CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD FIXER
This section would well deserve an article on its own, but let’s try to summarize all the features that a good fixer should have to do the job properly.
A good fixer must have certain skills or qualities to make the production a success. The skills needed to be a good fixer are not limited to knowing a second language; knowing the area is also extremely important, but what really makes the difference is having good connections.
We refer to the common sense related to the translation and interpretation of the message that our director wants to communicate to the local team. A good fixer not only transports the translated information, but also takes into account the contexts of the country in question so that the information is as clear as possible in order to do a proper global job.
This is one of the key points when it comes to being a good fixer. Friends even in hell, they say. This should be the slogan of our ideal fixer. A good fixer must take care of his connections by building a working relationship based on results and trust. Many times he will have to take care of and maintain his relationships with other countries simply by having his connections updated.
This job is not for everyone, as it implies a high commitment to your production company. Many times, a successful production is possible thanks to the figure of the fixer. Therefore, the commitment that a good fixer brings is synonymous with peace of mind when shooting.
As we mentioned before, the responsibilities of a good fixer are many within a production. It is essential that it can be organized correctly, respecting the timings and providing solutions to problems, who unfortunately always appear.
TRAVEL MANAGEMENT SKILLS
The work of a fixer is directly related to the organization of the trip, management of the equipment on the way if necessary, as well as the management of the travelling of the recording equipment that has to go to the production site.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE AREA
This is basic. A local producer must know the area where the production is going to take place first hand. Let’s take a look at one example:
Let’s imagine that we want to shoot a spot on a white wall of a coastal town in Spain. Previously, this location had been selected, as it was in our fixer’s archive, but recently someone has made a graffiti spot right where we had planned to shoot. In this case the fixer will have to look for another location or find a solution that does not delay the shooting plan.
And we mean with tenacity that in some cases it will have to be heavy. This is a complicated world in which everything can go wrong in a minute. But, if our fixer is tenacious, we are sure that he will do everything in his power to get production going.
A good fixer has to know the ins and outs of this profession. He must know the team, both human and material, as well as the phases of the shooting plan and the production needs that the director or the director of photography may have.
UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF THE CLIENT
The customer is always right, we know that. But sometimes empathy with the client’s needs can lead our fixer to ask the team for certain changes that can favor the shooting plan. However, there must be a horizontal communication between the client, our fixer and the shooting team.
NEGOTIATION AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SKILLS
This work involves doing a lot of numbers. Getting locations, managing the material, the film crew, catering, accommodation and a long etcetera. A good management of all these elements will provide time, the most valuable asset within all productions. And if we gain time, we gain money.
KNOWLEDGE OF FILMING LAWS AND PERMITS
This is basic within the work of a good fixer. We need a person who is totally familiar with the laws of the country where we want to make our production to avoid permit problems that will delay the shooting plan. Everything has to be ready before the team even arrives in the country.
SENSE OF HUMOR
We think that this quality should be present in all the members of the shooting team. This is a job that generates a lot of stress and humor can be the greatest allied for the work group. Besides, a fixer with a sense of humor is usually a nice person with a gift for people.