James Mack, Manager of the City of Mesquite Arts Center, was someone I knew because I worked with him with on a few exhibits at the Arts Center in the past and I had an upcoming show of my photography there in the fall of 2016. After the fiasco with the TFC, I emailed Jim to ask if we might speak with him regarding the potential to using the Arts Center as a base for the film. He agreed.
Jim is very practical and businesslike, and is a strong supporter of all the arts. When Angel and I met with him, he was open not only to our using a large room at the Center for our base of operations for 6 weeks, but also to using sites within the Center for filming. This was absolutely the break we needed, but there were hurdles yet to overcome.
Getting a film permit from the City of Mesquite was not easy. It required filling out a detailed form, providing a precise list of film sites and times, checking of our references, and meeting stringent insurance requirements. Accomplishing all of this took about 6 weeks. The joy I felt when that permit was finally in hand was over the moon. We had a headquarters as well as a location for filming more than half of the scenes.
Not only were we being allowed to use the Arts Center in Mesquite, but also the City Building (a gorgeous structure with great production value) both inside and out, and city streets. My gratitude to the City of Mesquite knows no bounds. Without their support, Revenge In Kind would not be the quality it is, and perhaps might not even have been made.
One of the most challenging locations to find for the film was for the hospital scene. While you can fake it with a bed in a small room, there are things like oxygen spigots on the wall, vital signs monitors and, well, just the look—almost the sterile aroma—of a true hospital room.
Angel and I scoured Dallas, looking for any site that would work, but came up with nothing. After he’d left in May, I continued to visit many hospitals, both large and small, then started checking nursing homes, going to more than a dozen. For varying reasons, no one wanted a film made at their facility.
One day while in Mesquite, I revisited the Dallas Regional Medical Center (DRMC), which had previously been a scratch. Luck was with me and I got to speak with the Director of Emergency, Lisa Fox, who was open-minded to the idea of using the facility for the film. She asked for a presentation that she could submit to her administration to seek approval. I delivered a PowerPoint with supporting documentation in record time. Then began the wait. I kept looking for alternatives, but the DRMC was my only hope. I was on pins and needles for 4 months until we finally got a Location Agreement signed with DMRC in early August.
Our good fortune with the City of Mesquite continued into the filming. Jumping ahead with my story a bit, here is a vignette. We’d been assigned a point of contact with the city, Carol Abbott, who was diligent and enthusiastic about the project. She helped us overcome little obstacles continuously, but one day, there was a really big problem. We were scheduled to shoot some scenes in the City Building, including in one of the two large conference rooms. We confirmed the schedule with Carol several times because changing it would not only mess up the filming schedule for other locations, but also wreck havoc on logistics.
We were due to film on a Monday, but received word just before the weekend that the City Council had decided suddenly that they would meet in the room that Monday and we would be bumped. I nearly had a melt down, but Carol came to the rescue. She offered to come in on Sunday to allow us to film. Not only was that okay, it was superb. We would have the building to ourselves and not have to worry about people walking onto our scene or uncontrollable noises messing up our audio. This was just one example of the above-and-beyond attitude of Carol and the City of Mesquite.