PMA Podcast Episode 52: Alex ArbitalJacoby

In this episode, Leah Ingalls, a junior in PMA major, met with recent Cornell graduate Alex ArbitalJacoby to discuss his time as a student at Cornell, his experiences in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and to shine some light on his post graduation plans in New York City.

PMA Podcast · Episode 52 - Alex ArbitalJacoby

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Leah Ingalls  0:11 

Hello and welcome to episode 52 of the PMA Podcast. I'm Leah Ingalls, film major, PMA video production assistant, and co-host of the PMA Podcast. In this episode, I met with recent Cornell graduate Alex ArbitalJacoby to discuss his time as a student at Cornell, his experiences in the department of Performing and Media Arts, and to shed some light on his post-graduation plans in New York City. Alex, how are you today?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  0:34 

I'm doing great, Leah. Hello.

Leah Ingalls  0:36 

Wonderful. Glad to hear it. So, today's episode is going to be a little bit more conversational. We aren't necessarily doing, like, specific questions. We are just talking a little bit about what it's like to be a PMA major. We figured this could be helpful maybe if you are thinking about something within the PMA major or minor, or if you are already a PMA major or minor and just want to hear other people's experiences. So, Alex, would you, would you introduce yourself to everyone?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  1:07 

Yes. Hello. My name is Alex. I am a senior in PMA. I'm also a double major in math. I am in a comedy troupe on campus with Leah. We have a lot of fun. That's pretty much what I do on campus.

Leah Ingalls  1:25 

Nice. Nice. So, and what's your concentration within PMA?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  1:32 

Oh, I changed it up in the past year. It was going to be screenwriting, now I think it's film and video production, though generally creative authorship is what I do the most of.

Leah Ingalls  1:42 

Got it. Got it. So I am going to start by asking you sort of one of my favorite things to talk to people about because I feel like it's so different for every person. How did you end up getting into PMA? Did you, did you start out in PMA? I know the answer to this. But yeah, what was that, was that like?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  1:59 

Well, not at all, actually. I started as an environmental engineer when I came here. And I intended on graduating as an environmental engineer. And now I'm not. No, within literally a week of engineering, I knew that I wanted to transfer out. But I still kind of liked STEM so I didn't know what to do. But I also really liked comedy and writing and things like that. So I figured PMA would be a good place and Arts and Sciences was like a good place to transfer to because I can kind of do whatever within that school.

Leah Ingalls  2:31 

Yeah, yeah. So how did you how did you like, did you know like what in PMA you wanted to get into from the start? Or I mean, you mentioned that you sort of changed concentrations recently.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  2:43 

Yeah, I didn't. I honestly didn't know like the full scope of PMA since it's kind of everything. It's like theater. It's dance. It's film. Right. I just kind of knew that I liked writing, I liked comedy in general. So I figured it would be a good place that I can kind of explore whatever. Actually, the first PMA class I took was Laughter, I think it's PMA 1700. Because that, that seems like a good introduction to the things that I was interested in. And I think that kind of confirmed I liked the vibe of that class. And it kind of confirmed that's what I wanted to study because I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that, like PMA or English and I liked, I don't know, that kind of collaborative nature of PMA classes a lot more than sitting in an English class. No offense to English classes.

Leah Ingalls  3:24 

Yeah, definitely. There is, there's a different vibe here at PMA, I think it's really unique how involved it is when it comes to creation.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  3:32

Yeah, totally.

Leah Ingalls  3:33

Yeah. Yeah. So I'm actually going to backtrack a little bit from that. So it sounds like it was kind of a process for you to get into PMA here. But you mentioned knowing that you were into comedy, knowing that you were into writing, you know, sort of the creative, the creative arts. But is there anything you want to share about how you started to know that was something that you were into? Was this a process, like, throughout high school? Or just how did you get this idea that maybe this was something that you want to go after?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  4:04 

Yeah, I always, I don't know. I was always a big like comedy nerd, in a way. Like I always liked comedy, media and joking around and kind of repeating bits and things that I'd heard. But I didn't really think it was like, like, you know, something you can actually do. I thought it was just kind of like, oh, well, you watch it on the TV, and it’s just kind of there for your entertainment. And I think I only really started taking it seriously, as you know, something you could study or something you could go on to do professionally once I realized there was nothing else I wanted to do. So yeah, I think I started taking it seriously when I came to college. And I was like, well, there are all these things I can study. And there's only one that I enjoy studying. And it seemed like, you know.

