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Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)

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Patrick OrtmanGovernment Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 7:58:29 pm

So, today we got a new bid request from a local government entity- a decent project, too. It was something we could easily have rocked. Until, and I know you knew this was coming, we saw the requirements:

The requirements demanded at least 25 years' experience. Kinda odd. But well, er, cumulatively we have that, easily :-)

They demanded we'd created PSAs in this field before (we have! woohoo!)

And they demanded that we'd won at least 10 awards from one of three organizations. Wouldn't matter if we had an Oscar, really, the organizations needed to be on their approved list of 3.

Hmm. Well, at that point I realized that this is yet another government "bid request" that's truly tailored to a particular vendor. And therefore not worth trying to respond to. Better to figure it out sooner, than later.

----------------------------------------
My Los Angeles Digital Agency
Director/Filmmaker Site


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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:14:24 pm

When they go that far out of their way in rigging the requirements, you should turn them in to their ethics monitoring body. I don't know what city, town, or village you were dealing with, but this stuff can only get better if people speak up and call it out when it's really over the top. If nothing else, a memo to the municipality's Corporation Counsel will get some rapid attention.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:15:38 pm

If you can tell us, what were the three different awards bodies on their list?


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:44:45 pm

I agree, Mark- and I plan on writing a note about it to the entity. If I don't get a response, I'll go higher up.

The three awards listed... I think that'd call 'em out a bit too much for my comfort, but I will say I have never heard of one of them, and only heard of another a few months ago.

----------------------------------------
My Los Angeles Digital Agency
Director/Filmmaker Site


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Tom SeftonRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:36:52 am

It sounds as though the public body has had an idea pitched to them by a production company. The public body loves the idea and wants to produce it, but procurement won't allow them to commission the production company directly. Instead they ask them to write the specification, and cost it for them with a nod and a wink that they will get it.

If I was you, I would spend a few hours responding to it and then put the most obnoxiously cheap quote to them. I mean so low that they can't do anything but talk to you.

What you do after that is up to you, but some firms might then bill ridiculous amounts in justifiable extras....


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Nick GriffinRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 2:11:39 pm

[Tom Sefton] "If I was you, I would spend a few hours responding to it and then put the most obnoxiously cheap quote to them."

Patrick-
If it was me I'd spend an hour writing a detailed letter, send it, then move on hoping that for the next go 'round the people writing the RFP will have felt the heat of attention from above. Even if a low quote won you the job now, the hiring entity that wanted someone else would likely make the project anywhere from unpleasant to nightmarish. As I said, move on.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 3:26:40 pm

Even if you "move on", and don't decide you want the gig, as a favor to future people like yourself, and to taxpayers that don't get the benefit of the best work for the least cost, you should file the complaint. As they say, evil wins when good men choose to stand by and do nothing. Nothing will change, and arguably, it will get worse, unless the people that do wrong feel some heat for their choices. To let them get away with it is telling them what they do is okay, and it's NOT okay. I would consider it a civic duty to file a complaint, just as you might if you saw a corrupt cop or judge or politician breaking the law.


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Todd TerryRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:36:35 pm

I agree with everything said...

Here's my latest government bid rant/quandary... which I'll spell out (partially because I was the original poster about government bids a few weeks ago)...

We've just been requested to bid on another governmentish project. This one is a government entity that is giving out some yearly awards to businesses. They do this every year, although we've never been involved with it.

Now, get this... they want videos to play at the awards dinner of each award-winning business. Little biographical vignettes of each business. Fair enough, makes sense. I think there's about a half dozen of them or so.

But get this... because they don't want the winners to know who they are in advance, they want shoots to happen at ALL the contenders' businesses. MORE THAN A HUNDRED OF THEM! Have you ever heard of anything so asinine and wasteful?... spending god knows how many tens of thousands of dollars on location shoots to gather footage fully knowing that 95% of it will just be tossed. Sheesh.

We'll probably pass on the bid, I'm sure it will be low-balled by some kid with a video camera and a copy of iMyFirstHomeMovie. We've seen the previous videos, and they are pretty terrible.

I the case of Patrick's situation... yeah, I'd make some noise.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 7:38:44 pm

See, the way to make that work would have been to require each company that enters to shoot their own stuff, probably just stills, to keep the costs down. Then they wouldn't know who was a finalist, plus the costs are kept low and anybody that doesn't send in the pictures is already disqualified, thus reducing the pool of choices.


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Mark D'AgostinoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 8:20:33 pm

Or tell the finalists that everyone who entered is having a video produced even if that's not the case. This could work as long as the organization has not made public who the hundred plus entrants are. Yeah, I know...a bit underhanded:)

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Todd TerryRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 8:30:32 pm

Yeah, we've thought of those options. Problem is, they've been doing it this way for several years... and contending businesses are used to having these film crews show up every year. It's just such a waste (including some of my tax dollars) that it's mind boggling.

We went to see the videos from last year just to see what we were dealing with, and they were terrible terrible... mostly someone walking through a business and wagging a handheld camera around in available light. The lady in charge said "But look at THIS one, it's excellent." To which we said, "Ummm yeah, because we shot that footage (the b-roll was from a commercial shoot we did for that business).

People.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 9:14:25 pm

Anybody ever tell you you're hard to please, Todd?:-)


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Todd TerryRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 23, 2012 at 9:59:19 pm

Are you kidding, Mark... I'm a peach.

You of all people should know that. :)

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Al BergsteinRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:05:34 pm

Is anyone here actually *winning* government bids? I occasionally do one just for the exercise of keeping my grant writing skills current, but rarely assume I will win one. There are so many requirements that don't have anything to do with skills, but to meet some federal requirement in contract awards. I did win one two years ago, working through a consortium of non profits that wanted to see a film done. It was low budget, but was worth making for them, and led to a current bunch of work that I'm doing for the husband of one of the people from the non-profits. It's all about networking.

I sent in a government bid for a training video last fall, and simply bid it as best I could to make money. My hope was that if the other company failed, or they couldn't find someone, that if I was called it would be on my terms. But I wasn't. (G). At least not yet. That price allowed me to cover my base if I actually won it. The last thing I want is a job that I don't want to do, when I have other, better, paying work. I have my plate full with some free work for non-profits I want to support, so don't want to give away any more.

Al


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John BaumchenRe: Government Bids (been talked about before, just venting)
by on Apr 3, 2012 at 2:22:45 pm

As someone who works for a government agency, (federal), and is a contract technical representative, it sounds as though someone is rigging the bid. To specify that the company has to have won awards is not indicative of how well they will perform.

My take on these 'awards' are that they are nothing more than a means for the awarding organization to make money from the 'entry fee' and for the award 'winner' to hang a gold star on their wall, hoping it will give them some credibility.

I'm not sure how to challenge a contract in the state or local arena but this one sure needs it from what you've said. I'd suggest you start by contacting the contracting officer for the agency and go from there if you want to persue it.


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