John Courtmanche is creator and producer of Veterinarians On Call video series. He has directed communications campaigns and teams across the public and private sectors for 20+ years, and earned a master’s in communications from New York University. He has directed campaigns for media companies including FX Network, Food Network, and 20th Television Syndication. His journalism credits include Variety Hollywood, PDN Photo District News, Videography, WashingtonPost.com, Environment:Yale, and The New York Times and its syndicate. His broadcast credits include producing the film The Other Side of the Tracks on Showtime Networks; three national PBS prime-time specials; Lighting Up Fifth UNICEF concert special hosted by Barry Bostwick with Liv Tyler and NYC Mayor Bloomberg. In his volunteer work he has served as a judge of the national Emmy Awards for news/documentary and as a volunteer for United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and his alma mater Fairfield University.
Thank you to John for taking the time for an interview! for Floppycats!
What is Veterinarians On Call?
Veterinarians On Call is a video series celebrating the work of veterinarians around the U.S. and the animals in their care. The videos are presented as a channel at youtube.com/vetsoncall and some also appear as a segment of the TV shows AgDay and U.S. Farm Report.
What made you start Veterinarians On Call?
We started Veterinarians On Call to recognize the hard work of veterinarians as a TV-like series, in the style of popular reality TV shows like Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Dirty Jobs. Nearly all Americans who are pet owners have a relationship with a veterinarian, and our series helps people understand and appreciate the contribution of vets to our communities, whether urban, suburban or rural, caring for dogs, cats, horses, and livestock animals. Link to “Who cares for abandoned cats and dogs? Vets and shelters to the rescue”
How do you come up with new topics for videos? Do you let the veterinarians decide what they want to do?
To create our stories, we ask each veterinarian if we can document a typical day or two on the job. We try not to disrupt their work as we capture the real drama, reward and emotion of their work. Link, Dr. Peck cares for baby calves on her family dairy farm.
How do you get in touch with veterinarians who want to do these videos?
We consider veterinarians who contact us, or who we learn about through Web research, or who are nominated by our sponsor, Zoetis. Our committee reviews each candidate and determines which vets to feature based on a number of considerations including story, logistics, travel, budget, and scheduling of our crew.
What have been some of the challenges of this project?
One of the challenges of the project is filming in extreme weather. Many vets work outdoors or drive long distances in all weather conditions, which requires patience from our crew for instance in operating camera equipment in snow or sub-zero temperatures. It’s also a challenge to create an efficient shooting schedule when some vets work five hours from an airport. Link, “Dr. Supple, city girl and ND grad turned pig vet”
Have you enjoyed a certain video project in particular? Why?
Every opportunity to spend a day or two with a veterinarian has been fascinating. They have significant responsibility for the health and comfort of so many animals, on behalf of the animal’s owner, farm, ranch, or shelter. Link “Vet volunteers to save Skinny, the obese rescue cat”
Do you have any fun bloopers videos?
Because our stories are typically centered on health, we don’t have any bloopers videos. We will probably use a host for future episodes, which will give us the option to introduce some humor. This is one of our most fun stories, Link “Pete Ostrum former child ‘Wonka’ star devotes life to animals and farms”
Zoetis is the sponsor of the project, correct? What made them want to sponsor it?
Zoetis, formerly the animal health business of Pfizer, provides products and services to veterinarians around the country and the world. Zoetis also supports a broad initiative called Commitment to Veterinarians where it supports veterinarians through training, continuing education, research & development, scholarships, philanthropy and more. Their support of our series is part of their Commitment to Veterinarians. Link “Dr. Randall perseveres for pets like Border Collie Leah,”
If subscribers to your YouTube Channel are interested in a specific topic for a specific species can they request that you cover it? How do they go about doing that?
Viewers can email us ideas for stories or nominations of vets to our email address, firstname.lastname@example.org