October 30, 2006

The Late Great Porn Industry

If you work in the biz and you didn’t notice that 2006 sucked in ways that I’ve certainly not seen in the years I’ve been working in this industry, you’re either in denial (no, I don’t mean you’re swimming or drowning in a river in Egypt) or you’re not paying attention.

I’m not trying to sound like a doom-and-gloom-sayer but, personally, I think 2006 will be remembered as the year the traditional porn industry went South for many. At least, in terms of the way business has been done since I fist enlisted in porn’s army. With something like 13,000 releases during the year, as opposed to half that ten years ago and one-tenth of that 20 years ago, the glut of product has put wholesale prices in the toilet and collecting that money has, for many porntrepeneurs, been slow and difficult. Also, there was no bright side in foreign sales.

So where’s the business going? Futher into the toilet? For some, I’d say yes. For others, I don’t know. For a few, porn will remain a rewarding, money-making enterprise.

When I first began writing about this summer’s unprecedented production slow-down, some people claimed I was wrong. I didn’t think I was wrong then and I still don’t think I was wrong. The hoped-for return to normal production schedules hasn’t yet happened and I don’t think it will. Not after hearing what I’m hearing from people who attended the Berlin show.

“Why shoot?” a company owner was asked in Berlin. “You have a library of hundreds of titles. You can make more money not shooting and exploiting that content in new ways.” In other words, DVD revenues aren’t just stagnant, they’re on their deathbeds.

Think about it. The content in one movie can be cut into many, many 30 second clips and those clips can make some decent money licensed to the newest delivery technologies… you know, like mobil technologies. Now multiply that by hundreds of movies. Indeed, why shoot? Especially if you don’t have something really special going on with your productions or in your sales and marketing arsenal.

I read somewhere that AVN is predicting a shake-out in the industry. I think that shake-out is well underway. The days of simply putting shit on a DVD with some half-decent artwork on the outside of the packaging are over or soon will be. Ponrtrepeneurs are going to have to become cagier, more imaginative and technology-savvy, if they hope to survive. If the trend of less available cash in the production pool continues, it will eventually translate into lower performer rates and fewer quality performers coming into the business. Quality products with an eye towards the latest technologies will  be the most important part of a successful business plan. Yeah, sex sells and it always will sell. But it’s become harder to sell because so many are selling it. I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t predict the future but my gut feel is that changes are a’comin! Big changes! And it will come in negative ways for more than a few.

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October 25, 2006

World Modeling– RIP

According to the real Luke Ford, World Modeling will soon be no more. The news represents the end of an era although, in my opinion, World Modeling’s era ended some time ago.

I always liked Jim South. We butted heads — butted them hard — but, for me, it was never personal. Our head-butting resulted in us terminating our working relationship. That happened in the late nineties. Before that, I routinely used Jim’s girls and, for years, I paid thousands and thousands in agency fees to him. That was back when producers and directors paid a flat fee of $65 for every cast member that was signed up with Jim. That included almost every performer in the business except those few who were signed with Reb or with a couple of rogue, suitcase pimps.

I used to go to World’s offices about once a week and look through the polaroids of the new girls. There were codes on the info sheets that gave you a pretty good idea of what the new, aspiring, porn stars would and wouldn’t do. There were also girls hanging around World’s offices and lounging on the couches daily. These girls were either actively looking for work or just  hanging out at World, killing time between gigs. Just about every day, Jim led a porn posse up the steet to Hamburger Hamlet for lunch; I’m guessing that’s a tradition that continues to this day.

My non-relationship continued with World until I made a movie for VCA called The Sopornos. I wrote, shot, directed, and edited that movie and it did pretty good for VCA. Some said it did better than “pretty good.” It was also, according to Russ Hampshire, VCA’s then owner, the first movie in two or three years, including in-house-produced movies, to pass VCA’s tough QC on the first pass. That was enough for Russ to decide Rob Spallone (who was my partner and producer at the time) and I would be making more movies for VCA. Russ stepped in and attempted to mend the rifts that existed between both Jim and myself, as well as Rob and Jim South who had their own, tumultuous past. As a result of that meeting, Rob and Jim became good buddies. As a non-result, there was no meaningful improvement in terms of my business relationship with Jim. (Note: Since I wasn’t a fly on the wall when Russ met with Jim regarding these matters, I have no idea what was or wasn’t discussed in terms of my non-relationship with Jim. I only know what resulted, or should I say, “did not result,” as it pertained to me.)

