Thursday, for most shows, is payday.1

It’s a wonderful time for payroll accountants, because they suddenly become the most popular people on the show. But for us in the production office, it’s a deluge of phone calls, asking the same question, over and over: “Are paychecks coming today?”

YES, PAY CHECKS ARE COMING TODAY! Paychecks come on Thursday. Today is Thursday. Ergo, paychecks are coming today.

This is what I look like when I'm writing a post.
Syllogisms are hard. Rocks are hard. Syllogisms are rocks.

The thing that really gets me are the people who immediately run off to the bank. I knew an accountant who regularly had to deposit her paychecks that day, or she’d be over drawn. This is not a situation an accountant of all people should be in.

But in a broader sense, if you’re a grown-ass adult, and you’re worried about overdraft fees every week, something has gone terribly wrong.2 You need to have a little money saved up. Waiting until the weekend to deposit your check should not make or break you.

“But I work freelance, TAPA! Sometimes I go for months between shows, and I need to get the money in my account right now!”

Oh, your job status is inconsistent? This is exactly why you should have money saved up. At the end of hiatus, yes, your bank account might be a little thin, but mid-season, this should not still be happening. If it is, you need to seriously look into cutting expenses. Don’t budget based on your weekly rate; budget based on your annual income, which is significantly less, when you account for hiatuses, show cancellations, and so on.

Then, payday won’t be such a big deal for you.

Of course, all of this is a non-issue with direct deposit or mobile banking.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Why is that, by the way?
  2. If you’ve had a major crisis or life-altering event, I’m not writing to you.
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2 Responses

  1. Maybe they’re worried that the cheques may bounce? I was told once by a supervisor of a place he worked where every day they got paid, the place would literally have a two hour lunch, as everyone ran to the bank. The poor last sucker who cashed their cheque didn’t get their $$. Incidentally, my first experience with a production (as a PA) was one in which mine bounced (this was simultaneously as I was aware of several financial indiscretions within the company and actually handled cheques at some point during the production. As my friend says, “the movie industry hemorrhages money; it just depends on which department you are in and what part of the hierarchy”. Btw, yes, it should be required that ALL accountants have their accounts checked first; why would anyone want an accountant who couldn’t even handle their own affairs?

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