Leah Ingalls  4:53 

So it was kind of a process of elimination for you.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  4:55 

Yeah, kind of. Yeah, I mean it had always kind of been like, like a constant in my life. I always liked comedy, I always liked joking around. And then I guess once I realized you could do that to make money. That seems like a good bet. Yeah.

Leah Ingalls  5:08 

Yeah. Yeah, it is hard when you get to college and you realize sort of these ideas of these things that you should do or have to do, you don't have to be confined to those. Did you ever experience any trepidation? In like, whether or not it was okay for you to pursue something that was creative, as opposed to something, you know, like STEM?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  5:28 

Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, there is a reason that I'm double majored in math?

Leah Ingalls  5:32


Alex ArbitalJacoby  5:33

You know, I understand, I mean, you know, from I feel like everything you hear, I mean, from outside influences, you know, going into the arts is, I guess like a, quote, risky kind of area to go into, you know, like less stable in terms of like careers and finances, but I don't know. I still do have trepidations. But, you know, I think, at least, you know, I've been at Cornell for four years, and I've met a lot of people who, I don't know, are in the same kind of boat that I'm in and kind of, I guess it's nice to have a community of people that you can, like, go together with and they're kind of, I don't know what I'm saying right now.

Leah Ingalls  6:19 

No, I feel like I know what you're saying. Just that sense that you're not alone in that. It really helps.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  6:23

Yeah, there we go.

Leah Ingalls  6:24

It can be, it can feel nebulous and uncertain when it comes to creative careers, I think, just because there isn't a specific outline of sort of you do this, you get promoted to this. You know!

Alex ArbitalJacoby  6:35 

Oh, my God. Yeah. Like all the people who are like, Well, I have my fourth summer at Goldman Sachs and Sue and I will be working there with my papa.

Leah Ingalls  6:44 

Sure, yeah. Yeah. It's not necessarily, you know, a straight road to get to a defined destination.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  6:53

Yeah, totally.

Leah Ingalls  6:54

But yeah, I think when it comes to creative endeavors, just having people that are doing it with you, like not only reinforces that it's worth it, but also that like, it is, it's worth it in terms of financially, and career prospects, but also, that it's worth it in the sense of following your passions and following that, you know, what you really care about? I don't know if you recall our, so, Alex and I have taken a few classes together here at PMA. The first film class that I that I took, in terms of like actual film projects, specifically to be shared was Film and Video Production I with Alex. And that was a really interesting experience for me. Alex, do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  7:42 

Yeah, totally. Film and Video Production I. It's a fun class.

Leah Ingalls  7:49 

It was interesting. We were both kind of navigating making our own films for the first time, right?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  7:52 

Yeah, that was, yeah, that was also my first time having made films, you know, like, not on my phone with friends, you know. So it was I don't know, it was interesting to have access to like a real camera and software for the first time and then just kind of being thrown into the deep end, right. Like, you know, Do something.

Leah Ingalls  8:09 

Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's the scary part, right of creative authorship is, you know, we're so lucky at PMA to have this many resources at our disposal. And then to kind of realize, like, oh, I need to create something with it.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  8:26


Leah Ingalls  8:27

But Alex, I really loved the stuff that you created. I remember you were really nervous about it.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  8:32

Stop! Leah, I enjoyed the stuff that you created.

Leah Ingalls  8:34

Oh my gosh, what?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  8:35 

What? Yeah, no, but I think they're, I think having all these resources at our disposal, kind of, no, there was some pressure, like, Oh, my God, I don't know what I'm doing. But I think that pressure kind of, I guess, like, motivated us to try and make stuff that we were proud of, you know, like, take advantage of these resources. So I was definitely putting, like, way more. I mean, you know, it's a subject that I enjoy more than most of the other things that I was doing. So I wanted to put more effort into that. But also, I think, just having like, a nice group of people to work with, and, you know, access to this equipment made me want to, like, put in that work and, ya know, make things that I thought were actually interesting.

