The History of Fixing
Interview with founder Liz Stirling discussing Fixing.
What is a Fixer? In the 1990’s Americans were not familiar with the term but in Europe and the rest of the world, Fixers and the business of Fixing had been around for a long time.
It basically means, anything that needs doing on a production gets done by using local knowledge. There’s a barrage of work that goes on behind the camera and a good Fixer manages every facet of the production, with ease. Need eight identical semi-trucks to race along a lake bed? Or find a desert vista to stage a music festival, pre-titles opening ? Or find a 1970’s home for a Donny Osmond Christmas show?
There’s no college course for Fixing, it’s a way of life for a certain type of individual.
The best Fixers are those with a production background; seasoned producers that are skilled problem solvers and highly organized.
But not all Fixers are the same, there are some bad ones who have tarnished the reputation of Fixing. More on that later…
Back in the day before every Tom, Dick and Harry decided to try their hand at the business of production fixing in America, Liz Stirling not only became the original U.S. Fixer, she created an entire industry.
As a producer at the BBC, Liz traveled the world, filming multiple shoots overseas for ‘The Beeb’, and would often hire locals to assist. Fixers back then, were less experienced in terms of production, but had good relationships with government offices and spoke the local language.
But whenever ‘Showbiz Liz’ filmed in the States, she noticed there were no Fixers and the American production language was very different. Brits and Americans may speak English but in the world of production, they often use different words for the same thing.
Getting things done would take two or three times longer and Liz quickly realized she needed someone like her. A skilled production specialist who understood both territories and could speak both languages. In 2007 Liz saw an opportunity and decided to become a conduit between the UK and USA and so Volt Mediafix was born.
In the time since Volt’s been in business, the term ‘Fixer’ has come under some scrutiny, mainly because of some unsavory Fixers with bad business practices. Many companies became reluctant to hire Fixers, and added ‘anti-bribery’ clauses in their agreements. Instead opting to work with a production services company.
Volt organically grew to become a reputable global production service company and we recommend thorough background checks on potential Fixers. These days public records are fairly accessible and in just a few clicks it’s easy to find out if your Fixer is a trustworthy, experienced production specialist.