by Nia Malika Dixon
8:00 am, August 26, 2015
My mother always told me, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”*
I imagine little-girl-me, the younger version of my positively skewed perspective, understanding that to mean I can say all the positive things I have to say, all the time. Here I am, grown-up version of that little girl, with more to say! About filmmaking, and about Fresno.
Ah, Fresno. What I love about Fresno is the heat. And, by love I mean, I love that I didn’t pass out from the above-one-hundred-degree temperatures. The relief always came at sunset, beautiful, picturesque sunset, and all was forgiven. And, what I truly love about Fresno, California, are the PEOPLE. I literally fell in love with the people, as a town! I met such a diverse population of kind-hearted, giving, open, and optimistic people! Like-minded people. My people! One special person in particular helped kick off the successful production of Vengeful Series, Rhonda-Sue Stern. The mother to actress Jordan Rheanne Murphy (“Danielle Blackstone,”) Rhonda saw the conclusion of our non-lucrative crowdfunding campaign as nothing more than a slight bump in the road. She invited me to visit Fresno, stay at her home, and see if there were people there with whom I could connect to still get Vengeful made. Thanks to her, I met Alan Autry, who gave his support, and countless other crew and production staff who gave tirelessly, and with great enthusiasm, to get our Vengeful production up and running.
Filmmaking in Fresno can be summed up in many words, but the first word that comes to my mind is pleasant. Locations were beautiful, and provided with such open arms I felt like it was my home: comfortable and peaceful. Travel from one filming location to another was simple on the streets and the freeway, and truly FREE of traffic! And, the people represent so many diverse backgrounds, and experiences that I could only imagine how wonderful it would be to bring all their diverse stories to life! Everyone worked hard for the sake of the project, true filmmakers at heart.
With a very, very humble budget, and everyone working without any thought of financial compensation, a band of angels and I created something special. With the assistance of 1st AD Marisol, 2nd AD Karen, Costume Designer Trina and her gang, Script Supervisor Destiny, Production Manager Kristian, Associate Producer David, Make Up Dept. Head Lisa and her team, DP Orlando and his crew, including phenomenal AC Lisa, my team of talented actors, the PAs, the extras, background, locations, and countless others behind the scenes, including Production Consultant Rhonda, I was blessed to watch magic happen on my set in Fresno, CA this year.
Check out some of the photos from set, and check back here for future updates. We’re shooting again in Fresno, Labor Day weekend. AND, stay tuned for the upcoming, NEW trailer for Vengeful!
*My mom was paraphrasing a wise man named, Muhammad.