Leah Ingalls  9:12 

Yeah, we, we had a bit of a chat with Professor Jeffrey Palmer about this recently, but it's sort of like, there's such an air of just like, raw passion and motivation, especially when you get down to crunch time. In a place like a film class where, you know, I remember you and I sitting in, in that like, editing room, like, late into the evening, you know, trying to figure out and fix, you know, our, you know, fix this to the best of our ability. Yeah, to make sure that we are creating the best thing that we can, which is tough to navigate, right? Because, you know, what has your experience been just sort of navigating that pressure to be perfectionistic?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  9:56 

Oh my god. Yeah, I remember the very first film, I don't even remember what the prompt was, was but it was very vague. And so I just kind of started filming, like anything I could. And I think I wound up with like, two hours of footage for a five minute project. And when it came down to editing, I had to watch like all two hours of footage, I want to say at least three times, that's at least six hours spent on a five minute film. One of like four we had to do for that class. So there was, I felt totally, like burnt out by the end of that. But I wound up being really happy with the final project. Yeah. So I it's still something I look back on fondly, even though it was staring at a computer screen for 10 to 12 hours.

Leah Ingalls  10:37 

It's such a process of trial and error, right, when we are creating something that we really care about, figuring out that balance between, I want to give this my all, but how much is too much to give to a project.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  10:50 

Right. Yeah, you also need to be giving yourself food and water and sunlight.

Leah Ingalls  10:55 

Right. Right. And I think, you know, there is sort of a conversation around here at Cornell, we have a tendency to question everything that we do all the time, and whether or not it's perfect enough for our standards. But I think that's what's so great about film classes like that, is it gives you a space to sort of try, fail, and learn, right?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  11:17 

Right. Yeah. And I think having that group of people to do that with is kind of comforting, you know, it gives you reassurance like, well, this doesn't need to be perfect. We're all just going through this together.

Leah Ingalls  11:26


Alex ArbitalJacoby  11:27

It's an intro film class. We're just having fun.

Leah Ingalls  11:28 

And then the film screening was so much fun.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  11:29

Oh, yeah.

Leah Ingalls  11:30

Getting to see everybody's films and, and see people's reactions, which, yeah, that was so cool. So. Oh, on terms of creative processes, I'm very curious. So you, you mentioned the interest in screenwriting, and also that you're a part of a comedy troupe on campus, which I'm also a part of. But something that we were talking about recently is that you are also a performer in that same comedy troupe?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  12:00


Leah Ingalls  12:01

And so I was wondering if you wanted to talk a bit about the different approaches to writing versus performing, and how that’s felt for you?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  12:09 

Sure. Well, I was I guess, I've been writing comedy and, you know, funny, silly things, since I was, you know, at least middle school, maybe high school. So I have more experience in that. And for me, that's more of like a personal thing. It's just fun to, you know, jot down ideas and things like that. And I had never performed in anything until I came to college and join this comedy troupe. And that's always I mean, that's kind of been for a reason, I've got pretty bad stage fright. I don't exactly like going in front of big audiences, you know, talking into a microphone.

Leah Ingalls  12:45 

Oh, no. The sacrifices we make.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  12:50 

No, no, exactly. So it was they were like, very, like wildly different things in my mind. But also, sometimes it is nice. If it's something that I've written, you know, I have a very specific way. Like, I guess one of the challenges of writing is you have like, a very specific idea in your head, and how do you translate that to the page? And if you're also performing that, or directing that, it's a lot easier to, you know, I guess directly translate that to the stage or to the screen? You know, you know what you want it to be like. Yeah. But I don't know, for performing for me, is… I don’t know. Sorry, what was the question? I think I got lost.

Leah Ingalls  13:41 

Just to talk about your experience. So, when it comes to, so you said that you have pretty bad stage fright?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  13:47


Leah Ingalls  13:48

But you've been performing for three and a half years.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  13:51

Yeah, sure.

