This column started out in early 2006 with the name Gear & Gadgets, and was focused much more on the cameras, lights, tools and techniques that went into a porn production.
Now titled Director’s Chair, along the way it has become a forum for the front-line creatives in the industry — the directors — affording them a soapbox on a monthly basis to hold forth on all things porn. It has matured as a column, even as it has charted the progress of the people and productions that define today’s adult entertainment.
If you want to be a winner in this business, or any other, you have to realize that you’ll work harder to stay on top than you worked to get there.
That progress can be seen in the career of this month’s subject, Brett Brando of Brazzers. In early 2006, as one of the first G&G subjects, Brando was working away at Naughty America — paying his dues, learning the ropes, moving into a third or fourth year of directing, honing the craft.
Leaving Naughty America in 2007, he hooked up with Brazzers because he and the company’s owners saw the future of porn the same way, as web-centric, fluid, fan-based — and fun.
Brando spent much of the first interview talking about cameras (he likes Panasonic), lighting, editing and Apple computers (he’s a total “Mac addict”). If he was just on the edge of achieving “veteran” status in 2006, after three or four years in the industry, he has solidified that standing in the intervening years. People say they’ve been in the business for 10 years, but if they worked sporadically during that decade they might have done what Brando and other top directors do in six months.
XBIZ: You were one of the first 10 subjects of this column. It’s been a busy three years for you, hasn’t it?
BRETT BRANDO:It’s been two years since I left Naughty America. I’ve been in good positions since I’ve been in the industry, six or seven years now, and always with an Internet-oriented company. I have had offers, and when left NA two years ago I was in talks with a few DVD companies and was really astonished that they just didn’t have a grasp of the Internet. Needless to say, that was a turnoff because I like to think I see the future a little bit, and I certainly want to work with people who do. People who don’t see that the web is the future, well, it’s just bizarre. People are hanging on to the DVD model but the Net is the medium, and not just for the future, but right now.
XBIZ: You had fun with Naughty America, which came out with some great entertainment. Still having fun?
BRANDO:Brazzers is battling in the parody category, among others, and I have fun with all of it. But I have personally taken parodies in a different direction. Lately I’ve been shooting lots of them, like “European Psycho” based on “American Psycho,” and instead of “Weird Science” we did “Porn Science.” That was one where I stayed on the light side, but I usually go a little darker. Writing and shooting these parodies has been great. Of course, doing the everyday bread-and-butter scenes is fun and they have that cool, sometimes cheesy appeal. But when I shot “Eyes Wide Slut,” it was because I was way into Stanley Kubrick and I did it almost as an homage. To that point, it was the biggest production I’d ever done.
XBIZ: You had options, obviously, so why did you sign up with Brazzers?
BRANDO:When Brazzers and I spoke we were on the same wavelength. They flew me up to Canada, and when I walked through their office there were 100 people who didn’t even look up from their work they were so focused. Brazzers is an impressive group of people, and getting to talk to the owners and scriptwriters, and see their work ethic firsthand, is just awesome.
XBIZ: You’re a Mac guy, you know editing yourself, so how does all that work now?
BRANDO:When I met the Brazzers editors and saw their work, I went, “Wow!” Editing is extremely important because you can shoot the hottest scene of your life and it won’t be any good without good editing. I get the editors on the set, even, and that allows us to get on the same page so that we can experiment with things on an ongoing basis. I’m on the phone with all of them, all the time, writing together, working with the editors, getting the right people into the right spots to make the best porn on the planet. That’s what we do.
XBIZ: What’s your workload?
BRANDO:I am shooting 20 scenes a month, and have been doing that for about two years now. It’s hard work, sure, but totally fulfilling because we don’t cut any corners. We’re like a welloiled machine.
XBIZ: You get to work with the best in the business, as well as first-timers. What’s that like?
