Back that thing up

When I was a young lad I wrote my first screenplays using Microsoft Word and saved them to a floppy disk. One day I tried to open one of my precious works of art and the file read as corrupted. Meaning the script was gone. Forever gone. This was my first experience with file corruption. But with God as my witness I vowed I would never go hungry again. Or something like that. My point being computers crash, files can get corrupted, iPads can get stolen or broken, but we live in a world of options for ensuring your work doesn’t get lost. So here’s a few simple tips on how to save your work.

The Internet is your friend

There are a lot of free online resources to backup your work. And they all give away more space than you can fill up with your screenplays. Here are the three I’ve used the most.

Any one of them will do. They all do the same thing. It creates a folder on your hard drive that connects to the cloud. You save to this folder. If you can’t connect to internet, no worries, you can still access your work because it’s on your hard drive.

Your auto Backup folder

If you use a screenwriting program like Final Draft you have automatic backup folder already. This can come in handy if you computer crashes or the file corrupts. It saves a copy every time you do and it time stamps it.

In Final Draft you can find this by going to:

  • [On Windows]  Tools | Options
  • [On Mac]  Final Draft | Preferences | Auto-Save/Backup

Here you’ll find the folder path you’ll need to navigate to locate your backup folder. My advice: make sure Auto-Save and Auto-Backup are on. There’s no good reason to turn it off and it could save your butt.

Also you can change the location of your backup folder. My advice: don’t. It’s located where it is for a reason. I once found a writer’s desktop littered with script files. The reason: he changed his backup folder to his desktop. No bueno.

Hard drives

It’s not that expensive to buy a backup drive these days. You could get a thumb drive and backup your individual scripts but I prefer something large enough to do time machine backups of my whole computer. That way if something catastrophic hits my hard drive I can always reboot in recovery mode and restore. That’s saving more than your script.

I backup about once a month. Sometimes more.

Email

It’s a simple thing to email yourself the script. And even if you accidentally delete the email you can usually find it in your Sent folder.

There are a lot of options to help protect yourself from loss. Always be aware of where you’re saving your work.

Save early. Save often.

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