Leah Ingalls  13:53

So I know, there are some people who are maybe interested in getting involved in things like performing on stage, but don't know if they would be able to do that. Is there anything you'd say, you know, to someone who might feel like that's a barrier for them?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  14:07 

Yeah. I mean, like even though I have stage fright, like I again, I've been performing for three and a half years, but even after, like before our last show that we had a couple of weeks ago, I was like, you know, free, I was waking up at like, six in the morning, like, oh my god, I have to perform today, just like a nervous wreck. But I think, you know, I knew, like at the end of the day, I'm volunteering to be here, it is something that I want to do, and I want to, you know, see all these funny ideas, right, you know, that, you know, show those to people and give people a good time. So I think it's, you know, it's something that personally scares me, but ultimately, I'm doing this because I like it and there is, you know, a greater goal that I'd like to achieve here. And, you know, I'm collaborating with other people and if I'm not performing, then that's, you know, affecting them as well. So I think if it's something you care about, you know, you push through.

Leah Ingalls  14:59 

That's true. That's very true. What's the saying? Do it scared? That?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  15:03 

Sure? I've never heard that. But that's now my motto.

Leah Ingalls  15:07

Oh, perfect.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  15:08

I've been doing it scared for 21 years.

Leah Ingalls  15:09 

Oh, well, I'm very proud of you, Alex. So, so do you have a process when you're performing to sort of alleviate that sort of anxiety? Or do you just work through it?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  15:21 

Yeah, um, it's this cool method I've come up with called dissociating. No, no, I don't know. I get, I get a little, actually, you gave me very good advice before.

Leah Ingalls  15:32

Oh, stop.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  15:33

Before the last, no, no, no, it's very true. I've been thinking about it. You said before, I mean, maybe you just want to say it. But you told me that…

Leah Ingalls  15:40

I don't remember.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  15:41

You said that. You know, the day of the show, the show was happening regardless. So you just kind of reached this point, this like kind of Zen kind of state that you're in. And you said that to me, when you saw me pacing around, memorizing my lines, repeating them to myself like a madman. And I think that did calm me down just to get me away from, you know, getting too in my head. Yeah. Because I often feel like, if you're too in your head, and you're trying to, you know, actively remember every single beat of the script, you know, you're not really embodying that performance. And it seems like, I guess the performance is more for you to I guess, for you to survive on stage, as opposed to like, acknowledging the audience at all and performing for them. You know, yeah. So I feel like, let loose. Have a good time, go crazy.

Leah Ingalls  16:38 

Yeah, that's very true. It's hard to navigate the pressure to get things perfect onstage versus, you know, you can't exactly hit the undo button.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  16:47


Leah Ingalls  16:48

You know, you have to roll with it. Yeah. That's beautiful. So, when it comes to, conversely, your writing process, do you have a sort of creative process when it comes to, because you've written a lot of scripts. For our comedy troupe, in film classes, everything. Do you have a creative process to that?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  17:10 

Yeah, well, okay. I would say, if it's for a class, I get a prompt I, you know, think about that for a little bit, something will pop out. But for something, something that I don't know, I'm doing on my own time, a lot of my ideas just kind of come from, like, one might call divine intervention, or just, you know, a random idea. I’ll see something, or something will pop in my head, I'll write it down in my Notes app. I'm a big fan of writing things down in the Notes app. Everyone should have a journal. In my opinion.

Leah Ingalls  17:40 

I have my Notes app open right now, in fact.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  17:45 

Incred – see? Ugh. But I don't know, I think I'll do like, I don't know, like a purge of my notes app about like, once every couple of weeks, and just like go through everything that I've thought of, I'm like, Well, that could be something funny, you know. It's just kind of like the seed for a larger idea. And so I'll take whatever I think is the funniest and I'll go through. And I guess, just kind of like, I guess, like a brainstorm kind of session, see where these ideas could go. More jokes in relation to them, potentially, you know. Situations, characters. And then I also am very, I guess, like, structurally, like structure oriented when it comes to writing.

Leah Ingalls  18:17

Okay, interesting.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  18:29

So like, I write a lot of sketches, and, you know, sketches kind of need a beginning, middle and end, or at least some kind of escalation of events, right. So I think it's, you know, important to think about, like, you know, getting those major beats down and understanding where it needs to go. And I think, you know, if you're writing comedy, you, you probably have a sense of humor, you can think of some jokes, so I feel like if you have like a pretty solid skeleton of the structure of a sketch, you can fill in the jokes and the characters and kind of figure out, you know, how you can get those major beats across in a silly way.

Leah Ingalls  19:05 

Okay. So it's, it's a matter of collecting every idea that you have, and then having a structure to sort of like slot that into.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  19:14

Yeah, yeah.

