Sure, they’ll come a day when the tools I’ll be working with will be a camera, lights, microphones, and possibly other props. But I’m not there yet.
Interestingly, I’m finding that several tools useful for pre-preproduction on this project, I already have.
One tool that I began using almost immediately, was Evernote (http://evernote.com/). I don’t remember for sure how I came across this, but when I did, I realized how important it would be to help organize my projects and my life. Basically, what it does is allow you to scan documents and house them on an external server for access to them from anywhere. The other thing that it does (which has been so helpful for me in this project) is the ability for it to capture webpages, articles within the webpages, or the web address itself, and put it into my Evernote files. This has saved countless amounts of printing and copying, not to mention organizing. For instance, I came across a video of a woman singing a parody song about the adoption of the metric system. There would be no way to print something like that, but in Evernote I can capture the video by capturing the web address and saving it to my documentary files. The files are also searchable. a very handy feature, and you can label them in any way that helps remind you of what the content is even without the preview feature.
Another tool that I’m using right now, is voice recognition software. I have used it sporadically in the past, but I’m coming to realize that even though I’m a relatively fast typist, I frequently make small errors that I then have to go back and correct. That really slows me down. While the voice recognition software isn’t perfect, I am finding that I can produce much more work in a much shorter amount of time which, given the amount of work I have to do for this project, is very helpful. And while I am using an older version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I picked it up for $50 at Sam’s Club. Definitely a worthwhile investment. Yes, I have to go back and correct my work, but I would have to do that even if I were revising stuff I had typed myself. I don’t know right now if I want to invest a couple of hundred dollars in the newest version, but we’ll see. I only have so much free time, so I have to use it wisely.
Another tool that I anticipate using more as I move forward in this project is Workflowy (https://workflowy.com/). It’s basically an outlining tool that allows you to expand and collapse different lists. I’m not using it a lot right now, because the next things that I need to do are pretty obvious to me. But I suspect that as of this gets more complicated and I have to say, keep track of my various interviewees, and their contact information, available dates, and other information, it will come in pretty handy. In fact, it would probably be a pretty good idea for me to start laying this out right now, so I have it in place I move forward.
Two of these programs, Evernote and Workflowy have free, but somewhat limited, editions. That way you can try them out and see if they work, and if they do for you, you can pay a little bit more for the additional features that they have to offer if you think it’s worth it. Both are modest expenditures.
The right tool can make a lot of difference in getting the work done. And I’m glad I already had these in my back pocket when this project started.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find them helpful as well.