This week on The Academy’s Creative Spark video series they interviewed Eric Roth, screenwriter of such films as Forrest Gump and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
In the video, Roth talks about writing in MS DOS…a now-defunct program Windows users over 40 may remember from the early 1990s. What’s so interesting about the use of this program is Roth’s statement that he “fears change” and that it “keeps him honest” when it comes to act breaks (you can only save 40 pages at a time!).
I have a sneaking suspicion that writing in DOS has another added benefit: no Internet connection.
One of my favorite Jonathan Franzen quotes is “It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.”
While the Internet is undoubtedly an excellent source for writers it is also the ultimate time suck. One of the most popular gripes from modern writers is that Wi-Fi has destroyed their productivity. I have friends who are screenwriters that book flights across the country and back just to get seven solid hours away from devices. The Internet is everywhere and as the government circles bills that would spread Wi-Fi access all over the country for free, it does not look like it is going anywhere.
Personally speaking, I’ve gone so far as to make an alias login on my laptop that only has my screenwriting software and severe parental protection so I cannot do anything else but write. When I’m logged in that means I’m in the zone; more importantly it’s a hassle to log out and access the net.
Where do you go to escape the madness?
For Eric Roth the answer is DOS – what is it for you?