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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.

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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: Cindy Starfall

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

Through Star Factory PR, I had the privilege of  interviewing Cindy Starfall a couple of years ago. Since that time, the Saigon native has received several adult entertainment award nominations and continues to wow her fans with her feature dancing.

Let’s see what’s on her mind this year.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

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I remember we talked about your feature dancing a couple of years ago. Are you still on the road?

“I do it more and I really loved it because I can really put on a show, on stage and actually get to meet my fans because they come [from] all over . . . different cities . . . for meet and greets.”

Cindy says feature dancing is her thing.

“I love it because it pulls a creative side out of me. I get to be my own boss and put on these big shows on stage every month [in] a different city.”

Cindy comments on her schedule and explains that she’s shooting as much as dancing.

“I dance Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Come back [home on] Sunday then shoot Monday Tuesday. I pack Wednesday and I go again.”

Wow, that’s a lot of traveling, but she seems to love it.

Still Swinging

She tells me that her hectic schedule has put a crimp in her free-flowing lifestyle. Cindy is one of the few porn girls I know who is an active swinger.

“I still have my swinger couples that I’m doing,” Cindy says. In fact, she’s headed over to Japan in April with some of her swinger friends.

We talk about how she handles these out-of-the-ordinary sexual encounters. Among her requirements is spouses have to be present.

“I prefer that because it’s just less drama that way. I’m not there to look for relationships. I just want to be in there and have fun.”

The couples are friendly and, for the most part, older than Cindy. But that is not to discount younger couples who are into the lifestyle. “They always give off this sexual, friendly vibe,” she says.

When she reflects back on her early days in swinging, Cindy recalls it helped her adjust to porn.

“I love sex and swinger [parties have] helped me [to be] more comfortable in front of the camera. Because I have people watching and I have people shooting photos. In a way it [has] shaped who I am.  It is a big part of my life.”

That Connection

We move on to camming. Cindy exclaims that “it’s taking over the [adult] business!”

Camming is a version of amateur porn, she asserts, because “you’re filming yourself at home.”

Cindy has discovered that many of her fans “enjoy that amateur side versus the professional looking, perfect lighting side . . . because it’s more like a private one-on-one, like a personal interaction with me.”

The petite performer indicates that her camming popularity comes from guys who are “lonely” and “looking for that relationship, looking for that connection that they will have with the girls.”

When she describes what she does, Cindy reflects the formula that many cammers use.

“When you cam with me, I will talk to you. I know you by name, I know what you like. You can actually direct your own porn with me. You get to pick what I’m wearing for a session.”

She sees that as powerful for both her and her fans.

Room for Everybody

Some cam girls are comfortable at home and don’t have a desire to become a porn star, Cindy says. “All they do is get online.”

“With porn, you actually got to show up on set, it’s a production. A typical porn set could be between six to eight hours or more if it’s a feature. So, it’s a totally different thing [from camming].

“I started off as a webcam girl. But it wasn’t for me because I got bored. I needed that interaction with that co-star. I love doing porn because I love being in different characters,” she explains.

Unlike other girls I’ve interviewed on this subject, Cindy is blunt with her assessment of what it means to be a porn girl who is committed to studio shooting.

“If you want to be a porn star, can you get naked in front of at least four, five [people and] three different cameras shooting you? Can you do that?”

On the other hand, she says, “With webcam, you’re in your own home comfortable, one camera, you and your boyfriend. Somebody you’re comfortable with.”

Sounds easy, but it’s not because porn girls don’t always want that live feel. “When they know that camera is live and there’s people watching them, they start freaking out. So, it’s totally different,” she asserts.

But Cindy insists that there is room for everybody. “In a way, I do feel like it’s fine to be divided [between camming and porn] because it’s two different audiences.” There enough fans with different tastes to go around.

Trends

On the question of cammers setting their own market trends, Cindy believes they follow rather than lead.

In the adult business, it’s all about the fans. This is the driving force for cammers.

