Meet TakeOne - Pay Your Crew Digitally In 2019!

05 January 2019 | Naysawn Naji

It’s with great pleasure that we would like to introduce you to TakeOne.

TakeOne is a cloud based, digital application to handle the invoicing, insurance, payments and people interactions for production companies. TakeOne allows filmmakers to focus more of their time on creating captivating stories and less brain power on backend logistics.

We have been hard at work on TakeOne for the past year and it’s about time that we show it to the world.

Why Software For Filmmakers?

It’s no secret that content - specifically video content - is exploding.

Every instagram feed of the fortune 5,000,000 is filled with professionally produced videos. Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, WndrCo, AT&T and Disney are all 1-upping each other with professionally made content. Each has very deep pockets and are handing out billions each year to production companies to produce captivating, well financed narratives. They know that winning viewership is extremely valuable and the entire internet population is ready to by monetized to watch their content.

Each of these videos need to be shot, edited and released on a regular cadence. With content exploding and the spend in content creation increasing each year, it’s a good time to be a production company.

That said, the challenges of creating professional made stories has not changed much in the last decade…

What Goes Into Good Stories?

Creating even 30 seconds of captivating content is very hard work. While every filmmaker wants to focus on the artistic aspect of storytelling, there is a backend to their storytelling that few people know about it.

It’s a backend that involves a lot of people, licenses, planning, paperwork, insurance, and payments. Every production company can tell you the story how too much of their time gets eaten up managing most of it.

People

Creating a beautiful story starts with people - people in front of the camera, people for sound, people for logistics, people to tweak your video. People, people, people.

Everyone needs to be found, hired, coordinated, insured, fed and ultimately paid. Sometimes, you need to find these highly trained people in a spot you’ve never worked before in your life. Production is a very people intensive business.

Planning

For every one day spent shooting, at least 4 days are spent planning. Scripts need to be written, scripts broken down, shot lists made, props purchased, wardrobe found, cast secured, crew secured, licenses to locations acquired and unions kept happy. Unions ask you to start the union signatory process at least 2 months before you start shooting anything.

Further, most production companies have at least 6 projects that they are working on at any given time, so while you’re planning 1 shoot, you need to juggle the edits for another, the sound for another and the casting for 3 others.

Paperwork

Modern production yet to digitize: invoices are on paper, timecards - paper, payments - checks in in the mail, contracts - all signed on paper, union documents - cabinets of paper and small payments are often done with wads of cash. One Netflix show will produce a whole room of boxes of paper.

All kinds of challenges are introduced by the lack of transparency that come from the lack of digitization in production. These include chasing lost checks in the mail, a lack of knowledge of being on or off budget and plain mistakes that come from interpreting handwriting on a form.

Insurance

Production companies also need to secure insurance for their crew, cast, camera equipment, and liability for anything going wrong while they shoot.

Securing this high risk insurance is both costly and really tedious. You need to fill out pages and pages of insurance request forms and handle a back and forth process with the insurance company to answer questions like “What are the dimensions of the flat wall that you will be constructing?” “Who will be in charge of building this wall—you or a subcontractor.”

Further, a production company is held to a standard of being an employer - meaning they need to have workers compensation insurance for all their workers, even though their workers are doing a-typical “worker things” - like jumping out a window for doing their job.

Insurance companies are really gun shy and generally nobody wants to work with production companies for 1-off shoots.

Payments

Production companies are required to pay their cast and crew as tax-withheld employees and validate that each person who works a single day needs to sign forms like they would be working for you for a full year. Their payroll needs to be calculated and taxes withheld from the employee and you, as an employer need to pay an extra 20% of in employer taxes. This is particularly challenging for production companies since 90% of payroll systems are set up for recurring payments where people are paid the same amount each pay period.

For each person paid in this manner - their information needs to be collected, mailing addresses for checks, split of payment between agent/talent, and employment authorization and then fed into another system. Most companies do this via collecting it on paper on set and transcribing it themselves into whatever system they are using for payroll.

As a production company, you also need to calculate how much to pay each person, which is a triangulation of their contract, the time actually worked and the union contract your production is a signatory to.

Reporting

Collecting and recording all the information on your budget vs your actual spend is really important because almost every TV show or movie you’ve ever seen gets approximately 30% of its budget from state tax dollars.

These funds come to it in the form of a refund to the production company but in order to get it, you have to submit a detailed report to the state. The cost reports are extremely detailed - so detailed that teams of production accountants are usually employed to create them from boxes and boxes of receipts, contracts and misc paperwork.

Is There A Better Way?

Producing stories doesn’t have to be like this. There is a much better way - that better way is TakeOne. TakeOne is software as a service to digitize and modernizes a production company’s backend.

TakeOne - software as a service to digitize and modernizes a production
TakeOne - software as a service to digitize and modernizes a production

With TakeOne, production companies have a single digital system for managing their insurance, people, payroll and contractor payments. Cast and crew also benefit from TakeOne by having 1 single profile, complete with their tax and direct deposit information to take from project to project. They can invoice any production they work with and track their payments and work history in a single place. With direct deposit, it just takes 2 business days to get paid.

Try TakeOne Out!

We welcome you to give TakeOne a try to see that there is a much easier way to run a production business.

A full featured demo of TakeOne can be found here. We are limiting who gets access to TakeOne right now, if you would like to start trying it out for your productions, please try out a demo and we will follow up with you. You can also hit me up - naysawn.naji@wrapbook.com for access.

Naysawn Naji

Naysawn Naji is one of the four co-founders of TakeOne. Please drop him a line at naysawn.naji@wrapbook.com if he can help with anything.