Mark Soderblom

Mark Soderblom
Episode 78

Join host Japhet De Oliveira in this episode as he sits down with his guest, Mark Soderblom, for an insightful conversation about the magic of film, the psychology of images, experiencing loneliness during the pandemic, and constructing systems of kindness.
Libsyn Podcast
“I feel like you can't really have it all is the thing with life. You have to be willing to figure out where you're willing to make sacrifices, whether that be in your time, in your location with who you're able to be around … You can't have it all, but I don't think that it's bad to not have it all because there's something in that sacrifice that also has its own beauty.”

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families, and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Welcome, friends, to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I am sitting with a very interesting, creative person in front of me, very talented, really delighted to be able to be in this conversation with them and waiting to not reveal too much until they say who they are. So the way it works, if you're brand new to this podcast is that I have 100 questions, the first 10 I ask. Then the guest, who's not into me and who with the affirmative action is agreeing that this is the way it works and they're holding their laughter in. From 11 to 100, they pick. And as you get closer to 100, it becomes more vulnerable, more open, and they get to dance wherever they wish to. So let's begin straight away with the, what's your name? Does anybody mispronounce it?

Mark Soderblom: My name is Mark Soderblom. So the first part, people don't usually get tripped up. Soderblom. Soderblom throws them off. There's one O. So I get Soderblom a lot and I've gotten my first name mixed up once. It was during Covid, went to a restaurant, had a takeout order, got the receipt back and it was for Muck.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. That was close. That was close.

Mark Soderblom: Yeah. I'll roll with it though.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good. Do you correct people when they mess up your name?

Mark Soderblom: Not really.

Japhet De Oliveira: Not really.

Mark Soderblom: I'm like, "It's close enough."

Japhet De Oliveira: It's close enough. That's good. So Mark, what do you do for work?

Mark Soderblom: So I am the cinematographer for system film production here at Adventist Health.

Japhet De Oliveira: And have you been doing film for long?

Mark Soderblom: I feel like I have. It's been a few years now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Been a few years. What kind of film have you done before working for Adventist Health?

Mark Soderblom: So before Adventist Health, I was working for Loma Linda University Church. I was a cinematographer for them doing their narrative productions. Then I spent a really short period of time in Hollywood working as a production assistant.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes. Lots of different experiences.

Mark Soderblom: So many.

Japhet De Oliveira: So many. Mark is a phenomenal cinematographer, and he does editing as well. And he's into Adobe After Effects and all sorts of wonderful things, but is a great photographer as well.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: He's very, very quiet about what you are. So that's great.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: So how long have you been in this current role?

Mark Soderblom: So I've been here a little over a year and a half.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Time flies by. That's great. That's great. All right. When you get up in the morning, do you have coffee, tea, water, liquid green smoothie?

Mark Soderblom: Coffee, all the way.

Japhet De Oliveira: Coffee all the way. And what kind of coffee?

Mark Soderblom: I'd make a oat milk latte every morning.

Japhet De Oliveira: Every morning.

Mark Soderblom: Every morning.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Are you able to make the artwork on top of it?

Mark Soderblom: Every time I try so hard. And I've gotten one a deformed heart. So I mean, I asked some of our cardiologists about it and got some good feedback.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh dear. Oh dear. All right. So Mark, where were you born?

Mark Soderblom: Loma Linda, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Alrighty. And when you were a child in Loma Linda, California, what did you imagine you will grow up to be?

Mark Soderblom: It jumped around. There was a vet for a little bit, but early on landed, at least in the film production space with-

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Mark Soderblom: ... visual effects artist-

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Mark Soderblom: ... is what I thought I wanted to be.

Japhet De Oliveira: What drew you into that space?

Mark Soderblom: There was always something magical about movies. And I'd come across the behind the scenes features on different films, and it looked like people were living their best lives. It was the coolest job you could have. Then I distinctly remember seeing Star Wars or Indiana Jones, those classic Spielberg style films and wanting to recreate those effects that they had pulled off. So I didn't have access to stuff like After Effects or anything. We had Windows Movie Maker.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness. Well done.

Mark Soderblom: And I wanted to do the lightsaber and the only way I could figure out how to pull it off was to do stop motion with ourselves. So we would move in slow motion and take a bunch of pictures, and I'd pull those pictures into Microsoft Paint. And I would paint the-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my.

