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Director's Chair: Sam Hain - Born to Porn

Erik Jay
A few decades’ worth of bad horror movies has convinced many Americans that the Celts were an ancient race of robed warlocks. It’s not true, of course, but it doesn’t help that one of their festivals eventually morphed into Halloween. Dividing the year into two seasons, the Celts called the light season starting May 1 — “Beltane,” and the dark season starting on November 1 — “Samhain,” (pronounced sa-win) or summer’s end.

And befitting the mysterious director who calls himself Sam Hain, the artist grew up in the shadows of a professional porn family. As many others before him have done, Hain has declined being photographed or identified by his real name. (Robby D took the same tack when interviewed for a 2009 MSNBC special on porn.) People have their reasons, and it’s their business how they handle their names and faces.

Yet we have many clues to Hain’s personality and attitude, especially the Celtic connection and his family business. He disclosed a few more when XBIZ spoke with him about his Revolution X label, “Sex Files” flicks and the politics of porn.

XBIZ: You were born into the adult business, but how did you come to be making movies?
HAIN: I grew up with my family that owned one of the largest adult bookstore chains in the country. I came to California from back east, and ended up doing it in a natural way, but with some twists and turns. Scott Taylor at New Sensations has worked with my dad since the time I was born, since he owned Nation Video and would sell videos to my family store. Now my father is actually half owner of National Video with Scott. So last year my dad asked Scott if they could go in halves on a new production company affiliated with New Sensations, and that’s how Revolution X started.

XBIZ: But what brought you here in the first place?
HAIN: Originally, I came to L.A. for music, but adult is a unique opportunity for me because trying to come up in the Hollywood system is a tough process, while this gave me the ability to make my own $100,000 X-Files episode. It’s been a happy turn of events. I was happy with the music I had written, and I recorded two demo albums and was talking to Universal Music and always intended to use music as a steppingstone into the movie field. And I do have an interest in going back into the recording studio.

XBIZ: What’s your prognosis for the industry?
HAIN: The bad state of the economy is the unspoken truth that permeates the industry, and although a lot of performers put on a good face there’s just not as much work. When performers get to work on a big-budget feature, that’s a very good turn of events. Since people are continuing to purchase films of high quality, talent of high quality will continue to get work. Naturally, the easier they are to work with, the more jobs they get.

XBIZ: How has it been working with performers as a new director?
HAIN: I’ve had no problems with anyone on the second “Sex Files” movie. The first film was little rougher; maybe because I was new to the industry, but this time everyone was much happier to be on set. It’s a lot of fun having these experiences, and the crew from New Sensations is like my family.

XBIZ: And how is it working with editors and other tech types?
HAIN: When I was in film school it was the first year that Avid wasn’t used, it was Final Cut Pro, which affected my whole approach to editing and post. The editing at Revolution X works like this: The editors get raw footage and I give them a cut list, then I come in every day and watch, but I let them do their thing for the most part. It’s good to let talented people do what they’re good at.

XBIZ: You’re obviously a techie kind of guy yourself. Talk cameras for a minute.
HAIN: For the most part, New Sensations has its own equipment, some Sony cameras for the parodies, Canon 5D for use on the romance line and so on. But for the original “Sex Files” I talked the company into renting the RED 1, and they were very happy with the results. In our opinion, no one really had used it to its best advantage, whereas we ran the full gamut and got fabulous picture quality.

XBIZ: You once wanted to work in Hollywood. Now you want to bridge the gap, so to speak. How?
HAIN: I’m trying to blur that line between adult and mainstream, so that when you’re hearing and watching it, and then the sex happens, you are maybe a little taken aback. I want viewers to be so taken into the story that when the porno happens they will be surprised. That could help push adult to be more mainstream.

XBIZ: Again, as a tech guy, what do you see happening in distribution?
HAIN: Well, there’s a certain group of people still buying VHS tape even now. I think it’s 30-year-olds and under who are pushing for the digital format, while older people want a physical product. But, about a year ago, we brainstormed ideas about what the intermediate thing between DVDs and direct download might be — maybe USB thumb drives, or the kiosk model where you download movies to your own media in the store. Those might be interim things, before it becomes downloads all the time. And don’t forget that the mobile market is very important, so the 3G and 4G phone networks will be involved, too.

XBIZ: Porn movies on cell phone screens? Is it working?
HAIN: Obviously you want people to watch your film on a big screen, but if they’re enjoying it on a cell phone with a one-inch screen, that’s their call. I’m a geek and on the leading edge of all the digital stuff, so I know that in 10 years or less there won’t be a physical home video format, because people will download to a solid state drive and watch them.

XBIZ: Are we about done with these porn prosecutions?
HAIN: The politics of porn seems to have calmed a little. Two or three years back it was at a fever pitch, and the Max Hardcore and Stagliano prosecutions, that was the zenith of it. Right now I don’t feel any sense of paranoia with people that I work with on a regular basis. In our realm it all seems to be quiet right now.

XBIZ: What’s ahead for you?
HAIN: Right now I just hope to work on my Star Wars-type script so I can get to work on it. I ve got a lot to do. And, you know, I look forward to all of it.

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