#2 How It Started

The story of Big Red Friday actually started over twenty-five years ago with the successes, mistakes, tragedies and joys I experienced during my law enforcement career.

Roughly two years ago I began to reduce those stories to paper.

One year ago I placed the stories into a movie script format.

In February I began to expose the story to others for input and criticism.

When I started FoFig Films I didn’t have a specific story to produce in mind.  I had a concept of what I wanted to do – honor my past profession – but I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to go about that.

I received a couple offers to sell Big Red Friday as a spec script but nothing was blowing my socks off.  After some careful thought, I convinced myself that I could tell the story on film myself (well, clearly not “by myself” but you get my point).  My first project was right under my nose, I just didn’t know it yet.

Although the Big Red Friday story carries action in parts, it is not a car chase and explosions film.  I wanted to write something smarter than that.  Big Red Friday is a true-to-life dramatic character study about relationships, conflicts and challenges, and how each character handles and adjusts to those as individuals.

I reached out to some local and Hollywood filmmakers I am friends with and began to develop a strategy to turn this project from a wish into a reality.

I contacted local acting talent as well as some “non” actors who had “the look” I was seeking for certain rolls.  I adjusted the roles in the script to fit the actual actor and put them in a position with style and dialogue to deliver their very best possible performance.  The cast has professional actors, retired lawmen and some who have lived lives on the other side of the law.  All came to the project and unified.  My cast is a dream and has been a joy to work with.

Based on the presently limited exposure I have already received some interest in participation from established Hollywood-based acting talent.  That is very exciting.

Scot Litteer of Litteer Films believed in the story and shared my vision of it.  He has award-winning directing, cinematography and editing awards stacked behind him yet he is the epitome of humility and graciousness.

Scot called in favors from other craftsmen in the movie business – genius cameramen like Sean Lonergan and Jim Scott, and incredible soundman in Fred Porter, lighting and rigging specialists Paul Stapleton Smith and Emily Belleranti – and each delivered their trade with consummate expertise.  We agreed to pay-it-forward and have high school aged interns work as Grips exposing them to the mechanics of film making and giving them a start in the business.

Domini Giuntoni came on as special effects expert and further agreed to handle the still photography and promotion.  She is a true artist in those fields and her craft will be on display front and center.

Gwen Jones did what Gwen Jones does – covering every dirty, no-thanks job that no one else wants and keeps me in check when I flame out or my head grows to large.

My friend Lou Pimber, a retired Narc turned actor with dozens of films and shows on his resume to include Breaking Bad and Gang Related, agreed to play a key character role.  His performance in our promotional short is brilliant.  Lou’s advise to our less experienced actors, like myself, has already proven to be invaluable.

Tamara Mack, a seasoned actress, delivers class and style.

My old partner Louis Quinonez plays the part of – wait for it – my old partner “Weegie”.  He was a courageous lawman and in his “afterlife” from agent work shows he is a exceptional performer as well.

“Off the street” actors like Frank Aguirre, Cuete Loc, Jamie Vanessa, Brent Pierson and Dee Felix, along with a host of others were fearless, authentic and provide images and performances of both hardness and beauty.

Everyone who has touched this project has been a blessing to me.

The real “star” of the film is going to be Tucson.  My city.

As has been the story for my entire life, my successes have rarely been about my skills but rather credited to being surrounded by talent that makes me look much better than I really am.  Such has been my case for football, undercover work, writing and now a movie.

Our cast and crew have passion, energy and enthusiasm for the story.  That is the formula for success.  We all hope to deliver something to you that you will enjoy and that we can be proud of.

Here are some of the promotional images Dom has photographed and stylized, some screenshots from Scot and a few “behind the scenes” pictures.  There is much more to come.

Lou Pimber

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Young Jay (circa 1995)

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Tamara Mack

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Louis Quinonez

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Frank Aguirre

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Cuete Loc

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Jaime Vanessa

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Brent Pierson

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Dee Felix (with her boys)

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Behind The Scenes

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#1 Big Red Friday Movie

Big Red Friday the movie is the story of a jaded undercover agent being tracked by a documentary film crew during his last week on the job.  It is based on real events from my life and from those of my peers but, told from a fictionalized perspective.

From the world I thrived in – that of an undercover federal agent – artistic creativity or even an interest in it was looked down on.  In that life if you were a painter, a musician, a poet, a sculptor, a writer – you were considered soft and too sensitive.  Softies don’t survive long or well on the street and they don’t inspire partners to walk by your side.  It is a testosterone driven land of violence and intimidation and only those who display it are allowed to rule.  Hardness trumps sensitivity.

I had always enjoyed the creative writing process but lacked confidence to show anything I had written.  I have always loved movies.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are of being taken to the theater by my parents.  The Incredible Mr. Limpet is still one of my all-time favorites.

After my book became a New York Times bestseller (No Angel – My Harrowing Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels) my “artsy” balls dropped and I found the courage I had lacked to write and let other people read.

It is one thing to live amongst societies predators pretending to be someone you are not with the life and death consequences that come with that.  It is something far different and much scarier to “create” and then expose it to the world.  In my mind revealing that side of me has been much more threatening.  For years I “acted” in my undercover roles but that was not nearly as difficult for me as it is to “pretend” in front of a movie camera.

Some of my early writings were embarrassingly terrible.  They are actually now painful to read.  Hollywood producers and directors were not shy about letting me know that.  It is a town of broken dreams and crushed spirits.  But I kept trying.  With “will”, “resilience” and “hope” anything is possible.

I consulted on several films regarding undercover tradecraft and eventually earned some paychecks to work as a writing consultant.

So, I retired after twenty-seven years as a federal agent in January.  I set up a very small , a micro-budget independent film company and named it FoFig Films – as in four-figures – as in this is all I had to make a movie.  I’ve never been afraid to fail but I’ve always been afraid not to try.

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My goal for Big Red Friday is a reasonable one.  I intend to create a film that is authentic, relevant and beautiful and find entry into the film festival circuit.

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Big Red Friday will not be for everyone.  It is told from a harsh world inhabited by dangerous people.  My style is raw and blue-collar, a translation of how I conducted myself as an agent.

I have found inspiration from the friends and mentors I admire like Tony Scott, James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton, Stephan Gaghan, Don Ferrarone, Christian Gudegast, Angus Wall and Joe Carnahan.  If you are not immediately familiar with those names look them up.  They are industry leaders in hard-core legitimacy.

What I hope to do is take their devotion to realism and go lower, dirtier, grittier, nastier to really show an audience what the life of an undercover agent is about and hopefully entertain them along the way. With the cooperation of Litteer Films and dozens of other talented cast and crew members, succeed or fail, our collective passion, energy and effort will go all-in to doing something special.

Follow this page and I will do my best to keep you up to date.

Jay

http://www.jaydobyns.com

https://twitter.com/fofigfilms / http://www.jaydobyns.com/fofig_films.html