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Capturing Creativity with Confidence

with hannah morgan

From intern to full-time employee. Hannah Morgan, the JAN Innovation Studio’s Multimedia Content Producer, shares her story of taking chances.

When did you start your internship, and how did this opportunity come to you?
I started my internship in September 2022, towards the end of my fourth-year studies of Visual Communication Design at Stellenbosch University. My gran was actually the one who found the ad for the Video Intern role at the JAN Innovation Studio on Facebook. I applied with a curated portfolio of work and promptly heard back about being accepted for the position. It was incredible to transition from a student to a working professional before I had even graduated. After a whirlwind 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position, and I have now been at the studio for over a year and a half. I’m grateful every day that my past self took that risk!
How did working for JAN help shape and grow your creativity?
JAN has been an incredible environment in which I can stretch my limits, creativity, capacity, and abilities. I have learned to persevere for perfection and lean into the power of a team – achieving heights together that I could never reach on my own. I’ve also gained so much more knowledge than simply how to work a camera and edit – I’ve had to learn lighting, sound engineering, casting actors, colour grading, as well as things outside of my scope of work: cooking tips, plating, presentation and so much styling! A major perk of the job is actually getting to taste the food I film, which makes my own experience so immersive and inspiring – and definitely enriches and infuses my own creative process with a lot of authentic storytelling.
What is your biggest advice for anyone partaking in an internship?

I’d encourage anyone to take the risk and apply for what may seem like a dream position! Take time to understand the company you’re applying for and then put together a very selected portfolio of work that best showcases how your previous work can benefit or marry well with what the look and feel of existing content. On the one hand, I felt unqualified and out of my depth, but on the other, there was a deep resonance I felt with the JAN Brand and my personal creative work that I believed would make a great match. Internships are an amazing way to explore the working world with curiosity and freedom and figure out what you want career-wise while the stakes are very low!

You have since become a permanent employee at JAN. Why did you want to continue working alongside the team?
After my first day drew to a close, I knew that I wanted to work at JAN full-time. I felt so lucky to be working alongside inspiring people with real passion for their crafts, such affinity for beauty and a deep care for excellent, considered work. The scope of work is also incredible – with clients like Lion Matches to Birkenstock, the briefs are always creative and exciting! To this day, I feel challenged by every project that comes my way – and to be consistently stretched mentally and in my skillset has proven to be an incredible way to grow.
What creative project (from reels to short films to photography) are you most proud of?
So many wonderful projects come to mind, but I’d have to highlight the La Motte Bakery Short Film simply because it was the first big-scale project I took the lead on as the primary cinematographer and editor. The whole experience – from storyboarding to setting up for the first shot before sunrise – was truly remarkable! Being able to interview the various bakers, shoot on location at La Motte in the Franschhoek Valley, taste the bread made freshly that morning and weave the full story together in the edit, was to watch an idea become a reality. It was all so incredibly satisfying and made me fall in love with my work all over again!
What is the highlight of your career so far?

Without a doubt, getting to take my first overseas trip to Italy to film Jan Hendrik’s upcoming series was the most surreal experience. We covered 10 cities from the top to the bottom of the country and had such diverse experiences – from staying in 5-star hotels in Rome to a student hostel in Naples, a beachside bungalow in Positano to a fifth-floor apartment in Florence. I’ll never forget filming Jan Hendrik buying lemons on the side of the road in the rain along the Amalfi coast or trailing behind him and Lizzie in a TukTuk on the cobbled streets of Ostuni. Travelling to Italy with a video camera in hand helped me see it all so deliberately and artfully, and the best part is that I can ‘return’ to the documented footage again and again.

Critique and feedback are part of any industry. What is your advice for navigating the critique and not allowing it to discourage you?
It has taken some practice, but with time I have learned to separate myself from my work. When I do get discouraged, I remember how many past projects I have completed that, beforehand, seemed like mountains I had no idea how I would climb. There is always a way through! Adopt a mindset of growth – see every piece of feedback as an opportunity to improve and let critique become a tool to refine you. Never be afraid to ask for help, learn to communicate honestly about where you’re at, and always be your own biggest champion!
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