A fun, creative thing I did to get the film project underway in early March 2016 was to start looking for filming locations. I began with friends and family, asking who’d be willing to let me use their houses. Almost all of them said yes, but few of my friends really meant it. It took me awhile to sort out that they were unwilling because they wouldn’t come right out and tell me. They just kept putting off when I could come by to photograph, or not signing the Location Agreement.
I turned to Air BnBs to fill the gaps. But this presented problems too. Often I would find a place that was ideal, only to that the owner wasn’t willing, usually because they’d already had a negative experience with film crews or because they objected to the nature of Revenge In Kind.
I found one Air BnB that was fabulous. It was located on the second story of what appeared to be a derelict warehouse. To reach the apartment, you climbed a narrow, decaying staircase and entered a very old place with large windows, pipes showing, and just the sort of place you’d expect an evil psychopath to hide out. As I was talking with the owners, they asked me, “Is there anything immoral in the film?” I replied that “immoral” is dependent on one’s point of view and probed further. It turned out that they didn’t want any film that wasn’t “Christian in orientation” or that had any “evil” in it. I had to give up that place with a large measure of disappointment.
One of the lead characters in RIK is an artist, but I hadn’t decided what kind. I was thinking of a metal sculptor, but I had to keep an open mind because the set was more important than the type of art. If I found a really good art studio, it would dictate the type of artist for my character.
It was fun to visit and talk with many artists and see their studios. After going to a number of them, I found a man who had a marvelous backyard studio under a large roof. And he was a metal and wood sculptor. He readily agreed to let me use his studio and we made an agreement for me to pay him a set amount for a single work of art (to be the artwork of the character) and for the filming. I left him with the Location Agreement to sign, as he wanted some time to read it over. Two weeks later, when I called to come by and pick it up, he had changed his mind and now wanted 25 times the price we’d shaken hands on. He said his friend had told him it was the going rate for movies. Rather than argue the point, I moved on.
I finally found an even better studio with a wonderfully creative artist, Rebecca Boatman, who was both genial and a straight-shooter. This time I explained up front that we were a low-budget film and that what I offered would be a final sum, so she should tell me at the outset if it wouldn’t be acceptable. She was enthusiastic about participating in the art of it all, and was willing to sculpt a special piece for the lead character. And her studio was beautiful.
(One of my great regrets is that the film didn’t include a shot of her professional kilns, which would have lent authenticity and value to the scene. I should have been much more assertive with the Director about what to shoot for B Roll.)
Although I located more than half of the filming sites myself, I give Angel credit for finding many as well when he later came to Dallas. And in some cases, we collaborated.
There are not that many gun stores in Dallas that are film worthy. I had visited them all and found 3 that would work and whose owners were open to the idea. When Angel arrived in April, we went together to pick one of them. Angel thought one was too small and located too far away. We liked the second one best, but they wanted several thousand dollars for just part of a day (they’d been previously paid a high sum when Walker Texas Ranger had filmed there). The third was my favorite, so I was glad it worked out.
In all, I drove almost 2000 miles around Dallas to find appropriate locations for filming. I was glad that I started early because it took 5 months to find most of the sites.