Do you want to be one of the best Fixers in Spain? You are very lucky because we are going to tell you the 7 perfect tips to be the Fixer that every production would like to have.
But how, don’t you know what a Fixer is? Well, we have created an article telling you what a Fixer is and what its qualities are. You can read it here.
On the other hand, if you already know what a Fixer is, and even if you are a Fixer; we recommend you these 7 tips to be the best version of the Fixer you want to be. Let’s go to it!
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TIP Nº 1:
A FIXER HAS TO BE A NINJA
Does this mean we have to study ninjutsu? Not at all friends, this means that a good Fixer has to be prepared for any unexpected event.
It has to have more resources than Trump, it has to be faster than Bolt and solve problems faster than NASA. Easy, isn’t it?
What useful advice do you give, right? Let’s see, it may seem difficult at first, but everything in the end comes down to HAVING A GOOD PREPARATION.
It may seem that we exaggerate, but a good Fixer always has to raise the blackest scenario that comes to mind. And if he can solve all the problems in that supposed scenario, he will be successful.
Let’s illustrate things a bit (true history):
Let’s imagine that our Fixer is working on the pre- production of a film. He has found an apartment that fits perfectly as the main location of the film: the size of the apartment is optimal, the distribution of the rooms is as described in the script, it is connected to other key locations (for example, and as indicated in the script, from the balcony of the apartment the main actress can interact with the actors who are on the rooftop of another nearby location), has enough space in the parking lot for all production vehicles …
A large part of the production depends on this main location and therefore our fixer has signed a rental agreement with the owner of this apartment. We cannot shoot anywhere else.
Everything is ready for the art team to go into action and start painting, changing furniture and giving it that aesthetic touch that will reflect the personality of the space described in the script.
The camera team will also have to test lights, angles and optics.
But, with one week left to start shooting, the owner of the property breaks the contract. He tells us that he has decided to rent the apartment to a family that usually occupies it in summer and, coincidentally, this year he also wants to spend a bridge there.
Boom. So, with laughter.
Let’s put it into context: the owner of the apartment had a previous relationship with the tenants, as they had been renting the apartment for many years and, of course, he gave them preference.
The first instinct of our Fixer was suicide. Then he thought of killing the apartment owner with a sharp pencil. Finally, and fortunately for all of us, he took a deep breath, picked up his phone and started the odyssey.
Calls to the family who wanted to rent the apartment, calls to the owner of the property, calls to everyone. He even called the landlord’s daughter so that she would try to talk some sense into him. He also called the cleaning lady. Nothing.
With the producer’s consent, our fixer offered more money for the rent of the apartment. The landlord did not accept.
He also offered the family to pay for their stay in a local hotel. Without success.
It seemed that this nightmare could no longer be overcome, until we saw the light.
In the end (well, after 3 days of calls and negotiations) our Fixer finally made the owner of the apartment change his mind. We don’t know if it was thanks to his insistence, his good manners, his negotiating spirit or the sum of all these qualities, but our Fixer got the apartment.
And without raising the price of the rent!
It was even the owner himself who took care of relocating the family to other accommodation (without any cost to us).
However, as a sign of our gratitude, and so that the owner could stay calm, we deposited an extra as a deposit, guaranteeing that we would leave the apartment exactly as we found it.
At the end of the shooting, all the deposit was returned.
TIP Nº 2:
BE NICER THAN COINS
When your work has a social component, you usually have to build a mask. But not in an Instagram way, nor to hide who you really are, but to show your interlocutor a certain personality.
Contrary to what it might seem, these masks that we Fixers make for ourselves are full of good things.
Our masks are full of patience, humor, understanding, kindness, respect, protocol and many more qualities that we can’t afford to lose.
They help us to face a problem with a smile, to be patient with a client or simply to get the sympathy of those around us.
It’s not about being fake. It’s about attitude.
When the police come to check that the shooting permits are in order, we want the officer on duty to leave saying, “What nice kids!
We want to be able to go back to a location where we have worked in the past and not be told, “How long, in my arms!
We want to cultivate relationships with the people around us, so that we can count on them in the future and they on us.
These masks give us the power to face situations that would otherwise be difficult to overcome. And each one of our Fixer has a beautiful one.
If you have worked with any Fixer that didn’t have these qualities listed above, it’s because they lacked a good mask. And it seems that they are going to become fashionable 😷.
TIP Nº 3:
HUNGER FOR KNOWLEDGE
The profession of Fixer is a job in which every day, if you want, you can learn something new.
Many of the members of a production company have very specific knowledge that can only be learned in two places: at school and on the streets. And our Fixer should learn a little bit from each of them.
Let’s remember that one of the main functions of a good Fixer is to be able to solve any kind of problem, right?
What if one of our cameras, on its way to one of the locations, falls down and hurts its arm?
Sure, our Fixer has four camera operators waiting for the incoming flies but, while they are arriving at the set, at a given moment he could help.
This scenario is only possible when our Fixer is hungry for knowledge and has been concerned about having some basic notions about how a camera works.
Well, friends, we can extrapolate this to all the members of the production company.
Let’s imagine that our Fixer has knowledge about legislation, regulations and subsidies. Any production company would raffle it off.
And this does not only apply to the members of the production team. It is also important that our Fixer empathizes with his client, that he knows his product, that he absorbs and knows how to translate his needs into concrete actions that facilitate the production work.