Still, I feel a twinge of melancholy hearing that World Modeling will be no more. So much has changed in the world of smut since the late-nineties. It’s not the same business any longer. It no longer has a family feel to it and hasn’t for quite a while.

In my opinion, World didn’t keep up with the times. Jim tried to keep doing business much the way he always did business and it simply didn’t work. I’m guessing Jim hoped his long-standing relationships, coupled with loyalties from friends and associates, would keep World on top. I’m also guessing that was poor judgement on Jim’s part. Yeah, there was a time when loyalty meant something in this business. But that was then and this is now. I’m not saying loyalty counts for nothing. I’ve counted on a few friends and business associates who have been loyal to me. And they have been loyal just as I’ve shown loyalty to them. You know who you are. But those people are few and far between. There’s certainly not enough of them these days to keep anyone’s business afloat.

Good luck, Jim South, with whatever you do. I hope your 31 years in the jizz biz was rewarding enough to allow you to comfortably ride off into the sunset. Maybe you could buy a house in Hawaii, play poker with the natives, and trade gardening tips with Russ?

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October 24, 2006

The Great American Leper Colony

First off, let me unequivocally state that what I’m about to write is NOT an attempt to put down, razz, taunt, or show any sort of contempt for the porn biz. I’m a member of the club — hopefully, in good standing — and I’m simply thinking out loud here… cyber-loud.

For the last few years, porn pundits, as well as many pornographers themselves, have used almost any opportunity to shill this concept of the Mainstreaming of Porn. I’ve been guilty of it myself on more than a few occasions. Personally, I think it’s a load of crap. Just because porn now receives a lot of never-seen-before exposure through traditonal mainstream outlets doesn’t mean that porn itself has become mainstream. To the vast majority of people in the world, pornographers are like social lepers, freaks, and carnies, and that hasn’t changed. And for many of those civilians out there who are aware that an awful lot of porn is created and shipped from the San Fernando Valley’s West-side, the West SFV looks to them like one, big, porn-leper colony.

The real question is, is that a bad thing? Again, personally, I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s a good thing and it’s what has made porn more popular than ever before. The more the public is told by their so-called Moral Leaders to avoid porn, the more they want to experience it. Yep, people want to experience what they’re told they should shun and avoid. That’s human nature. If and when porn ever becomes truly mainstreamed I’m guessing many of us are out of a job. On the flipside, if the government passed some total porn-prohibition legislation, porn might be back to selling for ten or twenty times what it sells for now, just like it did back in the day.

I’ll use actual lepers as an example since I’ve already done so metaphorically: If I were to make and distribute a product called “Faces of Leprosy,” there’s a good chance it would sell and sell pretty well in spite of the disgusting imagery it would contain! Remember that gruesome series of videos called Faces of Death? It didn’t do too shabby in the marketplace. Again, it’s about people being drawn to things that their moral conscience tells them they should avoid. I think that explains why so many practicing Christians, including pastors and such, are drawn to porn. I’m sure this concept also applies to those people looking for kinkier and kinkier stuff on the web — possibly illegal content — to satisfy their craving for the unusual and bizarre even when that content might be gross and disgusting to experience. With that kind of stuff — the harder and possibly illegal stuff — people are like moths drawn to the flame. And, for those who purvey that sort of content, I suppose that’s a good thing for them… commercially speaking.

Another human trait is the need to be accepted and to command respect. That’s what drives so many pornographers to embrace this Mainstreaming of Porn concept. “I’m not a smut peddler, I’m an adult film distributor.” Again, I’m guilty of this myself.

But there’s a real dichotomy going on here, especially between attitudes and actions: On one hand, pornographers want to be perceived and accepted as providers of a legitimate entertainment genre. On the other hand, they continually and determinedly quest to produce content that comes as close to illegitimacy as possible. (Short of going to jail.)

So don’t be misled by porn pundits into believing John Q. Public is accepting us as legitimate, mainstream, entertainment. Thankfully, they’re not. And they’re completely aware that we are, still, a bunch of dysfunctional, social misfits. That’s why most of the public condemns us to social-leper status. It’s also why they buy our products in record numbers and why the real mainstream people are giving us more exposure than ever before. When it comes to those “real mainstream” people, however, don’t confuse exposure with acceptance.

Okay. I’m done thinking out loud here. If you’re still reading, thanks for your patience whether you agree with me or think I’m totally out to lunch.

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October 23, 2006

More Internet Scams

Internet scams seem to be migrating from places like Nigeria to places like the U.K.

