Industry News

Derek Hay Writes Me with an Open Letter to Jeff Mullen

NL- I have seen and read the e-mails that Derek talks about below.

Star Wars – An Agent writes back Part 2, – The Sequel –  (Not The Press ReleaseXXX)
Op/Ed by Derek Hay

Wow – Mr Mullen – you have drawn me out into public territory – that almost never happens and I am well aware that I am fighting on your battlefield.  Sometimes one has to fight for what is right in the court of public opinion – once in ten years may be too much for me – but there you go – you have succeeded.

May I say I feel alone and naked – like David against Goliath but I shall arm my slingshot and you best cover your eyes.

Where does one begin,  – well let’s start at the beginning and simply respond to each of Mr Mullen’s charges,

Firstly – it was his Blogging on a well known gossip industry site that caught my attention and that I considered both unjust and most self serving.  He had asked me if he could cast one of our better known actresses in a role in Not Charlie’s Angels for which she was available and for which he was quoted a standard rate for this actress almost identical to that for which she had appeared for Hustler on a 3 day feature – I Dream of Jeanie just a week before. Mr Mullen rejected this rate, declined to hire the actress and went on to publicly criticize myself and my agency for not agreeing to low ball her down to the price point he wanted.  He continues to do so and ponders whether I even offered her the role. It is none of his business. I am her registered licensed agent and she hires me to act on her behalf with her trust in my professionalism and experience to decide and negotiate in her best interest for her career advancement.

How pompous and inflated of Mr Mullen to assume in early March that his movie is destined already to be the movie of the year? What I wonder does Wicked, Digital, et al, think of that? How ironic also, that this very same actress in question is now in Miami in a first time production for a large TV studio –  (discretion prevents me saying more as I am not sure how much they wish to be publicly known,)  – for which she is earning a significant modeling / acting fee. One that would cause Mr Mullen’s finest press release pen to disgorge great blobs of ink all over his copy paper,  if he were to learn it’s actual figure.  Though now I fear this causes me to digress too far.

Nonetheless, there is not a doubt in my mind that – this actress fully supports my decision to place her there, and not with Mr Mullen’s movie.  Again, career advancement. 

None of these issues relate to the general economic turndown with which our industry has been affected alongside every other. That is a red herring tossed out by Mr Mullen to confuse the issue. Modeling rates have been affected by this turndown in our industry – but what we are discussing here is not the hiring of actresses that may carry significantly higher rates above the norm but those that are reasonably standard. Mr Mullen’s budgets do not allow even for these. – oh no – they are always as previously stated 10%  – 20% below this. 

And as previously stated this has always been the case. From their first beginnings through all their success (and awards) almost never has a budget come out of that studio that allows the actresses to be paid their normal going rate.  He even has the audacity to cite two of LADirect Models brightest stars as thankful to have appeared in his movies. Hum bug.

He hires Kagney Linn Karter when she was the girl of the moment – the new girl of the year already, and believe me we had to work hard to get an agreeable rate for her for that, and Tori Black the same.  Whist every other studio recognizes these two outstanding models for the quality they bring,  Mr Mullen believes they should be thanking him for casting them, and that he was responsible for their awards at the end of the year. Good god man, – how delusional can you be? They are two of the most deserving, hard working and popular models in the business today and that’s why you wanted them, and that’s why they won awards not because you put Kagney in one movie. She gave you the star power that you needed to help make the title a success. Not the other way round.

And here’s the sting in the tail of that scenario – folks – here’s the dirty little secret behind all of this. You hire Kagney Linn Karter, or Tori Black, or Teagan Presley or Eva Angelina to be the star of your movie and you pay them their rate – or close to their rate anyway – it’s still a toughly negotiated deal,  and then you impress upon the younger newer starlets that you have these bigger name girls in the movie and use that as the ammunition to convince them, “ well if these stars are in the movie, then it’s good for you and you should be too and you’ll be missing out if you don’t etc etc. “ – so work for us for less.

And let’s look at something else while we’re at it. I was fortunate to be in a movie that won lots of awards,  both for the movie itself  and for several of its individual performances, in fact I was fortunate to win an award myself, but I shall not trumpet that, – it starred Jesse Jane, Belladonna, Jenna Haze, Katsuni, Riley Steel, and many others, – it was called Pirates 2 and it was made by Digital Playground. And I can tell you something about that movie, – to the best of my knowledge, not a single actress / actor was beaten down on their talent rate despite the incredible cost of that movie. And that movie had a record breaking amount of publicity and won a slew of awards, and it was fully expected that it would, but do you think it ever crossed the minds of those producers to suggest to their cast that they might work for less than was reasonable for the roles asked of them, because of either of those things –  well – I can tell you they did not.

