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  • Hoboken Girls of the Week: Dani and Jacqui of Two Skull Creative

    What the heck is a Two Skull? We’re glad you asked, and we’re even more glad to tell you. The name refers to Dani + Jacqui — two long-time friends who decided to put their collective creative skulls to good use {see what they did there?} and become business partners. Two Skull is a visual marketing and brand strategy company that focuses on telling a client’s stories through tailor-made content that cuts to the core of their vision and why they do what they do. Since working with your best friend sounds like the ultimate in #squadgoals, we got to pick the brains of two of the area’s most creative and driven women, to find out what it’s really like and how they empower and elevate each other. Please meet Dani + Jacqui — our Hoboken girls of the week, and get ready to laugh along with their friendship, be in awe of their synergy, and learn what it means to shoot for the chills.

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    How it all started:

    We are best friends that met in college while studying abroad in New Zealand. Well, technically we met on the plane overseas. Jacqui studied Film and Anthropology, Dani studied Creative Writing and Communications; we quickly realized we occupied a similar wavelength and started scheming about things we wanted to make together.

    We remained close as our careers began — both on parallel but slightly different tracks in television. Dani produced, shot and edited, but also did more writing, consulting and story producing {her credits include MTV, LOGO, History Channel}. She also wrote brand copy for a lifestyle website and casually started a wedding videography company on the side. Jacqui worked her way up from intern to producer/director at VH1 before becoming freelance {recent credits include Vevo, Comedy Central}.

    We formed Two Skull as a way to merge our talents and work more directly with like-minded people. On a base level, we’re people-people who love a good story. As people who buy things, we’re drawn to the brands that crack the door open to let us in emotionally, and we believe that the modern consumer connects best with brands that have a story they relate to and can become emotionally invested in.

    On working together:

    As long time friends and collaborators, we seem to operate from a mental share drive and often claim to be the same person, but we also admit to having different strengths and weaknesses. The net effect is we elevate each other’s work and empower each other; the outcome is ultimately stronger because of our mutual respect and the support system we’ve created. Dani’s work feeds Jacqui’s work, Jacqui’s work feeds Dani’s work… think of us like a snake eating its tail. {We immediately take it back — don’t think of us like that. That was a terrible suggestion.}

     We focus on creating cinematic, shareable video and photo that communicates to each brand’s core audience. {In tactile terms: we deliver brand videos, event coverage, social boost packages, product launches, explainers + more!} We believe in utilizing the positive, connective elements of social media, and are inspired by the way a small brand can reach a broad audience through a short, but powerful piece of content.

     Their inspiration and motivations:

    Jacq: I’m most inspired and motivated by my two-year-old son, Dillinger — and badass women from all walks of life {this list is endless but here’s a taste: my own mother and sisters, director Jane Campion, Brené Brown, Lady Gaga, the midwives and doula who helped me birth my son, Dani}. Dillinger reminds me to view the world with awe, to laugh in the oddest moments, and he has recently reconnected me with nature on a macro level {seriously — my main gig as a mom these days is flipping rocks to help him study worms}. Becoming a Mom unearthed a new kind of hustle from within me — I feel a fierce desire to be a human my son admires and can look up to. I’m kept up at night by our long-term business goals, bizarro screenplay, and children’s book ideas… Oh, and by my two-year-old son, Dillinger.

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    DaniWhen I was in second grade, I was asked this same question, and I’d still answer it the same {with a few add-ons}. My dad has always been a best friend and source of inspiration for me — his work ethic, selfless {senseless?} devotion to us, and his hilariously dark yet positive take on life. I’ve always worked to make my family proud, and that’s something I still focus on — family, current and future. I hope that one day I’ll have created a body of work that will not only give my future kids insight into who I am as a person {so they know me as more than just a parent} but make them proud and inspired as well. Also, my current baby Rosie. She might be a dog, but I’d like to think she’s proud in her own way. Mostly she just wants to sleep in my bed like a human.

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    Hi, it’s Jacq Again Man, Dani killed it with the above. I’d like to command + C, command + P the part about making your family proud and creating a body of work that your family can connect to. Sorry Dani, but it’s too on point.

