Everything Went Better Than Expected

I am incredibly amazed right now, because I launched my YouTube channel on Monday and my first video has gotten 20,000 views along with 2,304 subscribers as of publishing – last week I had 2.

Thank you so, so much if you shared my video over the past few days. I asked and you delivered, which really was heartwarming to see and it made a huge difference. Special thanks to Myke Hurley and Jason Snell for mentioning it on Upgrade, as well as Lory Gil for inviting me to link at the bottom of my iMore articles (which we’ve been updating with new information) – both helped a ton.

I’m still trying to get it linked elsewhere because I really do want as many people to learn as possible and help them avoid confusion, so I’m excited to see how it keeps growing over time.1

If you haven’t watched the video yet, here it is – don’t forget to subscribe 😇:

Now I’m hard at work on a second one – the Shortcuts app is out alongside iOS 12, and there’s lots of confusion on how the app works, what works in Siri and what doesn’t, and once you get past that, what to even build with it.

I’ve got a ton to cover and unfortunately I can’t cram it all into one video, so I’m going to work my way through it and give as many quick asides with those details as I can.

I’m also still writing articles and making a podcast, so if anybody with good video experience wants to help me skip over beginner’s mistakes2 or link to good resources, that would be amazing.

In the meantime, I’m answering as many comments on the video and DMs as I can while still getting shit done, but there’s lots of places elsewhere to look, starting first with Apple’s new Shortcuts User Guide.

But you should also buy David Spark’s Shortcuts Field Guide video series if you want to skip ahead to everything right away, read Federico’s review for a deep dive along with what’s new in iOS 12, and join some of the other healthy communities sprouting up. The subreddit seems to be growing nicely and searching on Twitter for icloud.com/shortcuts will show you a ton of examples, which is fantastic – keep up the good work everyone.

I can’t wait to see what you do with it.3


  1. The YouTube analytics are fun to explore too – people who came from external links stayed the longest on average, which I credit to all of you! 
  2. Mistakes like leaving autofocus continuous on, and having too loud of music with vocalization, and not leveling any of the audio properly, for example… 
  3. 😏 

Keeping a better film watchlist in Letterboxd

Lately, when I’m ready to sit down and enjoy something for the evening, I’ve struggled to find the right movie to watch.

It’s way too easy to quickly pick whatever’s available on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO, but really all you’re shown is what they’ve purchased movie rights for. The TV app and iTunes on Apple TV are somewhat helpful, but you can’t go very deep into the catalog of films available when you’re just browsing.

So I’ve been trying to use Letterboxd to keep track of movies and build up a better list to pick from when it’s time to watch. The iOS app is designed for finding films, saving them for later, and logging reviews, wrapped up in a mini social network.1

Letterboxd is nice enough for a dedicated app just for movies – the features you’d want here are different from a TV-tracking app like Couchy, which is more designed for keeping up (because you don’t usually review episodes).

Thankfully, Letterboxd added automation support last year along with the release of their iPad version. They have documentation for their URL scheme available, so I took a look and put together a workflow to help me get started tracking movies to watch.

I built Add to Letterboxd Watchlist, a workflow that takes a list of movie titles and opens them one-by-one in Letterboxd to their Add to Watchlist search page and back into Workflow to move on to the next.

With this workflow, you can save a list of movie titles separated onto new lines. You can add them in the prompt while the workflow is running, or by inputting them via the Action Extension or from the widget with the list of movies saved to your clipboard.

The way Letterboxd’s URL scheme works requires you confirm the result in its app each time (to make sure you’ve got the right movie), but then it kicks you back to Workflow temporarily. Here the next item is passed along the repeat loop, then you’re opened into Letterboxd for the next result.

Once you get to the end of your list and have iterative back & forth between Letterboxd and Workflow, I added a silly little prompt at the end to count the number of items successfully added and list the movies once more for good measure.

Ideally, an app like this would be able to accept a whole list of titles at once and iterate through the results from within the app. But for now, the URL scheme automation makes it possible to batch the results in one go – even though the app doesn’t officially support it.

This is just one example of how iOS automation can make a repetitive task much quicker, and in some cases even faster than you’d be able to do from a computer or on the web. I’m looking forward to collecting movie ideas a bit easier and having a great list to choose from too.2

If you want to see more of what I’ve written about iOS automation, check out my workflows category (I’ll be changing this to shortcuts soon enough) or subscribe to my blog posts via RSS.


