This panel will discuss best practices during the budgeting phase in order to avoid shortfalls and mishaps down the road during production.
Sirad Balducci is an independent film producer based in New York City and has worked with notable filmmakers such as Julien Schnabel, Julien Temple, Peter Masterson, Nick Cassavetes, Friday Night Lights director Peter Berg, and Homeland creator Michael Cuesta, among many others. Producing credits include the highly acclaimed episodic television series Into Character (AMC), and Peter Berg’s Disney/Imagine Television series Wonderland (ABC). In feature films, credits include Anamorph (Production Manager), The Longest Week (Line Producer), Roadie (Producer; Premiered at Tribeca Film Festival; Best Feature Film, 2011 Stonybrook Film Festival), Growing Up & Other Lies (Co-Producer), The Man on Her Mind (Producer), Are You Joking (Producer), The Lennon Report (Producer, Best Feature, 2015 High Falls Film Festival), Youth In Oregon (Co-Producer, Premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival). Balducci is currently producing Mapplethorpe and Backyard. Her production company Sirad Inc. is also developing several TV series, including Regiment of Women based on the acclaimed novel by Thomas Berger. Balducci is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and New York Women in Film, and has two young daughters. She is represented by Gersh NY.
Declan Baldwin began his motion picture career on a feature film in New York City in the summer of 1985. Having completed more than forty-five film and television productions since then, he has worked in almost every capacity and genre. He is the founding member of the New York City-based production company Big Indie Pictures. His most recent feature film credits include Manchester by the Sea (Executive Producer), Captain Fantastic (Executive Producer), Still Alice (Co-Producer), Danny Collins (Executive Producer). Other producing credits include Adventureland, Far from Heaven, The Laramie Project and many other feature films and television productions. Baldwin is a native New Yorker and a long-standing member of both the DGA (Directors Guild of America) and the PGA (Producers Guild of America).
Jason Block was the Manager of Production Finance at MTV Networks, where he was for over 5 years. He was then hired as the Lead Production Accountant on The Colbert Report for seven years. Block joined Stephen Colbert on his late night show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where he has been the Lead Production Accountant since it’s inception.
Shirley Escott is a Emmy nominated Producer, and has produced in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and USA as Executive in Charge/Co-Exec Producer/EVP of Production working on series whose budgets range from $5M to $30M. Her experience spans public service broadcasting with the BBC and Channel 4 and ITV in the UK working across a broad spectrum of genres (drama/documentary, documentary, entertainment, talk shows, non-fiction) and producing television mini-series for History, National Geographic, AMC, CMT and Discovery in the US.
Jennifer Freed is the CEO & Founder of Trevanna Post, Inc., the premiere post accounting firm for film and television production. Trevanna has been in business in New York since 1995, and has worked on over 300 feature films, which have shot all over the country and all over the world. In addition to post accounting, Freed enjoys being an advisor to independent productions, being uniquely positioned to give guidance and feedback on every aspect of production. These include analyzing production budgets, tax incentives, and production rebates, as well as brainstorms on other production finance issues such as financial reporting, software, locations, payroll, union & guild regulations, and crew staffing. In 1999, she founded the industry website www.trevanna.com, New York's primary production resource directory for film and television professionals, which is used by hundreds of unique industry visitors per week. Freed was a 13-year Executive Board member of IATSE Local 161 and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Local 871.
Benj Whitehouse (Moderator) is a freelance production accountant that has also been assisting New York City independent productions as well as advising out-of-state production companies that shoot in New York for over 20 years. His wide-range of expertise includes major studio procedures, independent freelance production accounting, computer technology and payroll company operations. A native Californian, Whitehouse began at Lorimar Studios, in the payroll department on such shows as Dallas, Knots Landing, Full House and many other Lorimar series and pilots. He then moved on to freelancing on The Wonder Years and Tour of Duty, among other other series and features. During this time he also helped develop Rysher Entertainment’s Production Finance Department. Since moving to New York City 23 years ago, Whitehouse has worked in-house at several production payroll companies, oversaw multiple productions on staff at 20th Century Fox and continues to freelance as production accountant on such shows at Blue Bloods for CBS and The Punisher for ABC Studios/Marvel.
Produced by Florence Mitchell-Brown, Anthony LaRusso and Lisa Gewirtz