I remember when you knew when you were getting fucked…………
OP/ED BY Mariah Milano
As many of you know I have been in this business since 1998 and have seen the massive changes from the companies on top to the stars who have come and gone and those who have left only to come back again. My father’s side of the family has been in the mainstream film business since the 1960s with both my grandfather and my father being scenics, otherwise known as specialty painters and then my father went on to open one of the top set construction companies for television and film. I used to hear him bitch about how undermining and conniving the film industry was and how he was “screwed so many times he should be in a whorehouse.” One of the things I always liked about the adult industry was that you usually knew who was fucking you and you got a pretty even shake at the end of the day. Not any more. Companies are basically colluding to lower performer rates due to their lack of intuitive initiative to have gotten on the internet wagon when they should have and now they are paying the price. Think about it. Hustler was one of the only big adult companies to have their foot in the door in the late 90’s when technology advanced to have streaming video in your home at high speed. Vivid ignored the advancement and in my opinion still do. They went with pay per view television rather than beefing up their online presence. Now they are existing on celebrity videos and being a Vivid girl means next to nothing anymore unless you’re Kim Kardashian or Shauna Sands. Look at any of their sites, circa 1997. The giants now are all online production companies and the old production houses are relics, even though I love to shoot for Wicked and the people there like Brad Armstrong are among my favorites, and to me still have the straight up business sense that once made this business great to be a part of.
Since my return to doing professional shoots in 2007 I have had my paycheck from Playboy bounce (that was in October of 2007 and they have never made it good!) and shown up to a shoot with one price quoted and when the shoot was done they said my ass wasn’t as big as they thought and they shorted me $1200 on my check, and my agency did nothing about it since they didn’t want to piss of Evil Angel who distributed the fucking assholes video line at the time. In the 240 movies I shot from January 1998 to December of 2000 I never got shorted on a check or was paid differently than what I was hired for. I only had 2 or 3 shoots cancelled with a $200 or $300 kill fee and in the last 3 years I have had more than 20 cancelled by the production company on short notice with no kill fee, which was a standard procedure in the past. Brazzers did pay me a kill fee this year because they had to cancel the morning of but only when I went into the office and demanded that they pay me a kill fee out of fairness and to cover the expenses I had taken on to stay an extra day out of town.
I recently spoke to Randy West who said he just couldn’t take the way things were run anymore. He could still make money even in his 60s. He shot a great product and everyone who worked for him will tell you he was respectful and paid a great rate for each scene. I can’t imagine that Jules Jordan still has the same passion he once had when he broke into this business as he’s had law suits with his former production company and the nonsense that he’s had to endure as the content theft and tube sites have robbed us all of our ability to create original products and be paid accordingly. I love Jules and we speak regularly and I think he still puts out one of the best raw products on the market.
The issues don’t stop at the production company level either. The performers have become as big of a problem as they have. The belief that you are a “movie star” with mentions on Entourage or being seen on HBO Late Night inflating their egos and making them nearly impossible to speak to. Yes I have a high opinion of myself and a big mouth, but not because people recognize me in public or because I get paid to show up places and party. Don’t get me wrong, when a 20 year old girl gets her first taste of success and fame it’s bound to go to her head. It’s hard not to let it, I know because it happened to me. I was making well over $20,000 a month my first year in the business and spent every dollar shopping and being stupid. But what about the veterans who have been around for a while? What’s their excuse for their behavior? Why is it that you can become a friend with someone and they stab you in the back when an opportunity comes along that they think might benefit them, which won’t? The desperation of some of the older girls in this business is sickening. They tell you one thing then go behind your back and betray friendships or don’t hold up their end of the deal with link trades or shoots or whatever. I know that getting traffic to your site is tough these days, especially quality traffic but I just want to know when burning bridges with successful people to get into bed with unsuccessful people became a solid business plan?
The conventions have become a joke, considering that there seems to be one every month now. It’s nothing more than a dick measuring contest with the big companies and an attention whore parade for the girls needing to be validated by their drooling fans. I am just disenchanted by the state of this business and the people in it have become too wrapped up in their own egos to be able to be loyal friends and do the right thing, even if it doesn’t move you to the next level.
There’s a great line from the movie Tommy Boy where Tommy is trying to sell a guy brake pads and they guy says there isn’t a guarantee on the box. Tommy says, “well I can take a dump in a box and slap a guarantee on it if you want me to but all I sold you was a guaranteed piece of crap.” That kind of sums up my opinion of the state of adult industry these days. The sites are awesome the video is HD and the forums are filled with guys proclaiming their love for their favorite stars, but if they are putting up tube sites and whoring out their content and undercutting the performer wages they are the shiny piece of crap with the guarantee on it, and no one has much of a choice but to make that deal with the devil.
I’ll put my numbers up against any girl who runs her own site, traffic wise and income wise, but personally I haven’t changed and I know it. Love me or hate me, I’m the same. I can’t say that about most of the girls I’ve seen come into this business in the last 12 years. I was friends, good friends, with a certain contract girl at Wicked and did one of her first shoots with her back in 1999 and now she acts as if she is a fucking Hollywood movie star. She is a valid porn star and has earned her success and I believe she is still a sweet girl down deep, but this facade of hers is sickening, especially since I knew her back in the day. She’s still ok with me but the better than everyone attitude is a huge turn off. Everyone asks why I moved to Florida and didn’t stay in the LA area where the industry is…I would bet my answer is the same as Bree Olsen’s when someone asks her why she still lives in Indiana.
I just would love to see the business go back to the way it was, when you knew who was sticking their dick in you and if you were going to be getting fucked in the ass at least you could get some lube out and prepare for being bent over. They say all things go in a circle and history repeats itself but I don’t see it in this case. I can only hope.
Here’s a toast to Randy West and Brad Armstrong and Larry Flynt and Paul Thomas and Christy Canyon and Bruce Seven and John Stagliano and the rest of the legit legends of this industry…. you’re legacy means so much more to me now.