The Lucky World of LT

Erik Jay
The monogrammed LT has a lot to say in this Director's Chair column, including some powerful insights into the "professional porn watchers" who, of course, pay a big chunk of all the salaries in the adult industry.

LT is a Chicago guy, first landing in Los Angeles back in 1986 by way of Oakland. He came to "make it" as a mainstream actor, did some television work in "Days of Our Lives" and "Cagney & Lacey," and got a bit of extra work in films.

It was back to Chicago for a time in the 1990s, but when he'd had his fill — "I'm not going to freeze and make no money, screw that!" — it was back to Southern California once again in 1997, still in pursuit of a mainstream acting career.

What that means, of course, is that LT worked security jobs, drove a limo and did whatever he had to, until finally landing a goodpaying gig — in construction. Then, in 1999, a chance meeting with Sharon Mitchell led to a "first timer" scene with her, after which Mitchell recommended him to Veronica Hart for a part in a Marilyn Chambers flick. He kept the construction gig, even living on-site at times before things started picking up. When LT had enough ongoing work, including bookings actually going out farther than a week, he went full-time.

"West Coast and Big Man helped me perfect my craft," says LT. "I wasn't getting rich on $200 or so per scene, but it was like a scholarship or work-study program."

LT believes that "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity," and he had yet another fork-in-the-road-oflife, make-it-or-break-it occurrence in 2006. He told his story to XBIZ at the end of November.

XBIZ: Chicago to L.A., back to Chicago, then Dallas, Las Vegas, L.A. again, working security, limos, construction, then breaking in and working your way up until — well, you take it from there.

LT: The big year was 2006. I went to a big awards show, because I figured I was supposed to go to big awards shows. In walked Patrick Collins and the Elegant Angel crew. It was a chance I couldn't pass up, so I explained what I was doing and what I wanted to do, being completely honest. I said I didn't know how to shoot camera yet, but that I had a lot of ideas, was a good performer and worked hard. Patrick gave me a chance. He set up a shoot and after waiting a few days I got the call. You know, "You got the gig." Awesome.

XBIZ: The lesson seems to be, "Speak up," wouldn't you say?

LT: It's not enough to have confidence. People have to know it, too. It's about attitude, but it's important to stay humble and teachable, too, and busy, of course. You don't have to work too hard at listening, because when one thing's wrong with your flick, people will tell you. As soon as I got my first bad e-mails and negative postings about a flick, that was it for me. I grew thick skin, so no more hurt feelings. But I decided I would learn from all of it.

XBIZ: Attitude is really key in this business, isn't it?

LT: With some of the up and coming girls it's really a problem, actually. Some will get this quick flash in the pan, and then want to know what's wrong when the flash stops working. You have to look in the mirror for those answers. People can see attitude — I mean, you can pretend all you want, but if you don't like anal, it will show and the fans will know. That goes for any role you play in this industry. People can smell fakes.

XBIZ: That means porn consumers, too, right?

LT: Especially them! It's important to realize that this business doesn't just have fans. It has what I call "professional porn watchers." These people are looking at product all the time, they know cameras and lighting and every extra's middle name, I swear.

XBIZ: Your scenes have tremendous energy, even edge, but they're never brutal or senseless. How do you get that vibe?

LT: I put the girls on pedestals. I don't like people smacking girls around, and I don't allow it. There ain't no foot on no girl's neck on an LT set, period. I won't stand for it. Guys who need to do that, I tell 'em, "Man, can you just let the girl shine for once? It's about them, not you." I keep that mindset when acting and I do it when directing, too. I'm just there, and neither the girls nor the pro porn watchers mind my being there because I don't overshadow the girls, you know?

XBIZ: How do you feel when people say the words "LT" and "awards" in the same sentence? Your name seems to be popping up here and there.

LT: Sure, it's cool to be recognized, but what matters is how many units you've sold. The sales figures are the best reviews, and all those written reviews are just opinions — and not even informed opinions sometimes. I've seen things in magazines, not XBIZ but those other ones, where I wonder if they even watched the video, you know?

XBIZ: How well do magazines and web sites cover the industry? How have you been treated personally?

LT: Until some magazines and their reviewers learn how to watch ethnic product and not be biased, I'm done with them, I don't owe them any favors. Now XBIZ doesn't seem biased in any way to me, gives coverage to the newcomers and little guys, and doesn't base coverage on a company's age or its ad budget — just what it's bringing to the table. I'll talk to XBIZ any time.

XBIZ: And we'll listen. Listening is one of your secrets, right?

LT: I'm listening all the time and get ideas because I do. I am always learning from the people who came before me, as well as the ones who took a chance on me. I stay up all night, just thinking, "What can this girl wear for this scene, what location works for that girl," all that. I don't pick just anything, not in any department. My locations, wardrobes, lighting, camera angles — it's all important stuff.

XBIZ: Any favorite camera? What's your vote on HD?

LT: I use different cameras for different scenes, 24p when the scene demands it, and video for gonzo because that's what works best. I've tried a few P2 cameras. I didn't really appreciate HD until I was in the editing bay after I shot this girl named Blue Diamond, and she had on this white glitter dress. Great color, great clarity, great effect.

XBIZ: You're writing, directing, acting, putting down music tracks, pretty much crafting these works your own way. How do you get the performers, and your crew, prepared for an LT shoot?

LT: I give the girls guidelines, not lines, and I tell them, "Make it your own." You have to remember the people you're dealing with, and some attention spans are pretty short. Mainly it's about always having a happy set, and I make that a must. I tell them all, "I want you at your best, brightest and happiest. If you're not having a good day we can bring you back some other time." We need to show people we're enjoying ourselves or why bother? And I never — make that never, ever — want a girl to look like she's being taken advantage of. Period. Now, whoever's working for me knows what to do, we're all professionals. Still, I want as much creative control as I can get, and I want to do casting, too. That's true especially if I am in the scenes, because I have to have a feel for the girl.

XBIZ: Some of the bottom-feeders are on their way out with the weak economy, but that recession added to the piracy problem could also knock off some good firms, too.

LT: The piracy thing is a real big problem. Elegant Angel has a guy working to protect our trademarks and he goes to all the sites and pulls our scenes, and puts people on notice. Patrick is really on top of that; he puts a lot of brainpower and energy into it. The so-called financial crisis, which is hardly porn's only problem, actually is good for the industry because a lot of the bad and mediocre product will be gone. Of course, we all know quality is no good on the Internet, but the public was bombarded with crap and got used to it. It's an education effort to get them back, but the smart consumers, the pro porn watchers, want to spend wisely now and that means getting the best. Now, there's a niche for amateur and even "do it yourself" looking stuff — Homegrown Video is still around because people like amateur, but they're the exception that proves the rule. When people are paying $29 or $49 for their movies, they want the best they can get.

XBIZ: Going forward, what's it going to be? What's up for LT?

LT: I know what to do, and who to do it for — I am working for the people that like what I do. You have to pay attention to the consumers, the serious ones, those pro porn watchers I'm always talking about. I know what they want and it's my job to give it to them, and if you're in this business, whatever you do, that's really your job, too.

XBIZ: Any last words?

LT: It's looking good for me and I've got some surprises coming up. "Porn's Top Black Models" comes out in December, and the surprises start soon, too. I don't plan to let up for at least the rest of 2010.

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