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BlueBird’s Still Red Hot

Erik Jay
Bluebird Films. Weren’t they the “hot thing” last year? Just how long can a company remain a “newcomer” and a “chart climber with a bullet?”

Apparently there is no expiration date on primo material. Under the guiding hand of founder and owner Paul Chaplin, Bluebird Films continues to ride a huge wave of interest from the fans — and the rest of the adult industry, too. Just what are these people doing that’s so right, so timely, so smart and so hot?

Perhaps it’s partially explained by the company slogan: “If you’ve seen it before, it’s not from Bluebird.” It’s not that Chaplin and the people he’s around — awardwinning director (and CEO) Nicholas Steele, the folks at Rising Star PR, the nonpareil international models and adult contract starlets, and the brain trust from Pure Play Media, that distribute Bluebird titles — don’t deal in the same product lines as every other serious production company (freebie web sites don’t count). It’s just that they aren’t imitators.

“With adult,” said Chaplin, “people are always trying to find the magic formula. Well, there isn’t any.” He noted the bandwagon mentality — let’s do a spoof of a spoof! — and knows that “anyone can give anything away for free, but that undermines the rest of the industry.” It comes down to being creative and proactive, or cautious and derivative. Chaplin has made his choice. “We have always set our productive face against what other people do, and we do what they don’t.” Helping Chaplin pull it off are such contract stars as Natasha Marley, Madelyn Marie, Amy Azurra, Stacey Saran, Cindy Behr, Anna Lovato, Gemma Massey, and Romana Ryder. There may be no magic formula, but having top talent certainly doesn’t hurt.

“SPOT ON” TIMING
One thing other companies don’t do is produce almost 200 titles without releasing them right away. For Chaplin and his company, it was a deliberate plan. “There’s no such thing as overnight success,” he said. “I founded Bluebird in 2005 and was literally sweeping the floors and being a janitor, because you have to build [a company] from the bottom up. Our overnight success was five years in the making.” Chaplin is generous with his praise for the entire Bluebird “team,” noting that his top management has about “300 years of media experience” among them. Add in some serious capital investment and you get the idea.

Chaplin explains the decision to keep Bluebird’s “library unreleased until last year” as a way of learning to make “better videos without exposing our learning process to the public.” He compares the plan to the way rock bands return to greatness after a hiatus, with new and better material, “not the same music, and playing with five more years experience.” It’s not something an unfunded basement-based freebie porn producer could do, because it requires a business plan, adequate financing, marketing smarts and a whole lot of talent at every task. “When we came out last year on cable and the web, it was because we were waiting for the right time to enter the market.” As the Brits would say, the timing was “spot on.”

A MAN OF MANY HATS
From the outside it just plain looks like Chaplin is having way too much fun. The U.S. media identifies him as a “London playboy and financier,” neglecting to mention he is an attorney (“solicitor” or “barrister” across the pond, depending on what they do) and an experienced entrepreneur. He doesn’t consider himself a great director, but has already won a major industry directing award. He doesn’t claim to be Robert DeNiro (or Erik Everhard, either), but plays the Joker in Bluebird’s “Bat Fucks” and appears in — well, any Bluebird flick he wants to appear in.

Madelyn Marie, Bluebird contract starlet and Catwoman in “BatFucks,” calls Chaplin “a man of many hats who wears each hat to its fullest. He is a pleasure to work with and is an angel in disguise.” A literate and witty fellow, given to extemporaneous recitations of such poetic arcana as T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”— “In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo…” Chaplin clearly does not take himself too seriously. Perhaps one of the secrets of his company’s continuing “hot streak” is the palpable sense of fun, even joy, that permeates the firm’s product, websites, advertisements and even its DVD boxes. It doesn’t hurt that Chaplin insists on excellence, from editorial to janitorial. (remember, he has experience with both.)

THINK GLOBAL, FILM LOCAL
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Bluebird phenomenon is that Chaplin and his company are truly global citizens. “We’re a global company, transglobal in terms of business but regional in terms of production,” he said. “When we shoot in the U.K. we shoot for the U.K. audience, when we shoot in the States it's for the American audience, when we shoot in Europe, it's for them.” You can do that when you have first-rate, wellequipped, working studios in Los Angeles, London and Prague. “Most guys think the hottest girls in the world are from their own countries,” added Chaplin, “so we deliberately produce movies with the feeling of the local market.”

Of course, Chaplin knows that some fraction of the porn public does like international and/or ethnic themes that go beyond their own boundaries, both sexual and national. “Sure,” Chaplin continued, “something big like ‘Bat Fucks’ or ‘Bonny and Clide’ [another Bluebird blockbuster] are universal and for everybody.” With that, Chaplin pinpoints the next challenge for Blue Media, the umbrella company for both Bluebird adult and other mainstream projects. The goal? “Reach everybody.” To that end, Chaplin, Rising Star PR, and Pure Play are cementing pla ns to promote the firm’s brands and products in both Hollywood and “the Valley.” There is no question that more adventures lie ahead for Bluebird and its driving force, the irrepressible Chaplin.

Natasha Marley, the Bluebird contract starlet who plays Bonny to Chaplin’s Clide in “Bonny and Clide” said, “When you work with Paul, every day really is an adventure. He has a lot of energy and loves to ad lib, which is always very interesting and keeps me on my toes.” That’s an effect that Chaplin is used to having, actually, as he has been keeping both colleagues and competitors on their toes, as well. “Bringing everything together that produces that magic,” Chaplin said, “is all about timing. Our timing has always been good, frankly. Of course, ‘timing’ could just be a synonym for ‘lucky,’ you know?” Perhaps. But there’s another definition of “luck” that may be more apropos of Bluebird’s stunning success. “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” If there is a lesson to be taken from this, one that can be replicated by others, it is that one must invest for success, work hard and grab the opportunities when they present themselves. And one more thing: Get somebody like Paul Chaplin to run things.

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