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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Derrick Pierce

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the fourth installment in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show.

Whenever I need honest, no holds barred opinions on the adult industry, Derrick Pierce is one of my go-to performers.

The porn vet is among the handful of male models who are sexually reliable performance-wise and insightful with their understanding of the business.

Above all, the Massachusetts native is an industry gem, a performer with acting skills.

While on the floor of the trade show, I stopped by the Adult Time booth to say “hello” and asked Derrick for his take on porn and camming. We later met up in the press room.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Money

“The AVN show, and the trade shows in general, are now becoming more cam affiliated,” Derrick begins.

The driving force behind the change is money. It’s persuading the cam networks like MyFreeCams (MFC), Chaturbate, and Live Jasmine to market their product to a wider audience.

“They’ve always done very well, but now they’re putting a lot of money out to shows. As you can see, they are sponsoring AVN. I don’t know what the number is, but I guarantee you it’s seven figures,” Derrick speculates.

“Nobody even had that [financial] ability before. I don’t even think it was on the table.” He includes the big production studios like Evil Angel and Jules Jordan in that mix.

In reality, cam networks make big bucks “damn near printing their own money in some cases,” he says, and that enables them “to do things the production companies can’t do.”

Face Time

For Derrick, however, the situation presents a problem for the cam companies.

“The dilemma is nobody gives a shit about a cam girl. Not in person,” he says.

In other words, for the cam fan “to stand in front of them, to see them at the show” is no big deal, the certified martial arts instructor implies, because he has already chatted with his favorite girls online.

In fact, Derrick asserts, the show comes up short for the fan because he “probably gets more face time with them (cam girls) when he’s online than he ever would at the show.”

And, it would be more private.

Derrick’s honesty continues,

“Nobody cares about Tiffany451blue,” because fans don’t attend the Adult Entertainment Expo to see her.

“When you come to the trade show, you want to see Asa Akira, to see Abella Danger, Casey Calvert. All of these legitimate porn stars.”

What MFC does is accommodate a couple of hundred cam girls to attend the show with the promise of floor time, rooms, cool stuff. Just “enjoy have a good time,” he says. That’s “all it is.”

Ford Focuses

Derrick Pierce compares the cammer scene at AVN to stopping by a car dealership and seeing “rows and rows of Ford Focuses.”

“Cam girls are a bunch of Ford Focuses. They’re not doing what the professional girls are doing and, in some cases, I think some of those girls think they’re better than the porn girls. ‘Well I don’t do what they do, I’m a cam girl.’”

Derrick challenges that with “You’re not better.”

“Here’s the deal,’ he explains. “When you come to these shows you have two hundred and fifty cam girls to see and you have fifty of the top female performers in the business to see. Who do you think they’re lining up for? The porn stars because there’s something nostalgic, because there’s something unattainable” about them.

It’s like a “fantasy about who they are because whatever you’ve trumped them up to be in your head is who they are when you see them.”

“But with a cam girl, you know them. You know her favorite color is blue and she hates jalapeños or whatever her deal is, right? Cause you had time to socialize with them. So that’s the deal and I don’t think they’ll ever be on the same level,” Derrick concludes.

However, he comments that AVN and other trade shows now face a dilemma.

“Do you continue to take this money from the cam companies, which of course you’re going to? You’re in business to make money. But then do you phase out the production companies because they don’t contribute the same financial endeavor as the cam companies?

“When it comes to the trade shows, fans are lining up for porn people, but the cam people are the ones that are printing the money.”

Just a Cam Girl?

Derrick raises the question of how to merge the two, if that is at all possible.

How is the cam girl of the year chosen? For porn performers, it’s easier to debate who is the best this year because each girl has a body of work. The only reasonable way to select the winning cam girl is by counting up the dollars she makes over the year.

“Whoever made the most money wins,” he says.

As for joining camming and porn under one umbrella, Derrick believes the “level of separation” between the two will always remain.

To back up his point, he makes this observation.

“I just found out today that [on] MFC all the girls are solo girls. They don’t do anything with guys or boy-girl scenes or anything like that. I don’t understand that.

“Chaturbate has a couple of guys here, I noticed. How do you put them into play? Obviously, there’s a market for them too. MFC doesn’t have that, I don’t think.”

Our team’s photographer Kevin, who follows cammers, interjects, “We learned that they only allow women.”

“So, they’re completely man-less [and] it works for them, obviously,” he says.