Leah Ingalls  19:15

Okay. That's interesting. Have you ever had to overcome writer's block?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  19:19 

Oh, absolutely. I, in my, you know, my Google Drive I have a folder that's just like, To Be Completed, or Things That Have Made Me Cry. You know?

Leah Ingalls  19:36 

Like drafts, that you’ve cried over? Interesting.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  19:39 

Yeah, like things like, Please, I know there's something good here.

Leah Ingalls  19:41 

Oh, that's the worst feeling. When it's a good concept, but you don't know how to realize it?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  19:47 

Yeah. Yeah. So I think I do get writer's block. Like there have been sketches and things that I've been writing that I just have to, after staring at a page for like an hour and a half, just step away from and, maybe you come back, maybe you don't.

Leah Ingalls  20:01


Alex ArbitalJacoby  20:02

You have to let it go.

Leah Ingalls  20:03 

And then there's also, I've heard of like writers, like authors sometimes will write a copy of their book and walk away for three months, walk away for a year or something like that, and get back to it with fresh eyes. So we talked a little bit about how there's a lot of, sort of, there can be a feeling of uncertainty when it comes to creative endeavors and finding employment. Right? But I won't share too many details. But the reason that you're graduating this semester, if I'm correct, is that you've gotten a rather fortunate job offer to pursue. And I've talked to you sort of throughout the years about this uncertainty and this feeling. So do you, you know, is there anything you can share about how you've worked through that feeling of uncertainty, and sort of a retrospective now that you are looking into the future, which looks very bright?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  21:00 

Well, thank you for saying that. But I don't know. I think I am still filled, filled with that feeling of uncertainty. Sure. Just because, you know, I've gotten a job offer, but also, you know, it's part time, it's for, like, you know, it's I think, like a half year long contract. It's not even, like, you know, full time kind of gigs. So it's like, you know.

Leah Ingalls  21:24 

Alex, you gotta let yourself breathe.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  21:26 

Yeah, no, I know, I know. But I think just with creative things in general, like, you know, ignoring the job market, like, if you're creating something I feel like the whole way through, you're like, Is this ever gonna get made? Is this fine? Is this okay? Are people gonna like this? Do I like this? So I feel like the whole process of like, expressing yourself creatively or doing any creative endeavor is just kind of a series of uncertainties that you need to be confident in.

Leah Ingalls  21:54

Not letting it stop you.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  21:55

Yeah, yeah. But in terms of like, jobs, and things like that. Yeah, I definitely feel that I got lucky with getting, like a job offer, even if it is, you know, part time or whatever, it's still really exciting. But I think, you know, that's due to a lot of other work and confidence in my own abilities that I've, you know, followed through with in the past. Like, two summers ago, I was a production and script assistant at like, a small production company, you know, my time as a, you know, sketch writer and performer on campus, you know, getting involved with student film and things like that. And I think just like laying the foundation for things that I enjoy, you know, ultimately paid off and led to getting an opportunity that is really exciting. Yeah. And hopefully will keep me on the path of doing things that I really love.

Leah Ingalls  22:53 

Yeah. Yeah, it's, you know, I think that what you see a lot at PMA and I think what you see with you, especially, is that the passion for what you're creating is the thread that pulls you through. And, you know, I think that was mentioned in the recent talk by Andrea Savage, where, where she, she mentioned that you sort of have to trust that, you know, as long as you let that guide you that, that it'll guide you to some, some awesome places. So, when did you, when did you sorry, this was probably a question for earlier, but one did you take on a PMA major? Was that your freshman first semester?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  23:33 

Oh, no actually it was really late. I didn't transfer into Arts & Sciences until the spring semester of my freshman year. And then I didn't even apply to be a PMA student until I think, halfway through my sophomore year, just because I didn't know if I wanted to, you know, pursue film or comedy in like an academic sense. Or if I did, whether it should be through PMA or through like English or just like a creative writing minor. Ultimately, I wound up here because I liked it the most and it seemed the most fun and it was. But yeah, it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. What I wanted to do, what I, yeah.

