John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh, Atlanta based 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. Find out more about John & Kristy's services at: Elementcpas.com Kristy Clabaugh is a Certified Public Accountant and has 15+ years’ experience in providing accounting, tax and advisory services to businesses and high net worth individuals. Kristy is motivated by working with clients to minimize taxes at both the state and federal levels. Kristy also has developed expertise in advising start-ups on structuring, budgeting and implementing and meeting strategic goals. Kristy serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. She is also a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. John Thomas is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Master of Accountancy as well as a Master of Businesses administration, both earned at Mercer University. John has long served closely held corporations and high net worth individuals by providing accounting, tax, advisory and consulting services. John is driven by helping his clients implement strategies that cultivate growth in their businesses as well as building value by opening doors for their further development. John is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Full Bio »
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.
John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh
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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. -Clint A. 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” -Cassie G. Really thorough but also easy to understand -Gerry T. John and Kristy are the best! -Rodolfo B.
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 from and Entertainment & IP Attorney at LaneCrowell LLP, whose client's projects have been on Starz, Nickelodeon, Discovery, TLC and more! Whether you're controlling some valuable intellectual property, looking to secure IP, or simply have a valuable property in the form of a spec script, TV pilot, webseries, digital series, or other filmed material, you are likely going to be confronted with signing or distributing an option agreement. It is imperative that you understand the various types of option agreements and what information should be included to assure that you are not only protecting your material, but yourself legally as well. As the international content business grows, option agreements have become more and more commonplace. It is the vital piece of the paper trail that will ensure you are exercising and getting all your rights as your project gets made. These agreements are designed to protect both sides of a given deal, but can be complicated and sometimes include unnecessary language or clauses that could serve to hold up your content or payment. before you sign on the dotted line, you need to understand what exactly is an option agreement, who has creative control, how much money can be made and what you need to include to protect your rights up front. To help you navigate option agreements is Thomas Crowell is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner at LaneCrowell, LLP. Thomas specializes in working with artists whose work you’ve seen on Sony, Starz, Marvel, DC, IDW Publishing, Discovery, and many more. You won’t be overwhelmed with legal jargon here. Thomas is an expert at showing writers, directors, producers, and more how to understand their agreement and legal options in a tangible way, as seen in his best-selling legal guide for independent producers, The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers. After watching this on-demand webinar, you’ll know the difference between shopping agreements, option agreements, and purchase agreements, which one is best for your material or the material you’d like the rights to, understand copyright issues, how to ensure you have exclusivity, and all of the deal points that you’ll need to negotiate. PRAISE FOR THOMAS'S TEACHINGS AT STAGE 32: "Very informative. The best legal/contract class I have ever attended." -Jon C. "Mr. Crowell was truly informative and I appreciated that he covered both sides: Producer and Writer (because I am both)." -Elease P. "Thomas is so clear and precise. I will have to come back many times to be able to absorb all the information. Wonderful and just what I needed." -Prema R. I have taken Thomas's webinars several times over the years through Stage 32 and I have learned so much. From my personal experience, if you ever in need of an entertainment attorney to represent you when you encounter legal issues with your film, he is the attorney you should go to. Thank you, Thomas Crowell for literally saving my behind! -- Joe P.
At times, the complications that can arise in the pre-production and production processes seem to come out of nowhere. This is especially true when the best laid, most regimented plans concerning budget, cast, and the creative process are upended. Filmmakers are often left wondering about the root of these issues, and whether or not they could have been prevented. This webinar will address how to tackle common hurdles in pre-production and production when identified early on…and how to roll with the punches when you’re blindsided. Some of the most common issues that can plague productions result from a lack of planning. To this end, the importance of having a top-notch line producer for your project, thoroughly researching the professional reputations of your cast and financiers, and maintaining open lines of communication with your director and writer cannot be overstated. Entering into a project blindly, being unrealistic about shooting schedules and financial constraints, or a disconnect between you and a filmmaker will only bog down (or shut down) production. Bottom line: preparation and research will save you money and aggravation. And on the occasion that you’re faced with an issue out of your control (be it inclement weather on set or an MIA actor), an ability to adapt, problem-solve, and then move on is key. Bradley Gallo is the Chief Creative Officer for Amasia Entertainment, and a guest blogger in the Stage 32 community. Helmed by the former president and COO of Marvel Studios, Michael Helfant, Amasia has emerged as one of the top production companies in the industry today. Bradley and Gerard Butler are the producers behind the 2019 Official Sundance Selection THEM THAT FOLLOW, which was acquired by SONY, as well as films like THE CALL (Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin), and MR. RIGHT (Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell). Amasia Entertainment is a production, finance and management company based in Los Angeles. Amasia is currently in pre-production on FATE, written by Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, BOOK OF ELI). Through Bradley's career, he has seen it all and knows how to navigate all hurdles on set. Bradley will take you through the common pre-production hurdles you will go through when making a film including when you lose key elements like money, talent, your director or a location. He'll talk about how to communicate with representation for talent. In addition, he will go over on-set production hurdles you'll face, as well, including when a director loses control of a set, when an actor goes missing or dealing with difficult talent. He'll go over what happens when you run out of money while filmmaking, what happens when you get hit with unexpected fines and how to work with multiple producers and financiers on set. And, he'll even help you understand how to deal with issues out of your control like weather, injuries, and more. This is an immersive deep dive into how to prevent problems not before they arise, but so they never arise so that your production stays on track, on time, on budget and with the entire cast and crew focused on the job at hand. Praise for Bradley's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Bradley is no bullsh*t. He is real, down to earth and tells it like it is. He is proof that anything is possible if you put the work into it" - Stan S. "Bradley is creative in his approach and that's refreshing!" - Samantha R. "Keep bringing Bradley back, please. He's one of the most honest voices I've come across in my 10+ years in the business." - Martin C. "I could listen to Bradley teach all day. He's straight to the point, fun, and inspiring. He makes me believe anything is possible." Melanie L.