“However they’ve designed this, it’s flawless in my opinion because they’re killing it. They’re making so much money.”

Regardless, the question lingers for Derrick Pierce.

“Are you really a porn performer? Or are you just a cam girl?”

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Kenna James

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the third installment in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show in Las Vegas.

Four of the top porn performers will discuss their views on camming. Then we will talk to a pair of cam couples who have sex online for their fans.

Here we begin with Kenna James, a popular industry performer known for her friendliness, on-camera warmth and acting ability.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

 

*          *          *

Though she’s cammed in the past, Kenna James no longer devotes a lot of time to her online endeavors, but that may soon change.

The vivacious blonde explains that when she began her adult career, she “moved from a stripper into the webcam world five days a week, three or four hours a night.”

“I loved it,” Kenna says. “It was great. I got to stay home, I made money in my bed in whatever I wanted to wear. No more heels, I could sit there in nothing and that’s fine.

“But when I started taking off in the industry, my camming schedule got a little less regular. I moved out of a duplex into a forty-foot camper. I didn’t have reliable options for internet which is why I no longer regularly cam.”

Looks like that may change soon. Kenna’s learned she can now get high-speed internet, so she’ll be back online eventually.

Depends on What You Show

Is the cam girl a porn girl?

Kenna responds with an immediate “no,” then backtracks a little. She says it depends on what a girl does on film versus her online broadcasts.

“If you don’t show anything below topless. I wouldn’t consider you part of porn.

“If you full on masturbate, I would consider you do a little bit of porn.”

Will the cam girl ever become the new porn girl?

“I don’t know,’ the Missouri native replies. “I don’t know what the future of camming holds. Who knows? This is an ever-changing industry and we’re all learning to adapt with it.”

Running on My Own

Don’t cam girls have to wear several hats — performer, director, editor, and marketer?

“It depends on the individual because a lot of porn girls are their own distributor,” Kenna says, and mentions that some cam girls use paid service to tweet for them.

“They are their own bosses, I mean, we all are. For instance, I don’t have an agent. I haven’t had one for two and a half years. I’ve been running on my own. So, my stuff is all done with me.

Camming is hard work, right?

“It can be. I moved into it from the stripping world and I consider camming much harder than stripping. Stripping’s easy because you don’t have to talk, you don’t have to be smart, you don’t have to be entertaining. All you gotta do is give a good dance, giggle, and be naked. That’s all they care about.

“Whereas camming, you gotta have a personality. You have to have something about you that draws other people to you and makes them want to stay. That can be a lot more challenging. Thankfully, I’ve always been a talker, I’ve always been fun, I’ve always tried to keep things light. But it was a whole new level for me,” Kenna laughs.

She points out that a cam girl has to “own” who she is.

“I’ve been on my cams not at my best. One hundred percent truth. I’m a complete mess sometimes and my fans will tell me. But I own it. What it comes down to is how comfortable are you with you, in your skin, in your surroundings. And how much of you are you willing to let out there.

“Think of it as the most candid, ad-libbed thing you’ve ever done. It’s reality that can’t be edited,” the Las Vegas resident concludes.

Always be You

If a girl wants to cam as an intro into porn, Kenna has a warning.

“My advice is always be you,” she says. Avoid trying to be what you’re not. You don’t have to pretend or act unnaturally and remember not everyone’s going to love you.

“Don’t get caught up in all the negativity, ‘cause there’s a lot of it,” she cautions.

“There’s negativity everywhere and this industry especially. People [will] come down hard on you. So, it can be a really difficult.”

Within the industry?

Both within and without, she says, but offers an encouraging thought.

“The industry as a whole is getting better. It’s not so competitive. We’re banning together a little bit better. It makes us stronger, so just don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Empowerment

Are porn girls more empowered than they were twenty years ago?

“Oh yeah. I definitely think so. I’ve met a lot of girls that have come from camming into the industry,” Kenna says, and praises their self-awareness.

“I like the girls who have found their personality. They’re like, ‘This is me. Let’s do it. This is who I am.’ This is a new thing and it brings on a whole new feel to everything as well.”

Finally, I ask Kenna about the traditional three-legged stool of porn — shooting scenes, dancing, and escorting. Is camming now the fourth leg?

“I think so. We can definitely call camming the fourth leg.”

