The California Film Commission launched a free program to train people to work as production accountants in August.
The course’s hybrid learning format includes online lessons and one-on-one interaction with an instructor, as well as opportunities to network with industry mentors, according to a release from the commission.
The course is offered to California residents as part of the commission’s career pathways program, which helps job seekers from underserved communities. It is designed to empower students by providing them with professional and life skills needed for entry-level jobs. Nancy Rae Stone, deputy director of the commission who oversees the career pathways program, said the need for production accountants and staff workers has never been higher, yet those who want to get into the field have few options for entry-level training.
“Our new course helps individuals with limited access to production industry employment find jobs with an opportunity for advancement,” Stone said in a statement.
The curriculum was developed by industry veteran Ida Lee Henderson, who has more than three decades of experience as a production accountant and studio executive. The online course was developed by Robyn Charles of Education Media in downtown.
The industry needs more production accountants, Henderson said.
“Our graduates can apply their new skills to pursue many careers within the industry – be it as production accountant, studio finance executive, production manager, line producer or studio production executive,” Henderson said.
Henderson noted that a large-scale film or TV project may require a team of up to 10 or more production accountants. The field is ripe with opportunity as demand for qualified workers continues to grow, according to the release.
Joe Bessacini, vice president of film and TV production incentives at Cast & Crew Payroll in Burbank, affirmed the need to train more people for careers in production accounting.
“There’s an intense shortage of qualified production and payroll accountants for projects large and small,” Bessacini said in a statement. “We are very excited that the California Film Commission recognized this need and has created a course to train accounting staff.”
Stone added that those with a gift for numbers often don’t consider an entertainment-related career.
“Production accounting may be the best-kept secret for people seeking a job in the movie business, and this course provides them with a path to success,” Stone said in a statement.