While I was working on the ISLAND Princess over the past week and a bit I was super impressed with how diligently Jim McDonald worked on his act. It inspired me to sit down and start the process of organizing all of my bits into one big document, a data-base of routines where I could see all the stuff I’ve got in my checkerboard chest of wonders and create a catalogue of all of the material that I currently do on a regular or semi-regular basis. My theory being that after shows if I’ve had a particularly good ad-lib, this database will give me a place to make notes on each routine and beyond just the organic nature of ad-libs during a show I’ll also have a place to work on writing new jokes that could be incorporated into existing routines or have a place to look at completely new routines and material.
The software I picked for this job was Scrivener. How did I discover it? Well, months ago my friend, David Duchemin, told me about this very reasonably priced ($39.95) software package that he uses to organize his thoughts for the various writing projects. Now before I go any further I should state up-front that this is a Mac Only program, so if you live in the PC world you’re S.O.L. on this particular software package, but I’ve found that a majority of performers seem to gravitate towards the Mac platform, so hopefully this might be something that will be relevant to a few performers out there.
The integration between Scrivener and the Mac OS is pretty great and the ability to format text, spell check and shift between documents will be familiar to anyone who’s used Mac Programs like Mail or Keynote… It’s certainly not as robust a word processor as say Microsoft Word, but what it does, it does very well and having used it for a couple of projects now I can state that the more I use it the more I like it. It’s has been a great package for me to lay out ideas and plot a course with projects that I’ve developed from the ground up like the Hot Dog Show as well as a way to organize my thoughts and ideas as they pertain to the routines I’ve done for years as The Checkerboard Guy. Being able to look at everything in one umbrella document will, I hope, make the process of revisiting those old routines in an attempt to re-invent them and breath some fresh new life into them a much easier task that it would be in a standard word processor document.
The website does a much better job of describing the features and work flow that the software allows you to implement and the on-line tutorial videos do a great job of explaining the software’s interface and will get you up and running in less than an hour should you choose to watch them all. The Free 30-day trial version of the software is also an excellent way to try before you buy which is exactly what I did when I started to use the software in the Spring. With the work I did over the course of the last week aboard the ISLAND Princess I can easily confess to being a big fan of this software as both a venue to write down my ideas and more importantly a place to keep them organized.