Mark Soderblom: ... light saber in, then drop it into Windows Movie Maker. And play it really fast.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my.

Mark Soderblom: And make three-second movies.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Three-second movies. Mark, you have a tremendous eye for seeing things. Great. And I'm looking forward to the new movie that's just coming out soon. So this is pretty good. Well done. Well done.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Thank you for doing that. So personality wise, introvert, extrovert. How would people describe you? And would you agree with them?

Mark Soderblom: I don't know. I'm pretty sure people would say I'm introverted. I'm pretty quiet. But through traveling the system with this role, I've gotten a lot better at meeting people and connecting pretty quick. But I remember in high school taking one of those personality tests. And in the introvert-extrovert section, I did 10 out of 10 introvert.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, I will say this, that every hospital that I've spoken to and talked about your presence and the entire team, they just love you. So that's great. Well done for that. Early riser? Late night owl?

Mark Soderblom: Night owl.

Japhet De Oliveira: Night owl.

Mark Soderblom: Night owl. I can get up early if I have to.

Japhet De Oliveira: If you have to. And when you say Night owl, what time is that?

Mark Soderblom: 11.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? OK.

Mark Soderblom: Does that even count?

Japhet De Oliveira: Does it count?

Mark Soderblom: I don't know.

Japhet De Oliveira: One in the morning, maybe. Yeah, 11. 11. So this morning, first thought that went through your mind.

Mark Soderblom: I got to get down to Roseville because Japhet's speaking for intermission, and I'm going to be late.

Japhet De Oliveira: Fair enough. OK. All right. Leadership question because I know you've led teams, you mentor people still. I mean, you're doing a ton of extra work, which is phenomenal. So are you a backseat driver?

Mark Soderblom: Guilty. I'm getting better at it. I can look back at when I had my first leadership opportunity back at PUC doing their video yearbook producing. So many of the projects I had set these standards for, and I was so particular about them that I didn't give people the space to explore their own creativity. So since that and getting feedback on that, I think I'm much better. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Yeah, that's fantastic. All right, so those are the first 10 questions, which means that now the floor is open and you get to pick the numbers. Where would you like to go first, man?

Mark Soderblom: OK, let's do 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. All right. Share what day is most special to you on the entire calendar and why.

Mark Soderblom: That's a good one. OK. I feel like, I mean, it's cliche and it's the season, but Christmas Day is pretty fantastic.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is. It is. It's great.

Mark Soderblom: It has such a big lead up to it. Then especially when you go off to school and you move away from home and all of these things and you got that distance, it's a guaranteed time, at least in my family, where you know we're all going to be together.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey. And that's what makes it special for you.

Mark Soderblom: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: That everyone's coming together. That's pretty good. Well, I like that a lot. All right. That was 17. Where next?

Mark Soderblom: 23.

Japhet De Oliveira: 23. All right. This is going to be interesting. Tell us about the most outdated piece of technology that you still use on a regular basis and just can't let go of.

Mark Soderblom: That's going to be a hard one because I would call myself an early adopter.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know, I know. That's what I'm amused.

Mark Soderblom: So I mean, my iPhone 12 is. Does that count?

Japhet De Oliveira: So old. My goodness. Yeah, fair enough?

Mark Soderblom: Mm-hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. Yeah, you're so out touch.

Mark Soderblom: I try.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. That was 23. Where next?

Mark Soderblom: 28.

Japhet De Oliveira: 28. All right. If you had to give an impromptu 30 minute presentation, what would the topic be?

Mark Soderblom: I would love to do a presentation on the psychology of images. I feel like there's so much to, especially in an organization like this, realizing how you appear on camera and things like that and how many subtle ways you can change your perception, whether it's through the color, through the motion, through the height of the camera, through the proximity of the camera. There's so many little tiny psychology things about how you create a picture that can portray so much about the person on camera.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, that's true. And I think you take that art into the way that you film, right?

Mark Soderblom: I do. I try to.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you try to. Is it hard to choreograph that?

Mark Soderblom: It can be. If you have enough time to really think about it beforehand, then you can focus in on it. But sometimes you can get going in the moment, then be like, "My angle was a little low or a little high. It's not quite what I wanted".

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Good. Well, that was 28. So where next?

Mark Soderblom: 34.

