PODCAST: Lights, camera, accounting

Written on Dec 12, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

When the movie end credits roll and everyone else leaves the theater, Alex Semerano, CPA, stays in his seat. That’s because he’s waiting to see his firm’s name, Pease & Associates, CPAs – an Ohio CPA Proud Organization – appear on the big screen.

“I'd say over the course of the 10 years, we’ve worked on probably close to 100 films,” he said.

Semerano, a partner at Pease, joined the latest episode of the State of Business podcast to talk about what it’s like working in the film industry. Some of the movies he’s worked on include “The Man and the Gun,” starring Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek, “The Public” with Alec Baldwin and “The Kings of Summer.”

“Once the film tax credit was passed for the first time back in 2009, I felt that this would be a nice niche to get involved in,” Semerano said. “And I developed this passion for film.”

The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit allows eligible productions to receive 30% on production, including cast and crew wages, and is up to $40 million annually. Because Pease already had a long-time producer as a client, Semerano was able to make connections with those in the industry.

Word of mouth can make or break your success in the film industry, Semerano said, and the firm’s reputation has spoken for itself as they’re regularly referred more work. He chalks this up to doing quality work for the client.

“To me it's about professionalism more than anything else,” he said. “It's not just because they're in film. Any client deserves this respect.”

Semerano said Ohio is still in the growth phases of developing its film industry, as most movies that come to shoot here are smaller, independent films.

“I believe that to have a successful industry, you need to have infrastructure in place, and you need to have a sustainability of available cast and crew that are purely Ohio residents,” he said. “And I think once the infrastructure really develops, then things will fall in place around it.”

Hear more from Alex on the podcast out now.

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