a right answer. Most people in my school are looking for an Oscar nominee, well regarded but not too well regarded as to be tainted by the wrath of pop culture followers. You can’t say the Matrix or the Breakfast Club, but you can probably throw out High Fidelity or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And, although I’ve seen all of these movies and enjoyed them, they’re simply not on my top ten.

I thoroughly enjoy what some may refer to as “lowbrow” culture. My top ten list of movies feature Wet Hot American Summer, Lego Batman, and Paddington 2. I’ve watched Interstellar once; I’ve seen Disney’s Christopher Robin five times. On the first day of my first production class, we were asked what movie inspired us to be here, and when people audibly scoffed at a kid’s answer of “Robocop”, when it was my turn, I had to choke out “Donnie Darko”. How could anyone take me seriously had they known the only song I have downloaded to my Spotify is The Muppets’ Life’s a Happy Song? What if they found out I fell asleep during The Godfather?

It was this sentiment that frustrated me. Art is so subjective that it’s ludicrous for there to be an invisible measurement that dictates what is intellectual to enjoy. It took some minor soul searching, but in time I became a firm believer in like what you like. Art is for everyone. Television and film have no boundaries, and it’s quite ridiculous to treat it as a dichotomy structure of high and low culture. I came into this field to create things I like, to share with other people who might like it. I did not waste four years of studying production to churn out indie coming-of-age pieces that I do not have the passion for. 

I found JTWO through their shared passion for innovative storytelling, and creating. The wide array of content they’ve created showcases their rage in this industry, and acceptance of the malleability of this art form. I was excited to find a home that will support my pursuit in creating what I like. Through my high school broadcasting career, my introduction to (sometimes) pretentious film culture, my media studies, to my JTWO internship, I carried with me the desire to make something to share with an audience. Whether that something is a foreign film noir or a musical with puppets, I plan to stay true to what I like. I’m sure if Galileo diverted his studies because other scholars didn’t see the art in it, his potential would have gone to waste. I realize that I’m in no way destined for the level of greatness as the father of modern physics, but as an intern at JTWO, I can try.

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