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 Zack Bornstein

Zack Bornstein

Writer, director

Posted in director, mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

Emmy-losing and Peabody Award-winning writer and director from Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Red Nose Day, Netflix, Comedy Central, CBS, NBC, The New Yorker, Michelle Obama, and more. Grew up in Seattle and studied Neuroscience at Brown University. The New Zealand gossip magazine Women's Day once reported that I was dating movie star Emma Stone, which was flattering, but later issued a "corrections," which was devastating.

What hardware do you use?

Currently using a mid-2014 MacBook Pro that isn't powerful enough to update to the latest operating system. It's hooked up to an external Dell monitor I fished out of the trash from a TV show prop department. I've got an external keyboard that only works if I plug it into the right side of the laptop, not sure why. Above me is a Shure mic on an arm for voiceovers, pitches, and podcasts. Scattered around is a mess of 20+ G-Drives with every project of mine I'm too scared to delete since 2008. It's all atop an electric standing desk that's been in the "sitting" position since its first week. Leaning against the wall is a MIDI keyboard that I noodle on with no rhythm. Usually a cat or two wandering around, pawing my pen jar to the ground. The pride of my office is an Amazon Basics paper shredder that I sometimes put envelopes through just to feel alive.

And what software?

Final Draft 8.0 (prefer the old version), Premiere, Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro (learned to edit on this in middle school, so even though it's old and buggy, I'm a million times faster on it than all the new programs), some dodgy file converters I downloaded that are probably riddled with viruses, just a ton of Google Docs of all kinds (does that count?), TextEdit for quick notes and journaling, Microns and a Moleskine notebook in my back left pocket (because I am a cliche), random online Chess app, f.lux (which turns your computer screen orange at night so you have a better chance of falling asleep), and don't judge me, Animal Crossing.

What would be your dream setup?

Dream setup? Have you seen Minority Report? Maybe that (precogs included). Or a few big curved monitors and a computer that I don't have to reboot with no software running so there's enough memory to open Photoshop. Maybe it's all titled up, and I'm in one of those face-down massage chairs, like you see at the airport. Or it's set up like an editing bay, where the walls are all 18% grey, and there's a giant monitor with good speakers above me that I can swap to Hulu or Nintendo Switch with a button. Maybe a large scale poster printer and a 3D printer, too. Actually that's non-negotiable. Need them. Honestly, just good air conditioning, decent carpet, and a laptop with fewer than 8 dead pixels. That's probably enough.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.