Director's Chair: B. Skow, Rhythm & Flow
B. Skow told XBIZ he has entered a zone in his career that has taken him almost three decades to find.
Not unlike the twists in his diverse series of feature films, the journey to arrive at such a harmonious stage has been unexpected for the former mainstream photographer from Elizabeth, N.J.
“I feel so good about what I did this year,” Skow said, reflecting on his second full year directing movies exclusively for his namesake production company at Girlfriends Films.
While Skow used to photograph everything from national ad campaigns to A-list celebrities before porn, going to work in the morning has perhaps never been more enjoyable than it is today.
“I’m making something that’s really going to last a long time. I feel like it’s the beginning of something. And it’s moving faster than I thought it would to this point,” said Skow, who has been capturing images for a living for more than 28 years. “It’s like coming up with a product and all of a sudden everyone wants it but I can’t make it any faster myself. So we’re trying to figure that out too now, which is a great, amazing place to be.”
The seasoned shooter said he’s been inspired by the creative freedom that is the hallmark of any successful artistic endeavor, thanks in large part to the chemistry he shares with the Girlfriends owner Moose.
“Here I’m able to say, ‘hey Moose, I’ve got to take some time off to figure something out.’ And it’s ok,” Skow explained. “It’s more built around creativity here.”
Skow at the time of this interview said he had just wrapped something during the prior week and planned to take the next couple to focus on completing his new project with XBIZ Award-winning performer, Jessie Andrews.
“And get ahead on editing and box covers. We’re just getting finished with what we’ll present this year,” he added.
It’s that kind of professional space that is allowing Skow room to thrive in his 21st year in the adult industry.
“You have to let an artist be an artist,” said Moose, who acquired Girlfriends Films in January from its founder Dan O’Connell, who remains active with the company as a producer and director.
“You can’t tell them they’re done with it if they’re not done with it. And if we have to switch things or push things or wait until the last second to make it happen, you’re getting the best product with B. Skow.
“It’s also amazing how much he can handle too because the average person could not handle the workload. He’s working on a cover right now that we probably won’t see for another couple weeks. But I can’t wait to see it.”
Skow in October 2012 became the first director to ever release a movie featuring hardcore boy/girl sex scenes through Girlfriends Films, which made a name for itself by only releasing lesbian content until it rolled out Skow’s “Voila.”
That marked only the beginning of the company’s foray into boy/girl movies as now Skow also shoots his distinct style of gonzo porn for his “Skow for Girlfriends Films” label. The director at press time was preparing to unveil the third volume of his “Sexually Explicit” series that is built around realistic sex, beautiful tease footage, slick camerawork and strategic casting.
“With the gonzo, you have certain people doing it and doing the same thing over and over again. I remember it being the same way years ago,” said Skow, who directed more than 120 movies and shot hundreds of box covers during his tenure at Vivid before leaving the company in May 2012.
“I feel like it’s time to come up with something different right now. And people are interested in real looking things with the romantic element. You can’t reinvent gonzo movies, there’s only so much you can do with it. I just think most companies are putting out the same girls with the same guy.”
Skow, who has shot more than 50 projects for Girlfriends Films since he came aboard, said, “Girlfriends allows me to create different stuff that’s dramatic in a way that the regular person could relate.”
“But it’s still open and still lit. We’re just delivering it in a different way, trying it in a different way,” he said.
For example, Skow in the past year at Girlfriends Films introduced the “Beautiful New Faces” series in which he showcases the hottest rising stars in adult entertainment. Alina Li graced the cover of the first volume, while Keisha Grey landed the cover of the second.
The third volume will feature Lilly Evans, who signed an agreement with Skow for Girlfriends to only perform boy/girl scenes with them for an undisclosed amount of time.
“She’s a pretty girl and has made a name for herself and works every day as a girl/girl performer,” Skow said. “She doesn’t really want to do a ton of boy/girl… It’s little things like that you’ll see in ‘Beautiful New Faces.’ Contracts like that, girls that are comfortable doing stuff with us.”
