Poetry v. The World: April snow

Every time finals comes around, I expect a lot more than I get.

It’s never been super-crazy-hectic for me. It gets a lot busier, but I’ve still, after 4 semesters, never lost more than a few hours of sleep over studying for this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still using it as an excuse to get out of certain things haha. But still, I never got the big deal.

What I DO feel during finals is worthless. I sort of thrive on the stress of always having something going on. That fast-paced, focused mood is what I thrive in. It’s why my hair is falling out, but it also makes finals week a lot more reflective than it should be.

Since I’m a film major, a majority of my free-time on weekends is spent on sets. If you don’t believe me, for the biggest project I’ve worked on yet, we filmed for 17 days over 6 weekends. It was a huge time commitment, and at the time I had midterms and homework and all this other stuff piled on top of it. As opposed to know, when it all slows down into finals. And since I’m a film student, my finals tend to be pretty light in comparison to others. I go from 100 to 0 in the span of a couple of weeks.

So with all these massive commitments of mine ending and a whole few months before I get the busy-buzz again, I get really anxious. I turn on myself and think that I’m just wasting time when I should be planning for something else. I should be studying or trying to make plans for summer or doing something for my future. I think the problem is I never allow myself the time to rest. That’s why transitions between those hectic moments are so hard for me to get through. Instead of taking them as moments to pause, breath, and reflect on some of the work I’ve done, I use them to torture myself.

It’s unfair to me, and I gotta get better at it, but I’ve taken the first step and acknowledged it, so that’s something.

Please everyone, take care of yourself and try not to stress yourselves out too much. I’m sure you’re gonna do great!


Jonah J. Sobczak



Poetry v. The World: I like the Rain

I don’t know about anyone else, but I get really annoyed at how much I like rain. Seriously, it’s just water… you think I’d get tired of looking at it but I never do haha.

Anyways, I was actual very hesitant when deciding to use this poem. I feel like talking about the rain (or nature itself) in public poetry is too over-done. It’s like a cheat-code for writers because mostly everyone knows the material you’re discussing. When the audience immediately knows the concept of your poem, half the battle is over and you can just sound cool for the rest of it. Writing about a natural phenomenon is a very good exercise for writers to start, but it makes it very difficult to elevate your writing to something deeply profound or personal. At least, that’s been my experience with it.

So, why am I telling you this if I just showed you a poem that I wrote about rain?? Well, I will tell you… And it’s not because I think it’s a deeply profound poem. When I took this video, I had just wrapped on a project that I was working on for the past 6 weekends. After 17 days of shooting, (nearly the amount of time they spend shooting feature-length movies) we were excited, a little saddened, and most of all exhausted. After the hardest day of shooting yet, we wrapped. Then! It began to rain and the sun was just about to set, unobscured by the clouds. I don’t think the video does it justice. It felt ethereal.

But yeah, so this occurrence happened right in a moment when I felt something deeply, and that is always a special moment. I didn’t write this to push boundaries, but I felt that I needed to express this part of my life in words and video, so I did. After all, that’s kind of a poet’s job, isn’t it?

Many thanks, I hope you all the best in the final weeks of this semester! And remember to look out a window every once in a while and get lost.


Jonah J. Sobczak


Poetry v. The World: Call from Home

My mom texted me on Monday, said that she wanted to call me about something. I was busy all day, forgot about it until she sent me “Hi honey” the next night. We called, made some tuition payments, and then they told me that grandma was going to move into their house. “She’s declining” was the only thing to say.

What really shook me was the time span. She can hardly walk. Her knee is so worn down that surgery is the only answer, and she’s so old and so frail that the anesthesia would kill her. Every step hurts, and they will for the rest of her life. I couldn’t shape the feeling of knowing that I’ll never be able to do something like I did before, but I know it must be brutally hard and I wouldn’t want anyone carrying that around.

And another thing, here I am crying on the phone to my two mothers about it, attempting to deeply internalize that my grandma won’t be with us for much longer, when she may have years left. I’m forcing myself to process these emotions when the event they’re attached to may be far in the future. I asked my parents about this and they tried but didn’t help. I don’t think they understood what I was saying, which makes sense cause it was all between choked back moments and tears.

Last Christmas, my grandma had to make it down the last step of my aunt’s porch. It took my mom, my aunt, my cousin, and me all around her to help her down the step. And even then it took her 15 minutes to bear through it. She was in tears of pain. My mom whispered to my aunt, “next time we’ll bring the step for her.”

To which my grandma scoffed, and whimpered, “If I even make it to then.”

I grew up with her. After school she’d pick me up because my parents were at work. My brother and I would stay at her house until we got picked up. I love her a lot. As I got older, I began to realize what a deeply scarred person she was, and that she had many ugly parts to her. It’s a complex subject, but I’m still dealing with what it all means for me and all those memories I have with her.

Regardless, I’m thinking about it. Which is, at the very least, something.

Please take care, good luck with everything, and have a wonderful week.

Jonah J. Sobczak



Poetry v. The World: the (home) movie-going experience

Shout-out to Godzilla Vs. Kong! An incredibly fun monster movie to watch with friends! I think many people assume that as a film major I wouldn’t like a movie like this because it isn’t particularly “sophisticated” or “thought-out”. But really, what that is assuming is that I only can watch movies for its artistic value, which is simply not true. In the end, Godzilla V. Kong and Parasite are two different movies, and therefore you have to watch them differently to appreciate them.