Learn how to develop iconic characters from history for the screen from Sam Sokolow, an executive producer of GENIUS: MLK/X, GENIUS: ARETHA, GENIUS: PICASSO & GENIUS: EINSTEIN on Nat Geo/Disney+! PLUS! You'll receive a copy of the GENIUS: EINSTEIN television pilot script and the ALI feature film screenplay! There have always been films and television shows about the great iconic figures in history - from movies such as SCHINDLER'S LIST and ALI to TV series like THE CROWN and GEORGE & TAMMY. Do you have an idea to tell the story of an iconic person from history? Someone whose name has lived on through time or their accomplishments resonated and changed lives or, perhaps, both? Telling the story of an icon from history can be more challenging than telling almost any contemporary story. Often times their accomplishments put them on a cultural pedestal. It’s more expensive to go back in time on-screen. Distributors crave younger audiences who may not care about a certain person from history. And creatively, how do you truly decipher if your character’s life story can effectively fill a 2-hour movie or a 10-hour series? And then, if everything points to a worthy endeavor, what specific legal rights might you need to tell the person’s story that you want to tell? Stage 32 is here to answer all of these questions and more. Taking you through this professional-level training is Sam Sokolow, a 2-time Emmy nominated executive producer with a focus on historical drama. Sam has put almost 20 original shows on television, including the 20-time Emmy-nominated limited series GENIUS for National Geographic Channel and Disney+. The fourth season of GENIUS – GENIUS: MLK/X – will premier in the Fall of 2023. He is currently in development on several films and television series based on real people or true events from history. During this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you will learn how to determine if an iconic person from history’s story has a high or low probability of becoming a film or TV series and why. You will discuss how to best develop a dynamic and engaging story for the screen based on an iconic character in history. You will delve into how to best create an on-screen version of your iconic person that an A-List actor would want to play, which is usually a key component of getting a green light for a historical film or TV show. And so much more. Developing the story of an iconic person from history has the advantage of audience awareness in many cases but there are real challenges and creative questions that need to be answered and addressed early on for your project to have the best chance at success. You will be given the tools to make the most informed decisions on whose story to develop and why, how best to develop that person’s story and how to position your project for success. PLUS! Sam will provide you with the pilot script from his series GENIUS: EINSTEIN and the feature film screenplay from Michael Mann's Muhammad Ali biopic ALI. If you are considering telling the story of an iconic character from history for the screen, or if you are already in development on a project about an iconic character from history and need to figure out how best to tell their story for commercial success, then this webinar is a must! Praise For Sam's Teaching on Stage 32 "I'm so glad I got to work with Sam. His knowledge is very evident in his teaching and I'm better for it! After taking this course, I feel much more confident in pitching." -- Carolyn R. "There's a lot of info I learned here that I had no idea I didn't know. The pitch can really sink or swim your project, so I can't express the importance of learning this material enough!" -- Amanda H.
This webinar has a 100% Satisfaction Rating! Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to do your homework and understand the animated TV industry and what they’re looking for if you want to be noticed. This means nailing down a great concept, a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is animated TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Brad Graeber is the CEO and co-founder of Powerhouse Animation Studios, recognized as a leading producer of action animation for its work on Netflix original series like CASTLEVANIA and SEIS MANOS, as well as a multitude of video game cinemas, trailers, and commercials. Through Powerhouse, he has also produced several shows in the children’s space including Nickelodeon's THE ADVENTURES OF KID DANGER and Disney's IT'S A SMALL WORLD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Based in Austin, TX, Brad is currently overseeing the highly anticipated upcoming Netflix series MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION, based on the HE-MAN cartoons from the 1980s and produced by Kevin Smith. Few people know better than Brad what it takes to turn an idea into a successful animated show, and he’s going to share his knowledge with the Stage 32 community. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar, Brad will draw from his deep experience in the world of animated TV to break down how to best develop your animated series and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first teach you what animated TV looks like today, what networks are looking for and where we’re headed. Next he’ll dive into what you should do to get your own animated series market-ready. He’ll address the three questions you NEED to answer before you try to sell your show, and will give you for shaping your character descriptions, plot outlines, structural elements and unique viewpoint. Brad will also talk about how to get the meeting with an interested network or studio. Next Brad will go into crafting your pitch documents including an effective pitch deck and accompanying artwork. He will also go through the 8 biggest mistakes he sees writers make when putting together their animated shows and give you tips on how you can avoid these pitfalls. Brad will even share the pitch deck he used for his original series SEIS MANOS that got it picked up by Netflix and will break down the process of developing the show and getting the streaming giant on board. If you are working on an animated show, you’re going to want to hear what Brad has to say! Testimonials for Brad's Teaching and Stage 32 Education “Brad is fantastic. There is so much to consider in the animation world and this webinar taught me how to succeed in that journey." -- Mark R. "I was blown away by Brad's attention to detail throughout the class." -- Kayla M. "I couldn't recommend enough anything that Brad teaches. He's so knowledgable and is a great resource for your career. Thanks, Stage 32." -- Amanda L.