Corbin Fisher: Straight Talk With a Gay Eye
To the many thousands of gay content fans, the name Corbin Fisher is synonymous with high quality, all-American amateur performers.
And although die-hard fans may know that many of the company’s performers are not only gay and bisexual and there are also some who actually consider themselves straight, it may come as a surprise that Corbin Fisher has been shooting content across all genre lines since its inception more than seven years ago. And the company, which won Gay Site of the Year at the 2011 XBIZ Awards for the flagship CorbinFisher.com, marks that diverse content as a core contributor to its success.
So who is Corbin Fisher and why has the company hit 2011 hard with an unorthodox yet effective anti-piracy announcement, a brand new, 15,000 square-foot production facility complete with a professional soundstage and post-production facility in Las Vegas; and the launch of new bisexual and straight websites?
The genius behind the company and the real “Corbin Fisher” is the company CEO and founder, Jason Gibson.
According to COO Brian Dunlap who has been with the company for more than five years, Gibson started the site Amateurcollegemen.com while shooting in his basement and motels in the Midwest. That eventually grew to include a headquarters in San Diego, production and administrative offices in Florida and this year the opening of a new building in Las Vegas that Gibson said will probably contain the entire operation.
But today’s success didn’t happen overnight. Dunlap said the company has been built on just a few key principles that it follows to this day that include attention to detail and producing high-quality productions. He maintains that this is what keeps loyal customers and word-of-mouth brings in new members every day.
Dunlap says, “The inspiration for the company came when Jason saw that most gay content being shot back then was missing a few essential elements. He realized there were plenty of gay scenes but very little high-quality, genuine models and knew instinctively that there was room for that type of content. He then decided to shoot hot guys in pleasurable situations — not cheap or sleazy, but at the same time believable.”
And the market responded. Despite its notoriety as a top gay company, many of the performers in its productions are straight guys, according to Dunlap, and that adds to the appeal. He says that nearly all of the talent that’s recruited fit the model of the “uber-hot college athlete” in looks, but their sexual proclivity is not the main consideration.
Dunlap explains that men who want to perform in Corbin Fisher’s scenes and films transcend their sexual gender and are more interested simply in the sex, regardless of whether their partner’s a man or woman. He said that when the shooting begins the company’s directors try to capture the “passion and interaction” of the couple. Unlike many hardcore films, Corbin Fisher says it’s built its reputation on the interaction of the performers rather than the body close-ups and cumshots.
“It goes beyond getting the performers to do something they would not normally be inclined to do, if for example they consider themselves straight, but more that they are really enjoying the sex. When this is captured on film it reminds viewers of the first time they had sex and it’s hot as hell. That’s what’s important and that’s what comes across in the productions and makes us different,” Dunlap says.
In fact, the company may be on the forefront of establishing a new approach to producing adult material that focuses more on the sex than on the category, gender or main attraction of the talent. Dunlap says his company is finding that it’s not only gay men who are purchasing its content but also bi-curious men, straight men and a considerable amount of women.
The company has produced a coffee-table book of photography that includes an introduction which describes sex as a beautiful thing in every adult context without segregating it into particular preferences.
The COO quipped that he often describes the company’s content as “gay porn for straight women” explaining that the feedback from women indicates that they simply like to look at good-looking men and their passion involved in the sex.
It may seem difficult to recruit young amateur men to work in gay films, but Corbin Fisher scours the country for new talent and pays very well. Dunlap says that many models can earn thousands of dollars per scene, have stipends and model friendly contracts with minimum payments that offer long-term work and great careers.
And this new zeitgeist also makes money for the company. Where an orthodox gay site might only appeal and market to the gay audience, Corbin Fisher — by virtue of its wider appeal and concentration on the quality of the sex performance — is cutting a broader swath across all adult lines.
Dunlap says that a typical user who might join AmateurCollegeMen.com and AmateurCollegeSex is only a click away from GuysGoneBi and the company’s newest addition, straight site, CorbinsCoeds. The onestop variety satisfies a large segment of its membership.
What also sets the company’s websites apart and fosters a loyal user community are talent profile videos where members get to know the performers’ personalities. Dunlap says that members have the opportunity to pick the talent they want to see based on things like awkwardness, shyness or confidence and they get to see their particular extracurricular activities.
“This is a huge part of what makes Corbin Fisher successful. Our members can relate to our models and contract stars like Dawson, Connor, Josh and Travis through their profiles. It’s another way of getting what’s really important in our productions across to the viewer, and that’s personality,” Dunlap says.
Aside from the glamour of filmmaking and the appeal of its models, Corbin Fisher’s real-world business savvy has contributed considerably to the company’s success.
At the start of the recession when most companies were circling their wagons and cutting costs to survive, Dunlap says Corbin Fisher realized it was the time to start investing in the future.
Although it saw a downturn in its explosive growth prior to the economic crunch, the company went on a hiring spree bringing on the best talent it could find in an effort to secure itself for the future.
“What we saw then was that customers were consolidating what sites they wanted in order to save money. We realized that our content was strong and our users were regularly satisfied so it was the time to build because we knew we would eventually emerge better off than our competitors,” Dunlap says.
The move paid off. Today, Corbin Fisher boasts a staff of more than 25 and it plans to aggressively hire staff for its newly purchased building that will house its Las Vegas studio.
Another strategic move included trimming down its affiliate program. Dunlap says that the company’s affiliate roster amounts to less than 10 percent of what it was four years ago simply because the company realized that most webmasters were not producing memberships the way they were years ago.
“Again, it’s our content that is our key. Most of our memberships come from word-of-mouth, bookmarked pages and SEO efforts so maintaining that open-door affiliate program just didn’t make sense any longer,” he says.
Besides its news about the new Vegas production facility and the addition of its CorbinsCoeds site, the company has made headlines regarding its unique, albeit unorthodox anti-piracy policy.
Instead of issuing a flood of John Doe lawsuits against content infringers that Dunlap said came with issues, Liberty Media Holdings, parent company of Corbin Fisher, decided to offer an amnesty program to poachers (that was recently extended) in an effort to balance and customer service while protecting the content, and according to Dunlap the effort is doing quite well.
The idea was born by corporate counsel Marc Randazza as a way to combat piracy that wasn’t “heavyhanded” and flattering to the industry as a whole yet protective of the company’s content.
“What we said was let fans appreciate our content legally so we offer amnesty and a one-year free membership to all those who admit and commit to stop pirating our products. But of course, if they violate the terms, all deals are off, but we’re confident that they’ll abide by the rules and pay for membership afterward,” Dunlap says.
As far as new plans, the company is not quick to jump on adult industry trends like script–driven parodies or 3D films. Although Dunlap said he’s open to the idea of 3D he has not seen great demand from users.
The company is planning to branch out and will continue to shoot boy/girl material, but gay amateurs will remain Corbin Fisher’s bread and butter.
“We are indebted to our core customers who want that type of gay material so it will remain our focus,” Dunlap says. “And as far as new types of productions, well, when you try too hard to elaborate on adult content you can be distracted from what’s most important — hot sex. It’s like putting too many unnecessary ingredients on good food — it takes away from the great flavor.”