ONLINE SELF-STUDY COURSES FOR ANY INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER:

1. An Overview of the Film Industry for Any Independent Filmmaker

2. Creating and Managing a Professional Film Budget (Coming Soon)

2. Go To - Cashflows - Required for any bank loan (Coming Soon)

3. Go To - State and Federal Film Tax Incentives (Coming Soon)

4. Go To - Canadian Provincial and Federal Film Tax Incentives (Coming Soon)

5. Go To - Hot Costs (Coming Soon)

6.Creating and Managing Professional Cost Reports (Coming Soon)

6. Go To - Line Producer Controls (Coming Soon)

7. Tips to build your website (Coming Soon)


Section 181 - Federal Film Tax Incentive:

The “Fiscal Cliff” bill passage which occurred in the early hours of New Years Day (2013) contains an extension of the IRS code Section 181 (Deductions for Qualified Film & Television Production Costs) through the end of 2013. See http://www.talkfilm.biz/section181.htm


Managing Film Budgets & Cost Reports

Note: within the film industry the term “managing a budget” is the equivalent to the public accountant's term “predicting & controlling expenditures”. Additionally, the film industry term, “Cost Report”, is the equivalent to the public accountant's term “Financial Statements”.

Email or blog me with your questions


Presented By Ease Entertainment Services

Dates: TBA

Time: TBA

Where: TBA

Course Is For: Line Producers, UPM's, emerging Producers,

CPA's/etc interested in Auditing the filmproduction for Tax incentives,

any "Indie" trying to raise financing.

Description:

- The Film Budget is made transparent through a series of very practical applications with much participation by the attendees. It also includes examining the methods used by industry leading budgeting software.

- The Weekly Cost Report is thoroughly reviewed through a series of very practical analysis applications that enable the attendee to manage, or to audit this very important report. Again, there is much participation by the attendees through a series of practical drills.

- The Cost Control Systems is new to this workshop. It is a simple, but very practical, review of the 6 basic accounting control processes which the Line Producer or Auditor needs to know. The forms used in the industry are reviewed and the common controls are examined for application.


Objective:

Participants will identify and practice the specific ways to

- manage & make changes to film budgets, and

- present the film production costs

in such a way as to be able to defend, challenge and manipulate both the film budget and universally standard cost report without being tongue-tied.


Who Should Attend:

- Emerging Producers,Production Managers, Line Producers, Production Keys,etc.

- Public Accountants (who will audit the final Cost Report) to be able to understand the terminology & methodology of the Film Industry.

- Assistant Film Accountants can use the material in this workshop as a way to upgrade to a Key Film Accountant.


Major Topics:

  • Film Budgets - a $9Mil budget reviewed by category and specific non-labor and labor examples examined and practiced.
  • Universally Standard Cost Report - the elements of the cost report are examined with real examples practiced until attendees are very familiar with how to manage and to present the costs/budget to financiers, bond companies, etc.
  • Six Basic Control Systems - the six basic ways of controlling the production costs are gone over in detail, practicing ways to control those cost and how they affect the cost report and impact on the film budget.
  • For a more comprehensive look at the agenda, Click Here.

Prerequisite: Anyone with some experience or education in film production or accounting.

FREE: Multiple Budget Templates, Accounting & Legal Form Templates and DVD Screen Recordings of Specific General Ledger and Budgeting Software Procedures.

BRING YOUR WIRELESS LAPTOP!


Location TBA: $240 (Less 10% Early Bird Registration = $216)

Managing Film Budgets & Cost Reports (Location/Time TBA)

BRING YOUR WIRELESS LAPTOP!


NOTE: After Payment You will be sent to a sign-up page to receive the materials for the course.

1. Managing the Film Budget 4 Hrs

2. Managing the Weekly Cost Report (Financial Statements) 3 Hrs

3. Managing the Cost Control Points During Production 1 Hrs

Total Hours for CPE 8 Hrs

For a more comprehensive look at the agenda see below, or Click Here.


WORKSHOP DETAILED AGENDA

1. Production Managing the Film Budget 4 Hrs

  • MANAGING a Film Budget is the ‘normal’ procedure for medium-to-large film budgets – as opposed to building a Film Budget from scratch. Preparing film budgets from scratch is required in the early development/financing stages.
  • (See my workshop on Preparing Film Budgets Utilizing industry leading software)

a) Overview of Film Budgets – Categories and Key Terms:

  • Above-The-Line, Below-The-Line, Other, Post and Contingency/Financing/etc.
  • The Departmental sections of the Film Budget are pointed out and how they inter-relate on an Organization Chart.
  • ATL discretionary and non-discretionary costs are defined and how these can be used or abused.
  • BTL discretionary and non-discretionary costs are pointed out.
  • Overview of differences of costs between TV and Feature Film.