Japhet De Oliveira: 34. Tell us about a moment that a person's kindness made a difference in your life.

Mark Soderblom: That one I do have a pretty distinct memory. So it was my first internship when I was working in Hollywood. It was on this movie called The Clapper, and I worked the show for free. I had gotten the opportunity, and I went out there. And I got to meet an incredible group of people, and they were so patient with me trying to learn the ropes of everything. And on the very last day of shooting, the key production assistant gathered a group of people together, and they came and they met me. And they had taken an open hat collection for me. And they had collected enough money to pay me what everyone else had been paid on the crew as well as a full signed call sheet with these wishes of wellness to me. And I remember getting that and being so shocked in the moment and blown away.

Then when I was getting in my car to drive home is when it really rushed over me just how fortunate I had been and just knowing that there were good and kind and supportive people out there. And I just broke down in my car on my drive home. And I'm sure people were like, "An actor who didn't get the role he wanted". Yeah. Every year I have the call sheet framed so I can look at it and read all of those messages. And it's the nicest thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sweet, yeah. There are different types of cries, aren't there?

Mark Soderblom: Mm-hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. There are some cries that are just about the goodness.

Mark Soderblom: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That would've been one of them. That's amazing, Mark.

Mark Soderblom: It was.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's beautiful. I am not tearing up. I'm holding it all together. I'm doing well. That's good. All right. Yeah, that's wonderful. So that was 34. Where next?

Mark Soderblom: 42.

Japhet De Oliveira: 42. All right. Tell us a story behind the background photo on your phone, your iPhone 12.

Mark Soderblom: Yes. So the photo on my phone is a picture of my parents' dog, Piper. She'll often roll over and look at you with her face all scrunched up. It's pretty adorable. So I just snapped a picture of her. And I use it as my background because I can't look at them without just being happy because they're the best.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. What? The dogs the best? Or your parents?

Mark Soderblom: The dogs.

Japhet De Oliveira: The dogs.

Mark Soderblom: A hundred percent.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Hey, that's really great. That was really great. Beautiful. All right. That was 42. Where next?

Mark Soderblom: 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: 60. All right. When in life have you felt most alone?

Mark Soderblom: Another excellent one. I feel like for me it was during the Covid years, I had a really unique experience. I'm sure it wasn't unique to me how you feel like the life you were living before Covid and the life now is, we're slowly making our exit, are two completely different lives.

Japhet De Oliveira: Interesting, isn't it? Yeah.

Mark Soderblom: And I really had a great team that I was working with and felt incredibly close to. And you can look back on it. And they evaporated overnight. Because I can still remember the day everyone was like, "OK, we're shutting down and we'll see each other in 15 days," or whatever it was going to be.

Japhet De Oliveira: Whatever it was going to be.

Mark Soderblom: Then I never saw them in the office again before I moved on. During that time, it didn't hit me all at once. But I could feel myself drifting away from everyone in that time. And I got so burned out doing work and things like that because I was using work as a way to stay connected to people, and it was what I had. So then when you finally burn out and then you have to step away from that, the loneliness, it wrecks you. So there's a nice glimpse into my heart. Yeah. It was during that time I think that it forced a lot of growth, which is something I can be incredibly grateful for. But it was definitely a rough time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Painful. I do not think that you are alone in this experience, but I do think that it would be good if you'd share with us what you think would be helpful to help people, who may even be going through that right now. Because I agree with you. There is a difference between the pre-Covid life and post-Covid life, hopefully. Yeah.

Mark Soderblom: I think one of the keys is when you're in that a darker lonelier space, it's hard to realize that you're there. So I think it's really important to be on the lookout for people that are in that space because they often don't realize that they are. And it has a whirlpool effect when you're in it. You pull away and you pull away further and you get more lonely, so you pull away further. So I think it's more important for us to look out for each other and see when that's happening to someone and pull them out because you can sometimes feel like you don't have the strength in those moments to move yourself out of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's actually very true. That's great. That's great. Well, blessings to you. That's fantastic. Good. All right. So where next, sir?

Mark Soderblom: Let's keep climbing.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. That was 60.

Mark Soderblom: 80.

Japhet De Oliveira: 80. All right. How would you like to change in the future?

