When Will Media Companies Start Investing in Production Tools? 1

Over the last few months, we met with countless media companies to discuss their processes and needs across casting, crew staffing, onboarding, payroll and more. As it turns out, every single company we met shares one similarity:

All of these media companies have built their internal workflow with a mish-mash of Google Sheets, email, DocuSign, Zapier, and any other little web tool you can think of.

This isn’t too surprising. The majority of our team comes from the media production industry, and we were the designated “tech nerds” of our departments. We are the people who got frustrated in repeatedly doing manual tasks and concocted our own solutions. But most of all, we were striving to improve everyone’s productivity and invested time and effort to do so.

On multiple occasions, I have been hired as a freelancer by previous employers to update systems that I have built. Does it make sense to rely on an outsider’s availability and willingness to maintain the infrastructure that you depend on to keep up with the fast production pace? What if the employee in question was let go and resents their employer?

When Will Media Companies Start Investing in Production Tools? 2
Exhibit A: A complex Excel workbook created to generate payroll paperwork for an entire studio

We were perplexed by the realization that in an industry where jumping ship at the next best opportunity is not only the norm but a necessity, how do these large studios depend on freelancers for their internal operations? We realized there were a number of problems with this setup:

  1. We all encountered limitations that we couldn’t overcome using Google sheets and email, and we all came to the same realization — even if you know how to use these tools, they are not designed to support the high growth demands of the digital media industry. No matter how knowledgeable we were, we realized that the tools we had access to were limiting our productivity.
  2. So what’s the big deal you say? It means that the quality of the tools you use is 100% dependent on having a techier than average employee. And if you don’t have a nerdy production or casting coordinator around, then you’re most likely struggling to keep up with the volume of work you are tasked with.
  3. Next, and because your tech-savvy employee has had to use a patchwork of applications to get something that fits your needs, what happens when this employee leaves? Can you maintain these systems, update them, or even understand how they work?
  4. Finally, your miracle worker will always have limited time and experience. They will only be able to solve problems that they are facing daily, and will often not see the big picture. And tasking your employees to solve operational problems believing that it’s a cost-effective measure is simply wishful thinking and ignores the long-term consequences of that action.

When Will Media Companies Start Investing in Production Tools? 3

Sure, you can solve all of your organization’s problems with a spreadsheet you spent 5 hours on

By investing in the proper tools, you can not only reduce your workload but also increase productivity and savings. Getting things done quickly in the production world is in direct correlation with spending less. With every day that goes by, these companies are losing money due to time-consuming human errors and spending even more by losing staff due to burn-out, or over-hiring to survive busy periods.

In the meantime, Castifi will stay focused on the primary objective of building a cast and crew management tool for all content creators and partnering with other companies who will lead the way.

We will continue to support media companies who want to change the status quo by solving everyday headaches, no matter how small, and by being your interim office nerd when you need one.