Computer Organization Workflow
These are tips and tricks I'm showing. So this is the goofy little things that are there and available that I implement, to keep things streamlined.
Both in-office and home.
Both in-office and home. There's a couple of them in Photoshop, and we'll get to that, but these are actually still kind of with the old finders stuff, here's your folders and finders and such. The first one is using specified characters to identify, and if you'll follow Vanna White right here, she'll show you that I'm talking about line two. When I'm looking and I have, especially on my home computer, and I have jobs and I'll have 20, 30 jobs going on at one time, instead of looking through a bunch of words, a bunch of letters and going alphabetically and go, okay, that job starts with G, I go down halfway and now I've got three jobs that start with G and I'm like, aw, shoot, which one was it, G, R, G-R-O-U-P, and then ... What I do immediately is, I put a little tilde sign on that.
This is good, this is rea...
lly good. He taught me this one.
So the little tilde sign now, I have all my stuff and now it's down in the G, I put a little tilde right in front of it. Now in alphabetical order, it goes tilde, A B C D E F G. It's at the top.
This is oddly, this craziest, littlest thing, that makes all the difference. All his files move to the top. No searching, no fumbling, no looking like a ... Shmeh, schmooze?
Take your time.
Yeah, no, no looking like-
A schnook, a schnook, because everything moves to the top and when you're working in someone else's house, someone else's car, someone else's office, you know what I'm saying? And where's the stick shift, and everything's awkward in the mirror, he gets in there and he immediately, like, okay, set the mirror, set the brake, set everything, and that's one of the first things you do and it's great.
And when you jump on my computer, where do you look?
Right at the top.
At the top.
Okay. Because it will be where your eye goes, and oh, the thing I was looking for anyway is right there.
It's a little thing, but it makes such a difference.
The other thing I do is the color coding. You can choose those folders, there's, you can choose the color, code them different colors. So I'll have in those 30 ones, I'll immediately put the one or ones that I'm working on, they'll have tildes or you can put exclamation points, or hyphens, everything will raise them up. So now at those top ones, now you can have six to 10 active jobs, and I'll color code them, and the way I do it is if it's green, then that's an active job. It's something I'm working on right now. Or if it's red, it's probably pretty well done, and it's just billing, but, they might call for it later. So I kind of got like a little color coding thing happening. And if there's a whole bunch of jobs coming, if I'm in another office and it's all the same name of the show, outdoor, vertical, horizontal, web stuff, they all get just different little colors. And you only have to do that once or twice and you can pop all the way back and, okay, I need the yellow one and I need to go to my WIPs, need to go to my versions, but it's just those little subdivisions and it's a visual subdivision.
Bingo. So this is really oddly enough very important. One, he makes a visual subdivision. We are visual people, and that's how our brains work, and this is really good. These jobs, so we've been showing you pieces kind of throughout this whole course. Every, I'm not kidding when I say there's 32 folders, 32 jobs, for one show, for a station. Can you imagine trying to find this stuff? And so his system of putting a little marky-mark on the folders, will change that, but, I really want to do kind of a "danger, Will Robinson" here. That's only while you're there working. You've got to delete those when you're gone. You've got to remember to delete those when you're gone, because you've changed the structure of the company's files. You don't do that, so, just put a little asterisk, it's a little buyer beware, great when you go into an office and do this, but please put it back when you're done. Okay, very important.
Another tool you use is using an alias, and it's basically a copy of the folder. So, and I'll show you what, it can get real headachy, but you go into someone else's office and they go, okay, go onto this server, into this client, into this show, dit-dit-dit, and you're like, here's your stuff, and you're like, okay I've got to follow all of this? Make an alias of that last folder that concerns you, where you're probably going to be going back, or even the one before it, make an alias of that and put that on your desktop. So now you're just going to your desktop, that says my name, that's where I want to be, and you don't have to worry about that whole roadmap.
I have something to say.
