Jordan's Hardcore Rules for Success
An unbelievable beginning — but true!
And no less fascinating.
Then, about eight years (and many vicissitudes) later, Jules started his own company, Jules Jordan Video (JJV). And he hit the ground running! Since its inception in 2006, JJV has been expanding non-stop as it markets/ distributes the ever-popular, ever-profitable productions of such respected gonzo directors as Mike John (“POV Pervert,” “No Cum Dodging Allowed”), Erik Everhard (“Outnumbered,” “Innocent Until Proven Filthy”), Chris Streams (“Oil Overload,” “Dirty Rotten Mother Fuckers”), Alexander DeVoe (“Black Ass Master,” “Deep In Latin Cheeks”), Chris Rolie (“All Internal,” “Give Me Pink”), as well as hybrid gonzos from Brazzers (“Big Tits A+ School,” “Mommy Got Boobs”); straight-on gonzos from performer- turned-directrix(-but-still-thankfully performing!); Jenna Haze (“Cum-Spoiled Sluts,” “Sexual Blacktivity”), as well as veteran performer Gina Lynn (“Ultimate Feast,” “Drowning In Bitch Juice”), while also, more recently, handling the marketing and distribution of movies from auteur Vince Vouyer’s new company Vouyer Unleashed (including “Titty Sweat” and “POV Junkie”).
And, of course, Jules Jordan Video naturally handles the in-your-face all-sex productions of its own creator/owner/CEO, Jules himself (including the popular “Flesh Hunter” and “Ass Worship” series).
“They don’t work for me,” Jules reminds us of the producers/directors under the JJV umbrella. “They own their titles, and we distribute them and use our sales force and sales network to get their products all over the world.”
Jules Jordan Video is now simply one of the biggest and best porn companies ever! An amazing outcome from most humble beginning — but true!
And no less provocative.
The 37-year-old entrepreneur, originally from Pennsylvania, began his whole porn odyssey as, like many of us, a fan.
“In 1994,” Jules relates in casual clothes (sweat shirt and jeans anchored by tennis shoes and topped with baseball cap) all in the comfort of his grand, voluminous office on the second floor of a modest-looking headquarters in Van Nuys, “I was a fan and probably the best customer at this one video store. Then one day they offered me a job, probably thinking that since they saw me so much, why not hire me? Anyhow, I ended up getting a job there when I was 22.
“I did, in fact, take general-ed courses in college, but rather than take the college path, I chose the path to make money. I didn’t want to be 23 and in debt. So I chose porno,” he adds with sincere laughter.
Jules accepted the part-time job (processing new releases that came into the video store), which, after a few weeks, became a full-time position, which, after a few months, shifted from clerical to managerial work, whereby he actually ran a number of a the company’s video outlets.
And, thanks to his newfound manager’s job, Jules was soon able to sock enough money away to eventually purchase a camcorder, which (being a hardcore fan of hardcore movies…and a full-blooded American) he used as an instrument to bed attractive girls on film — or video, to be more precise. He obtained his female models by putting ads in weekly newsmagazines, as well as haunting strip clubs in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Jules produced, directed and (why not?) performed in these early amateur scenes, frequently handing his recently purchased camcorder to a photographer friend who knew how to compose shots and operate the machinery.
“It was a real guerilla-type effort to find talent,” Jules almost wistfully recalls. “There was no Internet at the time. But I was pretty successful. As one example, I discovered porn star Devon, who went on to sign contracts first with Vivid, then with Digital Playground. Because, see, I just didn’t want to shoot any street hooker that I came across. I wanted to shoot quality girls.”
Jordan successfully sold his scenes to Odyssey Group, when amateur movies were the new rave back in the mid 1990’s. In turn, after attending several East Coast Video Shows (once a highly popular trade event in Atlantic City), Jules met various porn directors from California who were willing to purchase more of his hot cinematic efforts.
Consequently, it wasn’t long before Jules quit his managerial job at the video outlets and went to work for Pleasure Productions in New Jersey, selling adult movies during the day to video stores for wholesale, whilst directing original porn titles during his free time. Some of Jordan’s series during this time included gonzo lines the likes of “New Breed” and “Live Bait.”
Recalls Jules: “It was kind of cool because I had two jobs under one roof. So it was interesting to see the difference between retail and wholesale; plus I was getting into production. So I was getting quite an education.
“And after that I thought it was totally feasible to become a full-time director. I thought, ‘Hey, I have an in!’ So I quit Pleasure Productions to come out here to LA. And, I mean, I didn’t have anything. I just moved out here with $2,000 in my pocket and a packed-up Mitsubishi Eclipse. I was even sleeping on the floor. Unfortunately, the people with whom I thought I had an in, they all cooled off on me and basically closed the doors in my face. This was around 1998, when DVD was beginning to really make its mark alongside VHS.”