b) A More Detailed Examination of the Film Budget

  • The departmental categories are looked at in conjunction with an organization chart of the duties and responsibilities of the ATL/BTL/Financiers/ Bond Company/ Studio Exec.
  • Discuss with the attendees each of the major players in the organization chart and what topic each perceives is the most important during the Film Budgeting process.
  • As a practical, a flash answer test will be given. The questions will be rapid and will review the attendee’s knowledge of the categories, departments and functions. John will ask questions about some line-item in the Film Budget and the group will answer, until all are rapidly familiar with the term, functions and category of the line-item.
  • As a practical, the attendees will twin up and role-play three different scenarios, where they will trade-off being different roles for different scenarios (e.g. a Producer talking to a Financier, a Public Accountant talking to a Producer, a Line Producer talking to a Studio exec, etc.). John will closely coach to reduce the intimidation of saying the new terms used in “Film Speak”.

c) The Details of Industry leading Software and How to Make the Film Budget TRANSPARENT

  • Demonstrate the attendees with the budgeting software’s overall navigation features and how they are utilized
  • Demonstrate the correct way to prepare a budget for one ATL account (Stunts) and have the attendees practice entering to their own laptops/demo computer.
  • Inform the attendees of the ATL accounts that are usually over-stated, and what to look out for.
  • Demonstrate the correct way to prepare a budget for one BTL account with the attendees (Chief Electrician-Gaffer) and have the attendees practice entering to their own laptops/demo computer.
  • Demonstrate the correct way to prepare a budget for kit rental fees (Chief Electrician-Gaffer) and have the attendees practice entering to their own laptops/demo computer.
  • Demonstrate the main features of Global variables, Sub-Groupings, Fringes
  • Calculate the effect on the budget of mis-representing the hidden Global variables (e.g. number of shooting days, ignoring paid holidays, over stating the number of hours worked, overstating costs associated with the State Tax Incentive, etc.) Note: all of these examples have been attempted.
  • Demonstrate the main features of Sub-Groupings
  • Learn how to utilize Sub-Groupings to assist in quickly estimating the State Tax Incentive.
  • Demonstrate the main features of Fringes
  • Learn the impact of fringes on the budget (it is considerable and if the public accountant is not aware of this impact it borders on negligence).
  • Inform the attendees of the BTL accounts usually understated and what to look out for.
  • Attendees will learn the rules of calculating the hours-to-gross and knowing how to think with OT rules and fringes. This will be done with manual/Excel spreadsheets to avoid the cost of the attendees buying software.
  • John will run through some examples of changing line-items using industry leading software with an overhead projector (Participants can bring their laptops and follow with their own software).
  • the impact of budgeting for different shooting hours for different categories of crew,
  • managing the production for rest violations
  • managing the budget for shooting hours
  • out-of-town additional costs
  • Attendees will learn the rules of calculating the hours-to-gross and knowing how to think with OT rules and fringes.

Note: I give another course to train students in the application of film budgeting software in coordination with a software sales company like EP or Showbiz.

2. Production Managing the Weekly Cost Report (Financial Statements) 3 Hrs

The very confidential Weekly Cost Report measures how the department, the location, the production, etc. is doing as compared to the Approved Budget. This is the statement audited by the Public Accountant for Tax Incentives.

Knowing how to read, influence, defend or challenge the film production’s Weekly Cost Report is key to surviving and expanding in today’s very budget conscious Film Industry.

Not only is it important for Public Accountants to know this financial statement well, it is safe to say that for a Producer, Line Producer or Production Manager, the Weekly Cost Report is a career maker or breaker. In most cases, only the Studios, Financiers, veteran Producers and experienced Unit Production Managers ever get to see this report. The practical applications to real-life cost reporting situations are not available in Film Schools, nor even to most crew working in the business.

Introducing the Weekly Cost Report

Concept of timing – the cost report is issued weekly at a pre-assigned day (usually a Friday or a Monday). This keeps the pressure on the Producers, Production Manager and Film Auditor.

Define the columns of the Weekly Cost Report

Reading the Estimates-To-Complete Column

Practical examples given for different estimated Stunt man-days.

Attendees practice the effect of changing the Estimates-To-Complete on the Cost Report.

The concept of weekly “period closings” is presented as industry specific.

The Weekly Cost Report – PO’s, Check Requests, P/C

A practical example is given of a missing Purchase Order for a Steadicam Rental at $3,000/Week.

The effect on the Cost Report is given when a Purchase Order is not relieved when entering an invoice.

Example – how to review the PO’s entered to the system for and what to look out for.

Some practical applications are put to the attendees:

Example – an invoice has come in the mail quoting a PO number which isn't posted in the Cost Report. What do you do? How would that affect the cost report?

Example – an invoice has come into the accounting area which is quoting a PO which has been previously relieved. What do you do?

How would that affect the cost report?

Example – a PO is in the system and is getting old – normally it would be paid within that time period. What do you do? How would that affect the cost report?

Etc.

Example – the Wardrobe department has 4 people in a buying frenzy. You see that there are a total of 420,000 outstanding in Wardrobe petty cash” floats". What do you do?

Example - yesterday you approved a $15,000 check request for (site fee, construction lumber, etc). The Film Accountant has just brought you the cost report for review. How do you assure yourself that the cost has been processed and is reflected in the cost report?

