JTwo’s internship project was an exercise in guerilla filmmaking. With limited resources and a hard deadline, the full filmmaking process was condensed to just 2 weeks. Coming off of my Junior year studying film production at Penn State, this was quite the adjustment. The last short film I directed took an entire semester to make. As a result, when I pitched my first idea to JTwo, it was… over-ambitious. 

While I had a premise with a lot of potential, in reality it needed at least a few months of production to do it justice. It was also riddled with logistical problems (as in filming with realistic guns, next to active train tracks, in a national park kind of problems). These are all things that could be resolved given more time but I quickly realized that this was not a project suited for the timeframe I was given. 

Now I’d burned a couple days and I was back to the drawing board. I had to think on my feet and reevaluate what I wanted to get out of my intern project if I was going to finish on time. So I assembled a brand new pitch.

My new idea was much simpler on paper. It was about a girl getting ready to leave her house for an interview in the morning. I would be able to film it in my own home using my sister as an actress. By comparison, the idea seemed considerably less glamorous than its predecessor. But it was begrudgingly approved by the Jtwo executives nonetheless. 

It was the right decision.

The controlled environment made shooting much more manageable considering that cinematography has never been my strong suit. I was shooting with both a camera and gimbal that I had never used before. But my new script allowed for enough time to learn as I went and troubleshoot when problems inevitably arose. As a result, I was able to gain experience in an aspect of filmmaking that I often leave to other crew members. If I had opted to film my original idea on a tight schedule, the results could have been disastrous.

The real substance of my project however, manifested in post production. I came to JTwo as a video editing intern. So ultimately, I designed the plot of my short as a means to experiment with a variety of quick cut editing techniques that I had wanted to try for a while. 

Before I even began editing, I studied scenes from several films that had successfully executed the type of fast action montage I was after. Dissecting Edgar Wright’s films in particular taught me the importance of camera movement and sound design in order to pull off this filmmaking style.

A few days and plenty of whooshes later, I had assembled a cut of the film that wasn’t half bad. I was ready to show it to Justin and with one day to spare no less! I had met the deadline after all.

It was at this point that the true value of my internship with JTwo became clear. That version of the film turned out to be only the first of ten separate revised cuts that were made in the subsequent weeks. With each cut of the film, Justin watched, rewatched, and gave numerous notes. Every time I thought it was finished, Justin gave me more ideas to improve the film: little sound tweaks, pacing tips, editing suggestions. By the end, I had an entirely different film than the one I started with. This was an incredibly valuable experience. I discovered firsthand the benefit of collaborating with a seasoned filmmaker. 

My biggest takeaway from the editing process was a better understanding of the intense detail work that goes into creating a professional quality final product. Although a casual viewer wouldn’t immediately notice some of the minutiae that changed between the cuts of my short, JTwo’s meticulous approach to editing went a long way in making my project more engaging.        

After all was said and done, my film wasn’t finished by the two week deadline 🙁 But there wouldn’t be much point in interning if I came in with nothing to learn. I’m happy with the short film I was able to create. Although overall I still prefer working with a crew, there’s something to be said for completing an entire short film by yourself. It’s a nice reminder that I’m still capable of doing it all even though I choose to focus on editing. I will take the lessons I learned at JTwo with me into my senior year at college and beyond.

Meet the Director

Lex Forge is a rising senior studying film production at Pennsylvania State University. Rooted in a childhood of making embarrassingly bad short films in his basement, he now strives to create inventive content with a sense of humor.

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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Writer/Director – Lex Forge
Cinematographer – Lex Forge
Editor – Lex Forge
Talent – Brynn Forge (& Her Dogs)
Music – Captain Qubz & ANBR