Why You Might Actually Need a Film Payroll Company


By Assemble

September 17, 2020

Some days, working as a producer can feel like managing a three-ring circus. Other days, that’s actually part of the job description. 

From finding the right director, to navigating child actor laws, to making sure your production is covered with the right film production insurance policy, there’s a lot on a producer’s plate. And that’s without the mountains of paperwork that come with payroll administration.  

That’s why many producers choose to work with a payroll company. 

In this post, we’ll look at the five reasons why a payroll company can be a valuable resource on your next production.  

1. Toss Out Paper Forms

Every time you take on new cast and crew, there’s a stack of paperwork that needs to be filled out, filed, and organized before anyone gets paid — I-9s, contractor agreements, union forms, and model release forms, among them. 

Keeping track of all of these documents can be tricky and even traditional payroll services turn out piles of paper copies that need to be filed and organized.

However, digital payroll services allow you to organize and store all your documents online — so you can keep your entire production neatly organized and easily accessible on a single browser tab. 

These entertainment payroll companies push all the right forms your production needs to be compliant with the law in front of you. They also handle onboarding of cast and crew, can help you store and share files and, in some cases, get digital signatures.

Wrapbook film production payroll software for video production crews

With digital payroll softwares, you can review expenses, create custom time cards, pay people with a click, and share important documents like call sheets with everyone on your shoot.

2. The Law Changes Constantly, A Payroll Software Changes With It

As you probably know, there are a number of federal, state, local, and union regulations with which every production is expected to comply. And they’re changing all the time — whether it’s the recent changes in employment classification from AB5 or last day model pay for print publishers and photographers. 

All these changes can be a lot to keep up with, especially when you’re juggling equipment rentals with your camera team, getting notes back to your writers, and checking in with Locations to make sure all the necessary permits have been pulled. 

Digital entertainment payroll companies stay on top of changes to federal, state, local, and union regulations, updating their software accordingly, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. 

3. Protect Your Workers, as Well as Yourself

Payroll companies don’t just handle paystubs and tax forms, they can serve as an employer of record, providing a number of services and protections for your production. 

Chief among these is workers comp insurance. 

Workers compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits as specified by state law to workers injured during the course of their employment. It’s a powerful way to protect your cast and crew and, in many states, employers are required to provide workers comp insurance for their employees. 

So having a payroll service that offers workers comp insurance in addition to many other forms of insurance coverage can be a huge benefit on set. 

4. Securely Save Your Contacts

Most producers have a trusted crew they rely on time and again. And even though it might sometimes feel like you know your gaffer better than your own family, you have to fill out the same forms everytime you onboard them to a new production. 

But with digital payroll companies, your crew can create individual profiles that allow them to track their own expenses and onboard their tax information only once. When they sign on to your next production, their tax forms are already securely saved within the software.

And if you’re using a film crew list to keep track of everyone’s contact information, a digital payroll software might be a faster, simpler alternative. 

Some digital payroll services even utilize a suite of software that works as a digital rolodex, securely storing the contact information of your entire cast and crew so you can easily pull emails and phone numbers or even generate a film crew list for your production automatically from your browser with just a click.

5. It’s Less Expensive Than You Might Think

In the world of production, you’re often told to budget an extra 20 percent of your budget to account for payroll services to cover unemployment insurance, taxes, workers’ comp, and your payroll provider’s fee.

When you’re trying to make your film budget stretch as far as possible, it can feel deflating to put a large chunk of your budget into compliance.

However, thanks to new solutions, you can process payroll for the most affordable rates on the market.

Because payroll companies like Wrapbook use software to enable easy and efficient payroll administration, they’re much less expensive than more traditional payroll services. 

Now, you can put more money than ever back into your project without compromising on compliance.


Payroll administration can be complicated and tedious. But digital entertainment payroll services can simplify the whole process, allowing you to dedicate more of your time and attention to your production, cast, and crew.

Have additional questions or want to learn more about entertainment payroll? Check out

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