Will Ryder - The Prince of Parodies
Following the success of the “Britney Rears” series was a movie that changed his life, his fortunes and, arguably, the entire industry. It was “Not the Bradys XXX” and it caused an absolute sensation. Ryder and X-Play partner Scott David followed up with others, doing everything first class, from sets to wardrobe, scripts to casting. The world ate it up, and not just the porn world.
Joshua Alston interviewed Ryder last August for the Newsweek website, calling porn parodies “porn’s new Gold Rush.” Ryder and the movies got a lot more media attention, too, and sales have continued to keep pace with follow-ups spoofing “The Cosby Show,” “Married with Children” and other icons of 20th century TV. For someone who came to the porn business after 15 years in the music industry — a proficient keyboard player, he toured with such A-list artists as MC Hammer and the Backstreet Boys — Ryder has orchestrated a great career for himself. He’s not slowing down any, either, as XBIZ learned in late January, speaking to the busy director while he conducted auditions for an upcoming spoof of (what else?) “Charlie’s Angels.”
XBIZ: The industry was already in nine kinds of trouble before the 2008 economic upheavals. What it is taking to survive now, and is it perhaps a good thing that the economy kills off some of the bottom feeders?
RYDER: It takes quality work to survive, at least that’s what works for us. It’s not the economy that is killing off new production, it is free porn. I never like to see anybody losing their business but getting rid of some of the low budget producers might not be a bad thing in the long run — if there is a long run, and that is very debatable right now.
XBIZ: How are your disc sales as opposed to downloads? How fast are we headed to all downloads, all the time? Soon? Never?
RYDER: Our DVD sales remain quite strong, as we are one of the best-selling production teams doing business today. We have good VOD sales too through our deal with AEBN, but unless a miracle hits the industry, there may be a three to five year void before the new business model kicks in, if it kicks in at all, and that has yet to be determined. Most producers will be out of business in two years.
XBIZ: You work with stars and you still audition newcomers. What’s the mood out there among the performers? Up? Down? Both?
RYDER: Mostly down because there is not a lot of work for most girls and new girls are working only once or twice a month — unlike just a couple of years ago when 18-year-old cuties were shooting six or seven scenes a week. The top girls continue to work but not at the pace they once enjoyed.
XBIZ: Here you are with another director of the year award. Does getting awards translate into sales, or is it just more marketing copy?
RYDER: A bit of both. It doesn’t hurt sales to put a Best Comedy sticker on “Flight Attendants” or Best Parody sticker on “Not the Cosbys XXX.”
XBIZ: How many spoofs have you done now? What was the biggest seller? Biggest surprise?
RYDER: We’ve done about 15 or so. “Not the Bradys XXX” is by far our biggest seller and our biggest surprise because without that movie, I doubt that the porn industry would have followed our lead and started to make spoofs. This trend just wouldn’t have happened without that movie being such a huge success. “Not the Bradys XXX” would have repercussions throughout the industry that I could have never have imagined.
XBIZ: What else is working today as far as feature releases? Anything?
RYDER: Beyond my limited scope of vision I really have no idea what works for others. Porn is like rock ‘n roll in that there are so many wonderful styles and concepts and one man’s gold is another man’s junk pile and I like it like that.
XBIZ: What’s the future for this business?
RYDER: The porn industry as we know it is coming to an utter and complete end. It is both shocking and appalling that this once tremendous and vibrant industry is being brought to its knees almost as if it were cattle being led to slaughter. At first it was the pirates who pilfered copyrighted material and the protections offered by our federal government were ignored. Porn became something easily found for free by adults and by minors, yet those in power ignored intellectual property rights of the very citizens who put them in office and the result is more porn being consumed for free by more people than ever before.
Then came the companies that offered free clips in order to attract more buyers. I watched our industry embrace a number of tremendously trafficked free porn sites with the result being the cheapening of everyone’s product. The thought of giving anything away for free still boggles my mind but the cat is truly out-of-the-bag and I don’t think there is a successful end in sight, at least not in the terms that the porn or even the music industry thinks would be considered a happy ending. Everybody is in the same boat: We cannot compete with free. So with that said, I want to imagine a future where the porn is free but there are streams of income coming from old school business models like what television started in the 1950s that still lasts to this day. I highly recommend hitting the lifeboats because the Titanic has set sail.
XBIZ: Who do you see as bringing something new and exciting to the party?
RYDER: I think Drew Rosenfeld at Hustler has done a great job and their salesman David Diamond has pushed our product very well. For directors, I like some of the stuff that Axel Braun creates because he cares about his product with Hustler and now for his new venture with Vivid we will see what he brings forth — but I know it will be good. I also am a fan of New Sensations’ Lee Roy Meyers who also sweats the small details. There are a number of others that I appreciate but I don’t like the people who rip off their fans by making a shitty product and they all know who they are and I wish they would go away. The bandwagon jumpers are fine with me as long as they put effort into their work but unfortunately many do not. On the other side of the movie spectrum I actually appreciate a guy like Porno Dan who puts a lot of fun back into basic porn with his business partner Jim Powers. They are always having a great time and that is good for business.
XBIZ: And performers?
RYDER: Misty Stone is the most talented actress that I have worked with. She is gifted beyond words and will only get better as she straddles mainstream and porn. I’m not really sure if any of us are bringing something new to the party but we are bringing quality work.
XBIZ: Now, what are you doing with yourself lately?
RYDER: With all that I have said, it is still business-as-usual here. We still have a full schedule of movies in various stages of production including the big sequel “Not the Cosbys XXX 2” hitting stores in early February followed by the sequel to “Not Married with Children XXX” in March. We have a surprise Jennifer Lopez spoof which was blocked by a lawsuit for a couple of years but it was recently settled so that is coming out this spring around the same time as her big romantic comedy hits theaters. It is the first porn movie ever shot in front of the White House and is really quite entertaining. We also just completed a week of casting for our big Adam & Eve Pictures co-production with X-Play, “Not Charlie’s Angels XXX,” so we still are making expensive blockbusters even as we face down some ominous black clouds. “Flight Attendants” just won Best Comedy and the sales are really pouring in so that is good news and some bright sunshine to start off the new year. We also have “Not the Love Boat” hitting a bit later this year plus some other fun projects so there really is no rest for X-Play and we plan to be here tomorrow morning. I wish it could last forever because I am having the time-of-my-life making movies with beautiful young girls. Fans can check us out at www.sitcums.com.