TAEM- There are a multitude of functions needed to get a film produced that most people are unaware of. One of the major hurdles that a filmmaker must breach is financing his work. For that The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is tapping into the inner workings of this area for all those who wish to create a film and start a production company.
We therefore would like to introduce Robert S. Fingerman to all our readers. Robert, you are a film consultant and a CPA. What influenced you to venture into this area of financing?
RF- I got involved in the film business primarily as a production accountant. But the area of financing and packaging is so critical to indie film producers, that it became extremely important for my business to assist filmmakers in financing their films.
TAEM- Tell us about the company that you formed to achieve this goal.
RF-Independent Films Production Consultants, Inc. has evolved as the independent film industry has. We add new services daily. We try to provide filmmakers with every form of business, tax and accounting service they need to have a successful career in the film industry. The word “career” is a very important aspect as to our services.
TAEM- What industries does your company provide services to ?
RF-Film producers, distributors, financiers, fund managers, lawyers, accountants, bankers, directors, editors, actors, composers, musicians, film commissioners, film schools, writers, game creators, internet platform providers, social network providers, brands, play producers, etc. The entertainment & media industry changes daily and we try to be on the cutting edge as to new ventures in the arena.
TAEM- What are some of the services that you provide ?
RF- We provide filmmakers with all of the important film tax, payroll, business services necessary. We consult on all of the state tax incentive and foreign tax issues. We assist film fund managers in the preparation of business plans. We speak at various panels sponsored by film commissioners, film schools and lawyers regarding the difficult tax issues in the film business. We also help filmmakers meet and connect with the right people in the film community.
TAEM- Tell us about your previous experience in this field before embarking on creating your own firm.
RF- I worked for an accounting firm that specialized in the recording industry. We provided management & tax services, and performed royalty audit pertaining to their record deal. We also provided tour accounting service to various recording stars.
TAEM- Tell us about the number of prestigious organizations that you belong to.
RF- I am a member of the NYSSCPA, AICPA in the accounting industry. I am an active member of two film incubators, Voyage Media & Dogfish Accelerator. I am Film Portal member, a member of Slated, as well as AFI, Film Independent, GenArt, IFP and a board member of Film Interchange. These are all various organizations that guide producers, writers and directors in the difficult process of independent film.
TAEM- We also learned that you are a partner in a Long Island CPA firm. Please tell our readers about this facet of your business.
RF-I am the senior, managing partner of Fingerman & Macke, CPA. We are a New York, tax based firm with many clients in real estate, technology, environmental services, medical services, & wholesale consumer products.
TAEM- Since 2007 your firm assisted a number of films of note, one of which was Henry’s Crime (2010) with Keanu Reeves and James Caan . Your latest involvement is called Desert Cathedral. How do you first become involved with these productions ?
RF- On both projects I have been the accountant/CPA for the film’s producers for many years. The producers typically engage me to provided business, tax and payroll services to their films.
TAEM- Is there a set financial format that you have laid out for the services that you offered them, or is each production custom fitted with individual plans ?
RF- Our services & fees are extremely customized to fit the services required and budget constants. Each film brings its own need for our services and we try to be competitive as far as cost, after understanding the film’s personal strengths and weakness.
TAEM- What is the importance to a filmmaker in dealing with this end of the production process and how do you make this easier for him so that he can concentrate for the actual filming for the project ?
RF-My job is to form a long term relationship with filmmakers and be there for them during the entire film process. We recognize that filmmakers are artists, not accountants or lawyers. I am their liaison into the financial & legal world. I stand next to them at all financial meetings and discussions with bankers, investors, distributors and lawyers. A lot of hand holding. But that is what is needed and it works.
TAEM- If a filmmaker wishes to contact you for your services, where can he reach you ?
RF- firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 516-639-3527
TAEM- Robert, I believed that you have opened up our eyes for this important aspect in producing films, and one that most people are unaware of. I want to thank you for your time with our interview and wish you much luck in all your endeavors.