Links for Letterboxd


  1. The only person I follow on there is Jonathan Poritsky, who is a self-professed member of #FilmTwitter. 
  2. I’ll be setting this workflow up as a custom shortcut to launch it with Siri too – I’ll just have to copy the list to my clipboard and say “Watchlist”. 

10 Shortcuts for YouTubers and video creators

(This post has been updated to refer to Shortcuts instead of Workflow, now that the app has been converted by Apple. All of these still work as quick shortcuts, but not everything operates fully from Siri.)

If you’re in the content creation business, time is of the essence. While you’re busy working on your craft and trying to put your work out into the world, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time on mundane tasks.

Shortcuts for iOS pairs nicely with this, and since it’s free & owned by Apple1 it’s worth testing out to see if you can save time with some shortcuts.

Here are 10 tools that YouTubers and other video creators can take advantage of using Shortcuts (titles are links):

  1. Share links to my YouTube videos
    It’s a pain to get links for YouTube videos from your channel and share them with people – this workflow makes it painless. Enter your channel URL, this grabs the feed links, and then choose from the list to copy the YouTube video link of your choice to the clipboard or share it with people.
  2. Take a video and save it to an album
    If you’re using your phone for content creation, you probably want to keep your footage organized. Using this, you can run the workflow to take a video and save it to a pre-chosen album in Photos. When you’re filming it’s only in video mode, so it’s not possible to swipe away on accident – you’ll always be shooting right away, and the footage will be stored right where you want it.
  3. Save Idea
    If you’re trying to keep track of new plans for future work, use this to add them right into your Notes, Things to-dos, Trello boards, OmniFocus tasks, Clear list, Todoist projects, or Bear notes right away (all the apps!). It works when you’re sharing something, when you have an idea on your clipboard, or when you just want to type.
  4. Quick Email
    If you end up sending the same types of emails to people, whether it be potential sponsors or just people you collaborate with, you can use this workflow to set up a list of contacts, quickly fill out the body, and send it off.
  5. Speed Dial Contact
    If you’re in communication with a lot of people but just want a quick shortcut to texting the people most important in your life, add their contact details and run this workflow to choose whether to open right into their thread in iMessage, start a FaceTime video, call them on FaceTime audio, call them regularly, or call them via Skype.
  6. Write and Share
    Sometimes you just need to get your thoughts down right away, and then figure out what to do with them later. This workflow lets you run it, start typing, then choose whether it should be a tweet, a text message, something for Notes, or belongs elsewhere. Another great alternative for this workflow is the app Drafts as well.
  7. Play Playlist Immediately
    If you’re in the zone, the last thing you want to do is peruse your music library for something to listen to while you’re working. Set up your favorite playlists ahead of time, then hit this workflow to start it right away.
  8. Make a GIF
    It’s still way too hard to make GIFs on iOS, but this workflow lets you take 5 photos quickly and stitches them together into a GIF. Then you get a preview where you can share it, then saves it to your library.
  9. Get File and Share
    If you’ve got documents organized in the Files app, you can run this workflow to open up the file picker and quickly AirDrop it to someone nearby, or if it’s in Dropbox copy a link that you can send to someone else. And otherwise, you can open up the Share sheet and send it off to another app that way.
  10. Post photo to Instagram
    This shortcut lets you choose between a few options on which photo to use, then opens it in Instagram. You can take a photo, pick from your library, or upload the last photo. You can choose whether to crop or not before you get into Instagram so it’ll be just the right size. You can type your caption in the prompt, choose from a list of your most common hashtags (and enter any new ones), and when you’re done it’ll be copied to your clipboard ready to paste into the comment field.

These are just a few of the possibilities for using Shortcuts to save time – check out the beginnings of my archives on Shortcuts, the Shortcuts documentation, or visit MacStories.net for more. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @mattcassinelli.

Get the workflows:
1. Share YouTube Links
2. Save Video to Album
3. Save Idea
4. Quick Email
5. Speed Dial Contact
6. Write and Share
7. Play Playlist Immediately
8. Make a GIF
9. Get File and Share
10. Post photo to Instagram

Get Shortcuts on the App Store.


  1. I was part of the Workflow team before and when we were acquired by Apple I left after my contract position expired. I have a full disclosure for my website coming.