With her ever-present smile, Kenna James adds with a gleam in her eye, “I’m a three-legger. I don’t escort. But I dance, shoot scenes and cam.”

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Casey Calvert

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the second post in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show at Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel.

Casey Calvert is a popular BDSM performer who has expanded her acting skills and moved into the upper echelon of porn performers. Recently, she joined Gamma Entertainment’s Adult Time as a director, advancing her industry resume into Hall of Fame territory.

For the record, Casey and I have known each other for years and have had our share of frank conversations about the industry.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

 *          *          *

Benefits

Have you ever cammed?

Only a couple of times, Casey responds.

Because the alluring brunette shoots scenes as her primary source of income (she doesn’t dance or escort), does she believe that camming is advantageous for a porn girl?

“Yes, it definitely benefits her to cam,” Casey says, and mentions Dani Daniels. “She started as a girl-girl performer shooting scenes, transitioned to boy-girl. Now she cams and does Snapchat and other social media. She’s made that transition really seamless. Her fame that she built as a performer drove her cam traffic.”

Casey agrees that porn girls bring their audience with them when they cam. But, she suggests, that same accomplishment might be tougher for a cam girl who gravitates to porn.

“There’s a lot of cam girls who have gotten flack for shooting scenes because of their fans. Camming is a really intimate, dynamic relationship” and there is a cost involved, the University of Florida grad says.

Fans do not always take to cam girls who “are doing solos” online then “go shoot a boy-girl scene, Casey believes. Some of them will say, “’You’re taking dick on camera now? That’s not okay!’”

Fans seem to regard cam girls as their own and get a little jealous and offended when they shoot scenes. So, the bottom line of this interpersonal dynamic is risk for the cammer.

“I think that’s a part of it,” Casey says. “I think there’s some slut shaming which is inappropriate. But I know that happens.

Cam Girl Stigma

Are cam girls creating amateur porn?

“That’s exactly what they’re doing,” Casey replies. “They’re entrepreneurs, they’re businesswomen and they’re amateur performers. And I don’t mean amateur in the derogatory sense. Just amateur in the literal sense.”

In her opinion, cam girls are not porn stars, but they’re “making porn”, nonetheless.

“Some of them also see themselves as amateur performers,” she adds, while others insist, “’I don’t do porn, I am not a sex worker, I am not a porn performer.’”

Things get complicated from there.

“There’s this cam girl stigma of ‘I’m not a porn star’ and there’s this porn star stigma of ‘I don’t cam, why would I need to cam? I’m a performer.’” Casey explains.

Is that a dividing line?

“No. To me, all of us are sex workers,” she asserts, and mentions there are plenty of cammers and porn performers who agree with her. But she understands those who don’t.

“I know that there are some people who live within the stigma. When I was just a fetish model, I told people ‘I don’t do porn, I’m not a porn star.’ I was wrong. I was doing porn.”

Without penetrative sex?

“I was creating a product for people to masturbate to. That’s porn.”

The highly respected Speigler Girl elaborates.

I didn’t know that then. I was afraid of the stigma. I didn’t want to be a porn star. I don’t do fluid exchange, I’m not making porn. But in hindsight now I see that I was being a sex worker. I just wasn’t doing ‘this.’”

I suggest that anyone can watch porn and not masturbate. But I do concede Casey has expanded my interpretation of what porn is.

From her perspective, porn’s “intention is to create something masturbatory,” as she puts it. Of course, the viewer makes that decision and there are people who don’t.

“I watch porn all the time and don’t masturbate to it,” the long-time Kink.com model says, “But it was created as a product to be masturbated to.”

For a moment we get into the phrase “porn star” and I got from Casey what I expected.

“I don’t know if I even like the phrase ‘porn star.’ I’m a porn performer. I’m an adult performer. I don’t feel like I’m a porn star. But porn star means something so I use that word to convey meaning.”

A portal

Does Casey think that camming to a portal into porn?

“No. There are thousands of cam girls and how many of those girls go shoot porn…a hundred? So, just statistically, no. Not enough people make the transition for [me to] agree with that.”

Should a cammer want to get into porn, does it matter if she gets an agent?

“Yes, it does matter because it shows an interest in sex work and an interest in creating pornography,” Casey insists.

“You have some experience talking to the camera and being sexy on camera and all of those things that an agent finds desirable. It’s not a necessity. There are plenty of girls who get into porn who have never cammed, who have never worked in a strip club, who have never done any fetish modeling and just go right into hardcore.

