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GV Expo: Media Producers Share Tips for Gaining Government Contracts

WASHINGTON—When it comes to doing media production for the federal government, a healthy dose of persistence coupled with the right certification can go a long way towards achieving success.

That was the message from yesterday’s “Meet the Government Producers” session at the 2014 Government Video Expo. Sponsored by the Television, Internet and Video Association of Washington, D.C. (TIVA), panelists in the standing-room only session focused on their roles in media production and shared tips about obtaining contractual work with the federal government.

Jeff Cook, a freelance multimedia producer with the U.S. Postal Service, discussed the myriad ways media production professionals can get their foot into the federal government door. “I was basically a full-time freelancer for three years and I was subcontracting to a prime contractor so they didn’t just hire me off the street,” he said. “They talked to me, I agreed, and they went to the contractor, who hired me every single day for three years.”

Wade Sisler, executive producer for NASA Television reminded attendees of the importance of having a diverse production background to respond to agency needs. Referring to the variety of clients that NASA Television serves—from the government to schools to news services—Sisler said, “we might produce our content in several different ways, so we asked our producers to think like a doc producer, a news director and think like someone who might need our material for education.”

Tom Hendrick, co-founder of Zayas Hendrick Mediaworks, a local Washington, D.C.-media production company, noted that certifications such as gaining SBA 8a woman-owned small business status and getting on the GSA schedule are important elements to getting contract work, but that good old fashioned persistence may be the most important factor for success. “Don’t give up,” he said. “We spent at least two years making phone calls, doing anything we could to get on the government radar screen. It has been rewarding for us but it can be extremely frustrating.”

The session was moderated by Tanya Spann Roche, president of Think-Speak-Act Productions.