Lady Luck was not totally out of the picture, however.
Several months later, none other than the company he’d earlier quit miraculously bailed Jordan out of his dire situation. The owners of Pleasure Productions purchased Rosebud and decided to start an office in California. Jordan was in the right place at the right time. He was able to reconnect with Pleasure, spearheading the opportunity by becoming head of all Rosebud Productions, whilstlso handling some sales. As a result, he directed such well-received porn lines as “Bottom Feeders” and “Heavy Metal.”
Then Jordan started regularly running into none other than gonzo-meister John Stagliano at various East and West Coast trade shows.
“I was a huge fan of John Stagliano’s work,” Jules sincerely states. “He was a big influence on me because I really learned camera angles from watching all of the early John Stagliano/Buttman movies, as well as the Evil Angel movies shot by directors like John Leslie and Joey Silvera.
“And after I’d met John Stagliano a few times at various trade shows, I’d occasionally send him my tapes; not to try to sell them to him but just to get an opinion. And after I started making movies for Rosebud, my work really caught his eye, and he invited me over and asked me if I wanted to do a deal. This was around 2000.”
Jules left Evil Angel in early 2006 to, as we began our story, begin his own incredibly successful porn empire, Jules Jordan Video.
So what is the “Jordanian” formula for success?
Well, some of the rules are basic ones — passion for one’s work; dedication; delivering a premium product; not compromising one’s price for that same superlative product — while some are a bit less basic. You’ll find them all out soon enough.
XBIZ: So tell us, Jules, what exactly are the criteria for working as a director for Jules Jordan Video?
JULES JORDAN: I look for people with a track record of putting out quality product which they’re completely behind, as well as people who are true pornographers. I’m not just a businessman — I’m a pornographer. All of the directors at Jules Jordan Video are pornographers. We all believe in what we do. Obviously people have to arrive on my radar somewhere, and there are definitely a lot of shooters out there — but not a lot that are worth doing a deal with.
XBIZ: You seem to have weathered the recession fairly well. Let’s talk turkey, though: How has this economic downturn affected you?
JORDAN: If we compromised our price in 2006 — which is when I started this company — we’d be in a bad place right now. But we’re still moving a ton of product because we’ve kept our price. And if there is a downturn in sales — which everyone has experienced — you can weather it when you have sound business principles. We’ve chosen to align ourselves with quality producers who shoot quality product, and there’s always a demand for premium product. The one thing we’re challenged with is stores that are spending all of their money on companies that are dropping their pants and selling stuff for a dollar. But eventually those stores will be so diluted with that cheap product that such material will die out, and there’s not going to be a profit margin.
Also, there are a lot of popular studios out there that aren’t what they used to be — or are perhaps even non-existent now.
XBIZ: Would you say that such business shrinkage and, in some cases, fallout is due to the possible fact that these same entities didn’t adapt quickly enough — or at all, in some cases — to unavoidable changes in the porn environment? Changes such as, say, the Internet?
JORDAN: I just don’t think they were pornographers to begin with. They were just businessmen. I mean, if you love what you do, you stick with it — for life. My goal was never to make money. My goal was to live comfortably. But if you do something you love and never compromise yourself from a business standpoint, then success is just down the road.
XBIZ: What makes a premium product to you? —good looking girls in a well-shot movie with plenty of anal sex?
JORDAN: I think all of the above. And you can easily tell who spends $10,000 on a movie and who spends $40,000 on one. I want to pack our movies full of the hottest sex, things you haven’t seen these girls do before and/or pairing them with people whom they haven’t performed with before. I want our movies to be an event, in some form or another, every time they’re released.
XBIZ: What did you learn from working at Evil Angel?
JORDAN: Well, by the time I got to Evil Angel, I was pretty much immersed in many aspects of the business. I’d experienced everything from being a fan, to working for a manufacturer, to working for a distributor, to doing retail, to doing production, to performing. I actually learned more from John (Stagliano) about shooting, just from watching his movies.
XBIZ: Are you very handson with the box cover art foryour company’s titles?
JORDAN: Totally. I mean, that’s my main hands-on thing: the artistic integrity of everything that comes out of here. Certainly there are some instances where you have one killer shot which you can get away with on the box cover. There was, in fact, a trend years ago with Red Light and Platinum X, where you had just one picture of a girl on a box cover. My general philosophy, however, is: I want six reasons for someone to buy this movie, not just one. And I’ve always been a fan of the Evil Angel style of covers. So I always use top Grade-A quality girls, and if I use just one girl on the cover, I feel horrible because there are those other five or so girls in the movie who are so hot that they need to be on the cover, too. And if I had to choose just one girl, I’d never get anything out because I’d be racking my brain so hard. (laughs)
XBIZ: You also have quite a few websites. When did you realize that Jules Jordan Video needed to have more of a presence on the web?