“The audience [is] there and tipping and watching, [buying] tokens. I feel like they [cammers] are following the trend because that’s what the audience wants to see.”

On the other hand, “when it comes to fandoms or fan worship, these guys are following what the girl’s doing.” In that respect, she might be setting her own trend.

But the bottom line will always be the cammers will respond to what the fans want.

“The cam girl’s all about the audience. The audience is giving them their paychecks,” Cindy says.

As for a major production company like John Stagliano’s Evil Angel, Cindy understands he’s doing what he loves because he already has “such a big studio” and consequently sets his own trends.

Once again, we revert back to the power of being online when it comes to camming.

Cindy Starfall says, “In this day with social media, the people that are watching. They want to know you, the actress behind the camera, and that’s what the webcam gives them. They get to talk to me, personally.”

 

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Elements: Misha Cross and Art

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This post on Evil Angel’s Elements is more analysis than review. My congratulations to Misha Cross for directing an outstanding adult film that has a definitive European flavor. It is a delight for the eyes.

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Evil Angel is gonzo at its best. Its directors have a reputation for the hard edge, creating graphic scenes spiced with female hotness that defines a porn genre.

Misha Cross’s Elements lifts this shooting philosophy to new heights. Capturing four scenes through a lens that focuses on earth, wind, fire, and water, Misha’s artistic vision puts the grace of movement and the intensity of raw sex to the test. The result is porn that never forgets its erotic legacy.

The sex scenes feature female pulchritude at its finest. The talents of Cherry Kiss, Tina Kay, Anna De Ville, and Misha herself for the down and dirty are remarkable. We will talk about that in a moment.

But first, we should admire the tease that begins each shoot. It’s porn competing with art.

Beautiful Cinematography

The film’s initial scene with Misha is open fields, horses, and blue skies. Doesn’t every little girl dream of a pony? By the time the kid reaches adulthood, her desires become Freudian and a horse’s “size” is often joked about.

Want proof? Notice how lovingly Misha caresses the horse that plays the scene with her. When the ponies run in the background and Misha waves her sparklers (think Freudian climax here), the sex scene to come could not have a better introduction.

Like Misha’s tease, Cherry Kiss also involves motion captured with beautiful cinematography in hers. She’s on desert terrain in a white gown and diamond jewelry embedded in a body harness with necklace and forehead decoration. Watch for the line of blazing fire on the sand that concludes the scene. Hot in the loins? No doubt.

When it comes to Tina Kay’s turn, a sweeping shot of the ocean leads the viewer to a lagoon where she wades in the water. Misha Cross has a penchant for white in these teaser scenes. Pale fabric that highlights each girl’s nude image leads the viewer to the white room for the sex that becomes an extension of the director’s art. Freud’s love of water and the womb reborn.

Anna De Ville’s final scene changes the game a bit. She’s an acrobat, swinging and weaving on a suspended hoop that is more characteristic of a Vegas floor show than a porn film. But it works beautifully. No open and flowing gown here, Anna is in a body suit and stripper heels.

Camera angles play with her movement. With legs wrapped around the ring, Anna floats and rotates. It’s a dreamlike vision that undulates with the industrial music that frames it.

Freud would be proud.

Oral and Anal Experts

Each of the sex scenes responds to its tease setup.

Most of the penetrations are anal, but vaginal is not ignored. The third scene featuring Tina Kay is the most extreme. For the viewer who enjoys a little fun with slaps, spanks, gagging, nose pinching, and the like, it’s a must see. There is even a brief head dunking in a bathtub (remember water is the theme of this scene) to flavor the action. Tina smiles through it all.

All of the scenes run through the formulaic porn positions—mish, doggie, cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, and spoon. The girls wear heels which ratchets up the slut value of each shoot. For bush aficionados, there isn’t much here to admire, however. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the clean-shaven, then you’ve got a lot to look at. Yes, Misha has a just a touch of hair and Cherry has a modified landing strip, but Tina and Anna have gone totally bald.

