The FBI agent walks quickly into the state-of-the-art offices that the team shares. She finds the team leader standing near the entrance looking at a report. "Sir, I've just come from the crime scene across town. It looks like the cousin of the deceased has something to do with all this." To which the team leader replies, "Good, head over there to talk to him."
Wow, that's a lot of travel and wasted time for what should have been a short phone call. I've seen this happen on many of my favorite shows, but it seems like with police dramas in general–and the FBI/Mathematician show ‘Numbers' specifically–nothing is better than a photogenic group meeting, and cell phones always seem to be a last resort.
The truth is that on TV you've got to put your actors in the same room as much as possible to really get the most bang for the studio's buck—and to get the best ratings. Though in reality, but just as true, we tend to call from the parking lot rather than go back inside and down the hall to ask someone a question; regardless of how cool the shot would look on TV.
I'd imagine that many more serial killers, kidnappers, and terrorists on TV would be caught faster if the police and FBI characters were allowed gratuitous use of teleconferencing.
So my question is how often do we do "something for the camera" rather than in a more efficient way? Some examples of what I mean include postponing a meeting until someone returns from out of town, driving often and far for meetings, and typing long memos for the office (on TV, almost no one uses their mouse because it's not as interesting as a bout of serious typing!).
It's probably good then to ask yourself occasionally if what you're about to do is "for the cameras" or not. Use that cell phone. Start that conference call. Communicate and collaborate now, rather than wait. That is, if the goal is swift, efficient communication, and not an Emmy.
I've seen sparse and limited use of video conferencing on TV—which looks very cool to viewers on any show—but I've never seen a 30 person audio conference. Have you? If you have, leave a comment and tell me what show it was, which season, and even what episode if you remember.