I’ve been doing a lot of work cross media in the last year, from $10,000 new media pilots to $5m reality tv shows, and one thing that really has become clear. That is that while we are constantly being asked to “do it better, faster, cheaper,” we have little means of achieving this in many instances.

First, we’re told “you have no budget, but call this agent, because we want this on camera talent.” OK, as soon as your engaged in speaking with agents, and you’re most likely now in talent union waters, you are not doing things cheaper. And that’s ok. It’s a fine choice to make, you just have to be aware of what it means when you get asked

Second, and more important to me personally, we have no toolsets that can help us do things better fast cheaper. All of our process management (production management) tools are really clunky, old, and pretty much suck.

The budgeting programs don’t talk to the scheduling programs, and vice versa (except for one-time, “get your show started” imports – but there’s no way for budgeting and scheduling programs to monitor each other and auto-update or auto-flag changes in one that affect the other). The budgeting and accounting softwares, well, there’s really only one, and it’s terrible, oh, and if you don’t have internet access, your accountant is dead in the water and can’t do anything at all.

We do not have any tools that make the production process (or the creative process for that matter) more intuitive and easier to manage, and easier to share information across the departments that exist within a media project.

Someday soon, we will – it’s just going to take some work. For now, we’re stuck with the same old processes, and 20th century communication models – where things are honestly, still done in triplicate in some parts of the process.