What is a Fixer for an audiovisual production company? In the world of celluloid there is a crucial profession that enables production companies to do their job successfully, no matter where they are. These professionals are called fixers.

A FIXER OR LOCAL PRODUCER, IS FUNDAMENTAL FOR THE SUCCESS OF A PRODUCTION.

The fixer’s work is one of the most important and valued jobs in this sector. It allows the director to have everything necessary to do his job effectively. This explanation may leave us with some doubts, so let’s explain it in detail.

WHAT IS A FIXER?

When we have to make a production in a foreign country, we must know absolutely all the external and internal factors of the country that are related to the production we have in mind. And to do that, we need a person who knows first-hand the place where we want to make our production.
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There are also fixers in other professions, such as journalism, where this work can be dangerous, depending on who we want to interview. But in the world of production companies, a fixer must be a “Mr. Wolf”. A facilitator who helps production, making life a little easier.

Producers, directors, cinematographers, photographers (feature film, documentary, television, news)… practically any project worth doing well, requires a fixer. It all starts with doing things legally, morally and efficiently.

When a fixer knows the territory well and has good connections, he works more efficiently, waiting times are reduced and in the end he saves money. And that in productions, in particular time, is very important.

A fixer provides logistical support, facilitates permits, arranges entry through customs and immigration, location management, talent acquisition, staffing, equipment supply, accommodation and transportation arrangements for film and television producers planning to shoot abroad.

That is, a lot of things. The most appropriate name for this profession would be “Production Coordinator” or “Local Producer“.

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.

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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.

COMMON SENSE

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.

CONNECTIONS

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.

COMMITMENT

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.

ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

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.

TENACITY

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.

PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE

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.

How can a fixer improve my production?

Our fixers are very talented, enthusiastic and love cinema. From finding the most unique and special locations, to providing the most professional and detailed feedback to producers; our local producers simply bring the magic of film to life.

Their years of experience guarantee that they know places that you have only dreamed of and that you could never find on your own. On top of that, their knowledge and familiarity with each location allows them to execute the procedures smoothly. From legalities, permits, paperwork, languages and equipment; to forming an ideal professional film crew.

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Our fixers have dealt with production companies in every corner of the world, and no two places have ever been the same. We are committed to ensure that every element of production, from pre-production planning to post-production releases on every different platform, works perfectly from the minute one.

Each country has its own film commission, advice and application criteria for filming permits, as well as individual location permits. All this involves complicated paperwork, which as a production company, we need to solve quickly.

Thankfully, our fixers are experts in these matters and will take the stress out of all administration and billing quickly, efficiently and always in touch with you so you can concentrate on the production at hand.

Besides, we have an incredible database of locations that we are completely familiar with, but even if it is not yet in our portfolio, we will find the perfect location that will be completely in tune with your imagination and budget.

Many of our locations actively encourage the filming of productions, which means that access and permissions are instantaneous; so filming can begin immediately. Not only are they beautiful places to shoot, but they are also convenient and suitable for filming with parking, dining rooms, catering and other useful elements that any production company would want.

We are in constant communication with leading teams in a number of countries, including directors, cinematographers, camera operators, gaffers, sound operators, electricians, hair and make-up artists, art directors, script supervisors and more.

MAKE YOUR PRODUCTION SHINE WITH A FIXER

Years of working with leading producers around the world have established a high level of trust with us. We can add individual members to your team, or we can suggest a complete film crew from scratch.

If you need equipment in any country, or perhaps a complete kit, we can rent you the equipment you need, plus we know all the leading equipment rental companies and have accounts with them, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

Our relationship with these companies means that we benefit from the most competitive rates, which normally would not be available to anyone. We also have full production and equipment insurance, so if you hire your equipment through us, you will be fully covered and protected instantly.

Our fixers love their work and are happy to work on productions of any scale and budget. No job is too big or too small, as we have an incredibly skilled team that is fully capable of producing creative solutions for any budget.