Even if you’ve never visited Mesquite, Texas chances are good you’ve seen it before—whether on the small screen or the silver screen. Parts of Ron Howard's 1978 made-for-TV drama Cotton Candy were shot at Mesquite's Town East Mall, and a pivotal scene in the 1999 film Boys Don't Cry was shot at Dad's Broadway Skateland (which remains open today). The long-running USA Network hit Walker, Texas Ranger was shot in and around Mesquite, as well.
Crews from all over the world have known for decades that Mesquite makes a desirable filming location: The city has been certified by the Texas Film Commission as a film-friendly community, it boasts a variety of scenic settings, and several incentives and local supports make it an attractive destination for shoots big and small. Here’s a look at why you should consider filming in Mesquite for your next project.
Texas Film Commission and Film-friendly Certification
Since 1971, the Texas Film Commission has been the touchpoint for the Lone Star State’s film and television industries, helping crews find the right location, support services, incentives, and equipment. As part of that work, the Texas Film Commission has designated more than 130 communities throughout the state as being “film-friendly,” including Mesquite.
But what does that “film-friendly” designation mean? In short, it means that you’re working with a community that’s been trained to accommodate media production, local liaisons who can help ensure a smooth shoot, and industry professionals who can assist with economic development—lodging, catering, transportation, and more.
Local Support for Filming in Mesquite
For decades, Mesquite has hosted a variety of shoots, including made-for-TV movies, TV series (including the hit USA Network show Queen of the South), and big-budget films. That wealth of experience means that Mesquite is equipped to accommodate shoots with diverse and unique needs. Here’s how:
Wide variety of locations
Whatever the setting, chances are good you’ll find it in Mesquite. For instance, the half-mile Devil's Bowl Speedway makes for a fast-paced set-piece, the Mesquite Rodeo brings a touch of Texas to your scene-setting, the city's parks offer a touch of pastoral beauty, and the Mesquite Arts Center boasts a wide range of performing arts spaces and sleek exterior possibilities.
Mesquite sits just 15 minutes east of Downtown Dallas and offers a wealth of options for tapping into the region’s more extensive infrastructure. DFW International Airport provides easy access to and from destinations around the world, and four major highways run through Mesquite, making it easy to get around the larger Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Enjoy unmatched customer service and knowledgeable professionals
Choosing to film in Mesquite isn't just about the right set—it's about tapping into a network of industry pros who can assist with casting calls, set construction, location requests, shuttling crews and equipment around town, and more.
Easy permit application process
Mesquite makes it easy to cross the “t’s” and dot the “i’s” on your permit application; download and fill out the film permit application and guidelines here, and reach out to our office at 972-204-4927 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Incentives for Filming in Mesquite
Choosing to film in Mesquite is a win-win
You’re supporting hard-working Texans and the local film industry while also maintaining a cost-effective shoot. But what industry resources can you expect for making the most of your shoot (while saving a little money along the way)? Here’s a look at some of the incentives that make Mesquite such an attractive filming destination.
View potential filming locations at a glance
The Dallas Film Commission hosts a searchable database with photos of possible shooting locations for quick decision-making and a broad overview of what to expect on the ground. In Mesquite, those locations include the Mesquite Arts Center, the bucolic Westlake Park, the famous Mesquite Rodeo, and more.
The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program offers generous incentives for choosing to stage your next shoot in the state; that includes a cash grant with a 5% to 20% base incentive rate, depending on the minimum in-state spend, qualifying expenses, labor, and other factors.
Vibrant film community
Mesquite hosts more than three dozen film screens around town, making it easy to stage screenings, film festivals, and other industry events.
No matter the size of your next shoot, Mesquite can give you all the support to make it successful.
Written by Matt Wastradowski for Matcha in partnership with Mesquite CVB.