Tools of my Trade

Following is a list of the services and tools I utilize in creating and maintaining Indievisual as well as Backstory. This certainly is not intended to serve as an endorsement for these products or services nor will I entertain solicitations to feature products and/or services I do not use. These are the solutions which work for me. I encourage you to conduct your own research and test out products to see which ones solve your particular needs.

Web Hosting

Dreamhost – Los Angeles-based Dreamhost is a privately owned hosting company who offers top-class services at budget-consciouss prices. The customer service is both incredibly helpful and very friendly–almost laid back (it is California).

CMS (Content Management System)

Self-hosted WordPress – Despite the existence of various CMS software, WordPress seemed the ideal choice for building a magazine site, a blog, as well as facilitating a future roadmap of client-work handling web presence management for Japanese indie filmmakers.

WordPress Themes

Backstory theme: Cocoa. Indievisual Magazine theme: Zuki. Both by Elmastudio. Designer team Ellen and Manual hail from Germany but are currently based in New Zealand. They make an array of minimalist themes with versatile functionality. Every theme is supported with detailed documentation as well as video tutorials.


Blog articles are written in Highland 2. Developed by screenwriter John August, Highland 2 is a simpler, plain text alternative to Final Draft that creates scripts in the industry standard format through Markdown syntax with version 2 adding the capability to also write book manuscripts, articles, and scientific papers. Magazine interviews and articles are written in Ulysses. Why two different applications? Highland is better suited for writing single posts such as a blog article. Exporting in markdown plain text means drafts are automatically formatted properly when copied to WordPress. Ulysses is a robust writing system better suited for managing multi-page and multi-story projects such as a magazine. Its “sheets” system is an intuitive implementation of the “index card” methodology for editing and rearranging blocks of text (such as interview questions/answers). It also offers distraction-free writing in markdown syntax.
Articles and clippings from the web as well as PDFs and/or digital text documents are organized and researched with Devonthink Pro. It provides annotation features as well as wiki-style linking to other articles, not to mention smart data analyzation which draws associations between documents you might not realize.
General notes, ideas, and information are gathered in Notion, a web-based workspace which can be used for multiple purposes. Further integration with or replacement of current methods of the production workflow will likely continue as familiarity with its capabilities grow.
Copyright-free images on Backstory are from Unsplash and images are edited and prepped in Affinity Photo.


From Moleskine notebooks and scraps of paper, to a found pencil or pen, writing ideas, thoughts, questions, notes, etc. by hand will always be a integral part of our methodology. Tools may evolve and advance, but what they are meant to accomplish remain the same.