No doubt there are many more examples,  but I can state that Mr Mullen is alone in this industry in his belief that posting the names of his cast in a barrage of press releases warrants a reduction in the talent fee from them.

Finally on this particular item – let us review Mr Mullen’s own words,                                                                – “Sometimes it is not always about making the most money each day.  Ask anybody standing on that stage when Flight Attendants won the Best Comedy award in Las Vegas if they would trade that experience for $300 or even $500?  Or anybody from Not the Cosbys XXX to trade that moment for a few hundred bucks. ..  Ask Derek if that has any value? “

Well – as we know X-Play has enjoyed considerable success  over the years and I do not discount nor discredit the hard work and dedication that has achieved that – but to say it’s not always about making the most money each day, should better read – its never about making the most money any day.” Because never – despite all the success and the expensive sets and the awards,  have they ever decided to pay talent simply the going rate for whomever they may choose to cast. Never. Without fail no matter the level of star it is always less than the agent or the model values herself and most definitely less than is the norm from other studios.

Here are a few other items for readers to consider, in no particular order>

1.     Jeff Mullen did recently bring a model to LADirect for which I am grateful and for which I informed him that I wished to pay him the standard $500 referral fee. He had already at that time posted the Blog criticizing me for failing to provide him the actress at $300—below her regular rate – so I wrote to him and reassured him that I would be sending him that fee, despite this – but that perhaps he might be inclined to spend $300 of his $500, on this actress so that she could appear in his movie.  Mr Mullen accepted the $500 but declined the offer to part with the $300 for the actress in question.   : ( E –mail attached for verification of veracity.)

2.     During  his piece Mr Mullen mentions the name of one of LADirect’s  biggest stars – I shall not mention her name,  (though she read my response to his Blog and agreed with every word of it,) for I don’t know if she would thank me for identifying her here. Nonetheless, a while back,  this big star took some time out and had a child and her return to the industry was much anticipated. Just prior to her readiness to begin work again – Mr Mullen proposed an offer to her that he would handle her press at a fee of $4,000 per month and that rather than actually pay him this princely sum she could work it off by shooting free scenes for him.

$4,000 dollars per month! – when the norm for press officers is between $750 and $1,000 per month. Thus, we are led to believe that Mr Mullen is the Messiah of the press releases and worth his weight in gold in that regard and you should absolutely pay him a colossal fee for that – should you choose to hire him – but none of the female film actresses that actually make these movies worth buying and attractive to the consumer,  are worth the same.

3.     Direct Models was asked and we sent I think at least ten models to cast for Not Charlie’s Angelsxxx. In fact so dedicated was our effort in not only sending models but sending models who were really castable in these fairly specific roles that both Jeff and Scott thanked us for our effort. Some other agencies had sent models with English accents and other unsuitable talent – (obviously the Angels are American) and they appreciated our effort.  However, how many models do you think they actually cast from Direct – that is correct, none. Well one – but again – she was offered $300 less and we declined as well known documented by now,

 I think Bree Olsen was already cast before casting began to be honest and since this is an Adam and Eve movie that is most understandable and she’s a phenomenal talent.

4 .  Initially Mr Mullen wrote a derisory Blog about me and my agency for falling to agree to hire to him a very well recognized actress for less than her usual rate – to which I replied and posted that reply on LADirect News. Then he had the affront to offer one of our actresses $500 for a B/G scene causing me to send out that same reply through our talent E-mail data base. And he is upset about that? Mr Mullen would now like to tell me what and when I can communicate with our own talent? Holy Smokes,  there are some rules in adult I was not aware of. I am not supposed to keep informed our own talent about matters that acutely affect their daily working lives. I think not Mr Mullen – I shall communicate with them when and wherever I please.

And let’s move on to this offer of $500 for a B/G scene, that was the catalyst for me to send this out to our talent in a sort of,  enough is enough – this has to stop, reaction.

Now the whistle is blown on this derisory offer – Mr Mullen would have us believe the following:

Under no circumstances could he afford the additional $300 for the very well recognized and popular ‘star’ that he wished to have in the movie. This, even after I reassured him that despite his nasty Blog he would still be receiving from us his $500 referral fee for the model he recently brought to us.

But out of the kindness of his heart for this cute little blond who he holds in great affection,  like some sort of Florence Nightingale – he created a special slot for her,  adding a girl to a B/G scene to make it B/G/G  and for that he can afford to pay her $500.

