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Alec Knight: Skills That Pay the Bills

Alec Knight: Skills That Pay the Bills

January 21, 2011
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" Knight had eight “pretty good years” as a full-time animation pro, a traditional 2d storyboard artist, working for Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network and the “Family Guy” series. "

It is not uncommon for porn directors to act, too, or for actors to become directors (including great ones). Some industry pros also work in multiple behindthe-scenes roles, such as marketing and sales. Alec Knight, however, has a skill set that is unique, in that he is an art school graduate with both traditional 2D and computer design skills. With the tough economic times, his breadth and depth in two very different areas has kept him working as others abandon the industry for cosmetician training, cell phone sales positions or whatever jobs are available.

Knight grew up in Missouri, which is divided into “St. Louis and the other part. I’m from the other part, a little Mayberrytype town with one street light.” He freely admits to being a “Southern boy” with all the stock car racing and great food that it entails. His first culture shock was likely when he attended art school in New Jersey. His second was when he “moved out here in 1997 and got a job with Sony Pictures doing ‘Ghostbuster’ cartoons.”

A QUICK STUDY IN TWO ART FORMS

“In animation you get laid off a lot,” Knight confides, so at the urging of his ex-wife he took a porn job — “and people started calling me after that.” As traditional animation started its decline (“I’m not a CG guy”) Knight started taking more acting gigs. In one of those quirks of fate, it opened up new art and design opportunities.

“I did the animation sequence for Axel Braun’s ‘Batman XXX [for Vivid],’” Knight says, “and was happy to do that, as it was a pretty big deal.” He says it will take a lot of work (and time), but Knight’s dream is to “merge the two art forms, taking porn stars and drawing them as comic book characters, where those action sequences fade into live action.” In the meantime, he continues to work in supporting roles, and has no ego problem not being a lead actor. "There are lead actors and then there are the ‘porn props’ that are the other guys,” Knight quips. “I’m cool with being one of the other guys.”

SPREADING THE ACTION

Knight was most recently cast in the soon-to-bereleased inaugural production from a new production company, CEA, entitled “Here Cums The President.” It is said to be “a historically accurate film parodying the sexual deviance of some the most well-known Presidents of the United States of America,” according to the firm’s publicity releases. Still, Knight spreads his action and his skill set around to ensure that he is working enough to take the occasional “mini-vacation” to places like Sedona, Ariz., where he was hiking and communing with nature when XBIZ reached him for this interview.

“I’m an animation pro and am still doing graphic design for different people,” Knight says. As traditional animation began “dying out,” he found himself “falling in and out of porn,” and has cobbled together a variety of gigs that can get him through the ups and downs of the adult industry. “It’s always changing, so that’s always the same,” Knight says of the porn business. “Parody is still big now, and I did the “MASH” flick [for X-Play/Hustler] and it was great,” but Knight is smart enough not to bet on anything long-term in this fickle environment.

SURVIVOR STRATEGIES

Knight’s is an instructive tale, however you slice it, and it emphasizes the point that more skills (as well as a professional attitude and demeanor) will get you more work. Keeping one’s ego in control helps, of course, as the experiences of Hollywood character actors attest. A “star” might be hot for a minute or a month or a year, but those familiar faces in supporting roles can work for decades if they have the chops and show up on time. When you’re a steady, dependable performer as well as a talented artist, you can carve out a nice niche in this business.

“The porn industry is dying down right now,” Knight observes, although he is confident there will be a rebound — of some kind, at some time. “When I started I was working every day, now I feel very lucky to get a few shoots a week,” he says. Still, Knight is working with both of his pro skill sets, and is a good example of how to survive in a turbulent economy and a changeable industry. He probably never thought getting into porn would make him a role model, but it has. Anyone who wants to weather the porn industry storm would be wise to develop additional skills, like the estimable Alec Knight.


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