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 Peter Mattessi

Peter Mattessi

TV screenwriter (EastEnders, Neighbours)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Peter, and I am a television screenwriter. I write for EastEnders and occasionally Holby City in the UK, and for Neighbours and The Heights in Australia. As well as the assorted bits and pieces of spec scripts and development that all TV screenwriters have ticking away.

What hardware do you use?

I have been deeply devoted to each of my computers, tend to hang onto them as long as I can, and have fond memories of all of them. My current one is a mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pro. It is lovely and I will thrash it until it dies because I can't bear the keyboards on the new ones. I don't know how much RAM or speed it has and I don't much care.

When I'm at home I put it on a Griffin stand and use an external keyboard and mouse and this is something I do care about. Deeply. I used to use the Apple keyboard/mouse but came to the conclusion that they are crap and expensive so did way too much research and ended up with a Logitech K811 keyboard and a Logitech mouse (The Triathlon - lol). I don't know if they're any better, really, but the keyboard certainly cost a lot more once I got it from the States because no-one sells them in Australia.

I have an iPhone 8 and of course it is indispensable but I wish I wasn't so reliant on it. In general and as will become apparent, I am becoming increasingly stressed at the number of things coming at me, mainly from my phone, and am doing all I can to reduce these even as my screentime stats make horrifying reading. So I bought a Nokia 3310 to take on holidays and for when I didn't want to be distracted and it was so annoying to use that I never looked at it so that's a win.

I have Bose noise cancelling headphones which are honestly the best work investment I have ever made and incredible on the plane.

In my study at home I have a record player (this one) which is nice. I don't know why. I am too young to have had records as a kid so it's not nostalgia. Trendiness? It's just nice to listen to something differently every so often. But usually I listen with iTunes and headphones or a Sonos. I don't have Spotify because I turn the internet off to work and also maybe they shaft artists a bit?

I read on a Kindle and think it is fantastic. I spent two separate years with two separate children in darkened rooms holding them while they slept and the backlit Kindle got me through it. I know Amazon has its issues (pay your staff!) but when the turning of a page has the potential to wake up your baby it shifts your perspective a bit.

I have an iPad but I don't know why. It's really just a child distraction device and for that it is invaluable and also has been replaced twice because the oldest keeps biting the screens (why) and cracking them. Flipside of that is last time they replaced it the old one still worked so now we have two, both with cracked screens.

I use Moo notebooks. I'm never buying another type of notebook again. I write in them ONLY in pencil (Kuru Togas) because I love and miss writing. I don't get much chance but I try to write as much as I can in the early planning stages of projects — on scrap paper, index cards, magic whiteboard (brilliant!), whatever seems appropriate. I just think it makes me think a bit differently and keeps me away from the computer or the phone, which as we are learning is important for me.

Not strictly work, but a couple of years ago we bought a Yuba Mundo cargo bike to get the boys around and I have honestly never enjoyed anything more. It is a joy and I love it. If you like bikes and have cause to carry things/people around, you will too.

And what software?

Final Draft for scripts. A divisive piece of software because it does things like suddenly makes everything you type appear upside-down. (I told them about that and they gave me $300 to test a new version, so that was a win). But love it or hate it, it doesn't much matter because everyone in the industry uses it. You might as well hate weather.

Word or Pages depending on the mood that takes me.

Dropbox for files. Saasu for managing my business.

All the Apple stuff - Calendar, Notes, Mail etc. I am sure there's better stuff out there and when I was 22 I would have spent weeks finding and evaluating it but honestly I can't be bothered anymore.

Freedom is the greatest piece of software I have ever bought and it literally changed my concentration patterns and thus my life. It used to be just a blunt instrument that blocked your internet for a set period of time and that was fantastic enough. But now it allows you to get granular with what you block and when. A godsend.

What would be your dream setup?

How spiritual are we going here? In terms of location I like my little study that used to be a walk-in wardrobe. It could use a big monitor and an air conditioner, but if it was near the ocean and I could swim whenever the urge took me I wouldn't care about either of those things.

Spiritually I would love to reduce the amount of connection through computers in my life. Of course I'll never get rid of it and there are parts of it that I absolutely love as something approaching 100,000 tweets will attest. But I am more and more feeling.. overwhelmed. I can feel it eating away at my concentration and my time and actually changing the way my brain works and I don't like it. I think I would be much happier, or at least more relaxed, if I could separate work from connectivity as much as possible and somehow shape my life so I don't need to look at a screen all the time. I would like to spend less time on useless mindless shit on the internet and more time with the things and people that are important to me. This is something I find difficult but am going to keep persisting with.