Overall, pretty sexy stuff I’d have to say. The girls are oral and anal experts (this is Evil Angel, after all) with bodies to die for. Of course, some variety of the facial rules the end of each shoot; that should be no surprise. Having said that, watch for an interesting deviation when Emilo Ardana pops for Anna!

AVN Honored

Elements is a foreign production shot in Germany and Spain by a director who is a native of Poland. From my personal experience with European adult film, folks across the pond know how to turn the porn shoot into elegance personified with cinematography that sometimes surpasses its American cousin.

As an actress, Misha Cross received major noms in several categories at this year’s AVN Awards including foreign female performer of the year (which she has won twice, by the way). Her nom for best solo-tease performance in Misha in Exile stands out as the finest in its category, at least in my opinion. It is spectacular and she’s carried that talent over to Elements.

Dan Miller of AVN reports that “with nature as the backdrop, Cross set out to accentuate the beauty and strength of her female subjects in Elements without skimping on the hardcore.”

AVN’s managing editor also adds that Misha sees her art as a combination of hardcore and erotica. I could not agree more. But that’s not the whole story. Misha’s compadre Samantha Bentley worked with her on the soundtrack to give the entire film a music video feel.

By the way, don’t skip the BTS in this film. My kudos to Misha Cross for her social statement with her August Ames t-shirt. Further praise is due the Polish filmmaker for demonstrating what is more evident in porn everyday: industry directors and videographers can produce a mainstream quality product. The porn world is leaving its underground roots and moving closer to Hollywood.

A note to viewers. In order of appearance, the male performers in Elements are: Ramon Nomar, Erik Everhard, Chris Diamond, and Emilo Ardano.

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AEE 2019: AINews Reports from the Show, Part 1

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This is the first of two installments highlighting the 2019 Adult Entertainment Expo (aka the AVN Show) in Las Vegas. Our team circulated on the floors of the hosting venue, the Hard Rock Hotel, networked where we could, and conducted interviews to get an in-depth look at the porn industry today.

So far, we’ve reported on Evil Angel’s thirtieth anniversary and Nina Hartley’s thirty-fifth. We’ve also taken a look at how the show reflected the changes in our culture.

A pair of talented visual artists, still photographer Kevin Sayers and videographer/filmmaker Davyana San Miguel, provided the visual energy that graces these articles.

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Is there love between AVN and the cam world?

 If the last few years at the Adult Entertainment Expo is any indication, the porn world is experiencing an internal evolution.

That’s right, things are changing because the new kid on the block—the cam girl (and boy)—is altering the landscape of what defines porn, at least the commercialized version.

First, a little in-house geography. For those of you who have never visited the Hard Rock Hotel, the “floor” is divided among four major venues, three devoted to the on-screen industry and one to novelties.

A walk around the environs reveals that cammers are more evident than ever before. Not only do they have their own booths and tables inside the show rooms, they dominate the hallways that connect them.

That raises interesting questions. Are cam girls the newest version of porn girls?

Do cammers believe they are creating pornographic content when they perform for their fans and sell their shoots online? If that seems obvious to you, it isn’t to everyone and “therein lies the rub.” (my apologies for the well-worn misquote of Shakespeare)

Are cammers open to shooting for studios in a scripted environment?  It’s certainly outside their comfort zone where they interact with fans unencumbered by directors, cinematographers, and their crews.

And, how do the established porn stars—the studio moneymakers—regard cammers? Do the stars also cam as a way to build their brand?

In the interviews we did for Adult Industry News, I posed these questions. Answers varied, as you might expect, and we will look at some of them in later posts.

For now, here’s what we encountered during our meanderings about the premises.

Something for Everyone

The cammers greet fans in the hallways . . .

. . . And in the rooms! They seem to be everywhere armed with their connection to the fan world: their computer.