That being said, I’d venture to say that there is most certainly a wrong way to watch any movie. And that is… with the lights on. That is, watching a film while openly welcoming outside distractions that will take you away from the movie. There’s a reason (besides the popcorn) that movie theaters were such a staple in our culture pre-quarantine. The darkness, the carpeted, non-creaky floors, and especially the massive screen that no matter what you can see the whole of. Even if you’re constantly making fun of it with your friends next to you, you are still being surrounded by that movie. There’s an inherent closeness between the audience and the film that movie theaters facilitate.

Now, compare this to throwing on something while your roommates cook dinner. No matter how much you like the movie, your environment just wants to suck you out of it. Even a diehard filmophile would have a tough time picking up exactly what that filmmaker wanted. I can’t help but feel bad! All of the labor and the hours of sleep lost just for you to check your phone every 5 minutes while watching what they poured everything into.

Christopher Nolan was not in the right when he demanded the theatrical release of Tennent. He was being selfish, ignorant, and entitled. But I understand why he yearned for people to “experience” his movie, not just to see it. I don’t agree, but I can sympathize. And I hope you can too… at least a little.


Jonah J Sobczak






Poetry v. The World: Ypsi walks

(Preface: Ypsi is short for Ypsilanti which is where I am currently residing!)

A few days ago, when the temperature was; you guessed it; 73degrees, I took a walk around my town for about 50 minutes. I quite literally picked a direction and started walking, trekking through EMU’s campus and taking in their surprisingly expansive campus (which I do not attend). I didn’t need music or a friend, I just wanted to walk. Obviously, it was wonderful.

Most, if not all, of the people I’ve talked to over these past few days have shared the fact that they went on a walk in the nice weather. It’s actually quite impressive how Universal post-winter walks are among humanity. A part of me thinks it’s about freedom. Like all of Winter you need to bundle up and layer on jacket over coat to even walk to your car, now this nice weather comes along and you’re able to go outside un-encumbered.

But, anyways, these walks. They’re quite peculiar to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. It’s a refreshing, exhilarating journey every time, and the magic has still not worn off yet. However, I feel there’s a commonly used trope that when you are on these walks and in an exceptional mood, your environment automatically becomes “brighter”. Both in the figurative sense where you see your surroundings in a more favorable perspective, and in a very literal sense where everything just seems more vibrant than before. However, I’d like to challenge this notion.

I don’t live in a particularly pretty spot in Ypsi. Coming out my front door, I’ve never been blown away by what I’m saw, and nothing was different for this walk. I still noticed the paint chipping from my porch, the splotches of dead grass on my neighbor’s yard, all of it. I soaked it in just as much as on any other day. But doing so didn’t affect my mood at all!

I don’t know why this is. I’m a firm believer that your environment strongly affects your disposition. Your surroundings reflect what you see in them onto you, at least a little. But during this walk, the opposite was true. I suppose it could’ve just been too strong an emotion for those things to overcome, but I’m not entirely sure.

The only thing I can truly say is that the “first walk of Spring” unpacks all the anxiety and mental-clutter that built up during the Winter, because mmman does it feel cathartic.

Hope you all are doing well, enjoy the weather!


Jonah J. Sobczak


Poetry v. The World: Set-talk

This weekend, I spent over 24 hours on a set as an AD (that’s Assistant Director). Everybody likes to joke that film school is easy, (which it kind of is, the classes at least). But this is not the first and surely not the last weekend I’ll lose because I’m “busy shooting”. Voluntarily. But I love it. A lot.

When I started studying film, I had barely any prior experience on sets. I knew there were cameras and sound and lights and a director, but that’s about it. As soon as I arrived, I knew it was something I wanted to do. It’s a high-energy, high-stress atmosphere that benefits the person who never sits down. Half the time, I want to pull my hair out, and I don’t think I could be happier anywhere else. (I mean that in a good way!)

But yeah, part of the gig is saying things differently than one would usually communicate. For example, “eyes on slate” is just another way of saying “does anyone see the slate anywhere?,” (“slate” being the piece of whiteboard that they hold in front of the camera and makes the clapping noise). Another, “hold for gaf” means “everyone wait to start because the gaffer is adjusting one of the lights.” Do all of them save that many words that its crucial enough for everyone to know this weird lingo? No! But it’s fun and it makes everyone who says it feel more professional and accomplished, so we’ll do it anyway.

It’s worth noting that there are some people who don’t like it. I’ve encountered a few who think the more niche ones just aren’t necessary, and I sympathize with their sentiment. However, I think there’s real, tangible effects to them besides the efficiency part:

  1. It sets the right atmosphere for a set. There’s a definite difference between my 423 Short Film Production Class and your friends who are making a YouTube video (no offense), and that difference is professionalism. Shouting these quick, snappy phrases to your crew and them coming back with an equally snappy response makes everyone feel just a little bit more like they know what the heck is going on, which in turn makes us all more professional.
  2. It shows experience. When you know and use the vernacular properly, people respect you more on set. That’s something I’ve seen in practice many a times. And especially in my (usual) job, AD, you need people to listen to you and follow up quickly.

So yes, I will keep using my fancy-shmancy code speech on set, and yes I will make fun of it and yes I love it.

Jonah J. Sobczak


P.S.: (The footage was taken during a shoot in a studio at the Walgreen Center. Super interesting set with a super amazing crew, the project is entitled Emotional Creature and it’s about genuine female experiences. Here’s the link to the YouTube Livestream airing at 8:00 this Friday!)