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.
"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.
* Kristy and John make you aware of the major considerations you should give to these topics so that you can avoid many of the mistakes that can cause productions so much heartburn. Obviously, this webinar does not replace the talents of an appropriate accounting and legal team. Please consult your own advisors to ensure you are following the rules and navigating the complex world of tax and regulations which govern the industry. We do, however, hope that this will help you avoid many common mistakes that film and television productions make!
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!
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.
As the Vice President of Three Point Capital, Viviana Zarragoitia is one of the most prolific financiers who routinely lend on tax incentives, both domestically and internationally, on independent films. She is aware of the rules and regulations of tax incentives in many jurisdictions, and have spoken on numerous panels about tax credits. In this webinar she will cover working with transferable vs. non-transferable credits, give an overview of the states and countries that are most popular right now, the reasons why and the incentives that each of them offers. Viviana will also go through the general steps that are required to take advantage of tax incentives from beginning to end, as well as the requirements to qualify for tax incentives. She will highlight the importance of working with CPAs, the roles of production accountants and line producers, as well as how all departments in a production are affected. She will also use 2 states as case studies for how to go through the process of applying for and receiving a tax incentive. You will walk away gaining a deeper understanding of the details involved with tax credits; how to take advantage of them, how to monetize them and how to follow the guidelines to ensure they are in compliance with the rules.
Learn directly from Tatiana Kelly who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. The barrier of entry for the micro-budget / DIY / indie filmmaker has never been lower, making the landscape of independent film more exciting than ever. With box office and VOD sales at an all time high and more distribution opportunities than ever, independent films are enjoying a resurgence. Throw into the mix that many studios and larger production companies are committed to producing numerous micro-budget films each year (see Paramount Insurge) and independent producers such as Jason Blum (Blumhouse) have made a living in the space, and the demand for films with micro-budgets has never been higher. Additionally, many creatives are taking matters into their own hands by making micro-budget films as a calling card for their talents. Some examples of micro-budget films include Napoleon Dynamite, Halloween, Clerks, The Blair Witch Project, Mad Max, Eraserhead, Open Water, Catfish, Saw, Once, Pi. Story and style win the day as a result of the passion and dedication put into micro-budget films. If you are a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker or any other creative that values control of your story and film and has decided to write, develop, shoot or distribute a film in the micro-budget space, this is the webinar for you.
It's not an understatement to say that the decisions made during the casting of your film, short film, TV pilot, or short form digital content can make or break or break your project. Being able to cast a wide enough net to assure that you see enough actors so you can choose those who fit the vision and tone of the material is paramount. But not all filmmakers and producers have that kind of reach. Further, they don't have the connections and experience to not only cast that wide net, but also bring in familiar and experienced talent that can accelerate this aspect of the pre-production process while saving valuable time, resources, and, most importantly, money. But for many, identifying and engaging casting directors of value is a challenging process. And for that reason alone, many filmmakers and producers handle the casting calls, the auditions and the decisions to hire their actors on their own. Often, that's a fatal mistake. Finding the right actors for your film does not have to be difficult. Neither does interviewing and, eventually hiring a casting director. The fact is, casting directors are plugged in to the most experienced and the best up and coming talent. Further, they know what to look for in the room during the audition process. What questions to ask. What signs to look for. And what red flags may be readily visible to them that you might overlook. While many filmmakers and producers believe they can't afford a casting director, they don't have the information and knowledge to truly know. Experienced filmmakers and producers know they have to include a casting director in their budget. And they also know that they can secure one without breaking the bank while bringing enormous value to their project. Over the course of her stellar and prestigious career, Casting Director Erica S. Bream (CSA) has had the opportunity to work on a myriad of projects across all platforms. A few of these titles include TV series such as ALTERED CARBON, COLONY, WORKAHOLICS, HOUSE OF LIES, CRIMINAL MINDS, and the upcoming TELL ME YOUR SECRETS, PANDORA as well as numerous TV pilots and miniseries, including Hulu’s 11.22.63, and FULL CIRCLE from DirecTV. She has worked on several feature films including STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS and many indie films, such as the John Legend-produced BREAKING THROUGH. Erica has also worked extensively in the internet and short film worlds, most recently casting award-winning AFI short, RITA MAHTOUBIAN IS NOT A TERRORIST as well as PINKY for Refinery29. She has also ventured back to her first love, theatre, working closely with THE BLANK THEATRE COMPANY and IAMA THEATRE COMPANY in Los Angeles on many main-stage plays, as well as numerous years casting The Blank's prestigious YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL. Finally, Erica is an Artios Award winner (Casting Society of America) and seven-time nominee for her work in theatre, television and short films. Erica will teach you exactly what a casting director does and lay out in specific detail why you need to hire one and where to find one that can make a difference for your project. She will cover all your questions on budgeting for a casting director and what the expectations should be. She will discuss how to approach casting directors for features, short films, web series, digital shorts and more. She will show you how to secure name talent that can lead to a greenlight. Erica will also take you through the audition process, including live and taped auditions, and call back sessions. She will take you through common mistakes filmmakers and producers make when communicating with casting directors and how to not only avoid them, but what to do instead. This is a full, immersive deep dive into demystifying all the untruths and misinformation regarding hiring casting directors and how, instead, you can have a CD on your team that can help elevate your material and allow for you to see your vision on screen with actors who can carry that vision forward. Praise for Erica "I've been listening to the wrong voices. For the longest time I thought it would be impossible to get a casting director to cast my film and also thought it would be ridiculously expensive. My world has completely opened up." - Christina T. "Now I know exactly why my casting director was the wrong casting director. I won't make the same mistake twice." - Aimee C. "Drop the mic advice." - Slater M. "This felt like I was accepted into a secret club. So much information that I have never heard before. Insider kind of information. Thank you, Erica!" - Dina R.
