What the hell is a fixer?
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
There are many questions that journalists, filmmakers and producers ask themselves before they start working. How do we choose a story? Who do we approach to tell it? Why do we decide to enter this or that world that, almost always —or at least when it's worth it— is so alien to ours?
But there's probably a question that goes before and after the others: what do we tell when we tell a story? Working abroad is not easy. In addition to the obvious language barrier, there are codes, forms and stories that only someone with a knowledge of local years can provide. Those who practice the above mentioned métiers have created a word for the job: "fixer".
But why "fixer"? Rudimentarily, it has been defined as a work that goes from scheduling a hotel room for the filmmakers, getting the permissions to shoot a certain space, acting as a translator and even conducting interviews that a foreigner might never get. Naturally, this definition has potholes. As the famous correspondent Charles Sennet said in the Columbia Journalism Review, "I put that word (fixers) in quotes because it's not a word I like. They do so much more than fix things. They make it happen".
I repeat: they make it happen.
Whether you're working on an article about the music scene in the ghettos of Madrid, a documentary about the consequences of the Arab Spring or a commercial for a shoe manufacturer that wants to film in the centre of Lisbon —all, in the background, stories to tell—, almost inevitably you will need a "fixer" that makes every shot possible. Someone that makes it happen.
At The Lisbon Fixers, we pride ourselves on having years of experience as journalists, producers and filmmakers. We have a multidisciplinary team to cover any possible need. Do you need a local filming crew? We have it. A translator who speaks three languages? Of course. Someone with a large contact agenda that can get interviews on the fly, politicians, city figures, or basically whoever? It's done.
As we said before, a "fixer" is not someone who will fix your crew problems. Because, if you want to tell a story — and this is what we mean when we talk about being a "fixer"— we know how to make it happen.