We can protect
you from the

If you book crew
through a central
booking service,
rent the equipment
they use, & pay them
on a 1099 basis,
you are probably
in violation of
new IRS worker
classification guidelines
for the film & video

With IASTE 481
reporting everyone
paying freelancers
on 1099s,
you can not afford
to be ignorant of
the new IRS
employee guidelines

For a summary of
the new IRS code
that now makes
freelance crew
(requiring tax
withholdings &
contributions) &
how we can protect
you from the I.R.S.

click here.

Employment Contract
click here.

W4 Form
I-9 Form

When it comes to crewing your production, ScreenLight & Grip can assist you in one of two ways. We offer a crew booking service, as well as a paymaster service. We offer these services in addition to lighting and grip equipment rental. We do not need to provide crew for you to rent equipment; but, you must rent equipment for us to provide crew.


The crew booking service consists of our matching area film/video freelancers to your production needs, to find the perfect fit with your budget and the production skills you require. We appreciate that not every production is a commercial, and you don't always require an A-List Union Key Grip to push a dolly. Give us a detailed description of your production, and we will book - free of charge - a crew for you that meets your production needs and budget constraints. Subsequent production logistics, such as the establishing of call times, location, employment status, and means of payment, are your responsibility. This is a booking service only.


The second crewing service we offer is a paymaster service. This service consists of our replacing you as the " employer of record" for the crew - whether it's a crew we book, or your own crew. As the "employer of record", we relieve you of the obligation to make payroll tax withholdings and contributions for the crew. And, we provide the workmen's compensation and unemployment insurance mandated by state and federal law. But, more importantly, we protect you from making the costly mistake of misclassifying a freelance employee as an independent contractor (see link at left for more details). All that is required of you is that you provide us with call time and location, and we take care of the rest.

In order to provide you the best and most experienced crew possible, ScreenLight & Grip has signed commercial/broadcast agreements with I.A.T.S.E. Locals 481, 600, & 798, and has agreed to follow the less stringent guidelines of the newly proposed I.A.T.S.E. Local 481 corporate/industrial agreement. As a union signature, we provide only union crews with our paymaster service. And, we are contractually bound to adhere to the industry standards of practice set forth in the corresponding I.A.T.S.E. agreement. Foremost among our obligations, is that ScreenLight & Grip treat all film freelancers for whom it serves as paymaster as employees; with the consequent employer's obligations to provide worker's insurance and contribute to their payroll taxes.

A summary of the insurance and payroll taxes ScreenLight & Grip will pay, in your place, as the employer of record follows:

  • Workers compensation insurance (@ 3.5% of their wages)
  • Unemployment insurance (@ 4.425% of their wages)
  • FUTA contributions (Federal Unemployment Tax Act) to fund for unemployment (.8% of their wages)
  • MA state Disability/Unemployment Health Insurance Fund(.58% of their wages)
  • MA State Workforce Traning Contribution (.075% of wages)
  • Employer contributions to Social Security taxes (6.2% of their wages)
  • Employer contributions to Medicaid taxes (1.45% of their wages)
These state and federally mandated workmen's insurance premiums and tax contributions, totally approximately 17% of a freelancers gross pay, are only part of what it costs ScreenLight Productions Inc. to serve as the employer of record . In addition, there is the cost of the accounting man-hours to process the following:
  • Employee documentation such as W-4 and I-9 statements
  • State and federal income tax withholding and payment (Forms 941)
  • Workmen's compensation & unemployment insurance payroll audits and premium payments
  • Union dues assessment withholdings and payment (3.75% of wages)
  • Union health, annuity, and education benefits payments ($36/day for corporate/industrial production, $54/day for commericial/broadcast production ($70/day effective 1/1/2000))
  • Quarterly and year end payroll reporting (W-3 & W-2 statements)
To cover these costs of serving as the employer of record for your crew, ScreenLight & Grip charges, a fee of 25% of the gross crew payroll, plus the appropriate union benefits. Funds equal to the amount of the anticipated crew payroll, plus service fee and union benefits, must be paid to ScreenLight & Grip prior to commencing production. Unanticipated crew overtime, with additional paymaster service fees due, are payable within seven days. Crew call time and directions to location must be provided to us at least 48 hours in advance; and you must sign our service agreement. To review our "service agreement" click here. (To return to this page, press the back button at the top left of your browser window when you are done.)


Our paymaster service is available whether we book the crew or you book your own crew. If you book your own crew, a crew member for whom you want us to serve as paymaster must be a member of I.A.T.S.E. Locals 481, 600, & 798 if they work in a department over which these unions have jurisdiction. I.A.T.S.E. Local 481 covers the following production departments:

Craft Services
Set Dressing
Special Effects

We can also serve as paymaster for crew that are members of I.A.T.S.E. Local 600 (such as cameramen, assistant camera, and videographer) and I.A.T.S.E. Local 798 (Make-up). If you book your own crew, you are responsible for negotiating the freelancer's rate, and making sure that they fill out the necessary paperwork - our crew employment contract, W-4, & I-9 forms - on location (these forms can be downloaded at left).

If you leave it to us to book the crew, we can generally provide crew at below street rate as an I.A.T.S.E. signature. Crew rates quoted at the outset are good faith estimates only. Our ability to provide discounted crew rates are subject to market factors such as supply and demand. We can only provide you with accurate crew rates after you have "booked" the production with us, and we are able to "book" specific freelancers. We will endeavor to book a crew and lock the rates as quickly as possible after you give us a solid booking.

Our paymaster service is offered in the spirit of helping independent producers, and small production companies, deal with the complex pay roll issues related to hiring film/video freelancers. In so doing, we also endeavor to make the abundant resources of the New England I.A.T.S.E. Locals accessible to a larger part of the production community. Please contact us with any further questions or concerns you may have.