“But, for the most part, I find that most girls did some form of sex presentation before they started doing hardcore porn.”

In the end, Casey summarizes her take on our discussion.

“There are fans who don’t want to watch scenes ever. They just want to watch girls on cam. [Then there are] scene fans who have no interest in watching their girl on cam.

“There’s that degree of separation that a porn performer has with their fans that cam girls do not have because they ‘cam-to-cam.’ You see the guy [and] interact with them on a really intimate level. Much more intimate than shooting a scene.

“There’s no real interactions with the fans just from shooting scenes. So, I think there are fans who want that level of intimacy, and fans who don’t.”

It’s a choice, Casey Calvert concludes, that will prevail for some time to come.

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Whitney Wright

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the first in a series on porn stars and camming from the 2019 AVN trade show in Las Vegas.

Whitney Wright is an established star. At this year’s AVN extravaganza she received noms for Best Actress in a Feature and Featurette and a nom for Female Performer of the Year. It doesn’t get better than that.

Early in the week of the trade show, I was privileged to interview Whitney.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Whitney Wright entered porn in 2016, but not without a warmup!

“I used to go swingers’ clubs and resorts before I ever did porn or dancing,” she says, thanks to a guy she was dating at the time. He expanded her sex education.

“We ended up hiring a girl he knew who worked as an escort and she was so sweet. After that I was like, ‘I wanna do all the things now, that was so much fun,’ so we ended up going to strip clubs and to nudist resorts that had these crazy swinger parties.”

Is it any wonder the Oklahoma Christian school grad made the transition into porn?

Working for Nickels

How would you describe camming?

“It’s a hustle,” Whitney says, and she understands how that is game played. “Mine is mainstream porn and before that it was stripping and I loved it.”

However, she doesn’t believe camming is for her.

“I don’t think I could get into camming but there are some girls who do and they love it and make good money at it.”

The former nursing student comments that camming is having an influence in porn.

“Sometimes there’s this weird dynamic between mainstream porn stars and cam girls because they’re looked at as different ends of the spectrum. Sometimes I hear cam girls say ‘Oh, I don’t do mainstream porn or boy-girl scenes.’ And then there are some mainstream girls that are like ‘Well, I don’t like [to] work for nickels.’ That’s a phrase I’ve actually heard several times.”

It appears that collecting tokens as payment for online performances is off putting for some girls. But Whitney believes there’s money to be made.

“[The tokens] might start off as a little bit, but they add up. A lot of my friends cam and they have their regulars. They prefer it (camming) sometimes to shooting a scene because they can just stay home and drink wine and just talk to people.”

Whitney offers a further perspective.

“We’re all in the same pot, you know? Whether you’re a dancer or an escort or a mainstream porn actress, cam girl, whatever you do. It’s all sex work.

“It can be lucrative and a great idea, especially [for] girls that think they want to start mainstream porn and work for top studios.”

If they are uncertain about that, then camming is a good way to wade into the adult waters.

“They can see how they like that end of things. If they want more, then the doors always open.”

Capitalizing on Our Bodies

Is there is a division between traditional porn and camming?

There is, Whitney believes, and states what I’ve come to take as the gospel.

“A cam girl is a porn girl and we all have fans. [We’re] capitalizing on our bodies for money whether shooting for a studio like Gamma or on MyFreeCams or any kind of cam site. They’re getting a percentage of what you’re making but you’re also making money off your supporters and the people who are viewing your show.”

Nevertheless, Whitney recognizes that there are performers who view camming and shooting scenes “as a total division.”

“Some girls do look down on the other category and it comes from both sides. I’m friends with cam girls and I totally respect what they do. Because in my mind I could never do that. It just seems like a lot of work and time invested.”

The unpredictability of a cammer’s income from night to night is “disheartening” for Whitney.  “I can’t really imagine that,” the Speigler girl says.

But she admits that there are mainstream girls who make it work and earn “great money.”

“They can make their day rate just by being on cam for a few hours. They love it because they can stay home and be content and comfortable.”

“But for me, I like seeing my calendar fill up with bookings and scenes. I like performing on camera and gaining notoriety and recognition from my peers and my fans and directors and other studios. But that’s what I want.”

Mainstream Porn

Because of the influence of the cam girl, is porn as we know it disappearing?

“I don’t think there could ever be an end to traditional porn,” Whitney declares. “I don’t see [studio shot porn] going anywhere anytime soon.”

