You’ve assembled the perfect cast, hired a film crew, and enlisted a small army of PAs. But before the camera starts rolling, you’re going to need everyone to fill out a tree’s worth of tax forms each. This is just one of the reasons filmmakers use entertainment payroll services.
But distinguishing one entertainment payroll company from another can be daunting as it is boring. While EP and Cast & Crew have been the standard for many years, there’s plenty of other options available to ensure your productions are paid out both on time and according to the law.
Sifting through the benefits and features of each payroll company, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 best entertainment payroll services of 2020.
Launched in 2018, Wrapbook is powerful entertainment payroll service that allows you to pay your cast and crew all from your browser.
With your entire production neatly organized on one dashboard, you can easily review expenses, spin up custom time cards, pay people with a click, and share important documents like call sheets with your entire production. Save on mountains of paperwork with their digital onboarding, included for free in the software suite.
Unlike most entertainment payroll services that keep their prices behind quote walls, Wrapbook has a one-time activation fee and charges .75% of the payroll you run, one of the lowest costs to run payroll in the entertainment industry.
Cast and crew love Wrapbook’s direct deposit feature along with the ability to submit invoices and timecards directly from their phones.
Wrapbook was previously known as TakeOne.
For years, Entertainment Partners Payroll (EP) has been the industry standard for entertainment payroll. Handling productions like Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom to The Office, it’s a well known name inside studios and Hollywood agencies.
An entertainment payroll company in Los Angeles, EP will handle onboarding, tax information, and cutting checks for your next production.
You may be familiar with Entertainment Partners Payroll Services already through their production management software, Movie Magic Budgeting and Movie Magic Scheduling.
You have to reach out to them to get a quote.
Created by veteran production accountants, Media Services offers entertainment payroll services as well as both in-house accounting and on-production accounting.
Like the other entertainment payroll companies on this list, Media Services has run payroll on countless productions for studios like Netflix and HBO.
In addition to their accounting services, they also offer a line of entertainment apps called ShowBiz, which can help tackle budgeting, SAG timecards, and cash flows.
Like Entertainment Partners Payroll Services, Cast & Crew has one of the most well-known names. Offering a full HR experience, they can run payroll for film and a variety of other industries including television, theater, music tours, and music festivals.
If you’re looking to produce a play or theater experience, definitely consider Cast & Crew, as many Broadway shows use them as their entertainment payroll company.
In terms of pricing, you have to request a quote for your production. That’s why it’s crucial to get a quote from each company on this list to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
If you’ve worked on a commercial shoot before, there’s a good chance you’ve been paid by The Team Companies. Like Cast & Crew, they’re one of many entertainment payroll companies that support live music tours and theater.
If you’re working on a project that crosses many mediums, like a stand up special or a live reality event, it’s worth getting a quote from The Team Companies. Among other payroll services, they pride themselves as experts in residual payments.
Outside of their entertainment payroll services, The Team Companies also features software to better manage your pre-production, like StudioBinder.
If you’re producing a feature film, short, or commercial, then may have already thought about ABS Entertainment Payroll Services.
Tailored to “independent filmmakers”, ABS Payroll can accommodate everything from explainer video shoots to live theater with their payroll and accounting staff.
In terms of pricing, ABS charges a weekly fee to use their services and a gross percentage based on your project’s scope.
Purchased by Cast & Crew in 2016, CAPS Payroll is trying to make the entertainment payroll industry more transparent.
In addition to accounting, they offer electronic time cards and CAPSPay, a digital hours to gross tool, where users can spin up reports and submit payroll to CAPS.
While retaining their original name, CAPS is more or less Cast & Crew.
Unlike other entertainment payroll services on this list, your software may not be included for free in your package.
While some entertainment payroll companies may require you to fax your paperwork off to your paymaster, Greenslate is pushing the entertainment payroll industry paperless.
Much like Wrapbook, Greenslate offers a software backend for timecards, email onboarding, and a digital interface so you never have to scramble for a report.
Plus, they offer printed checks on site.
Entertainment payroll companies can handle everything from paying out your crew to acting as a full-stack HR department.
Traditional entertainment payroll companies are great if you’re dealing with a multi-million dollar budget, residuals, or a project that spans many mediums. That way you can get the specialized attention of production accountants to hash out the details and calculate payroll by hand.
For everything else, new companies, like Wrapbook, offer the right blend of software + services to automate the mundane tasks like onboarding, timesheet collection, and hours to gross calculations, while giving you access to a supported paymaster to handle complex scenarios.
Ultimately, no two entertainment payroll services are alike. Each will claim it’s offering you the best deal, but it is worth looking through the nuances of digital payments and the real softare (or non-existant software) you will be using before deciding who to ultimately work with.
If you’re deciding between two options or just have a question about payroll, feel free to hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Wrapbook, we're all about providing the very best free resources to producers and their crews. However, this post is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Answers do not create a company-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice. Seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction before taking any action that may affect your decisions or rights.
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