Leah Ingalls  24:20 

I find that that's pretty common. I think. Personally, I happened to know that I wanted to do PMA going into this but I think for most people, it's sort of they, they maybe hear about it or they start looking into it. How did you find out about PMA?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  24:34 

Well, I lived in Risley my freshman year, and that gave me the impression that about like one in five Cornell students were PMA majors.

Leah Ingalls  24:43 

For those of you that don't know Risley Residential College is a program house for the Creative and Performing Arts.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  24:50 

Yeah. Not representative of a larger sample of the Cornell population.

Leah Ingalls  24:54

But another helpful community.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  24:56

Yeah, a great community of people that showed me that like, you know, there is a community for people who are into theater and film and performing arts on campus. That also opened me up to the comedy troupe that I'm in now. So yeah, I think just meeting other people who were involved in PMA, you know, getting advice from them. And learning how cool the major was, I think that pushed me in that direction. Because, yeah. I don't know if you can really say the same for. Yeah, I don't think I really know communities as tight knit as the PMA one since it's a fairly small major.

Leah Ingalls  25:34 

It is a relatively small major, and it's, you know. Yeah, there id a really tight knit community here at PMA, I think the most common thing said that is that it feels like a family. You can you know, you can walk around the Schwartz, and people will be like, Oh, hey, and you're like, Oh, hey. So, it's totally fine if you don't, but you mentioned talking to friends and getting intrigued by it. Do you have any specific things that you heard about where you were like, Oh, that sounds really cool. I wonder if I could, you know, or anything that sounded really interesting?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  26:06 

Yeah. I think the first person who I spoke to that really tried to like, I guess, recruit me for PMA was I had a like, I guess, an another student I worked with at Cornell Cinema. I work at Cornell Cinema. And she was a PMA senior. And I told her that I was considering majoring in PMA. And basically, every single time I saw her, she was like, So are you going to be in PMA yet? Or what? And she just told me about all the fun classes that she was taking and how close she was with all her professors. Right. You know, she got to make films. It's just, it, she made it seem like a really fun place to, you know, have a creative outlet, especially as someone who has was already studying math. That was something that I'd missed, you know, having a real creative outlet or some, you know, structured kind of academic place that I could, I don't know, explore creative ideas.

Leah Ingalls  27:04


Alex ArbitalJacoby 27:05

Yeah. And so I think just the ability that PMA gives you to double major and, you know, still have time to do things you like.

Leah Ingalls  27:17 

For sure, yeah, I think that's pretty common with people who are majoring in PMA. A lot of people have diverse interests that they get to explore at the same time and sometimes integrate with one another. You mentioned Cornell Cinema. Do you want to talk a little bit about what it's like to work there? What that entails? Because, is that, is that a part of PMA as well?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  27:36 

I think yeah, I think they're partnered with PMA. I've loved working at Cornell Cinema. I'm a projectionist there. It's been a really cool opportunity, you get to learn about all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into like operating a movie theater. I've gotten to work with actual, you know, like 35 millimeter film, we've got 35 millimeter projectors. Really cool stuff. It's kind of like a forgotten art form, not forgotten, but you know, less, less popular. Really exciting. I mean, it's not something that I ever figured I would do. I was just looking for student job. And that seemed the most in line with something that had, you know, my interests. And I've gotten to meet like a lot of nice people. A lot of, you know, movie nerds, film buffs, things like that. Just hang out. Watch movies, eat popcorn.

Leah Ingalls  28:23 

Yeah, some of my first interactions with Cornell Cinema have actually been PMA courses that have us, like we were both in Global Cinema I which had us go watch some of the older, silent films that are shown at Cornell Cinema.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  28:39 

Yeah, there are a lot of cool silent film events that we'll do. A lot of times, there'll be like live orchestration, to silent films, really cool. Things like that.

Leah Ingalls  28:51 

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I keep going back to classes, but we took the production lab together.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  28:56


Leah Ingalls  28:58

Was it, was it 35 millimeter, or was it like…

Alex ArbitalJacoby  29:01

I think, maybe 16 millimeter?

Leah Ingalls 29:02

16 millimeter. I was gonna say, I think so. Of course, I was out that day, but you actually got to make a film using that. Do you want to talk a bit about that?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  29:15 

Oh, yeah, that was so much fun. The instructor of the course, you know, we had a whole day where she taught us how to operate, you know, a film camera. And it was kind of freaky, because we didn't want to mess it up. But it was, I don't know, it was definitely, we'd shot, for that class we had shot on, you know, digital cameras before and I'm sure everyone's shot on their phone before. But I don't know, it was kind of nerve wracking to shoot on something that you know, if you mess up you have to, you know. If you mess up, what is it? You uh, you can't, I don't know. You can't go back.