But she does admit that the landscape is changing.

“I see a number of people complain that some girls stop shooting for the studios completely. They can shoot on their Snapchat or their OnlyFans.”

The result, according to doe-eyed brunette, is change that can be disconcerting for some fans. They lament that their favorite girl is shooting “phone porn” or “homemade quality” stuff instead of scenes.

Porn models should keep in mind that fans do appreciate studio quality . . . “the clear images, the wides, [and] the zoom-ins.”

Of course, there are fans that “like homemade videos and POV stuff,” she concedes, but we should remind ourselves that “a lot of them like well-made scenes and films and the features” as well.

“They love it, and I love making it,” Whitney Wright laughs.

 

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AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Four

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this final installment on writer/director Bree Mills, we asked three female porn super stars about working with the Gamma Films head of production. 

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Casey Calvert

I’ve interviewed Casey Calvert several times over the years she has been an adult film actress. I can always depend on the native Floridian to give me the lowdown on the industry. She is honest and smart.

Today’s topic is Bree Mills.

“Bree is one of my favorite directors to work with. She cares about her product and to me that means performance,” Casey says.

The former fetish model refers to the “product” as the “actual scene” filmed, not a “pop-up” internet ad or a “photograph for Instagram.”

That’s important because Bree’s attitude privileges her cast to also “care about the product.” It’s leadership by example.

Does Bree’s gender matter? Is she formulating the modern female director in porn?

Casey doubts that. “I don’t think that Bree’s gender impacts how she runs her set. I think Bree’s personality impacts how she runs her set.”

Admittedly, many directors care about what they shoot, Casey continues. But with Bree, things are different. “Bree is just in a really unique position where the company that she is working for also cares about the product.”

Speaking of the brand and its content, I suggest that Pure Taboo is edgy and a little bit creepy.

Casey doesn’t dispute my assessment, but qualifies it with “sometimes,” particularly as it applies to “creepy.”

I reference her performance in Don’t Talk to Strangers. Of special interest to me is the moment Casey jabs the syringe in Gina Valentina instantly terminating a victim Casey and her husband had kept in sexual confinement. I describe her role as “nasty.”

Casey smiles. “That was my character. I was a lot of fun.”

Did Bree give her any special directions to bring out that malevolence.

“She gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do with that character,” Casey replies.

I speculate that Casey must have dug into her psyche to find the capacity for evil we all carry within ourselves.

“Right,” she responds. “I had the creative freedom to be weird and to be creepy. I didn’t have to make it campy. I didn’t have to make it silly.”

After a pause, Casey Calvert summarizes what is so special about working for Bree Mills.

“I was given permission to just be an actor.”

In the adult film world, that is an affirmation like no other.

Kenna James

Kenna James is new to me and a special girl, I immediately learned. Her bubbly personality is among the best in the industry. After introducing myself at the Adult Time booth, I persuaded her to sit down with my team in the press room.

I’m curious to know how Kenna describes working with Gamma Films.

“Shooting for Bree Mills is unlike shooting for anybody else in this business. I don’t know where she comes up with her ideas, if it’s just a memory bank or a vault. It’s incredible.”

Kenna’s smile warms her enthusiasm.

“Bree’s such an amazing person to be around because she’s so uplifting. Even when you’re dragging and you’re down and you’ve been on set for eighteen hours and you’re tired and cranky.”

I’m aware that Kenna has shot for Jacky St. James. What are the differences between the two directors?

The native Midwesterner observes that there are differences and similarities.

“They’re both very strong women who are brilliant at what they do.”

Kenna is effusive about Jacky. They are best friends, she says. “I adore her with all my heart. With Jacky it’s this playful, loving banter all the time.”

On the other hand, she mentions, it’s different with Bree, but it’s not easy to describe.

“I’m really bad at explaining with words, so I like mental pictures,” Kenna says, laughing.

I help her out a little. Perhaps Jacky may seem huggable.

“Yes,” Kenna replies.

And Bree may be down and dirty.

“Yes,” Kenna says, beaming.

Then I make the script observation I’ve done with other performers. Jacky wants dialogue as its written; Bree prefers improvisation.

“They’re very opposite,” Kenna affirms.

Finally, she distinguishes the two writer/directors with an analogy (or as Kenna would put, her “mental picture”)

“I would get on a motorcycle and go riding with Bree. Jacky, I would go dancing with.”

