Advice from a Tio, a Daddy and a Saint
Recently I was working on a project when a strange thing happened. On several occasions, two of the cast members I was working with, separately talked about how much they enjoyed working on a film that was set to open in theaters in the coming month. The main thing both actors mentioned was how much they loved working with the film’s writer/producer/lead actor, Joey Dedio. My first reaction was, “Damn! How the hell did he manage to juggle all that work and leave a good impression on his actors?” I had to find out. Sure enough, I did. Only to see that “Tio Papi” was only the tip of the iceberg.
Morning Joey! Thanks for taking time to chat.
Joey: Thank you.
So I wanted to start off by asking why did you make “Tio Papi?”
Joey: Actually, “Tio Papi” is just one of three projects I made. I wanted to work for a whole year. I wanted to create a machine with a handful of people that I trust that could move from project to project. We shot “Musical Chairs” first and when that moved into editing we started on “Tio Papi” and once that finished we went into “36 saints.” And as a result we now have both “Tio Papi” and “36 Saints” opening nationwide on September 6th.
Damn, two movies released on the same day! Congrats! So what inspired you to make both movies?
Joey: Well, “Tio” was conceived in L.A. I was walking in Echo Park with a friend when we saw this party going on. There were all these balloons and cake and a bunch of kids running, laughing and jumping on this guy saying “Tio! Tio!” I thought it was a nice thing and my friend said, “He’s laughing because they’re not his kids” and I thought, “well, what would happen if they were?”
36 saints is based on something that’s always inspired me: mysticism. The film is actually based on an ancient Kabbalah mysticism belief that because there are certain people in this world, they prevent everything from going into chaos. I found it very interesting so I coupled it with Christianity to create the story.
Interesting, so having juggled all these projects back to back, what difficulties did you have taking on duties as a writer/actor/producer?
Joey: The main thing is, being a producer you have to be in control to be able to steer the ship and keep things moving forward. For me, it was very important to have the right people around me that I know I could trust and let them do what they do best. That way I didn’t get caught up in all the duties by just letting each person do their job and trusting that they will do what’s best for the team.
That being said, what advice would you give younger artists who want to write/produce/act in their own work?
Joey: I think it starts with passion. You have to have a passion with a vision. Know what it is you want. Once you have that, as a producer, you now have the responsibility and opportunity to have a script during all its phases: development, writing, and hopefully production. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to have a set vision and find a way to get everyone to the final product, and it all starts with passion.
Well said. One last thing, I noticed that in both “36 Saints” and “Tio Papi” you have a predominantly Latino cast, was that your goal, did you want to make sure your projects were “Latino” projects?
Joey: You know, I’m very impressed that this question keeps coming up a lot. For me, it all starts with a story. It just so happens that the primary people are Latino, but mainly it’s about the story. I didn’t want to beat people over the head with “this is Latino.” I wanted to tell stories that happened to have Latinos in them. You see, stories are universal. Themes about family, love, life. They aren’t about stereotypes. Everyone can relate to them. They can help someone grow.
Thanks for your time, and best of luck!
Joey: Thank you and help spread the word!
Both “Tio Papi” and “36 Saints” were produced by Active Fox Productions and open Nationwide Friday, September 6th.
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