Writing Toolbox for The Digital Age
While I love the romantic idea of writing ideas on pieces of paper and typing scripts on an old typewriter à la Woody Allen, my life is not quite similar to his. So, I tried and tried many setups and after a long, really long period of trial and errors, I finally found the combination of tools and apps that help me write.
Because in the end, writing is just about that: writing.
Who I Am Defines How I Write
I am a French born, New Zealand trained, South Korea based writer. I love Mac but hate iphones -the use of which almost drove me completely mad as the need for plugs to charge the battery would rate way too high in my list of life priorities- I use Ipad, wifi only, but due to work meetings and other engagements, I'm often on the move. Finally, I want to be able to access my scripts from everywhere and on all my devices but at the same time, I want to be able to completely tune out and enjoy the beauty of my own little world without being attracted by this good (new) old enemy: the Internet.
In order to answer all these pre-requisites, I had to do a lot of research AND equip myself with a lot of patience since what I needed was sometimes just not available. However, thanks to 2016 and a bunch of awesome developers, I now have a complete toolbox to tap into, a toolbox that I will now happily share with you.
Before I do so, let me get something out of the way. Some of you may say that celtx is one of the best solutions out there for multi-platform and general screenwriting needs out there. Please do read my post about why I do not use celtx. In short however, Celtx has removed its desktop app and is now exclusively online which makes it difficult to avoid our well known enemy: the Internet.
Without Further Ado, Here is My Full Setup
Ok, so here is how it works, I use Slugline to write on my computer. It is a nice clean app that uses the fountain syntax. This allows me to write within a clean interface with no distractions. I have two copies of my script, the backup on my computer and the working file inside dropbox.
You all know dropbox right? If you don't, allow me to jump over the slightly condescending comment that would make me sound like a douche and point you to the app right away: Dropbox. This is the key platform that makes the whole system work. Therefore, it needs to be installed on all devices.
Next, for my cellphone, Android, I use Jotterpad. Now, this is a very new addition to my setup. I tried a couple of apps that had an ugly, crowded interface but this one is rather clean and understands the fountain syntax. Link it to dropbox and choose the file you want to edit.
For the iPad, I use Editorial. This app is perfect for writing as it not only understands fountain syntax but also allows you to preview the text as it will appear once fully formatted for export. The app also automatically links to dropbox.
Now, why using Ipad and android and not only one? Well, Ipad is for when I know I will be on the bus or train for a while and will have time to settle to write. It has a wider screen which is more comfortable than a smart phone. The Android however is for when something just comes to mind and I want to jolt it down before I lose it. However for the iPad, there is an important modification to make before being able to write comfortably.
Writing with the iPad is a bit of a pain, especially when you're on the move so you need to get the split keyboard up and running. Here is how you do that right here. Once you keyboard is set, it will change everything and writing with the iPad will become a breeze.
This Is Not A Perfect Setting
Indeed, since the iPad is not connected to the network, I need to make sure to connect it to the wifi after I made any changes to the script, especially if I plan to continue to write on my computer afterwards. Also, Editorial has a specific folders arrangements in dropbox which means that you'll have to setup your apps and folders according to Editorial on dropbox. Also Editorial reloads when you start the app and doesn't go back to where you were writing.
Those are minor issues for me and the whole setup works perfectly to suit my needs. It took me a while to be satisfied with my setup so I'm hoping that this information will save you research time so you can dedicate yourself to your writing.
Before you go, I have a little extra for you to help fighting our biggest enemy: The Internet.
Focus is the best app I came across to shut down the unnecessary websites when you need to focus. You select a list of distracting websites and apps on your computer and once you click the Focus icon, it kills the apps and transforms the internet tabs opened on the bad nasty time wasting time websites into motivating inspirational quotes.
Now, off to write!
CEO and Founder of AJP Productions, Aurélien Lainé is a Writer, Director and Producer handling both creative and business sides of AJP, focusing on details while keeping an eye on the big picture. Find more details at www.aurelienlaine.com