Perfectly put.

Whitney Wright

Whitney Wright is a native Oklahoman whose name in the business is A-list personified. She is one of Bree Mill’s go-to performers for reasons we’ve previously mentioned in first installment of this series.

When we relaxed in the press room at this year’s AEE, I ask Whitney to give me her version of the Bree Mills experience.

“I love Bree so much,” the former nursing student says with an affectionate laugh. “I had never shot for Gamma before she gave me a chance on Pure Taboo and I think that was partially thanks to Craven Morehead as well.”

Whitney and Craven follow each other on social media and he noticed a fetish scene she had posted. That led to a shoot for Pure Taboo.

Things took off from there.

“I’ve got seven or eight scenes on Pure Taboo alone [with] three more coming. So, Gamma is essentially like bread and butter. They’re the people I shoot for so much,” Whitney says.

Give us some words to describe Bree.

Whitney quickly rattles off “motivational. inspiring, vivid, animate.” Then, she adoringly adds “weird.”

“I think that’s why we get along so well,” Whitney says, reflecting on her list, especially “weird.”

I mention her role as the girl who is sexually used by a group of guys on her prom night in the Pure Taboo film with the same name.

“I believe that was the second time I had shot for Bree. It was really great. I loved the whole concept and again the taboo of it. That’s something I’ve loved in every scene I’ve shot for her.”

Whitney addresses what attracts her to the Bree Mills product.

“[It’s] the taboo and the complexity of whatever role I’ve been given whether it’s someone with a hidden agenda or someone who’s been wronged and tries to wrong someone else to make up for it. Or like my character in Prom Night who was just an innocent bystander,” Whitney explains.

Pure Taboo is website generated with an active membership so the fans comment on what they see. Whitney loves to hear what they have to say.

“There’s definitely an interesting mix of them,” she says, and their opinions are all over the place. Some fans will say the scene was “too rough” or they felt sorry for her character and they “couldn’t get into it.”

She understands their comments, Whitney says, but reminds us that pulling off the taboo component on-screen is up to the cast.

“Maybe the actress didn’t portray it well or they [fans] couldn’t get into the guy character ‘cause he didn’t sell it.”

That’s important because, as Whitney explains, “I feel like your partner is so vital in how the scene comes off.” That means everybody should be at the top of their game.

Whitney Wright concludes, “I always try to go for the gold. Especially with anything taboo. Whether it’s rougher sex or family stuff or anything like that.”

Achievement requires commitment and hard work, elements this private Christian school grad learned through the value of personal responsibility. They have served her well.

*          *          *

As we stated at the beginning of this series on Bree Mills, the writer/director is reshaping the future of porn. Among her most important contributions is validating that women in positions of influence can make a difference in content, production, and marketing.

Perhaps the days of porn’s entrenched patriarchy are beginning to wane.

 

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AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Three

By Rich Moreland, April 2019 

In this post and the next, we will take a look at how five performers who exemplify the super star concept in porn react to the question, “What is it like to shoot for Bree Mills?”

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Box cover courtesy of Pure Taboo.

*          *          *

Based in Montreal, Gamma Films Group is an entertainment network that currently maintains several production studios. Among them are Girlsway and Pure Taboo that appear under the umbrella label, Adult Time. Recently, Burning Angel joined the corporate family.

Bree Mills writes, directs, and produces for Gamma Films. She is best known for the operation of Girlsway, an all-female content producer, and Pure Taboo, a niche-oriented studio that, according to its website, delves into “the darkest corners of sex and desire” through the exploration of “forbidden subject matters.”

Key to a Mills production is superb cinematography and impressive acting. Without a specifically written script, performers have the freedom to rely on their talents to create the characters the New England born director wants. The results are spectacular and, in the case of Pure Taboo, often disturbing.

Part of a rising group of female writers and directors in porn, the thirty-something Mills possesses the right skills to fuel performances previously thought foreign to the industry.

Like Jacky St. James, Kayden Kross, Angie Rowntree, and others, Bree Mills knows that the thespian talent in adult film is far greater than the public . . . and many in the industry . . . realize.

Proof is in the 2019 AVN awards. Gamma received an astounding eighty-four nominations that encompassed the best of filmmaking in porn.

*          *          *

In seeking opinions on shooting for Bree Mills, I was fortunate to talk again with three “old friends,” if I may be permitted to use that phrase, and chat for the first time with two performers whose work I’ve come to admire.

