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
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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. PRAISE FOR JOHN & KRISTY'S TEACHINGS: "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.
The new year is an exciting time as you dream of all the new projects you'll be working on! But this year isn't really over until April 15th, when you've entirely completed the previous year's taxes. Get ahead of the headaches and make a strategy now with the help of entertainment CPAs. Personal taxes, corporate taxes, and loan out company returns. All of these tax returns are necessary for creatives, and they all tie together. Not to mention that what you can right off changes every year. You never want to pay more than you should, but do you know everything you can deduct? Whether you're looking back at the last year or looking at projects coming up, this webinar will get you organized and ready to tackle your taxes! Kristy Clabaugh and John Thomas are Certified Public Accountants and founders of Element CPA, an entertainment and creative-focused accounting firm. They know the ins and outs of production accounting, having provided over 20 years of experience in accounting, tax, and advisory services on both above and below-the-line areas of film, television, animation, and music sectors. Kristy also serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. The duo will answer your questions so that you can apply this priceless knowledge to your projects and companies. Don't have the chance to watch this exclusive webinar live? Or do you want to be able to return to this fantastic information? You'll have access to this webinar for a whole year and can return to it again and again. Don't waste your valuable time making redundant spreadsheets, digging through unnecessary receipts, and stressing yourself out. Learn from some of the best in this webinar and walk away clear on what you need to do, what you don't, and ready to make tax time a breeze! PRAISE FOR JOHN'S TEACHINGS: "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.
Learn the creative and business factors you need to consider when deciding to write your story as a feature film or television series from the VP of Packaging and Sales at Ramo Law who has worked with Amazon, MTV, and more! PLUS! You will receive case studies of projects that have gone from feature films to TV series and from TV series to feature films! You have a great story to tell and you are wrestling with the correct format for the story that will be most successful. Writers across the industry and at various levels in their career constantly grapple with this question - should I write my story as a feature film or a television series? The answer to this question is actually quite complex and is contingent on a number of creative and business considerations you should consider before developing your project. For example, what is the breadth of the story you are telling? How complex are your characters and the world they live in? And from a business perspective, where are you, the writer, currently positioned in your career? What is the feasibility of getting your story produced as a feature versus as a TV series? Could one lead to the other? While television series seem to be getting much of the attention in the industry these days, trying to get your story made into a binge worthy series makes you beholden to the wishes and timelines of one of the big streamers and networks actually making full blown series. Conversely, pitching your story as a feature film offers a larger set of opportunities to get produced with numerous production companies and independent financing sources in the business of making feature films but that poses its own set of challenges. Luckily, there are key creative and business elements of your project you can consider when deciding whether to turn your story into either a feature or a TV series to give yourself the highest probability of success. Here to guide you through the considerations of what format will work best for your project is Stuart Arbury, Vice President of Packaging and Sales at Ramo Law, a renowned entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Stuart was Director of Development at Canvas Media Studios (StyleHaul’s ”Vanity”) and Captivate Entertainment (”The Bourne Identity” franchise and USA’s “Treadstone” series). Stuart will share his extensive knowledge of both the television and film markets with you so you can make the most informed decisions going forward with how best to develop and pitch your projects. You will walk away from this exclusive Stage 32 webinar with a strong understanding of the different creative and business elements of a feature film project and a television series project and a framework to consider which format you should be working on for your current and future scripts. PLUS! Stuart will provide you with exclusive case studies of projects that have gone from feature to series and from series to feature! Projects include: DEAR WHITE PEOPLE THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE CARNIVAL ROW Praise For Stuart "Stuart webinar was very informative and thought provoking. He explained and gave excellent examples of what makes a series a series and a feature a feature AND the 'cross-over' from one to the other. Compared features, broadcast, streamers clearly and so much more. A wealth of information that one can take away and make educated decisions about their project(s)." -Margaret M "Stuart's experience and knowledge were incredibly helpful for me. I didn't realize the nuances of the industry but am now grateful to have learned from Stuart ." -- Sara M. "Learning from Stuart was hugely beneficial to me as a screenwriter. I've been thinking if I should write my drama project as a feature or series and Stuart made me realize the pros and cons of each, both creatively and from a business perspective." -- Alex W. "Thank you, Stage 32, for providing us access to Stuart. His webinar is fantastic and I can't recommend learning from him enough!" -- Kayla R.