Okay, I'm writing this down because I do not want to forget this, this is such a good point. Job, password, okay, job location. So, what happens, I'm gonna give you a little bit of a picture of what it's like to be a freelancer in the entertainment industry, or an ad agency in Los Angeles area, for example. So you come in for a job, you're a freelancer. First of all, oh, who are you? Oh, were you coming in? Oh, hey, where were they sitting? So you're on the clock. They don't know where to put you because someone forgot to send the memo to attend to that, you go sit down at a desk. Uh, there's no keyboard here. Oh, is there a Wacom tablet here? I bring my own. What else? There is passwords to get onto those com, well, who's got the passwords, where are those? There's none of that. Then there's, okay, someone finally comes around, hey, man, sorry. I want to reiterate, these are not the people who pay you. This is someone who works at the company, they don't care that you've been sitting there for an hour and a half and you still haven't started a job. But the person who pays you is gonna care about that. Oh, and, let me tell you, your deadline hasn't shifted. So while you're waiting for that hour and a half just to get the computer on, your job is creeping up on deadline, and you haven't even opened it yet. This happens to him all the time. I get these little texts like, well, been here for two hours, haven't started yet. And that's all money, and then, the point that, why I'm bringing this up right now, for his system here, what will happen is, someone will come in and tell you, all right, the password for our server is X. By the way, we have 17 servers, it's server Big Bob One. Literally, they have the weirdest names, or Big Mac or Lettuce or whatever the, Ivy. These are actually servers I can think about names. And then within that there's the company that the job is for, CNN, Netflix, Hulu. Within that there's a hundred jobs, because they have a million shows. Within that there's more shows because it's the billboard, the key art, the letterbox, for that show. I cannot tell you how many freelancers have come in, someone has said all this, they do not, I kid you not, do not have a piece of paper and a pen in their hand. I'm not kidding. They don't, so they're taking all this in, and you know, the dude walks away, and the freelancer all of a sudden, I'm sorry, what server was that on? I'm not kidding, this happens all the time. So please you aspiring junior designers and finishers out there, the first thing you bring to that job, is a pad of paper and a pen. And I'm not kidding. Right, can I say that one more time, I'm not kidding?
Are you kidding?
Can you tell I feel a little violently about this? Because seriously, and so, what Simon has worked out, because he sometimes doesn't have a pad of paper, he immediately makes an alias for where the job is so he's not looking for server, company, job, production notes, this, he's already got, he leaves it on his finder, and again, gets rid of it when he's done. Sorry, forgive my interruption.
No no no no, it's fine. Also, instead of making an alias and putting it on your desktop, there's another thing you can just take and use it as a favorite, so you just copy it in the finder program, the window, you can just drag it over on top of that main mother window and it'll put a list of them right there.
And we can show you that later, we have a slide for that later.
So yeah, even when it gets more involved, so when we're working on theatrical or television, and then we're doing our teaching stuff, that, okay, now I've got a teaching subdivision. Now we're doing book ideas or design stuff, that gets another subdivision, so everything has gotta, you try to just keep subdividing, putting things in different filing cabinets and different folders, but there's a bunch of different ways to do that.
Yeah, this last one you have is actually becoming a favorite of mine. On your ...
One, yeah, that, not a lot of folks know about this, but when you do a command find, a Command + F for Find in Macintosh land, you can start plugging in names. It is kind of when everyone quits. There's a lot of different articles, lots of different ways to look for that file. The one that usually I go to right away, and I don't know, so it works so often that I don't really use anything else, but I'll search for a Created By or Modified, so you go Command + F and it'll go, you're looking for a file and then you can pick out what drive, is it on a hard drive, it is on a mother computer, but then a file that is created or modified, and then it'll pop up and it'll say in what month, week, day, you can put, is exactly created on, and it'll default to today. So you say, looking for a file that it was created or modified, exactly today, and everything you did today will come up, and then from there, you can just select all by name or by kind, so if I'm looking for, we're usually looking for Photoshop documents. If it's not in today's date, it's on yesterday's. If you know, you're keeping track of your time and everything, you're like, I worked on that last Tuesday, that was the 11th of the fifth month, change that to 5/11/2017, it'll show you everything you did on that computer that was created or modified on that day, and it's a real nice tool to go help you find out stuff.
