June 11, 2024

RadicalMedia, EPOCH, & Bark Bark Share Their Compliance Tips

The Wrapbook Team
Free ebook
Download Now
Free Template
Download Now

The pace of commercial production demands quick decision-making, but when it comes to compliance, speed must be balanced with precision. With hundreds of hires each month and multiple shoots across various locations, staying compliant with state regulations, union requirements, and IRS mandates is crucial to avoiding payment delays and hefty fees.

So how do some of the top companies ensure they stay ahead of their compliance obligations without getting completely buried under paperwork? 

During a recent Lunch & Learn session at AICP Week, industry leaders Cathy Shannon, Executive Vice President of RadicalMedia; Megan Murphree, Senior Executive Producer at EPOCH; and Desiree Taylor, Line Producer at Bark Bark, offered best practices for staying on top of compliance obligations and shared practical tips for mitigating risk.

The discussion was moderated by Wrapbook co-founder Cameron Woodward.

Here’s the scoop.

The most common compliance issue? Ensuring timely payments

”The pace at which we operate can sometimes lead to issues, particularly with timely payments," Murphree explained. This is especially challenging with commercial shoots, which hire and onboard workers very quickly for relatively short jobs.

“Everything moves at lightning speed. We’re hiring hundreds of people per month and so it's super important to have the right tools, resources, and partners to be able to onboard those people quickly and accurately, pay them on time, and not expose [ourselves]…” 

Shannon agreed, adding that the production “juggling act” can often feel like playing compliance 'wack-a-mole,' with issues popping up one after another. She noted that small issues can often lead to disastrous consequences, specifically mentioning California's strict laws on timely payments. "One of the biggest issues is late payments,” Shannon noted, “especially from non-union workers who only work a few times a year. Even small errors like an improperly filled timesheet can escalate to class-action lawsuits."

Effective communication is not just important—it's critical

Shannon stressed how important it is for producers and coordinators to communicate with one another clearly, noting that open dialogue can help ensure that payments are processed on time.

“We all have to remember, we’re in the communication business.” 

All the panelists agreed: clear and consistent communication sets expectations and helps avoid compliance issues. “One way that we try to mitigate problems with freelance crews is [with] start-up meetings,” Megan Murphree said, adding that “regular check-ins and reminders about payroll schedules can keep everyone on track.”

Taylor agreed that detailed start-up meetings are a game-changer for mitigating compliance risks. These meetings set clear expectations and ensure everyone understands the union contracts and payroll laws applicable to their project and shooting location.

“We have super detailed payroll procedures that we go through,” Taylor noted. “I think the whole industry is making a shift to be more compliant, and it makes me feel a lot better.”

But while start-up meetings are essential, they can only address part of the challenge. How do you continue to maintain effective communication and manage compliance amidst such breakneck production speeds?

Embracing technology for better compliance

Given the scale of operations at companies like EPOCH, RadicalMedia, and Bark Bark, it's impossible to be everywhere at once. Here, technology plays a crucial role. It not only helps teams keep pace with the demands of production but also ensures that compliance is seamlessly integrated, transforming it from an annoying hurdle into a manageable aspect of daily operations.

EPOCH, RadicalMedia, and Bark Bark all harness modern solutions to manage compliance more efficiently and reduce the risk of errors. These tools do more than just facilitate communication—they also make it easier to keep quality documentation of compliance procedures. Plus, as Murphree emphasized, modern tech can make it easier to get paperwork completed correctly and on time.

"Technology is constantly evolving,” Murphree explained. “Now that you can have your crew go online and have their own account with the payroll company, I can see whether [their paperwork] has been done or not.”

This capability not only aids in making timely payments but also maintains comprehensive records for audit purposes, drastically simplifying compliance management.

Building on this point, Austin Javellana, Wrapbook’s Product Marketing Manager provided a concise demonstration of how the Wrapbook system enhances compliance efficiency:

Our automated Rate Checks make it easy to ensure workers are paid the right rate. These built-in compliance guardrails help ensure your workers’ pay rates are compliant with both a) union and guild regulations, and b) state and federal minimum-wage thresholds. So if you put a rate that’s more or less than the minimum wage, we’ll flag it for you, and if they’re a union worker, we’ll also be able to flag incorrect union rates. 

On the project dashboard, we’ve recently added actionable alerts for compliance tasks. These alerts notify you of outstanding tasks before they turn into compliance issues. Again, making timely payments is the most critical piece of the payroll puzzle–if payroll starts to get stale, we’ll alert you to see what’s blocking you from processing, approving, or whatever the lingering task is. 

Also on the dashboard, we’ve included notifications specifically for your onboarding tasks—everything from overdue or unsigned I-9 verifications to incomplete startwork. If you’re on set—busy doing the one million different things it takes to run many shoots in a week—these alerts will come in handy. 

Finally, with on-demand audit logs, it’s easy to surface any information you need for audit—or anything else for that matter.If you have a worker that is asking about when they were paid, you can see every change made to every payable - complete with a timestamp, description, and the user who made the change. And you don’t have to go through a payroll admin to get this information; it’s at your fingertips so you can grab it whenever you need it.

These features collectively represent Wrapbook's commitment to leveraging technology to simplify compliance for production companies, allowing them to focus more on their creative endeavors and less on administrative challenges.

Take a skim through our product tour below to check it out. 

“We're really trying to do our best to listen to our customers,” Woodward mentioned. “We take your feedback very seriously and we’re building a product that can squeeze this compliance risk into something very, very manageable.”

All three speakers emphasized the importance of having reliable partners like Wrapbook to manage compliance efficiently. Wrapbook’s platform offers tools that flag potential issues before they become significant problems, ensuring that workers are paid correctly and on time. The speakers, all Wrapbook clients, appreciated the support and resources provided by the platform.

Cultivate an approachable environment

Of course, technology alone isn't enough. Megan Murphree reminds us of the importance of an approachable, supportive environment.

"It’s about keeping an approachable vibe—we're not scary, we're here to help."

This environment encourages open dialogue, ensuring issues are addressed before they escalate.

Wrapping up

The panelists at the AICP Week Lunch & Learn session demonstrated that while compliance in commercial production can be daunting, it is manageable with the right solutions. By fostering clear communication, leveraging technology, and creating supportive workplace cultures, production companies can stay ahead of compliance issues, ensuring their projects proceed smoothly without the threat of legal or financial setbacks.

To learn more about how Wrapbook supports the compliance needs of our clients, check out our product tour.

The Lunch & Learn took place on June 4th at ICP Week Base Camp - @Ease, 1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10105. The speakers included Cathy Shannon, Megan Murphree, Desiree Taylor, and Cameron Woodward, with Austin from Wrapbook providing a detailed overview of Wrapbook's features.

Book a Demo

Try the payroll platform trusted by leading commercial producers.

Get Pricing
Last Updated 
June 11, 2024


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
The Wrapbook Team

The Wrapbook Team consists of individuals who are thrilled about building modern software tools for creators. We’re a team of compassionate and curious people dedicated to solving complex problems with sophisticated solutions. You can find us across the U.S. and Canada.

Stay In The Know

Sign up for the Wrapbook newsletter where we share industry news along with must-know guides for producers.

Book a Demo

Meet with a Wrapbook expert to create a plan for your payroll.