    On their goals + passions:

    Our current goals are to grow Two Skull and continue challenging ourselves to find more and better ways to tell stories we’re proud of — finding real connections with the people we work with is our #1 priority and driving force. We are both passionate about humans, storytelling, challenging ourselves {personally, professionally}, nature, female empowerment, staying young, hungry and soulful.

    What a “typical day” means to them:

    Shooting, editing, or ideating. One of the best things about being in this business is that no two days are exactly alike. Our days are shaped by what stage of a project we’re in {or how many projects we’re currently juggling while reheating + slamming coffee}. If we’re not physically together, we’re typically communicating on some level, whether that be FaceTime, text, DM, or attempted telepathy/smoke signals.

    On the highs and lows of their work:

    Highs: Finding a company to work with that we truly get along with on a friend basis; catching a great laugh on film; the moment when we find our opening or closing shot of a piece; while watching our shot footage — listening to the weird singing or jokes-for-one each of us makes when shooting alone.

    Lows: Media management {aka – moving footage and audio around on hard drives}; having to suppress a cough while holding a shot, how our heads look and feet/back feel after a long shoot day.

    Individual and professional life + career highlights… so far:

    JacqLife highlight so far is becoming a mom and watching my husband become a dad. The wonder I feel for this transformation will NEVER cease to amaze me. {Seriously, if you’re a thrill-seeker, have a kid! It’s life-affirming and terrifying, and demands your presence in the present}

    For career, am I allowed a lame one? Shaking hands with Rob Zombie, or the first time I interviewed talent in a professional capacity. {It was Rita Ora back when we shot her Unplugged at VH1 in 2012, before she really broke. My boss teased me relentlessly leading up to it, but it went pretty well}.

    DaniTo date, and maybe this is something I have to work on {cue the theme song to The Bucket List}, small fleeting moments have been the highlight – little slices of life where everything aligns. I think, maybe in part, searching for those moments is what makes me a good shooter. But, for career, I’d say I have three:

    – Seeing a crowd of screaming humans fill up a stadium for an award show I wrote {not the joke I wrote about pizza, however}.

    – Getting to play the piano with Kermit the Frog on set – when I told him he looked handsome, he humbly replied, “Herm, my suit’s too big.”

    – The first time I worked for a company when I felt truly valued for my ideas and the work I produced from A-Z (no, the “company” wasn’t Jacq, though I’m sure she feels the same way. I can only hope…)

    Two SkullThe most rewarding part of Two Skull is receiving a positive reaction from a client that we’ve created for. There’s nothing better than opening that email after delivery and seeing lots of exclamation points and the word “chills!” It’s the whole reason we do this. Shoot for the chills.

    How they spend their days off:

    We hang with our families/friends, go for a hike, cook an involved meal, watch a critically acclaimed television series, read an actual book with paper pages and a spine, drink too much wine together.

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    Nothing beats spending a whole day outside with our significant others and babies {Jacqui’s real baby and Dani’s fur baby, Rosie. Seriously see above for how much fur she has}. Drinking cold brew from Mod Cup or Word, walking to Van Vorst or Hamilton Park or to the waterfront, maybe brunch at Porta, maybe gelato from Bucket + Bay later… you’ll see some recurrent themes here: we like snacks and what we lovingly refer to as “old lady walks.” Jersey City and Hoboken help us channel these noble interests.

    ALSO! The farmer’s markets rule and have had a big impact on how we shop for food. {Stony Hill CSA membership straight-up changed the way Jacqui and her family plan meals and cook. She wholeheartedly recommends}.

    Advice to someone trying to pursue this career:

    Jacq: Work ethic and relationships are key.

    The best production advice I ever received came from my former boss and “always mentor”, he told me to always be the “go-to person on set.” Meaning: know more than your pay grade demands. Stay informed and always learn. Be the one who can answer the questions. I took this advice to heart, paying attention, studying call sheets, schedules, contact sheets and offering answers {and asking my own questions} when the time was right.

