The Best Alternative to Media Services

12 November 2019

Meet Wrapbook: The Best Alternative to Media Services Payroll

Ensuring that everyone on your shoot is paid on time and according to the law is one of the most important tasks a producer has. While there are many entertainment payroll services available, both Media Services Payroll and Wrapbook offer a powerful suite of services that support film, TV, commercial, and live production.

Here, we explain some key differences between Wrapbook and Media Services to help you decide which payroll company is right for your production.

1. The Full Gamut of Entertainment Payroll

From a compliance perspective, entertainment payroll can be a headache. In most cases, everyone from the director to the PA shuttling cast and crew to set are your production’s employees. This means your production will need to procure worker’s compensation insurance, cover payroll taxes, and send off the proper forms come tax season.

Plus, if any of your cast and crew are in unions, you’ll be responsible for staying compliant which usually means sending health and pension to various guilds each week of your production.

An entertainment payroll service and accounting firm, Media Services Payroll can handle all of these tasks for you in house. Once you sign up, you’re assigned a dedicated paymaster who will then handle your production payroll for you. You’ll be responsible for getting Media Services your cast and crew’s start paperwork. They’ll then get back to you with your payroll.

While they do offer software to assist with these processes, each are generally offered al a carte for a premium on top of your payroll expenses.

Wrapbook offers its entire software functionality for one low cost. While still providing you a dedicated paymaster, Wrapbook’s software-first approach to entertainment payroll allows you to track your production’s cashflow and run payroll in real time.

By moving the payroll experience to an all inclusive app, cast and crew can easily onboard themselves which will automatically generate the necessary settings your production will need to stay compliant with the law. This, in turn, saves you time and money on your entertainment payroll, eliminating the high fees standard in the industry.

Wrapbook allows you to view production invoices without going through a middle man.
Wrapbook allows you to view production invoices without going through a middle man.

Easily toggle between your various productions. When you’re ready to run payroll, just click “Run Payroll.” Send money to your freelancers and employees in seconds, since Wrapbook is one of the few entertainment payroll companies that supports direct deposit.

Wrapbook also allows you to run multiple productions, automatically grouping necessary documents.
Wrapbook also allows you to run multiple productions, automatically grouping necessary documents.

Whether you’re working with Media Services in NYC or Los Angeles, accessing your entire production’s finances should only take seconds.

Plus, it’s entirely paperless.

What is Media Services Payroll?

Media Services Payroll has been leading the entertainment payroll space for over forty years. Starting as production accounting firm, the company has expanded its operations to residuals and processing payments, expanding to Los Angeles, NYC, and Louisiana. While handling some studio projects, Media Services has primarily served commercial shoots, indie films, and web content.

In addition to running payroll, Media Services also created the ShowBiz software line. From ShowBiz Timecards to ShowBiz Budgeting to the ShowBiz Labor Guide, the software suite provides tools for producers manage their productions.

2. Transparent, Affordable Pricing

Once you’ve raised enough money to green light your project, the last thing you want to do is spend it on entertainment payroll services.

Like most film payroll companies, Media Services requires you to request a quote, usually including a weekly fee to use their services, a fee to cut checks, a fee per SAG pension and health report, a fee for onset accounting, plus a percentage of your gross wages.

And since you’re getting quoted, you never know if you’re getting the best deal possible.

Wrapbook only charges 0.5% of your gross wages, a one-time setup fee for unlimited access to their intuitive software, and that’s it.

While Media Services and Wrapbook both offer software to assist with timecards, onboarding, and secure cloud space for your production, Wrapbook includes all of them for free.

As with any production, Worker’s Comp rates depend on the state you’re shooting in. Wrapbook is tailored to productions operating with medium to low budgets so you can stop worrying about paperwork and get back to creating.

3. Express Onboarding

The last thing a crew member wants to do after a long shoot is search for a time card template online. The last thing a producer wants to do is sift through email chains of timecards to approve them.

