When foreign production companies come to another which they don’t speak the local language and isn’t familiar with the situation of the country, filming process, common practices, permits, it is so helpful to have local fixers to help them out.

1) They are more familiar with applying for permit, so they can help to apply for it faster, they know exactly what to write in the application and what not to.

2) They can help with finding interviewees, casting, since they have more resources and connections, as well as they speak the local language. Not all the time production company can find information online, and sometimes interviewee doesn’t accept to be interviewed even with paying, it requires the power of connections and the ability to convince.

Local fixer also can help to communicate with interviewees before filming crew comes, it helps production company to save the cost of international phone calls. And they help to entertain/make interviewee comfortable while filming.

3) Hiring equipment: most of the time in Vietnam, the cost of air luggage to bring equipment into the country and bring back is much higher than the cost of hiring those equipment in the country. At the same time, bringing equipment for a long distance may increase the risk of damaging equipment.

Local fixer knows exactly where to rent the equipment the production company need. Sometimes production company can’t rent the equipment directly from the supplier, due to the supplier doesn’t know the production company yet, and they’re not sure if production company will protect their equipment well or return the equipment to them. But since local fixer has longtime relationship with equipment supplier, they’ve built trust, they’re able to rent.

4) Hiring local crew: most of people in a filming crew can be hired in Vietnam locally (cameraman/DoP, sound recordist, camera assistant …) with English-speaking, of course. By hiring local crew, production companies at least save the cost of flights. Obviously, production companies prefer to work with their own staff or people they knew, because they know how they work, and they can be sure that the people they bring into the country are responsible, work hard, and provide good quality of work. However, local fixer can advise them and help them to find good people, and give proof by their profile.

Hiring local staff help production companies to save cost and carbon footprint, however, production companies should do it based on the whole result of the filming.

5) Hiring car/transportation service: In Vietnam, hiring a self-driving car for filming isn’t practical, you need to hire a car with driver. There are lots of car rental services and drivers in Vietnam, but those who are experienced and familiar with filming production isn’t a lot. There is a tentative schedule and locations, however, depend on the situation, schedule and locations can be changed. Driver usually doesn’t know exactly how long he need to wait. Most of the time he need to be in ready status and stay in the car or very close to the car. Some days his work can be very relaxing, and some days it can be very tiring with long drive.

Sometimes he would be required to driver faster or slower to follow an object to film. Sometimes car itself can be an object to film. And he would need to redo the driving for filming if needed.

Obviously, he need to make sure to lock the car anytime no one stays in the car, so equipment in the car can be safe. And of course, he need to understand Vietnam traffic law and drive well.

And local fixers know those drivers and can be able to reserve them for the filming crew.

6) Local fixers are also able to suggest things based on their vast experiences which production companies don’t know that they don’t know, and give/find answers to various instant questions of filming crew.