John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh, Atlanta CPAs specialize in providing services to the film & entertainment industries both abroad and in the US. Their firm, located in metro Atlanta, provides consulting, accounting, tax and audit services helping production companies navigate the reporting requirements of International and local film tax incentives. They assist clients in all stages of project implementation from investor relations, entity structuring, waterfall projections, budgeting, pre-production and development, production accounting to post-production. John and Kristy excel in assisting clients with planning to ensure they get the most benefit from the film tax credits available. Their clients include those who produce feature films to acclaimed unscripted TV series and all in between. John and Kristy often participate as expert panelists at film festivals and other industry events. Website: www.elementcpas.com Twitter: @filmcreditz and @FilmDebits and @ElementCpas Instagram: @Kclabaugh01 and @Elementcpas Facebook: Element Accountants and Consultants Full Bio »
Throughout every phase of making a film or series, it’s vital to have a vision, but it’s paramount to make sure your books are in order make sure that you are running your project as a business and making money back for your investors. Losing either of these aspects will spell disaster for your project. Vision likely comes more easily to creatives—it’s why you set out on this venture in the first place—but if it’s not accompanied by strong financial records and a wherewithal of what to do, both to spend money and to earn it, you’re going to find yourself in a heap of trouble that no amount of vision can get you out of.
In the previous webinar in this series, Introduction to Film & Television Accounting, we discussed the things you need to know in order to responsibly get your project off the ground, including navigating tax incentives, finding and approaching investors, and working with loan-out companies. However your dealings with accounting don’t end here; they continue well through production. You might have wrapped your film, but there are still some serious i’s to dot and t’s to cross. How do you report your earnings and your spending? How do you handle payroll in accordance with the different guilds and unions? How do you prepare your taxes and how do you make sure you actually get those credits and incentives you’re owed? There’s no time to sit on your laurels. It’s more vital now than ever to ensure that your accounting is, well, accounted for.
John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh are Atlanta-based CPAs that specialize in providing services to the film & entertainment industries both abroad and in the US. Kristy also serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. Together they have worked on hundreds of film and television projects assisting clients in all stages of project implementation from investor relations, entity structuring, waterfall projections, budgeting, pre-production and development, production accounting to post-production.
John and Kristy will continue on from their first accounting webinar to share with you more advanced but equally vital aspects of handling the accounting on your film project. They’ll go over financial reporting requirements for any project, specifically your balance sheet and your income statement and teach you how to reflect your project as an asset, how to report investor obligations, both as loan payable and equity interest, and when and where the revenue hits. Next they’ll delve into the importance of quality production accounting and go over the guild and union rules you need to know while doing payroll. John and Kristy will walk you through cost reports and how they compare with the budget. Then they’ll teach you the nuts and bolts of tax preparation, which includes both federal filings like elections and K1s, and state filings, like resident/non-resident filings tax incentive and credit declarations.
Praise for John and Kristy’s Webinar
Both presenters really knew their stuff and presented it with clarity.
This advanced class was so helpful. John and Kristy got into the nuts and bolts of accounting in a serious way and gave me a lot more confidence in being able to handle accounting on my own project”
Really thorough but also easy to understand
John and Kristy are the best!