JORDAN: When I started the company in early 2006, I wanted to keep up with the times as far as marketing our websites with an affiliate program, a really effective promotional tool. Getting people that have traffic on the Internet to promote your stuff was becoming more and more important, and I wanted to get our product out there to kids who’d turned 18, 19, 20 and who might not know what Jules Jordan Video was; college kids who maybe weren’t going out and buying DVDs but instead were buying website memberships. Those are the people whom I really wanted to become familiar with our product. So I ended up going with an Internet company, which has a strong, affiliate program and a lot of partners sending them traffic. And it worked out really well.
And, of course, one of the many nice things about the Net is that if you want a scene to get up in advance, it’s easy to get it up quickly, as opposed to waiting for a DVD to get edited, replicated, authored and all of that stuff.
XBIZ: So tell us, how would you describe a typical day in the business life of Jules Jordan?
JORDAN: (laughs) It really depends on the day itself. I get up at 6 or 6:30 a.m., take my dog for a walk, go on the Internet, take a shower, get out of the house and try to be at the office by 9. Life, as we all know, has many challenges. I mean, I have a million bills to pay, two houses and so many things that need to get done, that it’s really hard to prioritize. But my one priority is getting to the office every day and at least putting some time in here. I try not to have too many assistants. So I end up running here to get camera stuff and/or running there to pick up wardrobe for shoots.
I have a general manager who solves a lot of my problems, but, as just one example, there might be an issue like “This customer hasn’t paid us for 120 days — what do we do?” Well, I have a personal relationship with these people, but I also have to make an executive decision on occasion. Do we cut these people off? Do we work out a deal with them? Do we keep shipping to them? How do we work out the situation? So, my day is 1,000 percent problem solving. The only days that I’m really focused on one thing are when I’m shooting. And it’s really hard to juggle all of these hats. The biggest challenge now is having an office with 20 people and trying to be creative at the same time.
XBIZ: So what would you say are the pro and cons of this business for you as a porn director/business owner?
JORDAN: Well, the pros are shooting movies, having fun, making the money and being comfortable; most importantly are having a good time and releasing a good product. The cons are really dealing with office issues. It’s a lot of work when you have 20 employees or more. You gotta sign checks, you gotta worry about the IRS, you gotta worry about the government coming in and taking everything you have. There’s a lot of liability associated with being a big company and a big player in this business. We have salespeople, secretaries, a general manager, warehouse people, editors and other employees working here, and I’m responsible for putting food on their plates. I just want them to know that I’m out there doing everything I can to make their lives the best that I can.
Actually, I would never have envisioned the company getting this big — but we have; so much so that sometimes I almost wish that I could go back to the days of shooting for Evil (Angel) where all I had to worry about was booking girls and shooting scenes. (laughs) But I wouldn’t trade what I’ve accomplished here for anything.
XBIZ: Technologically speaking, what do you think the future holds for our industry, Jules?
JORDAN: The future involves anything that doesn’t require a consumer to go out and purchase a tangible item. (laughs) I mean, I have julesjordan.com, which is my membership site and on which all of my content is available for downloading. And eventually I think everything is going to be available through the Internet and downloadable right to your home television set.
But I also believe that as long as there are sex toys out there, DVDs will be an impulse buy. As long as there is some type of sexual, tangible item in stores, I think DVDs will exist. It sucks that Blu-Ray didn’t take off. It sucks that technology kind of smacked head-on with the economy. I’m always for crisper video quality. And we have been successful in the Blu-Rays that we released. It just didn’t take off huge. But, hey, who knows what the future still holds for that area of technology? I’m still all for brick-and-mortar and a distribution model for DVDs. We’re still very successful in that area; in fact, we’re doing great with them.
XBIZ: Anything else you’d like to add, Jules, before we sign off?
JORDAN: Well, for 2010 I’m going to be starting a new line of movies, a new company with a new vision. It’s going to be called “The Ass Factory,” and it’s going to be all-anal all of the time and involve contributions from various directors. I mean, you might see a movie with scenes that are all directed by me, or you might see a movie with a scene directed by me, as well as other directors under the Jules Jordan Video umbrella and/or people outside of our company. Different themes, different feels, all adding different vibes. I think it’ll be something new, interesting and very exciting for 2010.
XBIZ: Sounds great. On the subject of themes, the parody genre is quite big at the moment. What’s your take on that particular niche?
JORDAN: I think it’s great that all of those people are doing parodies. Why? Because these are guys who shouldn’t be shooting all-sex gonzo movies. So I welcome them to do their thing. I think it’s good for the stores, too — another gimmick. I don’t think parodies have a long shelf life, though. At Jules Jordan Video, we’re about serious porn, not parodies. We’re all-sex here. That’s what we do. I also think we’re going to be one of the last companies standing because we stand behind our product and believe in what we do.