by Rich Moreland, December 2017
On my recent trip to the sunny wonderland of Southern California I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Scott Taylor, owner of New Sensations/Digital Sin, one of Porn Valley’s top production companies.
Scott has done it all from shooting to directing and offers some valuable business insights into the ever-changing world of adult film.
We sat in his office in Chatsworth and discussed a variety of topics. Here are some highlights.
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From Army Brat to Business Owner
I was an “army brat,” Scott begins, so moving around (in other words, frequent change) was his version of normal. In his teens he became a drummer and later gave college a go, but education was not his calling.
“I really wanted to pursue music and moved to LA to become a rock star.”
Of course, bursting onto the music scene takes time and the nineteen-year-old recognized the rent had to be paid.
“I don’t have a degree, so I’m taking any job I can. I play in a band, work in a warehouse, do whatever, until I stumbled onto adult video,” Scott continues.
He caught on with a distributor and spent a couple of years learning the business before his entrepreneurial instincts sensed bigger opportunities.
How did all this lead to becoming a respected company owner?
While still involved in the music industry (he cut a record), Scott wanted to start his own distribution company because adult film was becoming his future. Before long the next logical step was to produce his own content.
“I decide I wanted to go into making movies and I’m going to shoot with two cameras,” he says.
It was the 1990s and gonzo shooting, a POV style popularized by Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, dominated the market. Scott hitched his wagon to that train and turned out the award-winning Dirty Debutantes.
“I do all the interviews. I learned how to edit. I’m learning photography,” he mentions with a go-to pride.
Scott had a company in place: Video Virgins/New Sensations with Video Virgins being the pro-am package, he explains. At this point, the enterprise represented “a change between pro-am and a more gonzo related product,” he says, adding that Jewel De’Nyle was “our first contract girl.”
With New Sensations underway and more opportunity on the horizon, Scott and his business partner Joone initiate a new venture, Digital Playground (DP).
“We’re doing CD ROMs at the time and the business became moderately successful. I created a series called ‘Virtual Sex With.’ We shot Jenna Jameson as our first girl. It was interactive,” he explains, and relied on “new technology’ that involved switching “between cameras.”
The result? More innovation.
“By the time I left Digital Playground the CD-ROM industry had been replaced by DVD. Digital Playground was a leader in the emerging DVD marketplace,” Scott adds.
Scott’s eye for talent was vital to his early success. He brought on Peter North and Nic Andrews, whom he recognizes as “an excellent filmmaker.” Working with the best behind the camera became a Scott Taylor trademark and, at that time, determined the future of New Sensations because it underscored “the difference between pro-am and becoming a gonzo/feature film company,” he proudly states.
Though I had several questions prepared for the interview, I let Scott Taylor’s passion for what he does take over and the outline of an adult film company’s evolution took shape.
Gonzo v. Feature
Scott and DP ultimately parted ways.
“I had controlling interest (in the company) when I left, but elected to take a buyout and start over. This was one of the best decisions of my career.”
The move allowed him to invest in a new enterprise, Digital Sin, to go along with the existing New Sensations. His maneuvering yielded a single entity he defines this way:
“Digital Sin is a DVD company releasing a New Sensations product.”
This transition allowed Scott to experiment with interactive video.
I inquire if the interactive idea is like today’s virtual reality.
“It is as best you could do at the time,” he says. The action is prerecorded obviously, but the control is left up to the viewer. In other words, Scott adds, “it’s POV, the intent is to make you think you’re in the scenario.”
He goes on to say that the shortcoming of interactive video reflects what virtual reality also currently lacks, the “touch and feel” that personalizes the viewing experience. Over time, Scott asserts, achieving this has been difficult and there is no guarantee for the future.
“Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t,” he comments.
At this point in New Sensation/Digital Sin’s development, Scott makes a market decision that defines what we see today.
“I decide that Digital Sin is going to become its own company. It’s going to produce its own series of movies and release them through New Sensations/Digital Sin.”
The result shaped his future because he determines that “Digital Sin will be gonzo driven, New Sensations more feature oriented.”
Bear in mind, however, that the business model is flexible. The company will stay fresh because sales will determine the direction of the collective product.
Either label will become more of what the other label is creating depending on what the customer wants, Scott explains. Originally Digital sin was more feature oriented and “rested on New Sensations’ shoulders.” Then it began “outselling New Sensations” and that sparked the necessary adjustments.
It’s All About Talent
To ensure a strong path, Scott brings in the best film making talent he can find because that ensures success.
“It’s important to me that the integrity of the company is maintained,” he says.
Incidentally, a high-quality product means one more thing to Scott.
“I’m very loyal. I attach myself to certain people even if they move on.”
He emphasizes the “excellent working relationship” he’s nurtured with “everyone who has passed through here” and stresses that friendships have remained in place.
“It’s been fantastic working with all these creative people” and when they go on to enhance their careers elsewhere, there’s no animosity on anyone’s part.
Like a proud parent, Scott Taylor runs through a list of porn talent that is recognizable across the industry landscape. Among them are Jonni Darkko, who started as a cameraman, Greg Lansky and Mike Adriano, whom Scott met at a European trade show.
“Mike is more the performer where Greg is more the director,” Scott interjects, offering them up as any porn company’s dream team.
Throw in Nacho Vidal, Jeff Mullen (aka Will Ryder), Lee Roy Myers, and Axel Braun, all award-winners with impeccable credentials, and you get a sense of Scott’s ability to find innovative talent.
That leads me to Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell.
Scott is eager to talk about both and that takes us to Part Two of this interview.
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