To begin, we’ll see what two of porn’s male veterans have to say.

Tommy Pistol

Interviewing Tommy Pistol is always a joy. His acting ability is beyond reproach and his enthusiasm for the industry is likewise unvarnished.

He begins by describing the fundamentals of a Bree Mills film.

“We’re making a feature but it is only a long scene. It’s almost like a play,” he says. “Bree calls it porn theater.”

The native New Yorker elaborates that Bree’s script is not really that, it’s more of a “breakdown, a blueprint.” She describes the characters and “the situations they’re in” and what it all leads to.

“She leaves it up to the actor to fill in the dialogue,” he says. That allows performers to give the characters their voice within the framework of the story.

The result is an intensity that adult actors rarely get to show on-screen.

“Bree trusts her performers to do dramatic, dark roles, to dig deep,” Tommy explains. “She gives us a platform to shine.”

I suggest that Bree’s set is “guided spontaneity.”

“Guided spontaneity is perfect,” he exclaims. “She already has a vision [and] trusts us to give it words.”

As an example, we discuss Tommy’s role as a parent in one of the Future Darkly series. In the story, scientists bring back his deceased daughter (played by Jill Kassidy) in the form of an avatar. He’s intense as the grieving father.

“I am a parent. I have two boys and I love them,” Tommy comments then talks about putting himself into the “mind frame” of how he’d feel if he lost them. The result was beyond awesome.

Next, I mention my urge to fast forward through the sex scenes to follow the story when watching a Bree film. Not that the sex falls flat, but that the story is so deeply engaging.

“Isn’t that something!” Tommy comments with glee. “We’ve grown as an industry.’”

Referring to the porn formulas of sex positions with minimal storytelling, Tommy says, “the cookie cutter stuff is cool, but we gotta do more [in making films]. We have the skill, the talent, [and] the equipment.”

“As a performer, sex is one thing, but when you get honest appreciation for the things you do [as an actor], that’s amazing.”

He leaves us with an observation. His role in Pure Taboo’s The Weight of Infidelity created quite a stir on set. The story is the brainchild of performer Angela White who stars in the production.

His portrayal of the repugnant husband “made people uncomfortable,” Tommy says, because he insulted and humiliated Angela. Nevertheless, he adds, outside media sources proclaimed that the film “isn’t a porno, this should be an art piece.”

That’s Bree Mills’ goal, to bring porn out of the shadows and into artistic daylight.

Incidentally, The Weight of Infidelity won AVN’s award for Best Featurette and Tommy Pistol for Best Actor in a Featurette.

Derrick Pierce

Porn veteran Derrick Pierce brings a business vision to the Bree Mills discussion. He points out that Bree became “a director out of necessity.” She was “a numbers person for Gamma,” so she knew the score at the company.

Bree learned directing on the fly?

“A hundred percent,” DErrick says. Bree is “the originator of what she does,” and takes the attitude with performers of “let’s try it and see how it goes.”

In describing the writer/director’s strength, Derrick says she gives performers “a lot of depth” to explore their roles within the scope of her narrative.

Her premise is to develop “the synopsis and the background” of the story and introduce the characters. The rest is up to the actors.

And, she pushes boundaries.

Bree is “always looking to see where the line of uncomfortable starts and finishes,” Derrick states. If the actors feel uneasy about what’s going on, Bree reminds them that the viewer will feel that way also.

“They’re clicking on the uncomfortable moments” that precede the sex scenes, the Massachusetts native adds. Those moments bring the sex in her films to life.

“That’s what makes her so dynamic as far as being a storyteller,” he believes.

Derrick goes into what now is evident about Bree Mills. She turns the porn formula on its head because the sex scenes are “secondary to what she wants.”

Bree is transcending the mantra of “sex is sex is sex,” Derrick explains. “The premise is always the key and if you don’t have the buildup the sex is always going to be mediocre.”

As he previously mentioned, Derrick insists that Bree never forgets the business fundamentals of building a brand and the fan following necessary to sell it.

“She came from the numbers. She’s watching and seeing what people are clicking on and purchasing.”

To reinforce his point, Derrick Pierce touches on Bree’s business acumen when he says Adult Time “acquired the rights to Vivid catalogues” and Burning Angels’ production.

“She’s purchasing and unifying other companies and their content and putting into a functional application that’s user friendly.”

