A Game of Theoreticals (Starring Tom Cruise)

by Derek Fletcher


The corner of my mouth won’t stop quivering. And my leg—it keeps twitching. I tap my fingers on my knee to a song that I made up in my head. The walls are caving in. My heart is beating in my head—thump, thu-thump, thu-thump, thump. Have I blinked within the last ten minutes? Have I even taken a breath? Why am I short on breath?

I’m someone who enjoys being couch-locked. Binge-watching Netflix series is a hobby of mine (and of most people). But sitting in my little Sundog cubicle, editing video, gives me a different sensation.

There are so many ways to approach creating a video with the footage you’re given and the animations you can make with them:

Black screen—cue in music—BAM! Graphics fly in—well…no! Here it is!

Fade in—our subject is ominously staring into the void, he takes a breath—slow piano creeps in and…no!

The options are endless. Another thing to consider—who is going to watch the video? Why do they want to see it? What’s the mood/vibe you’re trying to convey? You could do this, you could do that, you could even try it the other way—why not try it all? Like a writer, a painter, an architect, or your mom making casserole—a video editor’s work is NEVER done. I’d like to coin the culminations of these thoughts “a game of theoreticals.” That has a ring to it, should be a movie title—starring Tom Cruise! Or Denzel Washington! Or Steven Seagal! (Okay, not Steven Seagal.)

Once you settle for your project, you can sigh in relief and be proud (or not) that you finally had the discipline to make a firm and definite decision as to how your film looks.

Something often overlooked (certainly not at Sundog) is how much a project will cost. For my senior capstone project, we are attempting to do the same—budget for our big project. The big issue is it’s all in theory! I could blab on and on about if it takes this long to film or if we get this grant. Bottom line is you’ll never know until you actually do it (thanks Nike) and that is frightening.

But heroes don’t feel fear—so I’m going to man up and tackle this impossible mission, Tom Cruise style! Suddenly:

BOOM! Huge explosion! As I walk away from it slowly, I put on sunglasses! Cue in rock music! Cut to black—crowd erupts in manic applause!

Or…you know what would work? No, forget it, I’m done. That’s it. Thanks. Did you get my Tom Cruise joke earlier? Did you? “Tackle this impossible mission,” like his movie—Mission Impossible? Wasn’t that classic?

(If that joke were an action hero, it’d be Steven Seagal.)