All right, I'm gonna say why that is so genius and how shocked I am I didn't know that. I think we've established throughout the day, or yesterday as well, that I'm a little excitable. I've got some energy, and I can't spell. So what will happen occasionally, especially if I'm moving around a lot, if I take my Wacom tablet other places, there's a little button on the side that turns the touch on and off. It happens all the time. So then my tablet gets a little wacky, and I will accidentally move a file on the desktop into a folder and never even see it. Panic ensues. No big deal, I'm just gonna type, right? I'm just gonna do a Command + F. Well, have you, I can't spell, and so I think I'm looking for, oh yeah, I just want the coffee refill. But I didn't spell coffee right, so I can't find it. Happens all the time, I'm embarrassed to admit this. So, when he finally showed me this, it was like, oh, that is amazing. Again it's, oddly enough it's only on an emergency, because obviously you want to keep your files in a good spot, but if you don't, then this is genius. You're a genius.
Didn't invent it.
And you also said something that we don't have in our notes anywhere and it's critical for office work. Keeping track of your time. When you are on site at a location, that same piece of paper you all should be having, to write the passwords down and the codes and all that, please keep track of your time that way. You'd be amazed how many retouchers come in for billing, and we subdivide jobs, so if I, for example, if I hire you to come into my shop to do retouching, you're not on one job, you're on four, just like we are. And I need to bill out those hours separately, and I can't tell you how many times, again, no paper, no pen, and then they, oh, I don't, I don't know. What was that, I don't know, and you need to know. It's part of your job. In addition to that, when you are in an office, you need to know the job numbers. There are job numbers associated with those files and you have to put those on your bill. So, a little side note.
It's a good practice to start writing down your hours, even at the house. And I still don't do it always. But every time I have started with a piece of paper and just, like, here's the job, here's when I started, here's some hours I worked, and it can be loose, at least it's loose, at least you've got something. But to try to think back four days ago, what you did for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now you had the weekend and some stuff happened and you're like ... You've gotta go through and kind of remind yourself by visuals like, okay, that, that WIP took two hours, this one took four, but man, if you're looking down, and you're like, four hours, and you just made a note, oh don't forget, it added a half an hour there, it's just a little bit of effort goes a long way.
Yeah, he's got this like little booklet with notes, it's a notebook, that he carries, and it's throughout the year, you'll see his whole job just going through because you keep track, it's really good.
Yeah, even the little calendars they give away at the grocery store, I found an old one of those from one year, and it was amazing the amount of work. I had, for about a month, I had at least three different clients a day for a month, and then different jobs on each one, and it was one of the ones where I made the most money and got the least amount of sleep, but at the end of that month, you drove me, and you were like, 'I'm putting you on a plane, get out of here.' 'Go see your kid,' and I just took off, and that notebook was on me in my pants pocket. Got home, sent out my invoices, left it at my kid's house, and then I found that a year later and I was like, wow, look at all that work I did.
So let's talk about that, he's talking about analog. Why don't you put it in the computer? Because it's not a perfect world. You know how it is, you're on the computer, you're in Photoshop, you're doing your job. Are you really gonna log out or open up, or open up an, you're not gonna do it. And you don't want loose paper lying around. You want a notebook. I know, it's kind of dinosaurish, but I think it's what we're talking ... However, there is a program you can use for your retouch, for your computer time. It's called Time Tracker. It does not work for me because I get up and I feed my chickens. So the time tracker doesn't work for someone who gets up a lot, but if you're kind of steady, and you're on the computer, you might want to look into it. Doesn't work for me, but ...
That would be a great idea, boy, if that, like every minute, it turned on and recorded what happened, when Photoshop was opened and there was work being done.
Yeah. You can make some money.
Mm, I don't know.