Amazing – yes indeed reader s- amazing,  because it is complete and utter BS.

The girl in question – was beside herself insulted that she had been offered $500. Her usual rate is twice that,  which is fairly standard. How do you think it feels to be offered half your rate?

5.     At the fear of boring you dear readers – because posts such as this from me – are rare indeed, I shall mention just a few more items.

We have a junior agent here who has been helping us out recently because one of our senior agents has suffered some ill health and mistakenly he booked one of our well known male stars to Jeff for NotCharlies AngelsXXX for $100 less than his usual rate. When first I saw it,  I thought he had been persuaded by Jeff to do this – but upon investigation discovered this was not the case and it was a simple mistake on the junior agent’s part. Of course after reflecting on the irony of this occurring under the present circumstances,  I communicated to Jeff that we would honor the lower rate as it was our error,  – and Jeff wished to book the same actor for a second day on the movie which we booked at his usual rate. Thus we begin to see how truly insignificant it is – this $300 that he refused to  pay the star – he first wished to cast in the movie. He has already made back $100 by our error as well as $500 for his model referral yet cannot afford the $300 for the ‘star’.

6.     Let me tell you how this whole system works typically – Jeff and Scott call up and say we’re doing this  parody that parody whatever it might be and can you send these actresses to cast.

And so we do, and what happens is the ones that they really like, they sit them down and regale them with tales of press releases and awards, and standing on the stage with them and parties,  and so on, and how marketing is so important etc etc and convince the young adult film star that she should work for them for less than she normally does. Then they phone us and say – we’d like to book this model and we already spoke to her and she has agreed that instead of $X amount of dollars that everyone else pays her, she will work for us for $Y amount of dollars which is less, and sometimes significantly less.

 And we will say no.

And they will reply – well she really wants to do it and it should be up to her and not you – you’re only her agent and we have already convinced her that she should, because she loves our marketing and parties and – etc etc,  etc  –

So now – we won’t send models to cast at their office because we know that they will do this – we will only have them meet models at our office or if we send an agent to go with them, because negotiating rates is the agents job,  that is the whole reason that actresses employ an agent in the first place just as we employ doctors to make us healthy and attorneys to take care of our legal problems.

Here’s the bottom line:

LADIrect Models is a shop – just like any other shop, and what we sell is actors and actresses specialized in the field of acting in the adult entertainment industry. Jeff and Scott want to purchase at our shop but they don’t like our prices. So they do everything they can to get our products for less,  using a these unscrupulous methods to do so.

I buy a cup of tea every morning at StarBucks on my way to work. Recently they raised the price of my cup of tea from $1.65 to $1.95. Why? Did the price of hot water suddenly go up? No. Crrazy right? But if I don’t want to pay $1.95 I can go to 7 – 11 where the tea is much cheaper. It’s up to me. But you know what I don’t do? I don’t stand in StarBucks and argue with them about the price of their tea, I don’t berate them about why they should sell me tea for less. I either buy from them or I can choose not to. Why should it be any different in the adult business? Why is it the agents fault or the models fault that the rates that the models want for their work is higher than X – Play wishes to pay? It isn’t of course – and therein lies why there is a serious issue with X-Play.

There are now twelve licensed talent agents in Los Angeles, that’s right twelve (12). So if Jeff and Scott don’t like the prices that the talent at LADirect command, then they can go and shop elsewhere. But you know what – they want the talent at LADirect because it is good solid professional talent and names that will sell movies, and that’s why they want them,.  Well then pay the actresses what they are worth – no one’s asking for any more than their normal scene rates, we haven’t even asked for more for your incredible long days, just pay our talent what is fair in the market place.

And i would imagine that every actress whether LADirect or not in an X-Play movie is now asking herself – am I getting my normal rate for this movie or not – or was I persuaded to work for less because of  ‘press releases’? And every other actress is looking around the cast wondering who’s working for scale and who’s working for cheap?

In conclusion – let me also say that I respect  Jeff and Scott a great deal for their dedication to their craft and their success, – I think Jeff may now regret that he posted that nasty little blog as this has blown bigger than he could ever have imagined.
But if talent is now more aware of how hard agents work and why we do and say the things we do,  which is all for their best interest,  then  something good may have come of this,
We cannot be models – they cannot be agents, together we work best in cohesion for their careers.
This will be my last public post on this subject – I hope you enjoyed it – come back in ten years for my next one,
Peace Jeff – I hope you make a great movie.
Regards – Derek Hay – Owner – LADirect Models.

(NL- Jeff if you wish to respond please send me an email and I will post it.)

You Might Also Like