    …One more, because that “always-mentor” is FULL-OF-GEMS! I once made a dumb mistake as a PA on a talk show set — a sign that was part of the set design, for which I was responsible, was misprinted. I watched in horror from backstage as the show’s hosts and guests reacted to the typo, turning it into a comedy bit. When the taping ended, the EP brought me the incorrect sign and slammed it above my desk. I apologized profusely, and it turned into a real teaching moment. He told me to own the mistake — admit that I was wrong, as soon as possible, and figure out how to solve it {and make sure as hell it didn’t happen again}. There are so many moving parts in production, mistakes are bound to happen. I’ve always followed this advice. If I ‘eff up, I own up to it right away, and start trying to come up with a productive fix or path forward. This has served me well!

    {PS: That sign currently rests above the edit in my house.}

    DaniLearn all the things. {Also I co-sign Jacq’s advice above}.

    Check out the video they made for our HG Wellness Crawl!

    Girls about town:

    Jacq has lived in JC since 2013 — moved her family out to the ‘burbs last summer, but still works {and hangs} in Jersey City and Hobo all the time. Dani’s been in JC since ’14. The best thing about living in this area, by far, are the waterfront views, the walkability, the high concentration of locally-owned snacks and drinks, and fitness options {to help undo the damage from said snacks and drinks}.

    A few of their favorite things in Hoboken + JC:

    To Eat

    Hoboken: Bean Vault or Choc-O-Pain {we might have coffee problems}, and La Isla.

    Jersey City: Third and Vine makes next-level charcuterie. Plus they play subtitled films in a way that adds to / doesn’t detract from the ambiance. We respect that and their bangin’ menu. Razza is also incredible — even their bread and butter deserves a shout out {ask Dani for the same order she gets once a week}. Satis is romancy and has some of the best food in the city. Edward’s on Marin for an Old Fashioned. Taldé for brunch and Taqueria forever.

    When out of town friends come to visit, we like Porta, Taldé, Madame Wong’s, Dull Boy, Northern Soul, and Lucky 7.

    Dani recently had a facial and her esthetician suggested she eat less BBQ – that said, she goes to Hamilton Pork upwards of a few times a week — she’s Paleo! {Note: she is not paleo.} Short Grain for healthy yet spiccccay lunch.

    To Shop

    Hoboken: Tunes, the record shop.

    Jersey City: Another Man’s Treasure, Mint Market and Kanibal Home {conveniently located next to each other in JC! Pro Tips: Get a coconut curry chicken bowl at Short Grain before you shop; after, pick up wine at CoolVines on the corner before heading home}.

    To Work Out

    CKO Jersey City {punch emoji!}

    To Get Outside

    Pretty much anywhere along the waterfront- Dani is partial to dog parks, especially Morris Canal Park (which is not technically a dog park), though she’s recently had to give it up due to Rosie’s insistence on diving into the Hudson River waves; Van Vorst Park, the backyard at Zeppelin Hall, the Porta roof, sidewalk seating outside of Hamilton Pork, Columbus between Grove and Barrow (as it’s been amazing to watch those murals take shape over the last few years, as the block continues to evolve).

    Thought on what’s missing in town:

    We need a late-night classic diner in the Grove St area of JC. A few months back we would have written “music venue,” but happily, White Eagle Hall just opened!

    Fun/weird facts about Dani + Jacqui

    Dani is an accomplished flautist. She can also do a killer Gollum impression

    Jacqui recently performed an essay she wrote in her first live storytelling show

    We both played sports in college {Dani: soccer, Jacqui: field hockey} and now call each other Uncle Rico when we look back fondly on The Glory Days

    We were roommates from 2010-2012

    We went bungee jumping off a bridge in New Zealand in 2008. An extreme sports junkie, Dani wept and yelled to Jacqui “I don’t even want to do this!” moments before Jacq plummeted down to the water below, her screams echoing throughout the canyon. Then Dani jumped and got dunked in the river up to her ankles {despite her request to stay dry}. After, tourists asked to pose for pictures with us. They were entertained by our vocals / our stupidity.


    Written by:

    Michele is Hoboken Girl’s Managing Editor. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. When not working in cosmetic design and marketing, Michele can be found eating her way around the Mile Square and JC, so it’s a good thing she's also a marathoner and soccer player. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, a chai tea latte, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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