BRANDO:I shot Jenna Haze today, as a matter of fact. That’s always special. I also shot Janine Lindemulder’s first boy-girl scene in a long time, and one of the first things she’s done since she got back to work. She is simply amazing, and has not lost it, not one bit. I shoot veterans, newcomers, whoever’s right for what I’m doing. Recently I’ve worked with Randy Spears, Jessica Jaymes, Randy West and other real pros. When I first shot Randy Spears, well, that really took me back to college, sitting around with the guys watching videotapes. It was great to complete the circle, in a way.
XBIZ:You’ve been around long enough to see newcomers become veterans, too. Feels good, right?
BRANDO:Definitely. I shot Rocco Reed last week, after shooting him years ago, and he has really grown and matured as a performer.
XBIZ: Not to put you on the spot, but who do you like personally?
BRANDO:James Deen is always solid, and the Brazzers contract guys — Kieran Lee, Scott Nails and Johnny Sins — are total pros. There are so many great guys, and girls, too. Fact is, if every girl walked in the door with the attitude Nikki Benz has, my professional life would be hassle-free. I have never had a bad shoot with her, not even after 20 hours on set one day. No complaints, always a smile on her face. Like I say, I’ve never had a single bad moment, much less bad day, with her. There is just zero of that “diva” BS with Nikki.
XBIZ: What is it about Brazzers that has you so excited?
BRANDO:The brains behind Brazzers are doing their best to look into the future, always trying new things. Some ideas work and some don’t, but when we hit on something we do it with total quality and dedication. The guys in the tech department are amazing, not just the editors but the web guys, too. It’s all in-house and keeps Brazzers on the leading edge. One of our sites, PornStarsPunishment.com, is trying some new things, and there are number of projects in the works I can’t really get into, but watch out, they’re coming.
XBIZ: Can you give us a clue?
BRANDO:Well, I will say this: Brazzers knows that a great members’ area is one way to cultivate your fans and followers. Our members’ area is second to none. The future of porn lies somewhere along this hazy line, and we’ll get it focused soon enough.
XBIZ: There’s never a lack of new blood in the industry. What are you seeing among the newcomers lately?
BRANDO:I have to tell you, some of these younger girls coming up today are animals, just downright crazed at times. At the same time, there are some real natural girls, and real pretty ones, at that, with model looks and magazine-cover class.
XBIZ: Take us on the set for a moment. What is the most important thing on a Brett Brando set?
BRANDO:Besides having your tech stuff in order, relationships are key to this work, and I have great relationships with Brazzers’ three contract guys, Kieran, Scott and Johnny. Just taking, say, Scott as an example, the fact that I have a good relationship with him is so helpful. We know what the other is thinking. It’s awesome to shoot someone that knows my body language and knows what I am asking for. Sometimes we can shoot a whole scene, straight through without cutting. Kieran and Johnny are in the same boat; we’re totally wired and the trust is there. We know each other well enough to cut to the chase, because the bottom line is to work hard and shoot the best porn. Sure, we keep it fun and light on set, and welcoming to the first-timers, but we get to work and do it right.
XBIZ: You sound pretty content. You really do enjoy your life, don’t you?
BRANDO:I really love working for Brazzers — as we say, it’s “the world’s best porn site” — and that makes me proud to work for them. We’re number one, and we wouldn’t sleep if we were number two. That’s the attitude winners have to have. See, when I first came on board, we actually were number two, so we worked harder, and you know what? When we hit number one, I got even more dedicated, more motivated, more excited. If you want to be a winner in this business, or any other, you have to realize that you’ll work harder to stay on top than you worked to get there. That’s what so many people forget. I have a company behind me, and a crew around me, all thinking the same way. That’s as good as it gets.
XBIZ: Sounds like a good tag line. Anything you’d like to add?
BRANDO: Working with great people behind me in the company, great people at my side and great people in front of the camera — well, it’s just a very nice place to be. Brazzers takes great care of me and I get paid well, but you have to stay motivated and excited about the work. Right now I can’t wait for next year because we start planning productions, and we get to think about pushing the envelope again and making more new fans while we take care of our existing ones. I mean it, we have a bunch of things in the works that will set people back and change this business, so keep your eyes peeled.