John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
As creators we can get swept away in the excitement of having our film or television project greenlit. Imagining "lights, camera, action", the collaborative process and the excitement of having a successful and profitable project is the reason we pursue a life in film and TV. But, before you step on set and get rolling, you'll need remember that this is, in fact, a business. It's a business with a great deal of money at stake for investors who want to make sure their money is protected. In order to do this, you'll need to understand how to set up your project as an entity and the tax implications involved for you and your investors. It may be the least sexy, but certainly the most crucial component to putting together a film - the accounting process. Someone (or maybe even yourself) has taken a chance on investing in your dream, and that means that investment should be treated with care. Taking the important step of understanding what entity type you should set up and the tax implications that go along with it, will help you avoid major headaches down the road and give you the peace of mind that will allow you to concentrate on making your project the best it can be. Having your project setup correctly from the get go will also help you avoid costly mistakes with investor distributions. And, let's face it, you hope to show that you know the ins and outs and that you can deliver a successful project so your investors will stay with you and invest in your next film or TV project. John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh are Atlanta based CPAs that specialize in providing services to the film & entertainment industries both abroad and in the US. Kristy also serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. Together they have worked on hundreds of film and television projects assisting clients in all stages of project implementation from investor relations, entity structuring, waterfall projections, budgeting, pre-production and development, production accounting to post-production. John and Kristy will teach you the differences between an LLC, Corporation, S-Corporation and Foreign Entity and the common strategies that go along with each. You'll understand the tax effects of your selection and how dividends vs. distributions will work. You'll also learn how to work with tax incentives and financing. And, most importantly, you'll understand how to talk with your investors and what you'll need with K1s, Section 181, money flow, loan-outs and more. They will teach you everything you need to know to set up your entity correctly, protect yourself legally, give your investors the comfort and security that they're money is protected, and that you're in the best position to see a return. "This is the holy grail! John and Kristy are so knowledgeable about so many things with the business side of the film!" They made this part of the process actually fun!" - Wade N. "All I can say is wow. I have seen the light and now feel beyond comfortable putting together my next film." - Jennifer L.
In today's world of independent filmmaking, the VOD, SVOD & AVOD distribution strategy becomes a stronger option for many filmmakers. We've brought in 15 year executive Chad Miller who has worked with hundreds of filmmakers on their distribution strategy through his working relationship with platforms such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and iTunes to teach for Stage 32 Next Level Education. In this exclusive webinar, Chad will break down the very important topic of how to window the release of your film. Making sure that you are going to market during the most opportune time is key to a successful distribution strategy. Chad will give you an overview of VOD, SVOD & AVOD and explain the evolution of windowing strategies and why & when it makes sense to break with the traditional windowing strategies. He'll also go over the revenue expectations, deal strategy basics and give you a comprehensive look so you are prepared when it's time to release your film.
Cable networks all have their niche. For example, AMC has really honed in on intense dramas, such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men; USA focuses on character driven mystery dramas such as CSI, House, and NCIS; TBS centers around comedy sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Ground Floor, and Cougar Town; ABC Family focuses more on sitcoms relating to family, such as Melissa and Joey, Baby Daddy and The Fosters. Knowing how to tailor your pitch to a specific cable network opens up immense opportunity for your TV pilot. Every cable network can be a real home for your work - it’s just a matter of the how, when, and why. Knowing how to appeal to multiple networks gives your pilot a better chance of getting picked up! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Barel will teach you both how to pitch your pilot and how to tailor your pitch to the right cable network. In addition, he’ll go over what kind of shows live on each network currently, and what may be the right fit for you. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to pitch effectively as well as a clear understanding of how to make your pilot what each network is looking for. Your host host Jordan Barel is a writer, producer and lawyer for Loaded Barrel Studios. Based in LA, he's worked for New Line Cinema, AMC, Verve Talent Agency and was recently named in Variety's Hollywood Movers and Shakers list. He worked for Paul Scheer through his producing deal at FOX, working on development with his projects as well as bringing in new writers for him. Jordan also works at Abominable Pictures in their comedy and TV department. Previously, he worked as the Television Coordinator for Verve Literary Agency, producing the company's staffing video which lead to a 200% increase in the company's staffed writers. While there he also vetted all new TV and film clients. Jordan knows what will make your pitch stand out and is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help guide our writers toward success!