Speaking of comfort levels, the 2012 XBIZ Best New Starlet and Best Actress, Jessie Andrews, performed the first anal sex scene of her career for Skow’s upcoming feature, “The Gardener.” Andrews, now a rising star on the DJ circuit who has scaled back her industry work considerably as she tours, reached an agreement with Skow that she wouldn’t do another anal scene for a year after her first one is released this month.
Skow said he approached Andrews with the script about a kidnapped girl and the agreement evolved from there.
“I told her ‘here’s the script, there’s an anal scene in it. Read it and if you like the idea, let’s do something’ and that’s how that started,” Skow said. “A lot of girls want to be in something original. A lot of people are struggling to do original stories.
“We put a girl in a feature and all of a sudden they’re in 20 features and have so many box covers right after.”
Skow said he built a trust with the talent agents that performers in his projects will be positioned for maximum exposure as well as showcased in a good light.
“A lot of the agents are trying to get me to put their girls in our movies now,” he said.
In the past two years Skow has emerged as one of the least predictable directors in porn.
This year alone he released “These Things We Do,” a dark, depraved story about a young psychiatrist that uses his practice to sexually torment his patients. He did “Silhouette,” which was another complex narrative that starts with a father who loses his wife in a tragic accident. Then there was this summer’s fast-selling “Proud Parents” about the daughter of a porn star couple looking to follow her parents’ lead by getting into the industry herself.
And in late June he released “Sweetness and Light” about a bickering couple and their odd path toward self-discovery.
“We’re not even sticking with anything. Whatever’s going on, whatever I see, whatever I think, there’s not even a formula to copy,” Skow said. “We’re just making original features that are based around sex, based around perversions. Based around fetishes. Based around what porno’s supposed to be.”
He said that when it comes to his gonzo product the ingredients start and end with “the right girls, the right shots, and making them comfortable.”
“The only difference with our stuff and everybody else’s is that the sex is shot better,” he said. “I think I have a way of getting people into that place.”
Business is indeed good for Skow and for Girlfriends Films, which started out in the early 2000s as an underdog but has steadily grown accustomed to their role as an industry leader.
That kind of leadership started with the founder O’Connell and is only continuing with Moose and Skow as a collaborative force.
“Dan opened me up as far as creativity,” Skow said. “Me and him have these big talks all the time. He really opened my mind up to let myself go and be ok if I have this thought to just put it down. If you think it’s ok do it. I never had that opportunity. Dan’s like a genius with that. He literally did what he wanted. Everyone said he’s really out there creative wise and he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met all around.
“He just supports stuff. He talks to you in the right way, leads you in the right way. Leads you out of going the wrong route. He’s just intelligent in that way.”
“Dan has grown a lot, too,” Moose said. “Just by being able to work and talk with [B. Skow], he’s growing and also pushing himself to do some new projects. At the end of the day it’s exciting. Every day gets better and better.”
Moose said he’s not married to a release schedule or bound to any one kind of content.
“We can do anything we want, turn it up and turn it down,” he said.
And Skow intends to continue to turn it up later this year as he revealed he already has the scripts completed for the second and third parts of his critically acclaimed “Daddy’s Girls,” the dysfunctional family melodrama that had the industry abuzz in 2013.
The original “Daddy’s Girls” starred Maddy O’Reilly and Riley Reid. O’Reilly played a blind 18-year-old girl on suicide watch after she was dumped by her father’s best friend and the man who forcibly took her virginity.
“There’s a lot of erotic things in the world,” Skow said. “Everything we do, every features starts with the sex. Ours are built around the tension of sex. It’s always about that.
“And I believe that’s the same as gonzo. There’s a consistency in everything I do. I’m a pornographer. I never try to be a filmmaker who just adds in the sex. I think that’s where our movies are picking up and really becoming something special.”