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File Management for the D.I.Y. Rock Star

This post very loosely follows Gab & Jam, 229. File Management (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star) (video: and podcast: ), but was inspired by Market Your Message podcast, How to Create Systems in Your Online Business (The easy way).

Gab & Jam 229. File Management (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)

A little of the "what and why"...

Some of what we share is our own methods and rationale, followed by what is suggested on that inspiration podcast episode. As you all know, we are the original D.I.Y. Rock Stars and use technology for writing songs (Apple Logic Pro X and quite a lot of other computerized equipment), as well as for video editing (Final Cut Pro X), making podcast episodes (GarageBand), to create graphics (; see review here), and even Mailchimp and Active Campaign (for our CRM). Having said all that, we are always looking for ways to maximize our use and to find even better tools, when possible. That’s why hearing that Market Your Message podcast episode made me whip out my phone and start taking notes.

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Here are our top suggestions:

1. Use Google Drive

  • We use this for mostly for lyrics now.

  • We like it because it’s Cloud-based storage, which is:

    1. it is shareable between us,

    2. we can put it up where we leave off on any Apple device,

    3. it is searchable,

    4. it is free.

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2. Use SSD drives as you edit

  • Because video—ESPECIALLY!—uses so much processing muscle AND requires quite a bit of storage, we recommend having whatever project you are currently working on on an SSD drive. It is faster and is less frustrating, because it will keep up with the edit (without lengthy fan-stressing delays for background tasks to finish).

  • However, after the job is finalized, move the ENTIRE folder of the project you have saved to some other—cheaper—external disk storage solution. –Right now, we have a 4TB external drive for our Logic Pro X projects that we use for the ones we aren’t currently working on.

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3. Save all files in a dedicated folder on a dedicated disk

  • We learned the hard way—and after years of being careless with file labeling and after allowing the computer to choose where it wanted to store projects—that it’s best to create a folder to contain all the files for a project—whether it’s a Logic project or a Final Cut Pro project or a blog post.

  • By putting all the pieces together in a folder—for instance, I put the podcast episode within the Gab & Jam episode folder—this assures that when you are moving projects, ALL the necessary material (including video description, video logo, episode music YouTube thumbnail, raw video files, sound files, podcast episode (and graphic) and final saved video and podcast episodes) are moved together. This means that, if and when you go to pull them up, you won’t find that the project doesn’t load properly. This ALSO means that if you need to find them, it will be MUCH easier to locate. –We are 230 episodes in and, believe me, trying to find those first 40 episodes MIGHT be nearly IMPOSSIBLE, because I didn’t pay enough attention about putting all those pieces together, which takes us to the next important point.

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4. Save folders and files with a date SOMEWHERE in the name

  • In another oops moment, it took me QUITE a while to realize that including the date as a part of the naming convention is worth its weight in gold. (Currently, the way I name all episodes is episode number, episode name, medium and date. This means that today’s episode is “230. File Management for the DIY Rock Star video 5-1-22.”) –Bruce does the same thing with songs. As he completes various versions of a song, he changes the date, so that, just in case a file becomes corrupted—which it DOES sometimes—there’s an older version to go back to. He also does this, so that, if he makes a significant change to a song, but wants to retain its original base, he can change it around, but have the other version to go back to. –Remember that Logic saves as you go, which means if you’ve made two days’ worth of edits, but decide that you want to go back to what you had, you’d be hard-pressed to go get it. By having a few variations saved, he’s got a chance to go back to something that hasn’t been altered as much.

5. Backup your work up regularly

  • We KNOW we sound like mom when we say this, but even though Macs are pretty reliable—and that’s what we use NOW—we have lost ENTIRE hard drives to the dreaded blue screen of death. And that shit ain’t funny! That’s why we’ve learned to have more than one copy of the final draft of EVERYTHING—usually in the form of a backup—so that we always feel that our work won’t be lost.

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Another way to do it....

  • Bruce sometimes plans sessions with himself to just do studio backups. We’ve talked about having days that aren’t so much creative, but that support the creative habit by keeping you organized, so that when it is time to create, you are set and ready to go. This falls into THAT category.

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Yet another thought on backing up....

  • Another way I “back up” is to keep the unaltered memory cards from all video shoots. The downside is that I have drawers of memory cards….. However, there have been times when I simply CANNOT find what I am looking for on one of the now nearly 10 external hard drives and have to go searching through my drawers to find the original footage. It ain’t fun, but it had to get done and I was happy not to be so cheap or short-sighted as to have tried to reformat those memory cards. I just buy them every few months, so that I have the “luxury” of not needing to re-use any of them. It’s worth it in the long run for me. It’s MUCH better to spend the extra $30 on a new card than it is to LOSE priceless memories, like vacation footage, family photos, or even footage that I had planned to use for episodes to come. When I weigh the two, it’s worth it to have cleared out the drawer and to know that those memories are safe.

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Okay, so here’s a re-cap of the inspiration episode:

They recommend:

Google Drive (as a foundational resource)

1. Everything is searchable

2. Offers a wide variety of tools included for use (Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Slides, and Google Spreadsheets; all the basics that businesses might need)

3. Free to anyone with a g-mail account

For Document Management, here’s what he had to say:

How to label your business folders:

  1. Marketing (blogging, podcasting, YouTube, etc.)

  2. Sales (Email marketing, Sales Calls)

  3. Fulfillment (Explanations of products and services, videos, course videos, membership site materials, group coaching materials)

  4. Management (Spreadsheets, meeting notes, daily/weekly goals, cash flow)

Systems Management

1. This is your way to scale to grow everything automatically.

2. This is where you store your S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedures).

3. Don’t use individual screenshots, since those software tools change their interface, which makes details outdated.

4. Instead, use Loom with Google Drive. Loom lets you grab a video (share your camera and your screen), so that you can record yourself doing a task. This way you can record the video again, when software changes.

5. Create a master spreadsheet (to house all the S.O.P.), like “How to Create YouTube Thumbnails” (with a Loom video link, which department it is for, a keyword, and then the main software, and also can have a google doc that includes best practices, etc.)

Project Management

· Asana is what he recommends, but you can use a planner or a bullet journal.

· A digital solution like asana helps keep his virtual team organized (which has a free plan)

To get started:

· Don’t be tempted to go and document EVERYTHING when you first set it up. This is too overwhelming.

· Document your “critical client flow” first.

In other words, pick one audience and one product and what is the process to get someone through that. This will help you start the project systemization easily and most productively.

This is why I was paying attention...

This guy has been running his own online business for 10 years, so it sounds like good advice. It REALLY is worth listening to the rest of the episode, but we thought we’d share some of his tips that resonated with us, as well as the things that we have learned along the way about something that is necessary, if not terribly creative and exciting.

Hey, but what tips did we miss?

What do you do to manage YOUR files and projects? We’d love to hear about it. Leave it in the comments below.

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