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Chris Streams: Working Class Biker

Chris Streams: Working Class Biker

August 17, 2008
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" One thing reviewers forget is the guy making that $29 DVD purchase. That’s a lot of money for the average person to spend. But the reviewers get the movies for free and then sit there and go, “That’s only three stars.” "

For a director who has lifted his acting and directing credits well into three digits in pretty short order, Chris Streams hasn’t given many interviews. Once he gets going, though, it is clear that he can talk forever about this business, about filmmaking, about art and commerce and the sweet spot that exists somewhere in there for good porn.

This guy really likes what he’s doing.

Streams is pointing his camera now for himself via a distribution deal with Jules Jordan Video, having come up through the years with Fallen Angel, Zero Tolerance, even a Metro title along the way. It’s not easy to drop Streams into a single category, and there are enough eclectic elements at work in his films to counter any claim that he’s just the latest adult auteur to do the “glossy hardcore” Robby D shtick. One of those elements is surprise; another is fun.

And what, exactly, is fun? For that matter, what’s sexy, provocative and enticing? What’s hot? What should a Chris Streams flick be about? “At the end of the day,” the unassuming Streams says, “I shoot what I would personally jack off to.”

Notwithstanding the fact that his days are too busy to allow for much of that, either, he still knows enough to follow his instincts.

It all comes down to this: Get the concept, get the script, get the talent lined up and get the job done on time, on target and on budget. And do it like your life depended on it, because, in this business, it does. This simple formula is why Streams is working all the time.

XBIZ spoke with the do-it-all director in late June, as he was getting set to shoot Brittany O’Connell (“doing her first scene in years”) on the set of “Dirty Rotten Motherfuckers 2.”

XBIZ: You’ve been around at least a decade now, but even many people in this business don’t know a whole lot about you. Does “low profile” translate into “longer career,” in your estimation?
STREAMS: It’s just the way it worked out. I’ve been lucky to work with a number of great people, and I learned a lot. I came in as a kind of hardcore biker guy and wanted to do biker porn. So I shot this movie with bikes and bikers, in the late ‘90s. I ran into Luc Wylder of Fallen Angel, and he wanted to distribute it.

XBIZ: Were you a performer first, who then moved into directing?
STREAMS: Now, see, that’s what everybody gets wrong. It all happened at the same time. Luc wanted to distribute the movie, but it only had four scenes. He says, “I won’t put out any movie without five scenes.” My interest in acting had everything to do with getting that flick released and distributed, because right after that I jumped right in. I’m working away with Luc and Fallen Angel, then I make this beautiful movie, something like “Andrew Blake meets Private,” that was called “Eye of the Beholder.” I brought a longtime friend, Pat Myne, in to do a scene, and it reminded us how much we liked working together.

XBIZ: And that started a whole chain reaction, right?
STREAMS: When Pat saw the trailer, he immediately took it over to show Robby D, who says, “Hey, this is good, check that camera work, dig that natural color,” all that kind of good stuff, and he asked who all was doing it. Pat told him it was one guy, just me. Now, Pat knows a good thing, too, and he just tells me, real simply, “OK, you’re my boy, let’s do this thing.” Since then, coming up, it was 100 percent calculated and planned out. We just got totally busy.

XBIZ: By “busy” you mean you were in front of the camera, behind the camera — everywhere, doing everything, right?
STREAMS: “Everywhere” and “everything” about sums it up. Crazy times, but good ones, too. If there was a problem with anything, like dialog, lighting, scenes, whatever, I was “a secret weapon” for lots of companies.

XBIZ: Hollywood used to call them “fixers.” Will you tell our readers what your favorite cameras are, both video and still?
STREAMS: For video, I’m absolutely a Sony guy. I’ve jumped to other cameras a few times. I switched to the Panasonic HD when everyone said I just “had to do it,” but I have always come back to Sony, whatever is latest and greatest. They’re the best. For still shoots, I am just as much a diehard for Canon.

XBIZ: A lot of people have seen your still photo work without even knowing it, right?
STREAMS: No kidding — I shot a ton of box covers for Third Degree and those companies.

XBIZ: Tell our readers how a still photo “sensibility” has affected your video work.
STREAMS: Still photography teaches you to see, and also to project. I mean, I know how I want things to look, and I don’t want that over-lit, “porn looking porn,” that blown-out and overblown kind of imagery. Now, the other side of that is that I really like Michael Ninn, and that whole body of work, and it shows in the way I dress the girls, the way I try to create some kind of organic whole that hangs together and just plain works. But at the end of the day, it’s porn, so I shoot what I want to jack off to.

XBIZ: Tell our readers what you think about all VOD, all the time. The Internet has captured porn, it seems.
STREAMS: Hey, didn’t we hear this already? I remember 10 years ago it was all about having an online gallery and a house with 60 girls and 100 webcams. Today when the subject comes up, it’s all about conglomerates doing something big and huge, and I just don’t think that big companies can continue to make good porn.

XBIZ: Oh, boy, the old “art versus commerce” argument rears its ugly head.
STREAMS: Well, OK, I’m a realist, I know there’s money involved, and companies have their place in all this. Still, individuals make movies, and they have to be free to do that. Now, without trying to sound like a company man, that’s what I love about Jules and what I always loved about John Stagliano — they let me do my thing.

XBIZ: Are DVDs dead then?
STREAMS: I hope not, but I think so. As an “old dude,” I like something in my hand when I plunk down my money. The idea of a file on a computer that can get trashed? I don’t know. Frankly, I’m hoping that Bluray will give us a shot in the arm. Because of the Internet, everyone is shooting one-on-ones and shooting in warehouses to save every penny they can. This biz is crazy right now, just freakin’ crazy.

XBIZ: Beyond the standard shelf signs — “Gonzo,” “Features,” “MILF” — how can you describe “your thing” to the end users? Do the reviewers help or hinder you in that communication to and with the viewers?
STREAMS: One thing reviewers forget is the guy making that $29 DVD purchase. That’s a lot of money for the average person to spend. But the reviewers get the movies for free and then sit there and go, “That’s only three stars.” But since they don’t pay for it, there’s no consideration of its real-world value to the buyer. It’s like playing poker with matchsticks, where you can make any bet or do anything, because there’s no real value one way or the other. And reviewers forget that we, the filmmakers, have to make a living, too, and that not all of us own our product.

XBIZ: What’s ahead for you? What else do you want to say?
STREAMS: This is the most I’ve talked about myself to anyone. I don’t do a lot of this. But I respect this business and I’m grateful to it, and the people in it. The future? Well, there are things in my head that no one has seen yet because the handcuffs haven’t come off. They will. I have some unique projects coming soon. Jules always tells me, “Be a pervert first, and a filmmaker and businessman after.” See, that’s what keeps me making product that people want. The life and the work are great, but for this little porn world to keep spinning, at the end of the day I need that fan to buy that movie. That’s the person we’re working for. If you forget that, well, just forget the whole thing then.


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