Working in the film industry means dealing with dozens of forms that can be pretty confusing at times. Today, we’re going to be showing you how to fill out a timecard.
A Time Card is a form that must be filled out by all crew members every week if they want to get paid. This is typically submitted through the AD team to the production office where it is processed and handed off to accounting. We’re going to break down each section of the time card to help you through the process, as well as provide helpful tips that go along with each section.
How To Fill Out A Time Card
Note: Time Cards from different production companies may look different, but generally will contain the same information.
Note Again: Generally, most shows won’t make you fill out every single one of these boxes. This is just a guide to understanding what each box means. Fill out the ones that are obvious and run it by a superior to see if you missed anything. Typically as a Production Assistant, you won’t have to mess with anything other than your name, SSN, the production name/company, and the date.
We’ve taken the sample time card below and labeled it with numbers so that we can break down every component of the time card and explain what you should put there.
1. Employee Name – ….
2. Social Security Number – With most productions you only need to include the last 4 digits, for example, xxx-xx-2018.
3. Week Ending Date – Weeks end on Saturday, so 99% of the time this is going to be the date of the next upcoming Saturday. Or today’s date, if today is Saturday.
4. Loan Out – If you are a Loan-Out company, this is where you put the name of your company. If you don’t even know what a Loan-Out Company is, you should definitely leave this blank.
5. Federal ID – If you have a company, you’ll have a federal ID.
6. Location – This specific time card has a space for city, state, and county, but if it just says “location” you may put either the state, or “FOREIGN”.
7. Production Name – The name of the movie or TV show you are working on. There may be a codename for the production, so be sure to check with production.
8. Job Classification – Your job title / position.
9. Union No. – If you are a member of a union, this is the union number. If you are not in the union, leave blank.
10. Union Occupation Code – The union’s designated code for your occupation.
11. Production Company – Check with a member of the production team or office. Usually it’s pretty close to the name of the show.
12. Rate – Your hourly rate. Should be in your start paperwork.
13. Guaranteed Hours – How many paid hours you are guaranteed for any given day. Usually 8 or 12. This information will likely be in your start paperwork, otherwise, you can ask your AD or Department head.
14. Account Code – The account number associated with your position. Generally, you can leave this blank and the production office will handle it.
15. Date – WEEKS START WITH SUNDAY! REMEMBER THAT! Our example Time Card has the days listed, but many Time Cards will not. Don’t put Monday’s date in Sunday’s slot. You’re making everyone’s jobs harder.
Regarding The Green Box
When dealing with film industry time cards, times are written using decimal, military time notation. It works as follows.
You pretty much always round to the nearest 6 minutes. Do not log 14.358 hours.
16. In / Call – Your call time for the day.
17. 1st Meal Out/In – What time you broke for lunch, and what time you came back from lunch. Lunch will always be either half an hour, or an hour.
18. 2nd Meal Out/In – If a day happens to go really long, productions may have to serve a second meal. So pretty much, same as the last one.
19. Wrap / Hrs – What time you wrapped, and how many hours you worked. The hours will be the amount of time between your call time and your wrap time, minus your time spent at lunch.
20. MP – Meal penalties. Specific meal penalty rules will vary between regions and unions, but the general idea is that if a certain amount of time (usually 6 hours) passes without a meal being served, the production is required to pay a fee to union employees. Usually if you leave this blank, the people involved with payroll will do the calculations for you.
Meal penalties are not typically paid for non-union workers like American production assistants. Don’t complain. They’ll just find someone who wont complain.
21. Comments – Any additional comments, like re-rate information,
22. Accounting Stuff – Don’t worry about this stuff. Accounting fills this out.
On some productions, you might find yourself calculating this stuff yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not too hard. All you do is input how many hours you were paid for standard rates, 1.5x overtime, and 2x overtime, and calculate your total pay for the week.
23. YOUR SIGNATURE – The most important part of the entire document. Also ironically the part that is most often forgotten. SIGN YOUR TIMECARD.
The Big Confusing Red Box
The red box is the area of the time card used to report additional money you are owed. This includes per diem, mileage, car rentals, and box rental fees.
Other Misc. Information & Tips
- If you’re working multiple crew positions in any given week, you will likely have to fill out an individual time card for each role.
- It’s a good habit to take photographs of your time card before submitting it. If there are any discrepancies, if someone tries to alter it, or if someone loses it, you will have proof.
- Usually you will be submitting your time card to a best boy, department head, or other supervisor, who will then hand it off to the production team.
- Making accidental errors on your time card isn’t the end of the world. Worst case scenario, you have to amend them and may have your pay delayed by up to a week. The accounting people might get a little annoyed with you too, but they’re always pretty annoyed in general.
Great. Now you can get paid. Hopefully this guide was helpful to you.
If you have any suggestions for other paperwork you think we should explain, or if we got anything wrong here, please let us know in the comments section!