It took balls. At only 18 years old, boy-faced Tom Byron had enough cajones to walk across the street from his day job at an adult video and novelty store straight into legendary agent Jim South’s office and asked to work in porn films.
And it paid off. Byron landed his first performing job with director Bobby Hollander in one of the first shot-on-video features called “Anything Goes” through Gourmet Video And in a span of 15 years from 1982-96, with a brief, three-year hiatus where he tested the waters in music, wrestling and other businesses, the award-winning adult star, director and executive worked in nearly 1,500 films with virtually every porn star in the business.
Do your homework. Pay attention to the market and listen to the fans. But also realize that you can’t please everyone and trust your own passion and instincts.
The years of performing “exposure” landed him gigs with Elegant Angel and gave him a taste of directing which he exploited by producing the “Cumback Pussy’ series in ‘96. “I saw others being successful doing the kind of porn I thought I would be good at, so I put the word out and Elegant Angel answered the call,” Byron says.
After realizing he wanted to take the mogul route, Byron and some colleagues formed the infamous Extreme Associates where they produced “Lord of Asses” a niche product that planted the anal addiction seed ultimately leading to the creation of Evolution Erotica in 2007 and spawning the “House of Ass” series.
Realizing there was booty in booty, Byron’s ass-centric success story now includes his wildly popular “Asseaters Unanimous” series, among other back-door blockbusters from his current company Tom Byron Pictures, Inc., distributed through Evolution Distribution.
Byron has been the “Lord” of his new kingdom since 2007 and to date has launched more than 100 titles including the porn showcase series “Seasoned Players” and the recent horror homage from director Lee Roy Myers, “The Human Sexipede.”
“I kind of fell off the map when I retired from performing for three years, so I wanted to re-establish myself with my name at the forefront of the company. It’s proven to be a good move,” Byron says.
Although pushing 50, Byron still has the stamina to not only run his day-to-day porn company but also perform in a number of his titles. At a recent Awards show Byron talked about how he realized there’s still huge interest from fans in classic ‘80’s and ‘90’s porn talent like Kelly Nichols, Chloe and InariVachs. Being a “seasoned player” himself, he splits his duties between business and pleasure knowing that his recognizable name attracts veteran and newbie fans alike.
Byron quips, “I really don’t know why I still perform. I can only guess people know who I am and there’s interest. I can tell you one thing, it’s a lot easier to get 19-year-olds to bang you when there’s a camera rolling.”
When asked what he feels are the main differences between being a performer and an executive, Byron says performing is actually less stressful despite the fact that it’s now more physically challenging.
But Byron also has the mental strength and like most in the business he’s faced the tough jobs of running a successful porn production company in a severe economic recession during the last few years coupled with the ever-distressing proliferation of free Internet porn and piracy that’s nearly devastated the DVD market.
He attributes his company’s resilience to giving fans what they want and carving out a niche within a niche. Byron realized long ago — during his very first shoot with Bobby Hollander where the director had a girl eat out Byron’s ass — that there was something unique and special about the particular anal scene.
“It was, and is, the taboo factor,” Byron says about the appeal of ass eating, now the core of his “Asseaters” series that recently added girl/girl scenes. Byron says the combination of the taboo and the fact that viewers know that it just “feels amazing” is a winning formula.
Even hardened porn pros would think that producing this particular niche might add to a producer’s stress because of the added demands from prospective talent. Although Byron admits it can be tough finding girls to eat out a man’s ass, he says, “Believe it or not it’s actually easier to cast the girls than it is the guys,” intimating the homophobic stance of a number of the industry’s male talent.
But pure sex isn’t the only thing that Byron’s recognized as a key-selling tool. His longtime industry savvy also serves him well, allowing him to recognize other business opportunities.
His collaboration with director Lee Roy Myers was prompted when Byron realized that the “The Human Sexipede” movie’s bizarre content and mainstream homage would garner plenty of spin both in the adult and mainstream press. Byron said he was inspired by Myers’ concept and was anxious to work with him again after their former collaboration on New Sensations’ “The Big Lebowski” parody.
“He’s [Myers] really talented. I’d like to do some more parodies and other comedies. I like making movies with some production value. It’s challenging to do it on a budget, but very gratifying when you pull it off and the movie does well like ‘The Human Sexipede,’” Byron says.
It’s not just contemporary creators that Byron taps for inspiration and guidance as an executive. He gives due adulation and admiration to the late John Leslie. He laments, “I still haven’t gotten over him not being with us anymore. No one’s really been able to fill his shoes as both an actor and director and I’m not sure anyone ever will. The man was a giant.”
Byron also lauds Paul Thomas, Alex DeRenzy and Henri Pachard as major adult influences and directors Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino as mainstream idols.
Looking forward to 2011 Byron’s empire of ass is poised to expand into different genres, find new talent and produce movies on the web. Personally, Byron wants to travel to Miami and Europe to help broaden his personal and business horizons. “I’m hopeful about the porn industry,” Byron says, adding, “I’ve been around long enough to know that things usually work themselves out. Porn is here forever in some form or another.”
When asked about his executive philosophy Byron says, “Do your homework. Pay attention to the market and listen to the fans. But also realize that you can’t please everyone and trust your own passion and instincts.”