To eliminate this headache, Media Services offers TiM Digital Onboarding in addition to their payroll services. However, you might find yourself re-entering information, since onboarding crew and running payroll are treated as two separate entities – despite the fact that they share essential information.

Wrapbook automatically collects onboarding forms from your crew and actors when they join your production – all on the app. It then uses that same information when applicable crew members submit their time cards directly into their phones.

Easily track who hasn't submitted their forms in Wrapbook, so you know who to text passive aggressively.
Easily track who hasn't submitted their forms in Wrapbook, so you know who to text passive aggressively.

And when it comes time for tax season, Wrapbook automatically sends out W2’s and 1099s.

With Wrapbook’s direct deposit feature, you can onboard and pay crew in the same hour, versus Media Services Payroll’s lengthy set up time.

4. Film Payroll Fringes

Your production company is based in Maine, but you’re shooting in Georgia, and your director is based in Canada. How exactly do the taxes on that work on that?

To handle situations like this, Media Services’s team of payroll specialists will review the the stack of paperwork, expenses, and timecards your production generates each week and then provide you how much you’ll owe.

Wrapbook gives you the same answer in seconds, allowing you to pay your crew immediately. Drawing from the latest tax codes and union regulations, Wrapbook calculates employer taxes in app, so that you can preview your payroll instantly, without ever involving an accountant.

When talent and crew are onboarded, Wrapbook gathers their tax information upfront.
When talent and crew are onboarded, Wrapbook gathers their tax information upfront.

Since your entire production’s payroll is run through one easy to use app, information from all parties is automatically shared so that you immediately know where your production stands.

5. Union Approved

Both Wrapbook and Media Services Payroll are calibrated so you’re always up to date with every union regulation, keeping your production 100% compliant.

When onboarding crew, all you need to do is flag your crew members’ respective guilds. And when you run payroll, the Wrapbook app will automatically use this information to calculate pension and health in their payroll preview.

Wrapbook submits pension and health to:

Unlike Media Services, Wrapbook supports direct deposit instantly making it a favorite among actors.
Unlike Media Services, Wrapbook supports direct deposit instantly making it a favorite among actors.

Currently, Wrapbook is not accepting any more SAG clients. In order to get on the wait list, email success@wrapbook.com.

6. Insurance + Payroll

In order to run a shoot, you typically need two things: production insurance to protect yourself from fault and a payroll company to keep yourself compliant with the law.

Besides making onboarding and cutting checks easy, using a payroll company is often required when working with unions like SAG.

While Media Services can process your payroll, they do not provide production insurance at this time.

Wrapbook provides both services under one roof. In addition to providing some of the affordable entertainment solutions on the market, Wrapbook can customize unique insurance packages to keep you complaint with any union for the lowest cost to you.

Drawing from the latest tax codes, Wrapbook calculates employer taxes automatically and provides worker’s comp insurance, which most insurance agencies do not.

These in tandem make Wrapbook one of the best film insurance agencies.

7. Free to Demo

While you have to wait to get a quote from Media Services Payroll, it’s absolutely free to demo Wrapbook until you process a payment.

Set up your production, collect timesheets, onboard your team, and get everything just the way you like it. Wrapbook only charges a fraction of a percent when you’re finally ready to cut checks or pay out via direct deposit.

And unlike Media Services, Wrapbook doesn’t require a payroll bond, so you can pay your crew without having to front your entire budget upfront.

Click here to sign up free.

Wrapbook Is The Best Alternative to Media Services…

Because it allows indie filmmakers and producers to put more money into their projects’ actual budget.

Wrapbook isn’t just a great Media Services Payroll alternative – it’s an excellent alternative to standard payroll system that typically overcharges productions.

The Best Production
Payroll Company

Pay your cast and crew quickly and compliantly.

Wrapbook calculates timecards, witholds taxes, handles unions, and processes payments in user-friendly app.

Learn More
Film Payroll