Crossing-Over to Film Accounting

As in any business, but particularly in the film and television business, there are unique reports that any accountant must know before understanding the business. Having a working knowledge of these reports is vital for any CPA who wants to audit film production cost reports for the local film tax incentives.

PRODUCTION REPORTS

Within the film production business the term “Production” refers to that body of crew who manage the project (i.e. Production Manager, Assistant Directors, Production Office Coordinator, etc) as distinct from “Accounting”. It is Production which prepares and distributes such reports as the “Shooting Schedule”, “Call Sheets”, “Daily Production Report (DPR)”, “Day Out Of Days”, etc. are all prepared and distributed by “Production”.
Each of these reports plays a part in the Film Production Accountant’s control, reporting and forecasting of the project’s costs.
callsheetTHE CALL SHEET
The Call Sheet lists what is expected to be shot that day and every Cast and Crew’s  expected arrival time on set – referred to as their “Call Times”.

The Call Sheet also lists specialized equipment, props, etc which will be required for the day’s shoot. This document is a “legal” document when insurance claims and tax credit situations arise. For example, if a Director was too sick to work for a day, the Call Sheet would be examined for justifiable costs that couldn’t be avoided.

The location of the shoot day can be confirmed from the Call Sheet, as can be the cast and crew.

Here’s an example of a Call Sheet: http://www.talkfilm.biz/FA/MA/callsheet.pdf

SHOOTING SCHEDULE

A shooting schedule is the detailed plan of shooting every scene as it is to be shot from the first day of production through to the final day. All the necessary information is provided including the Scene #, if the scene is Day or Night, the location description, the specific requirements for Props, Special Equipment, Mechanical Special Effects, number of Background Extras, Picture Vehicles, etc.
It is usually prepared by the 1st Assistant Director who reports to the Production Manager/Line Producer managing the production schedule.
In the Development and fund-raising-stage the Shooting Schedule is an assurance to the investor that the script can, indeed, be produced in the timeline presented by the Shooting Schedule.
Here is an example of the 1st page of a Shooting Schedule: http://www.talkfilm.biz/FA/MA/shootingschedule.pdf
APPLICATION OF THESE FORMS
These forms, and several others, supplies the discerning public auditor with vital information – I really can’t see how you could perform an audit without knowing how to read and interpret the vital information in these reports.
Cheers / John
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About filmproduction
I have worked in the film production industry since 1985, working on over 50 different productions of every size in 6 different countries. My self-published book, "Walk The Talk" is written in an easy to read manner for film students and working professionals who haven't had the chance to learn how to 'Direct the Money'.

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