Mark Soderblom: I feel like I always want to improve in how I approach relationships and connection. I feel like that's one of the spaces where when you're dealing with other people and you're trying to connect with other people. And having intentionality in building connection and taking the time to do so because it does take effort and it does take time. And it's figuring out priorities, and what are you after? Is it the work hours? Is it climbing and chasing careers? Or is it building connections and figuring out during the different stages of life what is the priority? So I think the way I want to improve is shifting priorities around so that I find the right balance.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really interesting. And this is a new question, I'm just adding it to the entire list here. This is a 80A. Do you believe that perfect balance is possible?

Mark Soderblom: I don't think it is actually. I feel like you can't really have it all is the thing with life. So you have to be willing to figure out where you're willing to make sacrifices, whether that be in your time, in your location with who you're able to be around. I think that you can't have it all, but I don't think that it's bad to not have it all because there's something in that sacrifice that also has its own beauty.

Japhet De Oliveira: I might go A to B with you.

Mark Soderblom: Cool. This is good.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've never done this before. I've always done an A, but I've never done a B because I like where you're going with this. And I would like you just to help us to reframe balance because I think there's a lot of people who have exactly the same kind of struggle, right, and the expectation of them. So how would you reframe balance for somebody who's brand new in a career and thinking about all that they need to do?

Mark Soderblom: It's tough to reframe. I think for me, it was moving across the state was what helped me to reframe because it allowed me to leave the expectations I'd created for myself behind. So it comes down to, it's about, I think, seeing the phases in your life, being open to change, allowing yourself to mourn for those changes that have happened and moving forward with the reality that you have.

I had read this book a while back called The Midnight Library, where the main character goes through these circumstances. And she ends up in this metaphorical place called the Midnight Library, where it's a massive, endless library filled with books, where she's given the opportunity to pick up her life in any of these stories that could have been hers from that exact moment she stepped into the library, she could look back and be like, "Here's what path would've taken you this way. Here's the path would've taken you this way". And through reading that, for myself, I came to be like, "You can spend your time thinking about all of the options that are out there, or you can embrace the path you're on." So for myself, that's what I'm doing is where I am is where I'm supposed to be and I'm going to follow it and see where life takes me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Adventist Health is blessed to have you, so thank you. Thank you for sharing that, Mark. And thank you for taking on for the very first time, not an A question but a B question on this podcast, so appreciate it. That was 80B. So where next?

Mark Soderblom: I know you said the nineties would be fun, so let's try 94.

Japhet De Oliveira: 94. All right. If you could change one thing in the entire world, what would that be?

Mark Soderblom: Wow. That's tough. It's what is the core of what I would want to see change.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I know.

Mark Soderblom: Wow. I think it does, again, come down to priorities and everything as I feel like we're trapped a little bit in a cycle sometimes that we've created for ourselves with expectations and things like that. What I would change is removing the pressure of expectation and giving people the opportunity to find themselves and be themselves and be supported in whatever that may be.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That would change the way that we react with, interact with each other. I mean, it would have repercussions everywhere. Family, parental. Wow. That's good. That's good. I like that. All right. That was 94, all right.

Mark Soderblom: We don't have much further to go.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no, no, no.

Mark Soderblom: Let's do 76.

Japhet De Oliveira: 76. All right, here we go. 76. Tell us about where you feel the safest and why.

Mark Soderblom: I would say I feel the safest when in the embrace of any close family member. There's something about that closeness and, I don't know, the life history and story that's captured in those moments.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Those are good. Those are good. Like that a lot. All right, that was 76.

Mark Soderblom: 88.

Japhet De Oliveira: 88. All right. 88 it is. Tell us about how your life has been different than what you actually imagined.

Mark Soderblom: I think that one is another one. I can look back on the path that I thought I would be taking. I was on the classic path where I was in school, went off to college, was studying film and television production. Then due to some different circumstances, I was going to take a gap year. Then during that gap year is when all of these opportunities poured in for me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I know.

Mark Soderblom: And I don't know. It wasn't the path that I expected. And I mean, I was shocked when I had to take the year off, but I feel like I can look back on those moments and see how my life has felt led in a way, where what I thought I was going after wasn't what I needed. So in those moments when the doors opened and the opportunities presented themselves and I've followed them down, they've all led me to better and better places. So I look back and I'm like, "Wow, if I had kept going on that same path and I'd gone on and done the classic path, finished, graduated without having anything ever lined up," I feel bad for all the people that have to search and find things after they graduate from school. Because for me, paths were just available.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's amazing. Yeah. No, it is. But I also think it takes a lot to recognize that as well, so that's great as well. That's good. All right. Where next after 88?