For example, a Fixer will not face the shooting of an advertising spot for a car brand in the same way as a photoshoot for a fashion editorial. Each project has specific needs that the Fixer must understand.
It may seem crazy, but our Fixer should focus on the client’s briefing, thinking at all times about the needs he may have.
So, if you are a beginner Fixer, we recommend you to soak up the experience of your shooting colleagues and be curious about what your clients are doing. This will improve your workflow and make it easier for you to find solutions to any problems.
TIP Nº 4:
THE FIXER MUST BE A WALKING “AGENDA”
As we mentioned before, a good fixer has to talk and talk and talk and talk. In fact, there are days when I haven’t seen our fixer stop talking, just to eat.
But it’s not just talking anymore. A fixer must have leadership skills and a very good organization in its foundations in order to do its job properly.
Let’s think that the fixer is in charge of controlling the times of all the members of the production. He is in charge of providing the team with the “Call Sheet” so that all the members of the production know what they have to do at every moment.
But of course, rarely are the deadlines marked by unforeseen events within the production. So the Fixer has to adapt to each new situation, manage the problems very quickly and provide solutions without getting out of hand.
It has to have perfectly coordinated logistics times (both material and equipment) so as not to delay the shooting plan.
Managing the rental of portable toilets for team members, since in the vast majority of locations there are usually no public toilets.
Catering for the members of the production must be perfectly organized for all the days of the production. With food and drink prepared at all times and with each main dish individually packaged for each member of the production.
It must create a protocol for managing safety and hygiene in times of COVID, with hydro alcoholic gels, masks, safety distances, control of waste generated and all the protocols required to shoot in this era that we have to live.
Do you want to know how we work in times of COVID? Read this article in which we explain how to proceed in times of pandemic.
TIP Nº 5:
MORE RESOURCES THAN A SWISS ARMY KNIFE
It is clear that in a production of any kind the Director and the Director of Photography are among the most important figures, on their work depends the success of the production.
But for the Director and the DoP to do their job correctly, the Fixer must have everything ready for these 2 important figures to do their job without worries.
He must have a pocket full of solutions of any kind to deal with his day to day. Let’s look at a few examples:
A good fixer has a walkie-talkie attached to his soul to coordinate the blockers when they have to cut one or several streets to make the production, for example in a spot of a tourism.
It is done later than planned and we get caught in a location outside … The Fixer must have covered that possible solution by hiring a support team with a good group of electricians so that no electricity is missing where needed.
What if we go to the second location we had planned and when we go to install the Base Camp it turns out that there is something in its place that does not allow its installation? The Fixer must first deal with the physical problem and if not, try to locate the Base Camp in another nearby location.
It turns out that, all of a sudden, a hurricane wind rises and makes the reflective screen shake for the filming… The fixer has to immediately send PA’s to climb on top of the “feet”.
Let’s imagine that due to production circumstances two simultaneous recording groups have to be created… The Fixer has to “split” in two and coordinate both groups, transporting the information from one side to the other in the clearest and most precise way.
That, against all odds, we go to the location and it turns out that there is a fog that does not let us record as we had planned… Well, nothing friends, at the moment the weather still can not be controlled by the Fixer. But give time to time.
TIP Nº 6:
YOU MUST HAVE A VOCATION
There are many similar professions at the level of commitment and dedication, and in all of them, when you meet a professional who has a vocation for it, it shows. The whole team notices it.
Does this mean that anyone can’t be a good Fixer? Not at all, but this is a job that demands a lot of sacrifices and normally those who don’t feel like producing tend to end up burning and leave it.
I’m going to make a comparison with a profession that, fortunately or unfortunately, many of us have had to work. Exactly, friends, I am referring to the profession of a waiter.
Hasn’t it happened to you that you have gone to a good restaurant and just when you wanted to order something from the waiter you had him behind you with that “something” you wanted? And you think, well yes.
Well, the same thing happens in the profession of Fixer. A good Fixer of vocation, goes beyond his work trying to think about what the Director or DoP could need. So that when they are going to ask him something, he is like the waiter of before. Like an eagle ready to take flight.
Now let’s enter a little bit in the personal life of a Fixer. A good Fixer goes from production to production and usually they are not in the same country. That is to say, they don’t have much free time. A passionate Fixer, many times makes his professional life his personal life. And that’s not for everyone.
But if you need a Fixer, or better, a good Fixer; you’ll want it to be one like the one we just described. At a professional level there are no better ones.
TIP Nº 7:
CONTACTS, CONTACTS AND MORE CONTACTS
I repeat it so much because it is ESSENTIAL.
A good Fixer must have a phone book with a lot of contacts to turn to at different times of the year, production or instantly.
How do you get such a phonebook? Normally the work itself makes you know certain people that, if we have applied well the previous concept of the mask, after having worked with them a working relationship is formed.
It’s the Fixer’s job to take care of those working relationships so that when they can use our help, they ask for it. And then the other way around.
In fact, this contact thing is so important that our Fixer dedicates one morning a month to put their contacts in order.
If you knew a company in a previous production that believes that in the future you could do things together, it’s time to call them. Even if it’s just to say hello, that gesture could be decisive.
If you get it right, in this job you can meet people from all backgrounds and all corners of this planet. And with all those contacts, a Fixer makes magic.
It goes without saying that mastering several languages will give us enough confidence to gather a large number of people for our archive.