As you are aware, unscripted television is BOOMING. All the streamers have jumped into the mix and now more and more networks, premium cable channels and even short form platforms like Quibi are diving in with both feet. Creating compelling non-fiction TV requires more than just vision. It involves a gameplan. And it can't hurt to have multiple ideas in reserve or even multiple paths for the same show. This will allow you to not only launch one show, but perhaps lay the groundwork for many shows, essentially building brand recognition for you and for your production company. There is a path to building a scalable business in reality and unscripted and that path is wider than ever. And there's no better person to send you on that path than a guy who has built an empire with his company through producing such shows as Netflix's CHEER and CHEF'S TABLE and many others for streamers and networks around the world. We all have a desire to tell stories. In an era when technology is rapidly developing and there are increasingly lower barriers to actually creating unscripted content. But an idea is just the start. Often times what we fail to do is understand how to get from an idea, or a series of ideas, to having viable content that a more commercial marketplace is actually looking for. By doing a deep dive into the history, shows and business of the prolific reality production company Boardwalk Pictures, we can better understand how to establish our creative voice and brand in a crowded landscape and determine how best to bring our value to a variety of projects and partners. Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple awards and 3 Emmy nominations, Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now entering its 7th season, has received 8 Emmy nominations, has won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in it’s 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT. Andrew will teach you how to stake your claim in the unscripted marketplace and also how to build an empire in the space. By diving into his journey and the paths Boardwalk Picture shows have taken from concept to screen, Andrew will show you the do's and don'ts of unscripted from the creative and business sides to assure you shorten your path to success. He will speak to the companies origin stories and how Chef's Table became Netflix's first unscripted original series. He will explain how to judge quantity vs. quality, explain the "8th Grade Assembly" test, describe what it means to be storyteller led, and how to identify a void that needs to be filled. He will dive into how to develop your creative brand, define what stories it is you want to tell, and how to approach meetings and networking opportunities to help get your vision to air. He will describe how to add value to just about every situation - so important in unscripted where you're likely to have partners and how to best position yourself to where people not only want to work with you, but will be anxious to hear your next idea and the one after that. Praise for Andrew's Stage 32 Webinar: "Fabulous, authentic insights into what makes a successful producer of premium unscripted content!" -John P. "Loved it! I especially appreciated his positivity! I’m feeling inspired and I know I’m on the “write” track to creating something wonderful!" -Edie F. "Andrew was really great - a total professional who gave a lot of insight into "the business" and what attracts the green light." -Pooky A. "Excellent. Honest. Thoughtful. Insightful." -Tim O.
Since announcing our new screenings initiative, thousands of new members have joined the Stage 32 community, and there was no better time than to come together to connect, learn, and grow in our digital universe. So with that, I wanted to welcome our new members to the party by hosting one of my AMAs (Ask Me Anything): Quarantine Edition. Damn, you guys were on fire! The entertainment industry is rapidly changing as we all navigate this evolving landscape. In the last few weeks, in addition to talking with over 800 filmmakers from canceled festivals, I've had countless conversations with executives and industry professionals how creatives can keep hustling and put themselves in position to succeed in this new and ever-changing landscape. With everything going on, I can say without hesitation that I had a LOT to share! And I know you all had questions! In this over 2 hour AMA webcast we got together for inspiring, motivating, and brutally honest craft and industry talk. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA will be helpful for ALL! You all brought your questions and the energy and I handled the rest. Amidst this global crisis that has forced so many of us indoors, we are excited to give film, tv, and digital creatives a safe place to stay creative and build relationships with their fellow entertainment industry folks from all over the world. Let's continue to come together for some inspiration, motivation and community love. And if you know any other creative who is not a member of Stage 32 that could use a lift, please invite them as well by sharing the on demand link to download. I enjoyed spending quality time with you all.
Plus! You'll receive a 9-Act Lifetime Movie Breakdown, The Screenplay and Shooting Schedule for the made-forTV movie THE PREACHER'S SIN and more! Many filmmakers think the only pathway to a career as a writer or director is to get their indie film into Sundance or become a TV episodic director. But there’s another pathway into the industry that filmmakers often overlook– Made for TV Movies. Stalking. Kidnapping. Murder. These are just some of the ingredients of the Made for TV recipe. But what sets a great TV thriller apart from not-so great ones? What’s the difference between writing movies for television vs. big screen? What budgets should you consider when writing a Made for TV movie? All of these questions and more will be answered in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar hosted by Michelle Mower. Michelle is the acclaimed writer, producer and director whose work includes Lifetime's highly rated movie THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), A WOMAN BETRAYED, THE PREACHER’S SIN, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?, and the dark teen comedy THE NEVER LIST, starring Fivel Stewart, Jonathan Bennett and Booboo Stewart. You'll learn the types of stories and/or genres that television networks are buying and how to pitch your TV movie or screenplay to a network and to streamers like Netflix, HULU or Tubi. You'll cover business models including selling to a U.S. broadcast network to retain international rights? How casting plays a hand in getting these movies sold. And so much more. The market is hot for TV movies, but developing these movies can be challenging because you want to ensure your story includes all the elements that make a TV movie successful without being too paint-by-numbers formulaic. This course will take you through the process of developing, writing and producing Made for TV movie that will sell. Plus! Michelle will give out exclusive handouts to help you in developing and writing your made for TV Movie! Downloads include: Screenplay for "THE PREACHER'S SIN" Shooting Schedule for "THE PREACHER'S SIN" One Sheet for "THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER" 9 Act Lifetime Movie Breakdown Official Synopsis for "A SISTER'S DEADLY PLEDGE" Praise For Michelle's Teaching “Michelle’s screenwriting workshop offered insights and techniques that helped me write better screenplays. Her class changed my life and gave me courage to go for my dream.” Stacy N. "This was wonderfully detailed and thorough. The presenter (Michelle Mower) was well organized, and easy to follow. It was rather thrilling to listen to someone who is not only knowledgeable but also wears so many hats! Once again, Stage 32, you've delivered a winner." -Crispin L.