Leah Ingalls  29:57

Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  29:58

You know, it’s physical media. You know, you can't.

Leah Ingalls 30:01

Yeah, apart from you know, cutting it apart taping it together.

Alex ArbitalJacoby

It's expensive. Yeah, it’s, there are a lot more stakes to doing that to digital film. But it was, I don't know, it was really, it was a neat experience to work with that.

Leah Ingalls  30:12 

So you've had a very interesting journey throughout PMA, you got started your sophomore year, you are now in your, in your junior year. Even if you got started a little later than most people, you're not in your junior year, your senior year. Nope, that's me. Okay. Yeah, that's me. If you could go back and, and tell yourself anything at the start of, at the start of your creative journey, is there anything that you would say?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  30:42 

I would say, I don't know if this is copyrighted, but just do it. I feel like a lot of the time, I am the only thing holding me back from doing something creative. You know, I feel like there's so many times where I'm like, well, I could make something, I've had this idea for a while, or I could sit and watch YouTube videos. Which is, you know, nothing wrong with that. But, you know, I feel like, there's something really rewarding about going out and, you know, writing something down, and then at the end of day, you have something that you can say that you're proud of, or at least something. But yeah, I feel like a lot of the time I get in my own way, or I you know, you know, it can be too perfectionistic, like what we were talking about before, like, it doesn't need to be perfect, just make something. And, you know, you get into the habit of editing and writing and all these things. And then at the end of the day, you have like a whole portfolio of things. So I feel like, don't stop yourself from just having fun, and making creative, fun, exciting things.

Leah Ingalls  31:54 

Those are some sage words of advice there. Yeah, I also I find that for myself, I don't know about you, but sometimes there have been moments where I questioned my ability to create things and then actually seeing the things put on here at PMA is what motivates me to start on a creative project.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  32:10 

Sure. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, PMA puts on like, a lot of, you know, really cool, large productions. I mean, you know, after the, the student film screening at the end of each semester, you know, it's great to see what all of your peers are working on motivates you to, you know, do things at the level that they are working at. Yeah, and I feel like, you know, I feel like a lot of the time I put pressure on myself, thinking about how others will perceive my work. But after seeing other people's work, I can only think of positive things I'm never like.

Leah Ingalls  32:44

Yeah, that's true.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  32:45

Yeah, I'm never trying to, you know, tear people down. So yeah.

Leah Ingalls  32:48 

Yeah, we experienced that in, in our film classes together where you know something is there, because you were the one editing it. Like you, when you watch the film, it's almost like you can see the timeline in your head and you're like, but no one else notices.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  33:01 

Right. Yeah. And I feel like a lot of people in that class were tempted at the beginning to be like, Well, I don't like the colors. And I don't like that one shot and all this, but I wouldn't have noticed any of that stuff if you hadn't said it at the beginning. So I feel like just know that, you know, if something's done, it's done. People will see it. They will react. Maybe they will be moved. But, you know.

Leah Ingalls  33:25 

We've covered a lot of ground today, Alex. Is there, is there anything else that you would like to cover, like to talk about, anything?

Alex ArbitalJacoby  33:33 

I hope that people listening make sure to eat fruits and vegetables. And, I don't know, floss. It's important. For any PMA majors, I once heard of someone who got scurvy because they didn't eat enough fruit and vegetables at college.

Leah Ingalls  33:53

Oh my gosh.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  33:54

Sorry, this is not relevant to PMA. College students need to take, yeah actually no it is relevant to PMA. Because people need to take care of themselves before their work. And that is something that I think a lot of Cornell students and PMA students in general do not do.

Leah Ingalls  34:09 

You know what? You're completely right, Alex. You're completely right. There we go. Some beautiful advice to end with. Well, thank you, Alex, so much for being here.

Alex ArbitalJacoby  34:17 

Of course. Thank you for having me. This was so much fun.

Leah Ingalls  34:19 

Alright, thank you.

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