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    Working With Your Paymaster: Tips for Payroll Success

    When working with GreenSlate, our paymasters become part of your team. They work hard behind the scenes to make sure payroll gets processed every single week. While they are a crucial part of the payroll team, people often don’t know the full extent of their duties.

    Paymasters are your payroll partners. When the paymaster and the rest of the production office understand each other’s roles, everybody wins.  

    What is the role of a paymaster?

    Being a paymaster requires extensive knowledge of all federal, state, and local laws as well as union agreements within the entertainment industry, studio and production company policies, and factors such as where a production is shooting, the type of project, and the medium of distribution, just to name a few, to ensure all payroll is processed correctly. Paymasters navigate these variables and provide clients with the guidance needed to process payroll, ensuring clients provide complete paperwork so that GreenSlate can maintain accurate records for them. 

    What is some advice for getting the most out of the collaboration with your paymaster?

    Here are four ways production teams can best collaborate with paymasters to get it all done.

    •  Stay organized. Timely start work and timecard submission helps us get ahead of any missing bits and questions that arise. 
    • Keep an accurate timeline and realistic expectations of how much turnaround time is required to do all of the things that are involved in the process. The majority of payroll must be received by close of business Monday or Tuesday at noon local time at the very latest.  
    • Before submitting payroll, have all the required documents/timecards completed in their entirety and have the union agreements in order to the best of your ability.
    • Communicate - open communication and clear expectations both ways are key!

    What is one thing everyone should know about payroll?

    Payroll is almost always in a fluid state of ebb and flow - right up until the moment that it is finalized. Every week we process payroll in a timely fashion and ensure everyone gets paid accurately and on time. Unexpected problems in production happen, roadblocks on set happen - when we are able to overcome those hiccups and make the week a success it's a pretty great feeling. There isn't a situation that can't be fixed if we all work together - we can always make it right.

    How do GreenSlate’s paperless solutions help streamline payroll? 

    With GreenSlate, the production office team, crew, and paymasters all work in one user-friendly app, so everyone can work efficiently. What used to take us days now takes hours. This efficiency is made possible by GreenSlate’s digital solutions. Approvals and communication are streamlined, and information is easily accessible. 

    • Start work keeps all the start paperwork in one place and helps to ensure employees have completed everything in full. For any non-digital paperwork, we offer Google folder setup. 
    • Timecards allow the employees to submit their hours worked via our mobile app as soon as their work week is over - meaning more timely submission to the client. This allows clients to gross timecards sooner, thus allowing payroll to be submitted and processed sooner. 
    • Digital approval flows and reports allow clients to review all preliminary reports and final reports right in the system. This is a much more secure method than emailing sensitive information back and forth. 
    • With the digital workflow, each paymaster can handle a large volume of clients with increased accuracy as the system guides the client towards compliance with all documentation. It also allows the approval flows to be automated - everyone gets a prompt when they need to take action. 

    What are the most rewarding or interesting parts of being a paymaster?

    Seeing a new start work packet come across my desk for talent I love or an up-and-coming celebrity - it always makes me smile and feel like I'm a part of something bigger. - Cindy, Paymaster


    Experiencing a sense of accomplishment as all payrolls are completed each week. We helped put money in the pockets of so many and food on their tables. Everyone works hard for their money. You know that what you do matters and makes a difference in the world. - Gina, Paymaster


    Feeling appreciated by a client with positive feedback or surprise notes of gratitude. Knowing you helped the team is very gratifying.- Marty, Paymaster


    Learning all the different people and trades that are involved in bringing a production to fruition. Our whole lives we watch all those credits roll by at the end of every show/film we see. Now I can explain what a foley artist or best boy grip actually does. Mystery solved! - Beth, Paymaster

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