Cast and Crew: Entertainment Payroll Software Review & Alternatives [2023]

Michelle Brannan
Latest posts by Michelle Brannan (see all)

Managing entertainment payroll can feel like a Herculean task. Between juggling casting calls, approving creative materials, and keeping a keen eye on the budget, the last thing you need is a complex payroll system slowing you down. That’s why having reliable entertainment payroll services is not just a nice-to-have–it’s a must-have.

Cast & Crew is one of the options you might consider. It’s a well-known name in the industry and has its strengths. But if you’re looking for something more comprehensive, user-friendly, and designed with the modern producer in mind, you might want to explore other alternatives. 

Today, we’ll take a closer look at Cast & Crew and compare it with other top-notch entertainment payroll providers. Our goal is to help you find the perfect fit for your payroll needs, so your production process can be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

What Does Cast & Crew Do?

Cast & Crew provides a range of services and cloud-based products for the global entertainment industry. These include digital production accounting workflows, online purchase order creation, and management of personal documents for crew members. They offer tools to manage the digital onboarding processes for productions and crew members and provide a digital timecard and workflow solution that reduces time spent on manual processes.

Cast & Crew tools help users interpret and visualize production data through reports and give frequent access to payroll, HR, and accounting data as a service. They also offer digital asset management for storing and sharing payroll and production documents.

Cast & Crew Products and Services

cast & crew logo


  • PSL+: Accounting tool for production, offering budget setup, cost tracking, vendor payment, and project cost reporting.
  • DPO: Online system for creating and approving purchase orders, designed for the entertainment industry.
  • MyCastCrew: Platform for crew members to manage their personal, production, and payroll documents.
  • Start+: Tool for digital onboarding processes for productions and crew members.
  • Hours+: Digital timecard and workflow solution.
  • Reporting+: Tool for interpreting and visualizing production data with reports.
  • Data+: Service providing access to payroll, HR, and accounting data.
  • Studio+: Digital asset management system for storing and sharing payroll and production documents.


  • Payroll: They offer full-service payroll that is personalized to your production.
  • Financial Services: They provide an overview of your production’s health.
  • Residuals: They ensure accurate payments.
  • Workers’ Compensation: They offer insurance and resources.
  • Incentives Guide: They provide a comprehensive breakdown of all available film incentives.
  • Incentives Map: They allow you to compare shoot location options.

They also offer a range of training courses ranging on topics from hiring crew members to approving timecards.

Simplify Your Entire Casting, Booking, Production Payroll Process

Cast & Crew Review

cast & crew production

Cast & Crew Pros

  • Comprehensive services: Offers a range of services, including payroll, financial services, residuals, workers’ compensation, and incentives guide.
  • Industry-specific expertise: Specializes in the entertainment industry, so they are familiar with the needs and challenges of this sector.
  • Digital products: Digital products that can help improve processes, such as timecard entry and approval.

Cast & Crew Cons

  • Lack of Consolidated Invoicing: Users cannot pay one consolidated invoice, which can lead to complications when dealing with multiple agencies or freelancers. This can make the payment process more complex and increase administrative overhead.
  • Focused on Crew Members: While called Cast & Crew, much of the platform and messaging focuses on crew member support, rather than support for talent and casting agencies.
  • Indirect Talent Payments: It does not automatically pay talent directly as 1099 contractors within all state- and federal-level regulations. This can complicate the payment process and potentially lead to non-compliance with labor laws.
  • Limited Wage Compliance: The company does not take on the liability to pay talent as contractors in accordance with California labor laws, as well as all other states in the US. 

Cast & Crew Entertainment Payroll Alternatives

While Cast & Crew offers many features, it may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a more affordable option, a different set of features, or want to see what else is out there, it’s worth considering these alternatives.

1. LÜK Network

Luk logo

LÜK was specifically designed for the creative industry, offering a streamlined approach to accounting for brands and talent, without the need for complex payroll services. When booking any talent through LÜK Pay, users just pay a single consolidated invoice, regardless of the number of different agencies or freelancers involved. 

LÜK also offers casting and booking tools that make it easier than ever for today’s producers to manage talent. Just pick the talent you’d like to see for a virtual or in-person casting, select the date and time, and your personal booking assistant confirms the talent on your behalf.

Features & Services

  • Payment Tools for Producers: With LÜK Pay, producers can pay a single consolidated invoice to freelancers and vendors, regardless of how many different agencies or freelancers they’ve hired. This feature simplifies the payment process and significantly reduces administrative burden.
  • Direct to Talent Payments: LÜK Pay automatically pays talent as 1099 contractors, adhering to all state and federal regulations. This feature modernizes the traditional system of paper checks and expensive payroll processors.
  • Invoice Bundling: The 1099 payroll allows producers to combine talent bookings, freelancers, incidentals, and more, into one invoice — further simplifying the payment process.
  • Wage Compliance by State: LÜK takes on the responsibility of paying talent as contractors in accordance with labor laws, including California and all other states in the US. This feature ensures labor compliance and can replace traditional W9 payment processors.

Easy Payments for Any Type of Production: No matter how many different agencies you book from, you only need to pay one invoice. LÜK Pay handles the rest, ensuring a smooth payment process for any type of production.

2. Entertainment Partners Payroll

ep payroll logo

Entertainment Partners (EP) provides digital production tools and solutions for the entertainment industry. Their SmartStart and SmartTime solutions help streamline the onboarding and timekeeping processes.

Features & Services

  • Production Finance & Management Studio: This is a digital solution for managing production finances. It allows users to hire, manage, and pay. 
  • Enterprise Hub: This is a platform that provides a single view of all your productions. It’s fully digital and built to handle multiple productions.
  • Insight Solutions: This service offers payroll insights to help users make data-driven decisions for their productions.
  • EP Now: A news and insights platform where users can get news, insights, and ideas from EP’s experts.
  • The Production Community: This is a community platform that provides product information, industry training, and resume support.
  • EP Residency: This is a service that aids the process of handling Canadian residency documents. Users can upload their records once and share them in just a few clicks.
  • Digital W-2s and 1099s: EP provides digital versions of W-2s and 1099s. 

3. ABS Entertainment Payroll Services

ABS Payroll logo

ABS Payroll provides payroll and accounting services for the entertainment industry, with a focus on independent projects and low-budget producers. They also provide services for both union and non-union productions.

Features & Services

  • Cast & Crew Payroll: This is a set of employer-of-record cast and crew payroll services that includes ATL and BTL paycheck processing, processing for all major unions, worker’s compensation, insurance coverage, claim management, and more. 
  • Residuals Processing: Residuals processing for all Reuse Markets – ATL / BTL payments, P&H contributions, and payroll taxes.
  • Production Accounting & Software: This is software for production accountants that includes cost reporting, vendor management, and cash-flow tracking.

Our Final Thoughts on Cast & Crew Entertainment Payroll

Cast & Crew is a reliable service in the entertainment industry, offering specialized payroll services, financial tools, workers’ compensation resources, and a comprehensive guide to film incentives. 

But here at LÜK Network, we believe in driving innovation and efficiency to new heights. LÜK Pay offers a set of payroll tools built specifically for productions. You can finally onboard, approve, and your pay contractors the easy way. 

We invite you to explore LÜK Network, try our services, and see how we can transform your production workflow.


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Tools built for today’s producers to streamline the talent casting and booking process.