Student Spotlight: Seth Stobart ’22 (English)

Posted Feb 14, 2022

Seth Stobart ’22

Seth Stobart is a double English (Literary Studies concentration)/ Philosophy major with a minor in Film. He also serves as co-editor of Aegis, the Otterbein Humanities Journal, and as the treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society. He is currently researching his Honors thesis on Dune, post45 American literature, and Cold War studies.

Seth served as a film production intern on the set of Kenyon College film professor, screenwriter, and director Jon Sherman’s 2021 film, They/Them/Us. They/Them/Us was filmed and produced in Columbus. Seth spent summer 2020 working alongside a film crew and film student interns from Kenyon College, Columbus College of Art and Design, and The Ohio State University.

How did you learn about this internship?

Professor Sherman was invited to give the Otterbein Film Lecture in 2019-20 (sponsored by the English Department, Film Program, and Otterbein Humanities Advisory Committee). I got to meet him in person in a special seminar for film students where we talked about film history, screenwriting, and contemporary cinema. That spring, he invited students to apply to intern, and I was accepted.

What was it like being on a film set?

There’s an intense feeling of community. Partly because you’re working through intense twelve-hour days together, but also because you’re working on such strangely cooperative work of art. As an intern for the grip and electrical departments, I was surprised at how much time I spent waiting around and talking to my coworkers. There were periods of forty-five minutes to an hour of waiting while filming was happening punctuated by the most hectic fifteen-minute periods of work I’ve ever been through when setting up the next shot. It was amazing to see those set up periods, with sandbags and apple boxes being thrown around, turn into the image on screen!

What kinds of things did you learn about film production?

I found out just how intentional everything in the frame is. From light to props to makeup, everyone works together to realize the vision of the director. After running back and forth from set to the supply depot to grab just the right light filter so the shot looks exactly as intended its hard not to walk away having learned that. That’s not to say we didn’t have to improv solutions though (we were pretty tight on budget)! These moments of improved solutions to complicated technical problems are some of the most exciting though. Experienced members of the crew huddle together and emerge with the most absurd directions you could imagine. Somehow though, these hairbrained plans shape the frame exactly how the director intended. 

What would are your career plans? How will your internship help shape those plans?

I intend to pursue a graduate school degree in Literary Studies with a focus on American literature. I have found the internship and the film program as a whole instrumental in my explorations of fundamental concepts in literature: the gaze, form/content, genre, the Other, aesthetics, the spectacle, the apparatus, etc. Through studying the ways these concepts interact with each other in film I gained a better understanding of literature and vice versa.