Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Eric Kissack

Eric Kissack

Filmmaker, editor

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Eric Kissack and I'm a filmmaker. I've edited a bunch of comedies (Role Models, Cedar Rapids, The Dictator, Horrible Bosses 2) and I've directed a number of short films and web series (The Gunfighter, Blessing in Disguise, Wainy Days). I'm currently writing a feature that I hope to direct next Spring.

What hardware do you use?

For directing, my main piece of hardware is a 2013 13" MacBook Air. I use it to do pretty much everything... write scripts, plan shoots, find visual inspiration, keep track of all my tasks, etc. I use an iPad Mini to read scripts, sometimes although I could never get on the iPad-as-creation-tool bandwagon. I use an iPhone 5s mainly to take frequent Scrabble breaks.

For editing, the hardware shifts from job to job but it's usually some variation of Mac Pro with an Avid Media Composer box for video acceleration and monitoring. Also, I edit standing up... nothing fancy, though. I have a couple versions of this Ikea Standing Desk house that I bring to various jobs.

And what software?

Software-wise, I'm a bit of a mess of overlapping and competing programs. Anything that requires collaboration, I do in Google Docs. I'm talking about creating shot lists for film shoots with my Director of Photography, reviewing budgets with my producer, coming up with a strategy for launching a new video, that kind of thing. But I also use Evernote for collecting my thoughts and storing inspiration. And I use JustNotes for quick, ephemeral writing. Honestly, it's all a bit of a mess and at some point I'll force myself to consolidate to one platform. Someday...

I'm a big fan of the GTD theory of task management and, to that end, I use Things which I love and which syncs to my iPad and iPhone. I keep flirting with the idea of OmniFocus but I'm worried that it might be overkill. Again, someday...

For writing scripts, I use Highland which is a very simple, bare-bones writing app that can export in a variety of formats, including Final Draft. I also use Tweetbot mostly for Twitter-style-self-promotion, Dropbox to keep visual references easily accessible and a great little program called Unclutter to keep little snippets of text handy.

For editing, I use Avid Media Composer 7 pretty much exclusively. Now that Apple has abandoned Final Cut Pro (don't get me started on Final Cut X), it's pretty much the only game in town, as far as I'm concerned. Adobe Premiere seems interesting but since it lacks the collaboration tools built into the Avid that are essential to the workflow on a studio feature, it's a non-starter for me. Occasionally I'll pop into Adobe After Effects or Adobe Photoshop to do some simple FX work.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would look a lot like my current setup, actually, only everything would be lighter and have longer battery life. I want a MacBook Air that has the same battery life as my iPad Mini. Oh and I'd like SSD's to grow in capacity and come down in price to the point where I could easily fit a terabyte worth of films onto my MacBook Air.

I'm excited about the possibilities offered by the Continuity features Apple is introducing in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite but I'd like them to go farther. I want what I'm working on to just magically follow me from device to device. I'd like to be editing a film on my MacBook Air, then have it pop up on my desktop when I switch to that and then be ready to watch on my Apple TV automatically as soon as I'm done. I realize this is a little ways off. I can wait. I'm patient.

I'm also looking forward to an iPhone with a larger screen. I'm pretty sure it will make me that much better at Scrabble.