There's nothing worse than turning up to a job and finding you're missing a crucial piece of kit.
A lot of agencies require freelancers to bring their own laptop to jobs. Sometimes they don't have enough licenses or Machines of their own at the time, and sometimes it's a PC-based team and I just know I'm quicker and better (and better value) on a Mac.
Whatever the reason, supplying your own laptop means supplying everything else needed to be able to quickly set up and work autonomously, without having to nag others at the site for cables, etc. Making a good first impression is a lot harder when you forgot your power cable.
Today I decided to save myself the trouble of doing this again in future by making myself a checklist of everything I need for a smooth-running mobile studio.
- Bag - This is the 3rd or 4th backpack I have used and it is a real winner. It's light and compact, looks rad, and fits ALL the following gear. I got it at Officeworks for a pretty good price.
- Mouse & Batteries - You don't want to be stuck using a trackpad all day (well I don't.). The Magic Mouse works for me, but sometimes I bring a wired mouse if I'm worried about batteries.
- Mousepad - You never know what kind of surface your desk will have. It pays to be prepared with a mousepad instead of trying to find a manila folder to use as a mousing surface. Also I like the feel of the gel bump.
- HDMI Cable - This is one of the most common things I find myself lacking. There may be a monitor for you, but you often have to wait for Terry to go through the shoebox of cables in Janet's desk to get an HDMI to connect the thing. Ain't nobody gots time for that.
- Mac Keyboard - The laptop keyboard is not enough for me. I need that numeric keypad. And no I can't use the Dell one you so kindly supplied me with.
- Phone Cable - Not crucial, but you may as well have your phone connected and charging, right? Mine is blue so I know if Janet stole it.
- Note book - It's surprising how often I need to jot, sketch, storyboard etc, and there is nothing to write on.
- Laptop power - Obvious really. No one wants to lend you their power cable.
- External Drive - For all my plug-ins, vector libraries, scripts and other shit I can pretend I made on the day. (shhhh.)
- Earphones - So you don't have to listen to Janet. Also you might need to do some editing.
- Stylus - "Cool, I'll do that on my Wacom. Oh crap, where is my stylus?"
- Tablet Cable - "Cool, I'll do that on my Wacom. Oh crap, where is my cable?"
- Glasses - For when I wear my sunglasses on the train then go to change into my Clark Kent specks to no avail and I'm stuck with sore eyes all day.
- USB Hub - Get a good one, the cheapies are so unreliable.
- Ethernet adapter - Crucial for me. Macbook pros haven't had an ethernet plug for a while now. If you don't want to rely on WIFI, bring an adapter.
- Laptop - So far I haven't managed to forget this item.
- Pens, Pencils - Another thing you don't want to have to ask Janet for.
- Tablet - I don't always need to sketch or paint on my tablet, but when I do, its on day 1 of a job, and it looks pretty bad if I haven't got my tablet.