Probably most people have received emails from supposed lawyers and others in Africa advising you that some large amount of money awaits you  in Africa. Now, it seems, many of these scams are about bogus paper and they’re coming from Europe.

Here’s one I received today:

Dear SIR/MA,

Would you like to work online from home and get paid weekly? MILLER TEXTILES needs a book-keeper in the states, so I want to know if you will like to work online from home and get paid weekly without leaving or affecting your present job? It’s just that I presently run a textile and fabrics firm I inherited from my late Dad in the UK and we need someone to work for the company as a representative/book keeper in the states.

My company produces various clothing materials, batiks, assorted fabrics and traditional costume which we have clients we supply weekly in the states.

My clients make payments for our supplies every week in form of Money Orders, which are not readily cashable outside the United States, So we need someone in the States to work as our representative and assist us in processing the payments from our clients and we will pay him/her wage.


Our payments will be issued out in your name and you get them cashed in your bank. Deduct your weekly salary and forward the balance to the company via Western union money transfer.


Here’s what’s going to a happen if you sign up for this deal: You’ll be cashing or depositing bogus paper in the form of checks or whatever with your bank where you have a good relationship. You’ll get credited with the money or take the cash. Down the road, the bank will figure out the paper was bogus and you’ll be on the hook for the amounts you cashed or deposited– that includes what you kept for your “salary” and what you sent back to them. By the way, many of these latest scams are a result of postings you might make on sites like Craigslist.

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October 19, 2006

“Holy Hottie” Airs in U.K.

I recently worked on a show for the U.K.’s Channel Four called “The Holy Hottie.” Channel Four is similar to Fox, here in the U.S.

“Holy Hottie” is a documentary about Heather Veitch and her JC’s Girls.

Bill Day, the producer/director of Missionary Positions (The XXXChurch documentary) was also the producer, director, and editor for this 1-hour show.

Your’s truly is featured in Bill’s Channel Four, “Holy Hottie,” documentary, plus I shot second-unit camera for some of the show’s steamier stuff and provided a few other services.

According to Channel Four, “Holy Hottie” received a 9% share of television households for its airing. That means 1 in 9 people in Great Britain (who were watching the telly at the time) were tuned in to the “Holy Hottie” broadcast. Not bad for a documentary, no? Word is, Channel 4 is very pleased with these ratings. Congratulations Mr. Day!

I also hear Heather isn’t too happy about the “steamier stuff” I shot. It consisted of 4 or 5 models, naked and semi-nude, shot on a set made to look like a strip club environment. While it included nudity, it didn’t go further than that. I should also mention that full nudity is fairly common on British national television.Bill and I have some other projects in the works which involve various aspects of the sex trades that might end up on Channel Four. I’ll keep you posted on developments.

Heather has a whole bunch of other projects on her plate, including a reality show and a possible book deal. It seems porn is sometimes more rewarding for those only indirectly involved rather than those who make their livings from it. Some might say that’s God’s way of rewarding the faithful, others might say it’s the nature of the media beast.

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October 16, 2006

Playing With Fire

People say you’re liable to get burned when you play with fire. And although things got pretty damn hot in the studio, no one got burned playing with this fire… Jada Fire, that is.

Sunday , I spent all day playing with Jada Fire. Actually, the truth is, the day’s lucky meatpuppet (John West) did the playing and I did the video and photo shooting for this newest volume of Anarchy’s best-selling, interactive, Playing with… line. This time, as you’ve probably already figured out cuz you’re all real smart, the show’s star is Jada Fire and the title of this newest interactive sex-fest is Playing with Jada Fire.

I’m not going to pimp this show with ridiculous hype. I’ll freely admit that no envelopes were pushed nor did we take porn to new levels. It was simply a day spent shooting basic, in-your-face, interactive, meat-and-potatos-and-anal hard-core smut. With, of course, much attention paid to detail and a vivacious, beautiful, and sexy babe working her ass off to give the viewers their money’s worth.

It was my first time shooting Jada even though she’s been in the biz since the late nineties. How’d that happen? I certainly don’t know. But once Jada and I each figured out we’ve each been around this biz for a fair bit of time, it was instant comraderie. That’s how it usually works.

Jada’s just plain beautiful. The camera loves her. The meatpuppets love her. Heck, I love her. No Diva crap. She arrived on-time and ready to go and, throughout the day, she was a lot of fun on the set. Shooting this line is a long day working through a lot of content. And that’s after about three-hours shooting glamour and pretty-girl images with multiple wardrobe changes.

