by Rich Moreland, July 2010
If you follow this blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed a new advert in the sidebar to the right. Yours truly has completed another book on the adult industry and this post is a shameless bit of self-promotion to let everyone know it’s available for interested readers.
My first book, Pornography Feminism: As Powerful as She Wants to Be, is a condensed history of feminism in adult film. In putting it together, I relied on academic research and first hand accounts from industry directors, performers and company owners. Not as difficult as it may seem, actually, since commercialized pornography as we know it emerged in the late 1960s and some of the early performers and directors are still with us as living history.
Pornography Feminism investigates women whose political consciousness in a male dominated environment emerged slowly over porn’s fifty-year history. Despite the criticism that the industry objectifies its female talent—in effect robbing them of their individualism and sexual expression—today’s women often call the shots in front of and behind the camera. The results are impressive. In the 2020 AVN (Adult Video News) award nominations, more female filmmakers than ever before stepped up to be recognized.
In putting together my second manuscript, I focused on a single director who offered her take on feminism for my first book. Meeting Jacky St. James and observing her creative talents convinced me that in the manner of pioneers like the late Candida Royalle, the first woman to own her own production company, Jacky makes an equally empowering statement.
The result is The St. James Magic: XXX or Hollywood? The book describes Jacky’s rise to award-winning prominence as an adult film writer/director. Included is her partnership with Eddie Powell, a cinematographer and director in his own right and a vital cog in Jacky’s story.
How an upper middle-class university educated woman decides to leave corporate America and inadvertently becomes a celebrity in the business of porn is only part of what the The St. James Magic offers. Interviews with performers who praise her scripts and directing acumen in an industry that traditionally undervalues dramatic expression and quality acting, adds zest to Jacky’s story.
What is remarkable is Jacky’s flair for that Hollywood touch in an entertainment milieu thought to be far removed from Tinseltown. The average adult film is woefully short of the budget it needs to challenge mainstream production values. Nevertheless, Jacky makes everything work to perfection. In a word, she never cheapens her set—its crew and performers—with bad writing, oh-hum directing and simple-minded camera work.
In other words, Jacky has mastered the art of making the most of what she has. Given a sampling of her award-winning movies, the reader experiences what good filmmaking is like when the adult product transcends its reason to be—on-screen sex—into high quality narratives.
With the telling of our story, we learn much about Jacky personally. She attempts an acting career without success and experiences her own MeToo moment in Hollywood. On a lark, she wins a script writing contest for an adult company, New Sensations/Digital Sin, and begins her own venture into movie making, stepping forth as an actor’s director. What makes her unique? She puts the plot before the sex and never allows the hardcore to drive the storyline. The result is a variety of filmmaking awards for Best Screenplay and Best Director from industry leaders like AVN, XBIZ and XRCO.
As the text progresses through Jacky’s ventures, I pose the central question she and a handful of others are exploring today. Will adult film ever move from “The Other Hollywood” Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osborne describe in their 2005 work by the same name and establish roots in mainstream filmmaking? Affectionately called crossing over, it’s not as far away as it seems; the two entertainment entities are more similar than you might believe.
Yet within the adult business there are arguments on both sides of the porn-going-legit question, if such a thing is even desirable. However, there is no disagreement on the power of Jacky St. James’ storytelling and filmmaking.
Take a look for yourself.
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Here are the specs for the book or the “Product Details” as Amazon calls them. The text is available in Kindle and Paperback versions.
File Size: 423 KB
Print Length: 213 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1655187635
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: January 2, 2020