In conclusion, he describes the totality of the Bree Mills enterprise as a “juggernaut.”

*          *            *

Next we’ll look at shooting for Bree from the perspective of female performers.

 

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AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Two

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this second installment on Bree Mills, we will look at her filmmaking philosophy from a business and creative point of view.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Logo is courtesy of Girlsway.

*          *          *

Data and Creativity

Like every successful businesswoman, Bree Mills understands how to produce the best content for the dollar. And, like every renowned artist, she knows how to find the right story to keep her fan base coming back for more.

Neither of the above accomplishments works without a collective effort.

“My content is a real mix of data driven decisions and creativity,” the head of production tells me. “I sit on a lot of data and I have a whole team at Gamma that studies what people want.” She refers to the accumulated information as her Petri dish she can “source from.”

“I speak with customers and porn fans, so I use that intelligence to fuel my ideas. But I try not to let the data override the creativity. It ends up being a good balance.”

To what extent does fan response drive future productions?

For an “ongoing series” it has tremendous value, she insists. What’s more, fans can be co-authors of a Gamma Films production.

“Girlsway, one of our big studios, is very involved in member feedback and sourcing ideas for our stories. My finger’s always on the pulse of how our fans are reacting to content.”

Usually she will produce a full season of a series then get feedback to generate the material for the next one. But with the recent development of Adult Time, she’s changing things a bit. Now Bree puts out “pilots of concepts so we can start getting feedback from members right away.”

The result has an “impact on subsequent episodes that we shoot,” she says, “so that we can start building an audience, build engagement, [then] refine our series.”

It’s a partnership of sorts, she indicates, because we are “shaping the content together.”

Outsider

A closer look at her product reveals that Bree considers herself to be “a pop culture vulture.”

“I’ve watched a lot of films, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of television. It’s in my genes.”

She explains that inspiration for a project comes for many sources and likes to quote Pablo Picasso, “Good artists copy and great artists steal.”

“When I come up with a concept, I’ll pull a little thing I saw here, a frame of a film that I remember here . . . to help me craft the piece I’m doing. I allow my respect for pop culture to influence the way that I work,” Bree explains.

Having said that, she qualifies her work in adult. “I’m an outsider. I’m not a pornographer who grew up through this industry. I kind of came in and crashed it in many ways.”

Admitting that people may not understand exactly what she is doing with a film or a series, Bree is undaunted.

“I do it because that’s the pull that I’m receiving creatively or the direction I’m going.” In other words, she follows her instincts.

Lastly, Bree mentions the feedback she gets from women. There is “strength in the female characters in Pure Taboo that is more relatable to a lot of female viewers,” she comments. Consequently, they “find porn very empowering.”

Her films present “something other than just a stereotypical portrayal of a woman as a sex object” that is characteristic of the industry.

But the picture is complicated, Bree infers. With Pure Taboo productions, there are “no winners,” male or female. In fact, “there are a lot of anti-heroes.”

Sex is the Last Thing

Finally, we talk about crossing over from adult to mainstream, or, to put it another way, from Porn Valley to Hollywood.

Bree concedes that there is some crossing over between “mainstream pop culture and adult culture,” but that is more lifestyle oriented. Her dream is to have one of her films cross over.

For the upcoming year, she is developing a “primary project” that can be shopped to film festivals she characterizes as “mainstream outlets.” It will have a hardcore version for her fans.

Her objective is to create “a film with sex in it.” A workable idea, Bree insists, because “half of the films on Netflix these days [have] a good degree of sexuality being depicted.”

Though her intention is to “showcase quality stories, if people are interested in seeing the extended, uncut, uncensored version, they can,” she affirms.

Lastly, the writer/director offers her assessment of what she does as a filmmaker.

“The sex is kind of the last thing I’m thinking about,” she says. “I’m thinking about how to build the tension, build the narrative, how to develop the characters. If I have done my job right, I’ve gotten into the actors’ heads, they will carry out the scene with their own experiences.

“They know how to have sex. If can get them to have sex in their characters, it will be a good scene and secondary to the story. It’s the end result of the story.”

Then she summarizes her goal.

Create a “good enough story that people can watch all the way through, are left thinking about it, and are amazed that we can do a story that is really interesting.”

Bree Mills ends with “I think that is completely possible.”

Gamma Films’ record eighty-four AVN award nominations for 2019 validates her point.

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