Have you ever been to these industry events? Film: The Cannes Film Market, The American Film Market, The European Film Market TV: MIPCOM, NATPE, Real Screen What do you really know about these events? Do you know how projects really get bought, sold and funded? Do you know how to work these markets? Strategically? Do you know how to best position and pitch your projects to the industry - to move your career forward? This Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, How to Work the Film & TV Markets is taught by former IFTA liaison for the American Film Market, Heather Hale. In this jam-packed webinar Heather takes independent filmmakers, television and digital content creators on an online tour of the circulatory system of the global media landscape. She is breaking down the entertainment industry’s trade show circuit – where content is bought and sold around the world, year after year. Heather demystifies these markets, makes them less intimidating, less confusing and less overwhelming. She shows you how to strategize and navigate these events, making them far more accessible, productive – and fun! She contextualizes her state-of-the-art, from-the-trenches insights into immediately implementable practical advice if you’re hitting the markets, and even if you're not. This webinar highlights the most significant annual entertainment industry events around the world, dossiers all the players you will run into. You will learn how to best work with them before, during and after the market. She reveals the elements that establish the market value and predict profitability of entertainment properties – and how you can raise the bar for your own projects to be more successful. You will walk away knowing how to make the most of your investments of finite funds, time and creative energy attending markets. Take the step to optimize your odds for success in this mainstream, business-to-business market ecosystem!
Having a known or in-demand actor in your independent film can make all the difference in whether it succeeds or not. A name actor gives your film a sense of legitimacy, which attracts new investors and more interested distributors. It also gives your film more opportunities for press and buzz, and will convince more people to watch it once it is released. That famous actor is very likely what you need to clinch your film, actually get it made, and have it ultimately find an audience and a home. But there’s a big, glaring problem with this truth: You need a name actor to get funding, but you need that funding in order to get the name actor. It ends up being a vicious circle, a catch-22 that can come across as frustratingly insurmountable, a barrier for entry that no independent filmmaker can get beyond. Let’s not mince words. Landing high level talent for your film is HARD, especially if your funding hinges on that actor saying yes. But at the same time, this isn’t the unsolvable puzzle it may at first seem. It comes down to finding the right investors and giving them what they need to say yes. This means pulling out all of the stops, preparing correctly, and doing the hard work. You’ll never be the only filmmaker going after top level talent, but you might be one of the few who’s able to do it the right way. First, it’s vital to understand what the “right way” actually is and what you need to know to do this right. Acquiring a talent is always going to be a hustle, but knowing what it takes and how to navigate this world can give you a serious edge. Independent feature film producer Franco Sama has produced an impressive array of over twenty independent feature films including cult favorite GUNS, GIRLS AND GAMBLING starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook, which was released theatrically acquired by Universal Pictures. Other films Franco has produced include; BLACK LIMOUSINE starring David Arquette, Vivica A. Fox and Bijou Phillips, TOOTH AND NAIL starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, THE PENITENT MAN, starring Lance Henriksen and Andrew Keegan and PAID, starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti. Franco’s company Samaco Films continues to fund and develop independent films from burgeoning filmmakers. After nearly two decades of experience in film finance, distribution and packaging, Franco has come to understand how to crack the code and attract top level talent to independent films. He’s ready to share what he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Franco will go in-depth on how exactly an independent filmmaker can find both cast and funding for their project. He will begin by explaining what budget range you should be aiming for to allow you to acquire the talent you’re looking for. He’ll then teach you the steps you must take before reaching out to either talent or investors. He will explain how to tap into an investor’s mindset and use it to your advantage, including why it might be easier for you to raise $5 million than $500,000, and how you should frame your project as an opportunity for investors. He’ll explain what development funding is, how it works, and why it’s now necessary in today’s landscape. Next, he will delve into how you should be building a strong team for your project before you start approaching talent. He’ll lay out the seven critical people you will need to bring on from the beginning, why you need an executive producer, how to choose the “right” director and casting director, and whether you can attract major talent as a first time director. Franco will explain the importance of acquiring international sales estimates and will lay out what your presentation deck to investors should look like to find funding and gain the cast you’re looking for. He will also talk about how pre-sales work and how many you need to be seen as successful. He’ll then start talking about the actual casting process, including how to create a realistic actor’s wish list, deciding between “A-List” and “B-List” actors and whether or not they pass Franco’s “Parentheses Test”. He’ll explain casting with an eye towards sales and then explain the difference between letters of intent, letters of commitment, and phone verification when going after talent. He’ll also break down contingency investments and how to know when to employ deferment and back-end offers with actors. Franco will explain how to make legitimate offers to actors and agents and how to ensure they’re never empty offers. He’ll go into how “pay or play” works in this world and why going out too early to actors can destroy your casting choices. Finally Franco will explain how you can use tax incentives to help with casting. Expect to leave with a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the steps you need to take to bring on your dream actor. Praise for Franco's Stage 32 Webinar "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. “Head & shoulders above the usual webinars on film distribution and finance. Franco actually knows his stuff and has a track record to back it up. Really good presentation.” – Scott B. This was incredibly illuminating and really entertaining at the same time. I'm so glad I watched this" -Glenda T. Wow. I cannot believe how much I learned from this webinar. Franco is the best. -Terrence R.