Hello, my name is Christopher, and I’m addicted to shareware. Now I’ve always been sort of a “techie” (not to be confused with a “Trekkie”) and definitely a “gearhead”, meaning I can’t get enough technology and gadgets. But recently I’ve found a need to try to solve every problem and every inefficiency I have with pieces of shareware. You see, being a little bit ADHD (or maybe a lot sometimes…) the biggest problems faced are problems everyone faces: that of extreme disorganization. Disorganization in the face of what often seems like a huge insurmountable task. The best way to combat this I’ve learned, is to break down these tasks, make them smaller, shorter, organize them, and make them more manageable. While trying to work for long periods of time I get stagnant, and just find at some points my brain won’t work as well and no cup of coffee will fix it. Then try and try as I may to get started after getting some needed rest, I can’t find the same groove and train of thought that I had before. I find it usually helps me to be able to apply different way to think about or visualize my topic, or sometimes a change of scenery. Often I find myself moving from the desktop computer throwing stuff around in Final Cut, to the word processor on the laptop, to writing outlines on a piece of paper sitting on the couch or a coffee shop. Often in those changes of scenery, the software needs change too. It seems like there’s shareware for everything out there, and it’s just a matter of finding it. Anything that will allow me to save time, save me from the disorganization of having to scour for materials, or to help give me a fresh new way to think about my topic. Here’s some of the tools I’ve been using for myself:
Among B-Boys top 5 essential shareware programs. The first two are definitely my essentials!
1.) Inqscribe – Transcription software that is pretty much a Quicktime player with a notepad. But the kicker is the ability to punch in your timecode using hotkeys, hotkeys that rewind like a transcription pedal, and the option of actually adding a USB Transcription Pedal.
2.) Scrivener – A writing software that has allowed me to storyboard and paper edit. An intuitive (well, to my writing style) writing program which allows you to as they put it: outline. edit. storyboard. write. I like this program because you can story board using different interfaces including an outline (kind of like Omni Outliner) and also using a “virtual corkboard” just like all those color coded notecards we all used to arrange on the floor.
3.) Mars Edit – This remote blogging software has allowed me to be able to maintain all the film related (and not film related) blogs remotely, without having to log into programs like Blogger, Xanga, Live Journal, Word Press, etc. I don’t even need internet connection to write!
4.) Audio Finder – I use this software to organize my sound effects. For all the audio production I do for the film and outside it, it’s great. You can group, categorize, rename, basically organize all your sounds, samples, and sound effects.
5.) (I just remembered this and added it 12/16)Jump Cut – This is a FREE clipboard manager, basically you can copy/cut a bunch of different stuff, and cycle through the stuff you cut/copied to paste it back in whatever order you want, rather than going back, cutting then pasting, cutting then pasting each part. It’s particularly helpful with web editing, and I wish I had known about it when I was doing my paper edit! Or a beefed up version of this would be iClip which copies more than just text to your clipboard.
Some honorable mentions are:
Transmit – The BEST Ftp client. Which I use for all my website work.
Easy Frame – Such a simple little program has saved me so much time with all the pictures that I upload to the web for Among B-Boys. Because with my new design, I like to crop my photos so that they have rounded edges, I don’t have do do it in Photoshop anymore. No more copying the Mask I created from document to document. Even though it isn’t that difficult, it saves a quite a few steps.
But you know, like anything, the software won’t do the work for you. There’s a lot that filmmaking entails, a lot of planning, thinking, that I’ve had to train myself to do at times, and still I haven’t found a substitute for the hard work needed to succeed. But it is the hope that these tools help make these huge tasks more manageable.