His recent triumphs include "The Da Vinci Load," "The History of Porn" and "The Perfect Date." A common theme running through many of Tanner's films is the easy, natural fun of simple, unforced human comedy. Film reviewer G.G. Johnson, posting in a forum at AdultDVDTalk.com, reminds the world that "Jerome Tanner has been making some really great, fun and sexy features" that deserve all the success they have, in fact, enjoyed. "You won't find pirate ships or see helicopters blown out of the sky in his flicks, but you will get lots of humor and hot chicks."
Most telling is that those who've worked with him — actors, actresses, crew members, producers or corporate suits — all have good things to say about this very private, very meticulous filmmaker. When Tanner signed "one of the greatest whores of our time," Brianna Banks, to a nine-picture deal in late 2000, Banks said she was "thrilled" to be working with the award-winning director. "I think Jerry and I are going to do some amazing work," she told Luke Ford at the time. "People have been asking me to work with midgets, vampires and wrestlers. It's good to finally work with someone who knows what they're doing."
The votes of confidence in Tanner's directorial skills come from all quarters, expressed in a multitude of ways. Putting its money where its mouth is, LFP is set to begin shooting what Jeff Hawkins, senior vice president of Hustler Video, calls probably the biggest-budget film the company has ever gotten involved in. The feature? "Aphrodisiac," which headlines LFP contract star Memphis Monroe. The director? Jerome Tanner.
"It is a real privilege for me to be working with Hustler," Tanner says. "I am grateful for the support that [Creative Director] Drew Rosenfeld and Larry Flynt have given me and the confidence that they have shown in me." Adult entertainment is an intimate and insular business and the gears of its production machinery are driven by respect. Tanner has acquired mountains of it during his career. XBIZ spoke with Tanner about how the future is shaping up so far.
XBIZ: What's your camera of choice?
Jerome Tanner: I work with the Sony HDWF900 hi-def camera. I'm able to get a "film look" with it, and it records to tape. And I still use a still camera but just for location scouting.
XBIZ: Your productions can be quite involved, with tracking shots and novel camera angles. What kind of equipment is involved in getting these shots?
JT: When I'm shooting, I use dollies, cameras, jibs and rolling tripods — whatever is necessary. Sex scenes, of course, are all shot with handheld cameras.
XBIZ: Reviewers consistently comment on the texture of your films — the look, the light, the colors. How do you translate what you see in your mind to the screen?
JT: Lighting and set design are crucial to all my productions. I use all manner of light sources, and the particular one that I use depends on the mood of the scene I'm shooting.
XBIZ: How does it feel to get firmly established as a director, whether with Legend or now with LFP? How does your stature affect the work you get and how you do it?
JT: Well, my budgets have certainly become more substantial lately, allowing me to have most of what I need — and even some of what I want.
XBIZ: The Sony HDW-900 is one of the better audio-recording cameras available. Does it do the job well enough to eliminate the need for automated dialog replacement (ADR)?
JT: I do not have the luxury of ADR, which is quite costly. I record everything live using a boom and hidden remote microphones. The Sony gets the sound, and it sounds great, too.
XBIZ: So, what about editing and post-production. I know you work with others on these steps, on a Macintosh, but what is your software of choice?
JT: I edit with Final Cut Pro.
XBIZ: Tell our readers about your new LFP project, "Aphrodisiac."
JT: What makes this film so special is its nearly 50-page script. It's not just a series of scenes, so I get to tell a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. And it is extremely well written, too. "Aphrodisiac" has a tremendous budget for set design and wardrobe, and my ace in the hole is star Memphis Monroe, for sure — along with an amazing cast that includes Evan Stone, Manuel Ferrara, Daisy, Jasmine Byrne, Eva Angelina, Lee Stone, Missy Monroe, Naomi, Mia Bangg, Steve Holmes and the incomparable Frank Bukkwyd.
XBIZ: OK, now for the famous bottom-line question we ask every director featured in this column — are you a gear-and-gadget guy away from the movie set?
JT: I love and respect my creative equipment, but I do not have an iPod or a laptop computer, if that's what you mean. I do have a big-screen plasma TV and brand-new U.S. and European phones. Oh, and I'm very proficient at text messaging.
XBIZ: What's next, personally and professionally? Where are you now, and where are you headed?
JT: I've been working on a script called "The Witches of Chatsworth" that I hope to shoot in Hungary next January. At this stage of my life, what I really want to do is shoot movies with the kind of budget that I have for "Aphrodisiac" because that allows me to be more creative and produce a very high-quality movie. But the main reason I keep doing what I'm doing is that I love it. It doesn't feel like work to me, you know? It feels like fun.