Tag Archives: XROC

The Jacky St. James Story

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

Language: English

ASIN: B083G9G82R

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Farewell, Aurora Snow

by Rich Moreland, July 2013

An acquaintance of mine is leaving the adult business after four years in front of the camera, a lifetime by porn standards. It’s time to move on, she told me recently, though her exit strategy is a work in progress. She admitted that all the pieces must fall into place for her to make the final move.

The business still has its appeal for her; she continues to pop up on internet shoots and in an occasional DVD. In truth, unless she has established a direction out, a hasty departure may not serve her well and I believe she knows this. Should her post-porn road be paved with fits and starts, a return may be in the cards, something adult actresses do more often that is generally imagined.

For ex-performers, the “civilian” world often resembles barbarians at the gate waiting to consume anyone who ventures beyond the adult film cocoon. Transitioning out can be culture shock. Coping with new demands and curious people, whose knowledge of the adult film universe is hearsay at best, is ever present. For instance, dealing with a potential employer who wants to know how the previous working years were spent can be a nervous and formidable experience.

However, in the process of adjustment a performer may discover qualities she never imagined she possessed.

Photo Courtesy of New Sensations.com

Photo Courtesy of New Sensations.com

Consider the retirement of Aurora Snow. The adult industry is going to miss her intelligence, controversial opinions, and legendary film performances. During her lengthy career, Aurora joined an elite few recognized within the business. She was Adult Video News’ 2003 Performer of the Year and was enshrined in the XROC (X-Rated Critics Organization) Hall of Fame in 2011. These are not minor accomplishments. The number of women who have bared it all since porn’s modern era began in 1972 runs into the tens of thousands.

After a decade of filmed sexcapades, Aurora leaves on a positive note. Her recent article in The Daily Beast, “How a Porn Star Retires: Aurora Snow on Life After Porn,” examines some of the shortfalls performers face and offers timely advice for the day a model walks away.

It should be required reading for every newbie who is considering an adult film career.

A Master Plan

Aurora Snow reflects on what I’ve heard from industry people, too many girls lack the responsibility to manage their affairs. They can earn into the six figures, but find themselves impoverished when their days are done. Too many dollars are wasted on expensive apartments, clothes, cars, facials, and partying. Because they know a couple of bookings will replenish their bank account, a rainy day fund is far from their thoughts.

The adult industry offers no retirement plan, film residuals, or health insurance, and does nothing to prepare a performer for the day the phone stops ringing. Needless to say, there is no union like mainstream Hollywood’s equity system. A performer is left on her own.

Nevertheless, Aurora explains how difficult it is to leave the biz, especially if sex-for-money is all a girl knows. She tried to do it gradually but was continually caught in a spiral of shooting scenes to pay the bills.

Extracting herself was problematic, so she went cold turkey, packed her bags and got out of town.

But the emotions hung on, Aurora says. Pulling away from the spotlight and fan adulation is a downer. Yet, a girl eventually must figure out how “to do something with your clothes on,” she insists, a real challenge because the usual options are not the long-term answer.

Too many female performers rely on archived web cam shoots as their retirement ticket, Aurora points out, and some continue with a dancing career (she is mum on escorting). But everyone ages, so exit preparations need to be on the table. Timing is important, Aurora indicates, and quotes talent agent and former performer, Shy Love. “‘Don’t quit until you have a master plan for what comes later.’”

Aurora Snow’s departure is an opportunity to encourage all performers to take responsibility for their future. She goes over the list. Develop investment alternatives early on. Experiment with daily life constrained by a budget and curtail the urge to blow away dollars on unneeded and fanciful wants. And, don’t ignore that nagging feeling to improve educational opportunities. At the very least, consider picking up college credits on a regular basis.

Photo Courtesy of MrPOV

Photo Courtesy of MrPOV

Eventually, Aurora took decisive action to break the pattern of doubt that was not serving her well. The result introduced new horizons she never expected.

“Once I hit the eject button and became far enough removed from the porn machine,” she says, “I found that brand-new opportunities eventually presented themselves.”

Aurora Snow’s exit tells us that porn people have more skills than they realize. They are truly people-friendly, just ask their fans. Personally, I’ve seen this up close. Circulating among industry people has proved to me that everyone has something to offer once the last shoot wraps up and a career is concluded.

So, farewell Aurora Snow, I wish you Godspeed. You leave a legacy of top-notch performances and an articulated wisdom. Your message is clear for every girl in the business: invest “wisely” and remember there is “life after porn.”


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