Film Payroll Acct

FILM PRODUCTION PAYROLL ACCOUNTANT

The film payroll accountant has now become the standard in any film production, even though the Film Payroll Accountant doesn’t know anything about government deductions and producer contributions, and only a little bit about the union “fringes” (i.e. the benefits paid to the union by the producer). And that’s totally forgetting about the union and government deductions that have to be remitted. They are also very well paid. Hmmmm…

UNION RULES AND REGULATIONS

The catch is that the Film Payroll Accountant must know how to “Gross-Up” the time cards – that is, to calculate the gross amount of payroll due to the employee after calculating the three producer sins – overtime, rest violations and meal penalties (and sometimes travel violations). Notice that no knowledge of deductions and contributions and timing of remittances is required – there is no interrelations with audits from the government, no calculations of employer/employee deductions/contributions for unemployment insurance, workers compensation, medical (etc, etc). No understanding of all that at all. BUT, the film payroll accountant must be conversant with the film industry union rules, particularly:

  • Screen Actors Guild
  • Director’s Guild
  • IATSE

Once conversant with those rules, any other union rules (Teamsters, for example), fall into place.

43% OF OPENINGS FOR LOCAL FILM ACCOUNTANTS ARE FOR PAYROLL ACCOUNTANTS

I checked out several pages on Emily’s List (a blog listing of contracts available for various levels of film accounting). Out of a sample of 120 listings, 52 were for a Film Payroll Accountant. That’s over 43% of the listings were for local Film Payroll Accountants.

HOW DO YOU GET EXPOSED TO ALL OF THAT

There are what’s called “Agreements” between every Guild/Union in the Film Industry and the AMPTP (American Motion Picture Association). Some of those Agreements are monsters – SAG for example is almost 1,000 pages. The good news is that within each Agreement there are only about 10 to 15 references which a Film Payroll Accountant needs to know inside-out.

We drill those rules until you’re very good at it. You also get all the references to each of the Guilds/Unions we address so that you have them at your finger tips.

There are two formats to learn Film Payroll: first is the film payroll workshop format, then there is the online self-study format.

I did a screen recording to give you a better idea of how the Film Payroll workshop works – see this short YouTube video:

 

Cheers / John

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