I’m guessing Playing with Jada Fire will be popular with both Jada’s fans and fans of the series. There’ll be plenty to enjoy in this DVD including tease, two separate solos, plenty of BJ action, multiple “P” and “A” positions, a healthy facial, and a behind-the-scenes interview that begins while Jada’s still wiping the Cream of Man Soup off her pretty face.

Look for Playing with Jada Fire to release before the end of the year.

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October 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Jessica Drake!

It’s Jessica Drake’s birthday! I don’t know how old she is and, like they say, a lady never tells, but she still looks as fine as frog’s hair in spite of adding another year to her chronological status.

My good pal, Robert “Mister Rogers” Lombard, alerted me to the auspicious importance of this day with a special request that birthday wishes be extended to Jessica on this, her special day.

That’s what I like about writing this site. I get to be a mini, cyber, Make-A-Wish foundation with stuff like this… plus, it costs me nothing but a few minutes of keyboard time to bring so much joy to so many. I’ll bet Jessica woke up this morning and the first thing on her mind was a wish and a hope and (dare I say it?) a dream that she’d be seeing birthday wishes coming her way from the simplyjimmyd.com website. Who wouldn’t? Right?

And even if Jessica wasn’t thinking about receiving birthday wishes from this site when she awoke from her slumber this morning–as unlikely as that might be–Mr. Rogers certainly woke with the hope that Jessica would be seeing a birthday wish on this site.

That’s the most personally statisfying part of all this– Wishes for wishes, like Jessica’s and/or Lombard’s, are all within my power to grant!

Personally, I’ve known Jessica for 3 or 4 years or so. I don’t mean I’ve known her in the biblical sense, altho who wouldn’t, right? But what I do know is she richly deserves the best birthday ever!

So, from all of us to all of you, Jessica, Happy Freakin’ Birthday!

BTW, the kindly Mr. Rogers sent along the picture I’ve posted along with this update. It was snapped a few years ago while celebrating an earlier, Jessica Drake, birthday. I don’t know exactly when and where it was taken, although I have a general idea, but it was before Ms. Drake graced Wicked Pictures with her scintillating presence.

Anyway, I’ll say it again: Happy Birthday, Jessica!

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October 13, 2006

Thought for the Day:

“When fascism comes to America, it’ll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” –Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (1922)

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October 12, 2006

End of Days for Playboy?

Here’s two news items regarding Playboy Enterprises. The first is a snippet from SmartMoney.com published about 5 months ago. The second is in today’s news.

Are we witnessing the “End of Days” for Hefner’s once-mighty brand?

From SmartMoney.com, May, 2006:

Playboy hasn’t signed a new pact with DirecTV, (CEO Christie) Hefner said, leaving unclear whether it would lose more channel spots to other adult-content providers. Privately owned competitors Hustler Magazine and Penthouse Television are gearing up to enter the video-on-demand cable market, with Penthouse TV slated for a June launch.

“Playboy could lose another channel or two,” says Dennis McAlpine, president of independent research firm McAlpine Associates in Scarsdale, N.Y. “They had five. The good news is that it’s too early to tell — they don’t know how badly it’s hurt them. It’s not just DirecTV. The other stuff is going to hell, too. The magazine is a dreadful performer.”

Lower advertising and newsstand sales for its flagship magazine caused a 13% decline in quarterly publishing revenues to $23.5 million. Playboy expects to report a 16% decline in ad revenues year-over-year for the second quarter.

From today’s news, as reported by Yahoo Finance:


“Playboy has shut down all of its adult movie brands,” says New Frontier

–PR Newswire

BOULDER, Colo., New Frontier Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOOF - News), a worldwide producer and distributor of general and adult- themed motion picture entertainment, today announced the start of a day-long celebration honoring the Company’s victory over Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:PLA - News). Earlier this month, Playboy announced the cancellation of nine of its adult pay-per-view networks.

“We’ve consulted industry experts and believe that this is the most extensive network shake-up in the history of the multi-channel business,” said Ken Boenish, President of New Frontier Media, Inc. “Playboy has shut down all of its adult movie brands, replaced them with complete startup services, and expects cable and satellite operators to simply go along. We think this is a great opportunity for distributors to reconsider their adult strategy and switch to networks with proven performance.”

Since the launch of its first network in 1998, New Frontier Media services have replaced Playboy services in more than 60 million network households. No Playboy service has ever replaced a New Frontier Media service in a U.S. cable household.