Putting together a project can be complicated. The amount of information to sift through, from guild requirements and guidelines to union rules and even whether to go union or non-union can be overwhelming, confusing and intimidating. For filmmakers, producers and other creatives looking to control their own content, navigating the guilds and the unions can be so daunting, it pushes back production and/or any forward momentum your project might have. Allow us to help demystify, simplify the guilds and unions landscape and get you on your way to doing what you want to most, making your film, TV or digital project. With independent productions on the rise, it's more important than ever to know how to handle your budget and schedule accordingly, and that begins with understanding which guilds you'll be working with and how to deal with their rules and regulations. It also means understanding the ins and outs of the unions. Buttoning up all of these important variables early will assure that nothing falls through the cracks, your set runs smoothly, and there are no unpleasant surprises once you hit the distribution and collection phases of your project. Rosi Acosta is a Unit Production Manager, DGA, who has worked on over 75 TV and Film projects and over 100 commercials. She is a valued name in Hollywood as a top UPM who's worked on films such as DRIVEN, SPEED KILLS, IMPRISONED and many more. With over three decades of experience, Rosi has worked internationally with production companies from US, Europe, Russia and Latin America. Rosi began as a casting director 32 years ago in Puerto Rico working for director Marcos Zurinaga at Zaga Films where she became one of the top casting directors in the Island. After working as such for a few years, she wanted to expand her horizons in production moving on to work with the most important TV producer in the Island, Gabriel Suau, in Telemundo-Puerto Rico, where she worked for several years in various TV shows and telenovelas. Rosi will begin by giving you a complete, yet simplified look at the guilds and unions. She will pull back the curtain and discuss the ins and outs and pros and cons of working with the labor organizations. Rosi will go over the differences between unions and guilds and help you decide if you should go union or non-union for your project. You will learn the organizations for above the line - WGAW, WGAE, DGA, SAG/AFTRA and PGA, below the line - IATSE, Teamsters and NLRB, as well as other organizations that work closely with them - ATA, AMPTP, MPAA, ASCAP, CSATF, MPSE and more. In addition you'll learn how to become a member of a union or how to become a signatory production. "Rosi, your 30 years of experience shined through today. You broke down this so it's easily understandable and now I know that my production this year will be union!" - Rachel G. "Awesome explanations of the unions, guilds and organizations. Very comprehensive." - Paul F. "You made this so easy to understand. Thanks Rosi!" - Brandon C. "Putting together my first film as a producer almost made my jump off a cliff. I wish I would have seen this first! What a world of difference it would have made. Thank you, Rosi!" -Marlene D.
There was once a time when screenwriters solely used typewriters to tell their stories. Obviously that time has since passed, and the tools writers use to create their scripts have drastically evolved. Software like Final Draft, Writers Duet and Fade In has been created to optimize a writers’ experience, help with formatting, and ideally aid writers through their various obstacles and make the process easier. Yet this doesn’t always work out as intended. Too often, technophobia - the tendency to be intimidated by technology - limits writers’ ability to work with efficiency and speed and makes these programs more overwhelming and burdensome than helpful. And with so many different types of writing software out there, how can you know which one is the best fit for you? We all know that writing is hard enough on its own without the extra burden of navigating difficult technology. The tools you use to write shouldn’t get in the way of creativity. Instead, gaining confidence and proficiency with technology can allow it to fade into the background, allowing you to focus on the task of great screenwriting. Knowing how best to use the tools available to you—and which ones to use in the first place—can serve as a powerful boon to your writing process and overall career. Whether it’s software, hardware, or workflow, moving past the technophobia and embracing the tools that are right for you can allow you to write with more ease, speed and efficiency than might be otherwise possible. First, it’s important to know what’s out there and how to actually use it. Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Jon’s career has hinged on writing quickly and efficiently by using various software and technologies and knows better than most how to use the tools available to enhance your own writing career. Jon will give you the tools to embrace good technology and use all the technological tools at your disposal to tell an amazing story. He’ll begin with a rundown of the different tools you should have to write, including keyboards, monitors, ergonomics and software. He’ll then delve explain why you need screenwriting software in the first place. Jon will delve into the lay of the land of screenwriting software, including a run through of the main players, free and affordable options, and what the standards and expectations are in the industry. Next he will show you how you know what screenwriting software is the best fit for your specific needs. He’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses of the leading programs and show you what paid software can offer that free versions do not. Jon will then go through a live demonstration of Final Draft. He’ll walk you through Final Draft’s interface and main features, how to start a script on the software, how to set up your workflow through Final Draft, and keyboard shortcuts you need to know to save you time. He’ll also go through other tricks Hollywood writers use to optimize Final Draft, how to write safely and back up your work, and how to use templates. Jon will then do the same live demonstration for both WriterDuet and Fade In. Next he will discuss other types of software to consider, including general purpose writing software, miscellaneous writing tools, and system software. Finally, he will provide you with additional resources you should consider. Expect to leave feeling a lot more confident and a lot less overwhelmed in bringing in good technology to help your writing. "Screenwriting software is a necessary tool for anyone who wants to write for film and TV. I'm so excited to lead this webinar and help anyone who wants to gain proficiency with these widely-used tools, so you can focus on the craft of storytelling." -Jon Stahl
Finding, securing, and building a relationship with a meaningful and experienced producer can be one of the biggest challenges writers and filmmakers face. Even with a great script and a stacked cast, many producers who can move the needle on a project are often in great demand. Securing a meaningful producer means you have someone on your team who can pull the strings, make the offers and put the puzzle pieces of the project together. But how do you find a producer in the first place? How do you build a relationship and show them that you’re someone they should take a chance on? And once you’ve reached that point, how do you get the most out of that relationship to assure that your vision reaches the screen in the most productive, and hopefully profitable manner possible? One of the biggest misconceptions for talent is that producers stifle creativity. ‘The only word they know is “no!”’ or ‘The only thing they care about is money!’. The truth is, though, that building a relationship with the right producer can be a career-maker and can also make your life easier. Producers help you make connections, take all of the day-to-day questions about making a project off your plate, and can even creatively add to your series or film. But you need to know how best to use your producers if you’re going to succeed. Writers and filmmakers alike need to know how to find the right producer for them, understanding the skills different types of producers bring to the table, and finding the best way to create a good producer/talent relationship. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development at Cold Iron Pictures, a production/financing company that most recently produced BEING FRANK starring comedian Jim Gaffigan and Anna Gunn. Previously Cold Iron produced SWISS ARMY MAN starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, as well as Marielle Heller’s directorial debut DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, both of which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. They also produced the Sundance hit UNTITLED AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY, which premiered in the US Documentary Competition section and is available on Hulu. Rachel has been involved in every step of producing these films and has helped launch careers of the talent involved with them. Rachel will walk you through the nuts and bolts of finding the right producer and forming a great working relationship with him or her. She will discuss the different types of producers and how each contributes to different projects. She will then go into how to find that perfect producer, and the best ways to do research, take meetings, and woo them to get them on your side. She will also discuss the producer’s role in every phase of production—from giving notes during development, to building the team in pre-production, serving on the ground during production, and handling sound, color, and deliverables during post, among many, many other facets. Rachel will help you tackle the tricky issue of dealing with money with your producer and outline the common ways the producer-talent relationships fall apart, as well as flourish. Rachel will even provide case studies from her own background to illustrate how the producer-talent relationship helped create Independent Spirit Award winning DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Sundance winning SWISS ARMY MAN, and SXSW nominated BEING FRANK. Like what you heard from Rachel during this webcast? Send Rachel your script and speak with her for a half-hour by clicking here. Praise for Rachel’s Stage 32 Webinars: "Very informative, Rachel is wise beyond her years." -Anthony L. "Very helpful! I learned so much and I am looking forward to going back and rewatching" -Milena W. "Rachel Crouch was awesome. She enriched my knowledge of the world of producers and how as a screenwriter we can make connections with the right ones and how best to work with them! Great job." - Ricki L. "Rachel was terrific! Her thoughts were clear and helpful." -Valerie C.