Cammers are not restricted by agents, you see. As a result, they are on their own to mix and mingle.

As a contrast, let’s take a few snapshots of porn’s traditional studios and the well-known stables that supply the talent.

The Agency Booths

We stop at the booths of a couple of modeling agencies I’ve dealt with in the past. At Foxxx Modeling, a brief chat with some girls we’ve already interviewed kicks off the afternoon.

The sexy Scarlett Mae.

The sultry Emma Hix.

And the perky BDSMer Emori Pleezer.

Nearby over at John Stevens’ Matrix Models, we find one of my favs in the biz, Vanna Bardot. Kevin and I met her recently on a Girlfriends Films shoot.

Porn’s Commercial Tradition

Then it’s on to the studios, the heavy hitters of porn. First is Adult Time, Bree Mills’ venue where . . .

. . . I renew old acquaintances with three of porn superstars, all of whom are up for AVN awards. We set up interviews to explore new topics we’ve not talked about before.

Tommy Pistol, one of adult’s finest male actors.

The popular Derrick Pierce whose on-screen personality is in high demand.

Then we have the talented Casey Calvert, a longtime friend. (It’s generational with our schedule making, as you can see. She’s electronic, I’m old school with my pen as we discuss arrangements!)

And a new contact, the luscious and award-winning Kenna James who later gives our team a terrific interview!

And, of course, Bree is there. We had interviewed her earlier in the day.

Other stops include Evil Angel where Katrina Jade is signing for fans.

And Jules Jordan where we pause a few moments with model Emily Willis.

Moving on to Greg Lansky Media, a rip-roaring booth pulsing with club music that engulfed the hall, we pick up a couple of conversations there.

We didn’t forget to take a quick look at the AVN booth (it’s their show, after all!) where a variety of girls were signing each day.

After some searching, we finally locate Sofie Marie, a girl (or MILF, depending on your point of view) who shoots for studios AND maintains her cam site. Later she gives us a terrific interview.

Before wrapping up our mini-tour of the rooms, we visit The Lair.

It’s sponsored by Kink.com, the leading BDSM porn producer in the business. Since the fan has to go upstairs to see the The Lair, there is the undeniable connection to Kink’s popular website, The Upper Floor.

And, as is the habit at AEE, an after-hours party for fans who want to pay for the privilege is offered.

Mostly, The Lair is a quiet respite from the clamor of the show floors. It’s vendors mostly with a demonstration here and there. For BDSM enthusiasts, it’s somewhat of a letdown unless the fan wants to shop .

Veterans

For anyone who writes in the porn biz, there is the “go-to” interviewer (and this is not to diminish any writer presently working). By “go-to” I mean the guy who sets the table for the basics about a performer. In other words, bio facts, personal preferences, shooting history, and the like. Everything that helps a girl build her fan base and gets the rest of us thinking about what we want to ask her.

He is “Captain Jack” and I have the privilege of meeting him after all these years.

Speaking of those in the industry who’ve been around the block a few times, our team briefly greets Evan Stone and has a short talk with Katie Morgan. No interviews this time around due to time and the hectic pace of the show. Maybe next year.

Then there is a new face and an old friend. For the first time, I make the acquaintance of Prinzzess Felicity Jade, a Girlfriends Films superstar, and update personal news with now retired performer, Daisy Layne.

Blended or Separated?

So, where does our brief tour leave us? For sure, the line between camming and shooting scenes is blurred. Take shooting, for example.

Today, the trend is make your own. Everyone, porn vets and cammers, can produce and manage their own content. After all, that’s what the fan wants . . . easy access just a click away.

There’s an old standby, Clips4Sale . . .

. . . And a newbie in the mix, Iwantclips.

At a convention that for decades touted video tapes and performer meet-and-greets, today cammers and studios play side-by-side. With Greg Lansky’s Vixen, Tushy, and Blacked responding to fans on the left of the picture below while the cammers’ ManyVids draws a crowd on the right, what does that tell us about 2019?

