I understand you have a pair of upcoming releases from Adam & Eve, Submissive Wives and The Seduction of Heidi. Can you tell us about those two films?
My two latest features are very different from each other and yet similar because they're both based on relationships that include a certain amount of kink. The Seduction of Heidi is an adaptation of the bestselling BDSM novel from Selena Kitt called Heidi and the Kaiser. Submissive Wives is a kinky vignette movie about women who prefer to be sexually submissive to their more dominant husbands. Both are very sexy movies that explore kink with a romantic undertone. The Seduction of Heidi is an erotic story-driven movie, and Submissive Wives is purely about the sex.
Let’s go back to beginning: Can you tell us how you initially entered the adult industry?
I was recruited straight off a mainstream online job board by the man who created Girlfriends Films, Dan O'Connell. I wasn't looking to get into the adult business or searching out jobs within it. Dan was looking to bring on a mainstream screenwriter and director to enhance the content his company was making and after a few conversations and a meeting at the company offices, I felt drawn to the opportunity.
It was a chance to explore a type of storytelling I'd dove into a decade previously when I owned an indie theater company in Los Angeles. I wrote, directed and produced erotic-themed stage plays in the late 1990s because I enjoyed exploring a deeper view of how we behave as sexual creatures in sexual situations. I never saw myself bringing those plays to life as films, though, which is exactly what happened.
I was surprised at how much I liked making all-girl movies for Dan. The work reminded me of my stage plays because creativity was key to making small budget productions look like more than they are. I had a small crew - just two cameras and a production assistant - and I went from just writing the scripts to directing the dialogue parts, to leading the entire productions, including the sex, which was wild. It was terrifying and oddly satisfying to direct live sex, and I felt compelled to go further and direct more and more.
I actually liked making adult movies and the work unlocked a part of me creatively that I hadn't fully realize was there in my soul. It was a strange and unexpected awakening as a filmmaker, finding my place in the world in an industry I never thought I would be in.
Who have been some of your favorite performers to work with over the years?
It's a long list. Nine years ago, it was India (and I still love working with her) and Jessica Bangkok (retired), Nyomi Banxxx, Magdeline St. Micheals, Tara Lynn Foxx (retired), Jana Cova (retired), Samantha Ryan (retired), Zoey Holloway (retired) and Brenda James (retired).
Years later, there's a wealth of wonderful talent to choose from and I enjoy directing so many of them - both male and female. Recently, it's the leads in my biggest movies like Anikka Albrite, Mercedes Carrera, Britney Amber, Chanel Preston, Mia Li, Nina Elle, Whitney Wright, Angela White, Honey Gold, Riley Nixon ... I could go on and on. One special lady will always be a favorite who delivered a brilliant performance in my book-based feature, Safe Landings - the late August Ames.
-- sponsored by --
Over the past decade or so, we have seen a number of females, including performers, rise to prominence as directors in the adult business. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it's due time for women to take leadership positions as filmmakers of adult content. I had someone say to me that it feels like a certain "renaissance" is happening within the industry with so many women working as directors and content creators, screenwriters and producers. I think having women at the forefront changes the way the adult industry is seen and perceived. It's not the old school misogyny of the past, for sure, which is a good thing in my eyes.
You helmed the Jewelbox Films all-girl movie line under the Digital Playground banner until Manwin acquired the company in 2012. Can you speak about your time running the brand?
It was two years, actually, that Jewelbox Films was a thing, and that's how long I was under contract by Digital Playground back in the day, too. I was signed by DP after my long stint at Girlfriends to create a high-end line of quality all-girl movies.
I made the two biggest-budget all-girl movies in the history of adult films - Cherry, Episode 1 and Cherry 2. Both were major award-winners with AVN and XBIZ and garnered a tremendous amount of critical acclaim. I also wrote a gazillion scripts for director Robby D, which were all made into films as well. The Cherry films were not the first all-girl movies made for DP, but they were the first story-driven all-girl movies made there.
When the company was bought, there was a certain level of reorganization that happened at the time and Jewelbox Films was returned to me to continue on with independently. Discussions have resumed with DP, though, and it would be incredible to bring Jewelbox Films back to its former glory with them again.
Do you prefer working as an independent director or being contracted to a studio?
I like both, but being under contract assures a certain amount of work which is wonderful. Being independent is good because I have more time to devote to the development process, but I do miss the regularity of being contracted and making movies monthly.
Are there any misconceptions about the adult industry from those outside the business that particularly bother you or that you wish you could dispel?
There are plenty of misguided perceptions about the adult industry - and I believed them all before I "crossed over" from mainstream. Stigma is the worst one, like everyone who works in adult is a bad person, or something's wrong with us. Mainstream is loaded with corruption, as we've seen proof of lately - yet those scandals don't happen within the adult side of entertainment for the most part.
We're fairly normal people who don't see making adult films as something bad or wrong. If women aren't afraid to put our faces out there and say publicly that we love what we do, then the stigma should die because we're proving we're not victims. I was constantly judged in mainstream for being a woman, and simply not taken as seriously as I am in the X-rated world.
I think it's natural for civilians to put a great deal of fear in how they perceive the adult business, and I'm sure they see sex in the same way. We're all damaged by what society tells us we should and shouldn't like and feel. We're not supposed to like or engage in sex if it's purely for pleasure, which is insane.
If, as a society, we could stop with the judgment and just accept that sex is a part of life and that there should be more understanding of it and more education, we would grow as human beings. I hope my stance as a public figure in adult helps in some way with easing the stigma and bringing about more acceptance.
I understand you have a horror book coming out next year titled Cutters, which you also hope to have made into a film. Can you tell us about Cutters and its plot?
Soles is a contained supernatural horror story about a family curse. Cutters is about real-life or made to feel like it is, centered in contemporary society. Soles takes places in the 1980s, which was a very different time. We were different people then, too.
Which of your films would you most recommend to a novice of your work?
Babysitting the Baumgartners was a tremendous accomplishment and has proven to be a huge success for Adam & Eve. It's based on a New York Times bestselling erotic novel and it translated perfectly to screen. It's a luscious, long journey through the sexual awakening of a young woman through the loving relationship she has with a married couple. The movie is 4 hours long, with fourteen sex scenes and the story itself stayed true to the original text from the book. No one has ever done that in porn. I'm happy to say this book-based genre I'm creating with Adam & Eve is proving to be a worthwhile and successful one.
Do you have any more current or upcoming projects in the works that you would like to mention?
My mega all-girl feature, Unleashed, is released this summer. The movie features 8 starlets and one veteran performer.
Here is the SFW trailer just posted this week!
And, I'm making my seventh movie based on a book in June called Unfolding. It's another Selena Kitt adaptation about a couple setting forth on an erotic journey as they open their bedroom to others.
My movie "Forked" is the first X-rated cooking show/feature film. I had Cristi Ann and Jenevieve Hexxx make a meal that's a regular dish in my house. It's the burrito bowl chicken made in a crock pot during the "Crock Pot Quickie" segment in the movie. It's embarrassingly simple to make and tastes delicious and can feed a crowd, too. You'll have to watch the movie for the recipe, though! I created "Forked" to show another side of porn stars that we never get to see - like what great cooks some are, and how they interact with others in the kitchen. It's amazing how comfortable people are in general hanging out in the kitchen and revealing parts of themselves they may not reveal otherwise. Forked gave the cast an opportunity to share who they are in the kitchen, and for the most part, everyone cooked together in some way. The chemistry was natural and relaxed and that's exactly what I wanted -- for the cast to just be themselves.
This was how I introduced the show hostess, Mercedes Carrera:
In closing, is there anything else you wish to say to readers?