Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done

A picture of Olivia Kingsley
Photo by Marta Dymek.

Olivia Kingsley

Writer, performer, director

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Olivia Kingsley, resident of Oakland, California. I'm a writer, performer, and director.

Up until this year, I spent a hefty chunk of my time as a San Francisco Neo-Futurist. The SF Neo-Futurists create 30 plays in 60 minutes every Friday and Saturday as part of an ongoing show called The Infinite Wrench (formerly known as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.) It's interactive and trashy and punky and because the show changes every week, it's also an exhausting creative grind. I went on hiatus to get a little time back and work on weightier projects — currently, my first one-act play.

I like to break things, so a lot of my work is cross-media: i.e. I ran my Facebook as a pigeon for two years. I've also started (and ended) a public access show and illustrated Hunky Dude iMessage stickers based on photos of my female friends. I am also the CEO of Googly Glass.

During the day, I work on the Zendesk Creative team, filming videos and generally making something possibly boring - customer service software - hopefully a bit sexier. Right now, I believe in keeping your day job. (I think a lot about how Philip Glass was a plumber.)

What hardware do you use?

I have a MacBook from 2011! Can you believe it? It still works totally great. Well.. I admit I don't use it for editing video, but I don't do much of that myself anymore. I need to give it a good clean up and free up some of the storage but overall it's working well. God bless Apple America.

Speaking of America, I use an Apple Magic Keyboard from 2009 but much prefer the new version because it doesn't use batteries and it lays flat. I also have an Magic Mouse but find it to be a little ergonomically stifling. Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to pet a postage stamp.

When I'm doing promotional materials or logos or just enjoying myself, I use a Wacom so I can get a hand-drawn look.

I use a Fujifilm X100T for photography and a Blue Yeti for my phone to capture audio.

I also have a Kindle Paperwhite. Kindle + Public Library = everything you'll ever need.

And what software?

Most of my writing happens in Google Docs. Why overthink it?

I've used Wunderlist in the past but it always turned into a trash pile of wishes more than an actual actionable to-do list. The remedy was to start writing down all my to-dos on an old-fashioned legal pad. I copy it onto a new sheet by hand every morning and that keeps me from being (too) unrealistic. I find the cheapest notepads possible because I have paper waste anxiety and don't feel bad starting fresh each day.

This isn't software, but I'm about to jump into the Best Self Journal. I am normally illogically against any kind of Instagram-promoted organizational techniques but.. I have a few long-term projects coming up so I need a way to keep track of them. At the start of the journal it makes you set up at least one big goal and then tracks it carefully (along with everything else in your life). It also encourages time blocking, which is cool except for when you accidentally spend more than ten minutes on the toilet and then your whole day gets f*cked. Just kidding. That's probably accounted for.

At work, I use Evernote. I'm not a power-user: I simply have a daily to-do list along with a very long list of things I've completed. I'll use the notes in meetings or I'll just put them to use as scrap writing 'paper.' I don't use real paper at work very much -- a notebook becomes just another thing to carry around and most information + cool collabs come in digitally anyway. i.e., Slack. (Slack seriously is where work happens. Also, not-work.)

I use Celtx for both screenwriting and playwriting, though I'll always start out in Docs. Celtx isn't that great for editing and iterating drafts - at least, not that I've figured out yet. I'm sure there's some nerd with a YouTube channel just waiting to school me. (~~I can't wait.~~)

When I'm producing theater, I'll use QLab for sound cues and Audacity for sound editing (I'm no professional, but I can get a sound cue together).

I also use the Adobe Suite. I prefer Final Cut Pro X over Premiere. My opinion doesn't really matter because I so rarely use it, but I never miss a chance to throw my hat into a contentious ring.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love an iPad Pro just for kicks. I'm not a professional illustrator and therefore have very little reason to buy one, but I know I'd have a dang ball.

I also have a very old Asus monitor that my mom gave me (it's not even worth linking to). It does the trick when I really need to look at something on a big screen, but it's not great with color. So I'd take.. truly any monitor created within the last five years?

I'd also like to live on an ramshackle estate with all my friends and collaborators and just pop into different cottages every now and then to say hello (and tell them they'd better finish before dinner).