Well, maybe a solid “spank” in between to get our attention about a changing industry!

Peaceful Co-Existence?

In our next post, we’ll move to the novelties part of AEE 2019.

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AEE 2019: The Realities of an Adult Trade Show

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

Photos provided by AINews and Kevin Sayres.

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This year’s Adult Entertainment Expo marked two anniversaries which I’ve celebrated in previous posts: Evil Angel’s thirtieth year of operation and a salute to the great porn legend, Nina Hartley.

While there were upbeat moments of the positive in today’s industry, there were also reminders that we are in a time when porn reflects the greater issues facing our society. The first day on the floor of the show illustrates what I mean.

Security

Let’s begin with the metal detectors. For me, getting to Las Vegas requires flying and airports mean security checks. I’m thankful for the capable TSA employees who check every passenger and bag that boards a plane.

Likewise, the trade show is not immune from checking and rechecking and clearing everyone who wants to get in. Considering that a handful of states, most recently Arizona, have proposed legislation to declare porn a public health hazard, it would be no surprise that an anti-porn crazy might attempt sneak a device into the trade show and harm attendees.

Nevada does have an open carry law, by the way, but requires permits for concealed weapons and many fans (and industry personnel, yours truly included) do carry backpacks and tote bags into the show.

So, like the airport TSA, I commend the Hard Rock Hotel and AVN for taking defensive measures.

The Code

When I arrived at the press room to pick up my media pass, I was presented with the Code of Conduct. The Code was displayed at the entrance to the show and on the Table of Contents page of the show directory, a freebie for all fans and industry people.

In light of the #Metoo movement, it makes sense to recognize issues of proper conduct. Because performers are in the business of sexual entertainment, too many fans “assume” they are meeting a “different kind of girl” than the sweetheart or wife back home.

In fact, I remember a few years ago when I interviewed a prominent star, she reminded me that “no touching” was her personal rule with fans. She even came with her personal bodyguard.

Though not all performers are that sensitive to physical contact, bullying is another matter. I’ve witnessed girls politely deal with “insistent” fans who believe it’s okay to cross boundaries.

(A caveat is due here. Those types of fans are few. The vast majority are respectful and delighted to meet the stars. In turn, porn models are happy to provide the fan with a pleasurable experience.)

For its part, AVN explains that the Code represents “common-sense rules for public behavior and personal interaction” that applies “to EVERYONE at the convention” including those connected with the industry.

I agree and am happy to commend AVN on this.

August Ames

Sadly, there was a poignant reminder this year of the consequences of cyber bullying. The December 2017 suicide of August Ames still reverberates throughout the industry. A t-shirt honoring the twenty-three-year-old was in evidence among a handful of attendees.

My friend and colleague Steve Nelson, editor of Adult Industry News, had this to say about the circumstances that led to August’s death.

“August Ames was a good friend. She was always kind to me and very happy. Or so I thought. We all found out too late that she was dealing with the demons of depression.”

Among his other duties, Steve drives for modeling agencies. That’s how he got to know August. But like so many others, he didn’t see what was coming.

“I only saw her upbeat side. She hid her demons well.”

When the end shocked everyone, Steve reflected what others in porn expressed. “I regret not reaching out to her . . . She was on the edge and bullies on Twitter pushed her over.”

It is notable that in this year’s AVN balloting, a scene in which August Ames appeared was nommed for an award. Considering the overwhelming number of categories and scenes, a small honor perhaps, but not insignificant.

We should heed the lessons of August Ames’ passing and take a moment to treat each other with a bit more love and understanding.

In looking forward to AEE 2020,  we hope for the day when security measures, a code of conduct, and the tragedy of suicide are memories of past shows and not permanent realities.

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AEE 2019: The Evil Angel Legacy

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

This post is the first in a series installments on the 2019 Adult Video News (AVN) trade show. The Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), as it is also known, was first held in Las Vegas in 1998 and has continued annually since.