In documents released to affiliates earlier this month, Playboy announced the discontinuance of the following network brands effective November 1, 2006: Spice, Spice 2, Spice Hot, Spice Live, Spice Platinum, Hot Zone, Hot Network, Hot Net Plus, and Playboy TV Classic. Playboy’s Taste of Spice and Spice HD were cancelled earlier this year.

New Frontier Media’s subsidiary, The Erotic Networks, has grown from a standing start in 1998 to over 126 million network households today. The Company’s careful focus on operator requirements has made it a consistent performance leader.

“We believe we approach the adult business from a smarter perspective,” said Mr. Boenish. “Today, we feel that even our competitor has acknowledged this point.”

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October 10, 2006

Dave Cummings’ “From the Trenches”

I don’t often print Dave’s monthly “From the Trenches” column. Not because I don’t think Dave has important stuff to say. And not because I don’t like Dave– I think Dave is about the coolest, nicest, swellest guy in all of Porndom. In fact, I don’t know why I don’t reprint Dave’s monthly… probably because others do so.

But this month I’m compelled to make an exception because what Dave has to say this time is unbelivevably important: It’s about next month’s elections.

Here’s my take on it: If America doesn’t vote some of the current people out of office (Yeah, I’m talking about the Republican majority) and send a LOUD AND CLEAR message to the other liars and deceivers currently in office, this country deserves what it gets! Never in this nation’s recent history have so many lies, so much deceipt, and such shameful practices been so prevalent and so PUBLICLY PROVEN to be exactly what they are: Lies and deceptions.

Here’s Dave:

We’re almost down to the wire. Will we continue to have to endure what I feel is a form of terrorism from certain whacko religious radicals and/or their legislative cronies, or will America succeed in sending them the voter’s message on November 7th that they need to stop meddling in our private lives and Constitutional freedoms, especially concerning Adult Entertainment? Please join me in the push for voters to stand up and be counted, and for our leaders at all levels of government to fully understand that they indeed need to halt attacks upon the separation of church and state.Speaking of politics, adult actress Mary Carey is running as an Independent Write-in Candidate for Governor of California. I think a strong showing might make politicians in California and throughout America hesitate to automatically cow-tow to the religious whacko folks who are so loudly and vilely attacking citizen rights to adult entertainment. So, let’s try to maximize voting for Mary Carey!

Recently, I was asked to address students at San Diego State University about the need for them to be involved in voting and political awareness. My speech was coupled with introducing Mary Carey at an on-campus campaign rally, one covered extensively by local and national television media. Governor-Aspirant Carey laid out her platform, expressed her feelings about proper government, and adroitly handled a variety of questions from the media and students. One recent graduate in attendance opined to me that it was the largest rally he had ever experienced on campus. I sensed that many students are becoming alarmed about politicians who pander against the right to privacy and the right to access and enjoy gentlemen’s clubs, adult Internet entertainment, and adult films.

One last thing about voting and political awareness—please go to ww.freespeechcoalition.com and browse the site and the many helpful links to items of interest to citizens of these great United States!

As I was out jogging on the beach this morning in San Diego, my mind wandered to fantasizing what it might be like to have adult actresses and actors more and more accepted in the mainstream political world. Can you imagine the support someone like Nina Hartley would garner if she ran for office—heck, many voters grew up with her as their special masturbatory fantasy. Nina is one very smart woman, someone who could actually win and govern superbly. I’d even lobby to be her Chief of Staff (I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and 25 years Army/government experience in leading/managing, and in staff roles). Maybe Ron Jeremy, a gentleman who also has college degrees, would even consider running for office. I know the aforementioned was a only a fantasy while I was jogging (I usually think about sex, so today’s fantasy was intellectually special), but mainstream politics needs folks like Nina, Ron, and others of us!

Interestingly, I recently played a Senator in a sex scene with 19-year old Riley Mason for a Kick Ass Pictures production. The plot evolved around Riley being a constituent who wanted to convince me to vote against certain legislation that she opposed. Suffice to say, Riley was very sexually seductive. If I was a real Senator and had sex with her, I’d certainly be attentive to her ideas; and, I certainly wouldn’t let any whacko religious radicals threaten me with a cut-off in campaigning monies, or a rebellion of voters from amongst their church congregations.

Seriously, I’ve come to think and feel that the religious radicals are sometimes as un-American as the terrorists!!!! We need to shut down their hatred by voting out their political supporters, and voting in challengers who won’t invoke radical religious crap into their governing.

God bless us!

Dave Cummings

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