Mark Soderblom: Let's go polar opposite. Let's drop down to 14.

Japhet De Oliveira: 14. All right, here it is. This is great. Tell us about what you enjoy doing outside of work.

Mark Soderblom: OK. That's a tough one. I commit pretty hard to the work life sometimes, but I love studying storytelling and techniques. That's how I filled my time a lot is like, "How can I get better at either the process of making images or making images that matter?" Otherwise, getting outdoors. Walking around the park in Auburn, it's pretty great.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It was great. That was good. That's good. That's fantastic. All right. That was 14. Where next?

Mark Soderblom: 19.

Japhet De Oliveira: 19. All right. What is your exercise routine?

Mark Soderblom: I'm glad you caught me in one. So I try to, four times a week go to the gym, do 30 minutes of cardio, then 45 minutes of strength training, then that's that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Then that's that.

Mark Soderblom: Nice and simple. I feel like I don't fit in at the gym really? So I just go in, cruise in, find my little corner, and I'm like, "OK, here we go."

Japhet De Oliveira: Other people just too die-hard in the gym?

Mark Soderblom: I don't know. I don't look around. I'm like, "Just keep your head down. No one will see you," is my mentality.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's hilarious. All right, well done for doing it anyway. All right.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you. Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: So we have time for two more. So where do you want to go for the last two?

Mark Soderblom: Let's go somewhere in the eighties. Is 85 available?

Japhet De Oliveira: 85. All right. Describe a role model that you aspire to be like.

Mark Soderblom: Like a person? Like an actual person?

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a great clarifier, and I think you can pick.

Mark Soderblom: OK. Or just some traits. I'm going to go with some traits that I think-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I'll follow your lead.

Mark Soderblom: Right. OK, good. I feel like the traits I see in the people that I see as my role models are kindness first. So anytime I see someone demonstrating consistent kindness, not just in their interactions directly with a person but in what the systems they set up as well. Then ingenuity and adventurousness, where it's willingness to try new paths and do new things. I need a third one to do this. We got to really round this out.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Expectations.

Mark Soderblom: Man, innovation is the same thing. Oh no. Oh no. We'll just change my intonations a little bit here. We'll go with people with kindness and people that are innovative and that try and push ideas forward and aren't stuck in the old ways.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. So I like that. And you're just going to make me go to an A section in this particular question. It is not easy to do that, to live in that space of kindness and innovation, but I like that you aspire to do that. What would be some ways that you can actually can do that more easily?

Mark Soderblom: I feel like if you set up your systems of kindness are in place first, where... Especially when you're taking risks and being more innovative, it needs to be a place where failing at different ideas is not a risk. Because as soon as that's on the table, then you got to play it safe and you don't go anywhere. Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, That's exactly it. Yeah. There has to be the freedom, right,

Mark Soderblom: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I know that you like to create that freedom. And I think that that's actually part of the life lessons that you've learned to do for others as well. But I think that you actually do create innovative things.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: So that's good.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's good. You're a great teacher, really good teacher.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I think it takes a lot. Now, this is not even on the list here, but where did you get that teaching gift from? Is that just something you felt like you've always had?

Mark Soderblom: It might be. I feel like my parents were great teachers. But I have this passion for sharing knowledge and things that I've picked up just because, I don't know, why keep it to myself? If I've picked up a way to do something or made something cool and I'm like, "Wow, that was really awesome. I'd love to show other people how," I never want to hide my process or anything like that from anyone. I'm an open book. And the more people that have that skillset, the better.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Well, Mark, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for inspiring us, encouraging us to be people who share freely and without anything needed back, just no expectations.

Mark Soderblom: No expectations.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's good. It's good. Appreciate that. I want to encourage everybody who's listening to this to do exactly the same thing. Take some time, sit down, be with a friend, ask good questions, listen, learn. You will get changed. They will be changed. It will be fantastic. Mark, thanks again.

Mark Soderblom: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: God bless, everybody. And I'll connect another time.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The story & Experience Podcast was bought to you by Adventist Health through the office of culture.