Etc.

The Cost Report - Projecting Costs Then Using A PO

Example – Hotel invoices not PO’d for Cast

A Day Out Of Days (DOOD’s) example is shown and gone over.

The attendees are asked to estimate the cost of a hotel in their area for that cast member based on the DOOD’s.

A PO is drawn up by the attendee for two of the key cast.

The PO is entered to the G/L.

The effect on the Cost Report is noted.

This process is done again for the same Cast, but this time for their flights from the East (or West) coast, depending on the attendee’s location.

The effect on the cost report is noted.

The Cost Report Projecting Costs to Completion

We examine the Costs To Date to see the date to which the Extras have been paid.

We ask the 1st Assistant Director for an estimate of the number of Extra Man-Days.

We estimate the future costs of Extras through to completion.

We compare that estimate with the Estimated Final Costs available on the Cost Report.

A different example is given of this to the attendees and they work it out for themselves in conjunction with John.

A similar example is done with the Stand-In’s

The Cost Report Projecting Costs to Completion – Labor

This is a tricky projection that is somewhat arithmetical.

I have prepared an Excel worksheet as the demonstration and a few departmental cost report presentation.

Because this is a difficult step some review of labor hours worked and hours paid (Overtime and other penalties) will be presented and practiced.

We will work through a few departments until you get understand the concept.

Then attendees will do several themselves based on presentations given to them, submitting results.

John will go over the results with the attendees.

The Cost Report Projecting Costs to Completion – Fringes

This is a tricky projection that is somewhat arithmetical.

I have prepared an Excel worksheet as the demonstration and a few departmental cost report presentations.

Because this is a difficult step some review of labor fringe rates for various categories of unions and guilds (and situations) will be presented and practiced.

We will work through a few departmental fringe costs until you get understand the concept.

Then attendees will do several themselves based on presentations given to them, submitting results.

John will go over the results with the attendees.

The Cost Report – Offsetting Over-Budget Costs

Offsetting the Variances within the Department – an example is given with the Set Dressing Dept.

The attendees will do an example for another department based on my presentations.

Offsetting Variances Among Different Departments.

An example will be given of this.

The attendees will do an example for themselves, based on my presentations.

The Cost Report Presentation-Acceptable To Financiers

The Cost Report is presented with a covering memo and a summary page of all offsets and over/under budget line items.

There is an industry specific way of making that presentation.

John will present an acceptable Cost Report in full.

The attendees will be emailed this Full Cost Report in the first week of the live on-line session.

The attendees, with hints from John, will review each department of the full Cost report, making comments as a Key Accountant for each

department.

John will track the Over-Budget items and the Under-Budget items, finally resulting in a presentable Weekly Cost Report.

3. Managing the Cost Control Points During Production 1 Hrs

Many Line Producers come to the production from their experience as an Assistant director, a developer, commercial production, a 'Show Runner' on variety programs, etc. This section of the course provides a way for those people to learn the 6 basic cost systems and how to control them before they are incurred. This section of the course alone is a career booster as a Producer or Production Manager.

Introducing the 6 Basic Cost Systems and How to Control

1. The Purchase Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

2. The Vendor Invoice Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

3. Check Requisitions Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

4. Petty Cash (not so petty in film production - often in the $0 to $60,000/week range) Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

5. Payroll Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

6.Journal Entries (records financing interest, charges from the studio, etc) Order – an example is given of where and how the Line Producer, UPM and Film Accountant control this cost as it occurs.

4. Opportunities

What a Producer, Production Manager, or Film Auditor WANTS and what he/she NEEDS.

The Resume – how to convince the Producer, Production Manager, Film Auditor, etc that you’re the right person.

Ways & means to gather addresses and to meet film producers, production accountants, etc.

Real examples of how this has worked for others.

Overall Sum up and Q & A

End Result of this Workshop:

A participant who can read, influence, defend or challenge actual cost variances to the Approved Budget, as presented by the Financial Statements (known as the Weekly Cost Report in the film industry) Note: this is the statement audited for tax incentives as well as the report utilized by all Executives, Producers, Financiers, Bond Company Rep's,.

Note: this workshop is applicable to any budget above a ‘shoestring’ budget.

Total Hrs 8 Hrs


Participant's Understanding & Refund Policies

Participants Understanding: John Gaskin will be consulting the participants understanding of the materials during the workshops with practical drills, direct questions, short quizes, etc. The number of “Contact Hours” during the course will be provided to you for your purposes.

Attendance & Participation: Attendance will be taken. The “Clock-Hours” and the results of the attendee’s practical assignments and random quizzes (both verbal and otherwise) will form an integral part of John Gaskin's assessment of your understanding of the materials.

Refunds Policy: All fees paid by the applicant shall be refunded if the applicant is rejected by the instructor (John Gaskin) before enrollment. An application fee of $25.00 may be retained if the application is denied. All fees paid by the applicant shall be refunded if requested within 3 calendar days after starting the workshop. All refunds shall be returned within 30 days.

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