Meissa Seck, African fixer in Senegal, By Lalie Rabeharison

In collaboration with the AFRICAN FIXER GUILD

 

Lalie Rabeharison, President of the African Fixer Guild, met Meissa Seck, film fixer in Senegal (owner of Senegal Fixers) working and living in his country. Meissa Seck is an experienced professional and a primary member of the African Fixer Guild. 

Meissa shared his vision on how being a local is a strength to serve the film fixer job in Senegal, and the vital linkups of local chain value developed as providing full services in high quality line production, involving both film and tourism sectors.

 

 

 

Meissa's vision regarding the film fixer job

The film fixer is a local film professional. 

This is what I am.

 

I assist producers travelling to Senegal for audio-visual projects of any kind. My contribution is focused first and foremost on my knowledge regarding the local laws that applies to film shooting, but not only !

 

I usually do all the necessary research during preproduction phase, before the production starts.

I fix the budget requirements and guarantees that it will match with the artistic statements, equipment/crew needs, accommodation and travel related services.

 

A film fixer understands how a production works and how its intervention links above the line cost and below the line cost in film production.

 

You work in an international environment. Who are your clients ?

My main clients are coming from USA or UK. They're TV producers, other production companies, filmmakers. It's generally for films, documentaries, promotional videos, commercials, TV shows, and any related video project.

 

My clientele is really diversified and this is why the film fixer job is so exciting and gives the opportunity to learn at each assignment.

 

What are the advantages to shoot in Senegal ?

Senegal is a peaceful country. There's no war no tribalism troubles. People are friendly. Tourism is very developed so there's a lot of top infrastructures to welcome film crew and facilitate domestic travels. It is also a free country.

 

It's easy to access the country from anywhere in the world and major airlines fly to Senegal.

 

Also, Senegal has wonderful locations that makes the country a choice destination for any film project ! As "the tip of Africa" Senegal offers an amazing coastline and an exceptional hinterland where traditional culture is still strongly present even if the cosmopolite nature of the country is present in the major big cities.

 

The architecture mix traditional and contemporary, so there's many choices for the environment of a project.

 

Film permits process in Senegal is fast and not expansive.

 

"A film fixer is a professional really concerned about the goals of saving time and money, which are vital to the producer. He's totally involved in the project and ready to deploy its network and the advantages of his country to support the film production. "

 

Meissa Seck, AFRICAN FIXER in Senegal

 

 

The AFRICAN FIXER GUILD is very rigorous in membership application. How do you define an exemplary film fixer ?

Film production is a very serious thing ! It's a lot of money, time and resources... Client requirements are involved. It's the reason why it should not be left at the hand of anyone. 

 

The exemplary film fixer is defined by the righteous conscience of this. He's a professional really concerned about the goals of saving time and money provided by the producer. He's totally involved in the project and ready to deploy its network and the advantages of his country to support the film production. 

 

Advantage of Senegal is, for example, the fast and low cost of film permits process, the wide choice of domestic flights which makes inbound travels fast and easy... An exemplary film fixer knows to turn such strengths at the film production service. He's a force in bringing forward proposals, very reactive and organised to take in charge the production back office.

 

It's a major responsibility for responsible professionals. The exemplary film fixer takes a project -upward- with his ability to show sense of responsibility and... responsiveness !

 

Do you agree with the AFRICAN FIXER GUILD stating that natives from a country makes the most effective and reliable film fixers ? and why ?

Absolutely agree. The local guy is an appropriate film fixer as he will provide to producers the right information at a given time.

 

As a native from the country he possess the key codes of a culture, local habits, rules and regulations. 

It is a natural do's and don'ts knowledge completed by the fact he's an inhabitant.

Producers are in the search of a compass when they contact local film fixers. Even an agency acting as an intermediary can't do the job as they're even far from knowing basic stuff such as dealing price and the way to do it locally, getting papers in record time or getting authorisation and safety for a night shooting for example.

The more you go specific on a production, the more you need a film fixer local expertise relating to the country.

The local film fixer can find anything you want that is available and allowed in his country. He really has the ability and the talent to bring on the necessary elements to a film production. 

 

As I speak local language, and mainly knows the cultural cuts, I'm able to guide them in a fast and efficient way during the preproduction and the production process across the country.

I negotiate rates, hire local crew and talents. Being familiar with a people of yours is the key to act as efficient and money saving. It permits to link the producers to a reliable and 

 

Being local as a film fixer is an added-value in connecting with inhabitants or local professionals. I coordinate and manage local crews and I know my people, so I know how to linkup everybody within an intercultural context.

 

 

 Music video shooting of artist Adil Tawil with superstar Youssou N'dour in La Medina, Dakar, Senegal. The challenge was to guarantee the safety of the shooting, to control access to the streets, to shoot in a short time... We made it... African Fixer Guild with Senegal fixers - Courtesy of African Fixer Guild & Senegal Fixers - © Lalie Rabeharison 2017.  All rights reserved

 

 

How do you conduct a business with the production ?

When it comes to me, I always negotiate a fair contract. I send an invoice that includes fixer fees, research, local crew and equipment and VAT. Extras may apply as each project is different is specific.

A 50% payment of the total bill is sent by the client before the assignment starts. It is absolutely necessary to cover the preproduction phase and any contingency that may apply. If any unexpected event happens that can be fix with part of the budget, I always make sure to be able to respond quickly.

Payment is completed once shooting is finished. In case extras applies, then I send another bill that should be paid once they come back home.

 

How the African Fixer Guild can support Senegal Fixers as a member ?

Senegal Fixers needs the African Fixer Guild expertise to gain visibility ! It's the first time I hear about a professional organization which reunites African film fixers. It's an important initiative to offer an effective exposure to the professional film fixers on the continent. It's important as well for producers to have a reliable platform they can refer to.

 

To be honest, equipment supply as well is still to be improved. I learnt the African Fixer Guild conducts operations to respond to technology needs to members, while making sure the client's budget isn't impacted an the risk linked with importation limited. 

An action is actually ongoing regarding this urgent need...

 

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