by Rich Moreland, December 2017
This is the second part of my interview with New Sensations/Digital Sin owner Scott Taylor.
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After a quick break to adjust the digital recorder, Scott and I get back to our conversation. I’m interested in how Eddie Powell and Jacky St. James hooked up with New Sensations. Scott is more than happy to tell the story.
Eddie Powell was with the company before Jacky came on board, Scott begins.
He is effusive in his praise of the director/videographer.
“Eddie embraces any new technology or challenge,” Scott exclaims. “He’s self-taught, an incredibly creative and a brilliant individual. It’s been amazing what he has contributed to this company in the several years he’s been here.”
Furthermore, Scott believes Eddie’s talent at special effects, editing, lighting, and videography makes him “second to none in the industry.” High praise indeed!
Scott explains it this way:
“When I was shooting I could express myself artistically from the angles to the lighting to the emotions I’m trying to capture in the frame. There’s a huge difference between someone who knows how to do that and someone who doesn’t. It can be a slight tilt of the camera, it can be framing in a different way that feels and tells a different story. Trying to teach that to somebody is kinda difficult. You understand what that looks like or you don’t.
“I’m lucky in Eddie. He’s so creative. We leave him completely alone on whatever he turns in. It’s so good on a regular basis.”
What about Jacky?
Scott next fills in the blanks about Jacky St. James.
It started with scripts.
“When I read a script I look at it from more of a mainstream point of view. I don’t want it to be the pizza man shows up. I want the entire story to make sense. There should be real integrity for what we put out here, not just words on a page.”
By the way, the delivery man scenario Scott references is an old stag film formula involving a knock on the door and a bored housewife that goes back almost a hundred years. No story, really, just sex.
A paucity of good writers encourages New Sensations to run a contest to find new talent.
“Jacky wins this contest. She’ll come in, write for us, and that’s all she’ll do.”
That, of course, was only the beginning. Like the old delivery man scenario, Jacky got her foot in the door. She took over the studio’s PR work and continued to do scripts. Of course, she meets Eddie.
“Jacky’s an excellent writer and I can see that she’s working with one of the best videographers at the time.’” Scott explains, then continues as if speaking directly to Jacky.
“You’ve got this. You need to start directing. You see the script in your head when you’re writing it. You already know in your mind what this looks like. You need to get out there and Eddie can shoot it for you. You can’t run a camera, that’s fine. He can do it and you guys can work together.”
It’s a blueprint for how Jacky’s collaboration with Scott and Eddie changed the porn feature by leading it in a more artistic direction.
Scott sums it up this way:
“She slowly took the reins at the very beginning, to trying out this new field to ultimately becoming a very confident director. She still is the best writer I’ve ever seen. She floats between different genres very well and she’s been a real joy to have along for the ride. That’s how we got Jacky.”
I know from my research on Jacky’s relationship with Scott that they have bonded professionally. I wanted to get his point of view on this.
He mentions the Emma Marx series (which I’ve reviewed on this blog) and Torn as memorable moments. Emma Marx came along at the time Fifty Shades of Grey was the rage. New Sensations had a parody in mind, but it was abandoned in favor of a more serious approach.
“We wanted to tell our own story. Jacky knew the characters and we agreed on the direction of where it would go.”
Torn was also a serious film that the company is” every proud of.” He says. “She did an excellent job (writing and directing it).”
The film is about an older man and the young lover who comes into his life as his marriage is crumbling.
Scott quickly follows with what everyone in the adult biz knows about Jacky as director.
“Jacky can get acting performances out of people that are really inspirational.”
Do they have a give and take professional relationship?
“Absolutely!” he replies and explains that a concept for a film might be his or hers, “but we generally work together. If I see the script and I like it, then we do it, but if I want some changes, then we change some things.”
That was early on, however.
“Once we began working together for a number of years,” Scott says, “I didn’t have any changes to her work. She’d hand it in and I was floored by it every time.”
It bears mentioning that Scott does not smother his talent to do things his way. In fact, he’s hands off, but he’s always available for advice.
“If they need it, I’ll be there. I generally embrace talented people and let them go do their work and critique it afterwards.”
For Eddie, it was learning process that sparked “a lot of conversations along the way,” Scott says, before coming full circle today.
As for Jacky, he exclaims, “I wouldn’t say that Jacky’s writing ability is any less than it is today,” though early on he established the parameters he wanted.
Considering she was working in a genre new to her, that’s understandable.
“When she started writing the romance movies that we were doing at the time, we needed to follow a certain formula. She adopted to that relatively quickly. We’re not talking about multiple rewrites. It was ‘let’s do this’ and she has an idea and she puts it together,” Scott says.
The Company Secret
I mention that when I review a Jacky film, the story and the cinematography are my focus, but I know these things are less important to the average fan who is just waiting for the next sex scene.
“I’m afraid that is true,” Scott admits. He wishes there was a greater appreciation of what New Sensations puts out there and uses Eddie as an example.
“Eddie is so deserving of best director for so many years from what he does. His creativity is well thought out. It is not by accident. That’s how he tells his story.
“Eddie edits his own movies and writes his own music because he’s really trying to create a feeling. He’s a secret if anybody wants to know the secret to the company. It’s this guy who’s been such a rock in so many ways. His cinematography most people don’t even notice, but I notice and gasp!”
Finally, I want Scott’s opinion on crossing over, the idea that adult performers and directors can move between Porn Valley and Hollywood.
He mentions that the Emma Marx series has made an appearance on Showtime. “When I see those movies on there I think they hold up very well. It makes me feel very proud to see that movie on a mainstream channel and it looks as good as it does.”
That being said, Scott assesses Jacky’s attempts to make a splash in mainstream film.
“Jacky has actually stepped into that world and it’s proven to be pretty difficult. She is able to work with more veteran actors. I wouldn’t say they’re big Hollywood stars, but they are honing the craft of acting more than the craft of having sex. It helps to tell your story with people that can bring the emotion to the characters that’s necessary.
“For crossing over the only success we’ve had is Showtime embracing ‘after hours’ programming even though it’s not. They’ll show it at eight o’clock in the evening. But you’re still working with primarily adult actors and actresses.”
Scott is not sold on the idea that crossing over is realistic.
“I don’t think you take anything X-rated and go with it no matter what the budget is. I don’t see it really catching on.”
Interestingly, Scott sees an additional issue with the jump to Hollywood: a true lack of performing talent.
“You need really good actors and there are some . . .I think Penny (Pax) is an excellent actress, Remy LaCroix is an excellent actress. There are guys who are excellent actors compared to other people in this business.”
But they are the few.
On the other hand, Scott has a more positive view of directors.
“Could a director cross over and make a mainstream movie? Yes, I think it’s very possible.”
Where does this place Jacky and Eddie?
Scott is honest but with reservations.
“What Jacky is trying to do now is bridge that gap. She’s doing it with an R-rated series, but I would love to see her transition into something that is fully mainstream if it is beneficial to her. Mainstream work is very, very difficult from what I’ve seen. It’s very difficult to break into.”
Scott offers a final thought.
“I think Eddie can get out there and run that camera on a mainstream set in a second. I think Jacky can write mainstream all day long. But to carry the X-rated market into a mainstream market, even if it is a little bit softer, is limited.
“It’s just the way most of the country views it. It’s still porn and is classified as the dirtiest thing you’ve ever seen or heard of. Porn falls into the porn bucket, that’s what it is.”
Perhaps, but a New Sensation/Digital Sin product is the cream at the top of that bucket, so who knows?
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