Photos in this post are courtesy of Evil Angel and 3hattergrindhouse.

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During my first day at the AVN trade show, I had a passing conversation with writer Tod Hunter, whose work I regard highly. He mentioned that I should check out the Evil Angel booth where a large billboard-like poster was on display in celebration of the company’s thirtieth anniversary. Tod added that I’d find it worth a look, especially the upper left side of the picture.

How right he was. But more on that corner in a moment.

Hal Freeman and John Stagliano

When I got over to EA, I spent a few minutes with John Stagliano. Saying “hello” to Evil Angel’s founder is always a pleasure. John is a force in the industry, a trend-setter who shoots what he likes and creates a market for it.

But that’s only the half of it. John is also a “freedom fighter” in the manner of Hal Freeman decades ago. Both men battled in court to preserve their right to express their art as they saw it.

Freeman’s case (1988-89) effectively legalized filmed pornography in California. Years later, John’s dust-up added to that history because it involved not actors having sex for money, but the content of the film. Ostensibly fought over obscenity charges, his case evolved into a higher cause centering on free speech and how it applies to the internet. Eventually, all charges were dropped and the modern porn industry took another step into the light of mainstream culture.

Everyone involved in the adult biz today owes a debt to Hal Freeman and John Stagliano. What we see around us in this industry was not always as it seems now. To put it another way, all of us must remain vigilant because ongoing and enduring rights of expression are precious.

Widely Regarded

Having covered that little bit of history, now back to the poster of the EA dignitaries. Though they are directors mostly, a particular individual stands out.

Christian Mann.

In writing for XBIZ in 2014, AVN Managing Editor Dan Miller pointed out that Christian Mann was “a 34-year veteran of the adult business” and “widely regarded among the most prolific and passionate executives in industry history.”

AVN notes that Christian was “the recipient of AVN’s First Amendment Defense Award in 1991,” a proud industry honor.

What’s more, Christian was no stranger to porn’s courtroom battles. “He was indicted in 1989,” AVN continues, and “withstood a federal obscenity trial in Texas and was eventually acquitted of all charges.”

Sounds a little political, right? And it should because it was.

Talking with Christian, AEE 2013

For six years, Christian Mann was Evil Angel’s managing editor and I’m fortunate to have known him. On one of my visits to the West Coast, I remember sitting in his office talking about the state of the business as he saw it. That day Christian reminded me that John Stagliano establishes market directions in porn. He shoots what is personally pleasing to his tastes, as I’ve mentioned above, and unabashedly puts it out there for all to see.

It’s worth noting that in 2012 Christian passed along to me a copy of EA’s Voracious which is one of the finest adult movies ever produced and shot on two continents. (My ten-part review of the film begins with a nod to Christian and John. The post can be found here.)

Serving honorably on the Board of the Free Speech Coalition, Christian’s sense of fairness and honesty distinguished him. His brilliance was widely recognized in the industry.

A Fight of Another Sort

The last time I saw Christian Mann was at the AVN show in 2013. He walked with a cane and was in obvious discomfort, a red flag, I thought, considering my memory of his robust energy.

When I visited the EA suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, Christian was upbeat as usual, but related that he was seeing the doctor when he returned to LA.

Christian passed away the following year after a heroic battle with cancer. He was fifty-three.

So, returning to my opening remarks, I offer thanks to Tod Hunter because he indicated that I’d have an emotional moment when I spent a few minutes with the poster. I did.

You see, Christian is with us in the upper left, a little dim because he is watching from afar. By the way, he is not the only EA personage celebrated in the display who is gone. Jake Malone, David Aaron Clark, John Leslie, and Bruce Seven have also departed.

But it is Christian Mann I remember so well and Tod, I suspect, knew that.

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Interview with Scott Taylor: Part One

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.

Lee Roy Myers

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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Some of the awards on display in Scott’s office

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