Anyone aware of any government video or A/V jobs?
I was curious if anyone knows of employment opportunites with either the state or federal goverment. Do any government agencies have full-time video production or audio visual departments? Just thought there might be a neat niche out there that would offer this type of employment. Thanks in advance for your replies.
A BUNCH of federal government agencies have production arms. I don't want to say "most," but a lot. The biggest is Armed Forces Television, one of the biggest networks in the world. Easy enough to join the company. :-) The Veteran's Administration has a good-sized arm, too, with (obviously) preferential treatment for veterans.
The next largest I know of is the National Parks Service. When I worked with them just before the turn of the century, they had a 250-person production facility in Virginia, with quite a few of the larger parks also having teams of their own.
Many law-enforcement agencies have them, too, even at the local level. Fire departments, too. These are small-ish, often one person. The good news is that many of them are staffed by civilians. Many school districts have them too.
Don't overlook contracting. This is how I made the biggest part of my living in production. I was Mr. Outsource for NOAA (which had at least one full-time video guy in Washington), Everglades National Park and the EPA, all in Florida. I also did some work for the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Marine Patrol.
For all of these, you have to keep sniffing. There are online job postings, and any outsource job is required to solicit bids. Remarkably enough, newspapers are still a good place to find these -- obviously local to the office, though.
That said, you're going to find that more and more agencies are keeping the bulk of their work in-house. It's becoming an extension of desktop publishing, which is why Premiere owns such a massive portion of that market. For small agencies, FCP is up and coming -- but very, very few Macs in most govt agencies. (A few years ago, NOAA was the only one of note.) For bigger agencies, Avid is still king, for many of the same reasons they are in Hollywood -- significant collaboration tools.
You can get an incomplete but still interesting view of all this at the Government Video Expo in Washington DC. It's very definitely nearly all local to DC, and heavily skewed toward prisons (you can guess why). The show floor is the usual suspects, but you can meet some folks in the sessions that, as a whole, can give you some insight.
Wouldn't go there to look for a job, though. Nice, generous folks who are happy as can be to talk about their work....but most of them, like most folks in gubmint, are just hoping to keep their own jobs.
I found it extremely rewarding, though, and hope you can find something too.
Go to this website: http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/?WT.svl=navsearch
Select the series search tab and type in 1071. This is the series ID for A/V Production Specialists
"be seen, be heard, be remembered"
As it happens, this is what I do. The State of Illinois has sort of it's own A/V department. We're a small shop, and getting smaller, so don't bother calling me or sending me resumes (!) and I don't do hiring related stuff anyhow. But what we do is a variety of stuff:
News coverage of the constitutional officers, Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, etc. and the State House and Senate. We tape their press conferences anywhere in the state and sometimes out of it, and feed raw tape and sometimes VNR packages up by satellite so TV stations statewide can cover government stories even if they can't afford to go to the locations themselves (this is a depressing but growing trend in news, and why they lean on VNR's so much). We're careful to present the facts and leave their interpretation to the end users.
Several Senators and reps tape public affairs talk shows in our studio on a regular basis to air on the cable systems in their local districts. They tape in our studios when they are here in the capital during sessions. Dick Durbin will often use our studio and uplink on a Sunday morning when he is going to appear on Meet The Press or similar Sunday morning political shows. We also cover a lot of their floor action on bills and committees, like C-SPAN, again, because commercial TV news is too poor these days to field their own full-time government beats. We also rent out the dish to other users like CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC when they come down from Chicago to Springfield and want to file stories or live shots. A network of fiber optic runs lets us relay live shots from sveral locations inside and outside the capitol building. We charge them more than our internal clients, it all goes to pay for upkeep of the dish, which we just upgraded to digital as well as analog Ku.
The same studios are also used to cut a LOT of in-house training programs for various state agency clients, and we also use them for live satellite teleconferences that go out statewide and sometimes nationwide, where we have a panel of experts take live calls from people watching out at the downlink sites. These are more and more also simulcast over the web as streaming video, but we're still kind of primitive at that.
We also cut commercials and PSA's for state programs, promos for the state fair, and even help law enforcement with the occasional forensic video problem, though we're not as sophisticated as a dedicated video crime lab or CSI on TV. We shoot DVCPro 25 and betasp, edit on Discreet Logic as well as two FCP workstations and a linear A/B/C-roll suite. We keep a staff of five or so guys very busy down here, and we also rely on a number of freelance stringers to go where we can't.
I like the job, there's a lot of variety in the work. I produce, write, animate, direct, edit, composite, shoot, narrate, even do Foley and compose music occasionally.
And I get to do a little bit of everything and see a lot of everybody else's jobs thruout the state. From my 20-plus years in this job, I've hobnobbed with nuclear physicists, met mass murderers, movie actors and heads of state, gotten practice landing a twin-engined plane at night by myself, learned how to plant no-till corn and beans, how they put a stent in a vein, how to make home-made napalm and use it to fake an electrical fire in your car for the insurance money (fire marshal's investigative office), run 80-100 miles an hour in the back of a state trooper car, hung out of choppers shooting aerials, just a lot of varied experiences. The pay is less than in the private sector, the insurance and other benefits, a little better. The people are great, all dedicated civil servants with a true sense of working to help our citizens. I have some small-potatoes awards on my wall from regional competitions over the years, no Emmys or anything, most of my work is not what you'd call especially "sexy", but it's meaningful work and sometimes creatively rewarding.
Most if not all states have a similar bureau or agency in the government somewhere. Even if it's just a small office that contracts the work out to freelancers. I know Florida and New York have pretty active ones, as I see their stuff on the downlink monitors every once in a while. The states all have H.R. departments where you can submit resumes. Some have web-based systems that will tell you when they have a match to your application, others make you work harder to find the job.
My suggestion is you contact the administrative agency for your state and ask for contact information about their media departments. Many agencies, particularly health and safety related agencies, will have their own small departments in-house, the legislature may run their own media operations too. You can check with your state and city Film Office as well for contacts. Larger cities will have resource contact books online. Often a stepping stone to this kind of work is covering local town hall on video for the cable company, or working with a school district, as well as doing police and fire work.
Best of luck on your job search.
Thanks for all your input. I am curious... what type of video is needed for police and fire departments? I wasn't aware that they would have a video production department aside from possibly a forensic video expert who studies crime related footage.
Training. Lots and lots of it. Firefighters have a LOT to learn while hanging around the station between calls. Programs on how to use, store, and maintain very specialized gear they use, training on strategy for EMS and lifesaving practices, chemistry training regarding recognizing and dealing with hazardous materials, knowing when NOT to put water on something, for example.
Police training, same deal, plus keeping up on law and civil procedures, new technology, techniques of investigation and interviewing, self defense techniques, civil rights, dealing with the public, the schools, etc etc etc.
They say you haven't really learned something until you've tried to teach it to somebody else.
JLN2112 sounds like a terrorist code name to me.
It's a dry heat!
That's kinda funny... No, I'm not a terrorist. "JLN" are my initials and "2112" is an album title from the band Rush (I'm a big fan). I wish I could say there was something more regarding my screen name. Sorry to disappoint.
Oh come on. You could have admitted that it was your number from when you were in federal prison on the counterfiting charges. We already know the truth.
It's a dry heat!
I pulled up behind an SUV today that had a bunch of "Rush 2112" stickers on it. What were the chances of that?
It's a dry heat!