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Director’s Chair: From Manila With Love

Erik Jay
Bobby Manila, one of the only Filipino-American porn directors in town, grew up in the Valley and is now working (a lot) in the business that made the region either famous or notorious, depending on your outlook. Bobby’s outlook, truth be told, is one of irrepressible glee – this guy loves what he does and brings that attitude to his work every day.

And there’s a lot to do. Bobby is as entitled as anyone — and more than most — to claim the title of “King of Content Production,” as he has shot literally thousands of scenes, in addition to over 100 flicks. “I think it might be getting close to 200,” Bobby muses, “since I work so much the lists can’t keep up.” Be that as it may, there is no mistaking the growing body of work that this happy porn warrior is amassing. You can pretty much bank on the fact that he’s adding to it today, right now. It’s his life, like it is for all of the subjects of this feature.

Except for the fact he didn’t have to “go West” (since he already lived here), Bobby’s story would be a modern Horatio Alger tale. Local boy grows up in the porn capital of the world, gets a film degree at a local college, and starts his own interracial gangbang site in 2002, BlackAttackGangbang.com. From there it was to the usual finishing school – the set – for such distributors as DVSX, Legend, and Doghouse Digital.

Bobby hooked up soon enough with “all the big Internet companies,” shot for Brazzers for three years, and is now featured at the top four Internet porn sites including Twistys and Naughty America. His marquee gig, though, is with Mile High Media’s Reality Junkies imprint, to which he brings his energetic, fun, sex-is-glamorous, life-isgood style. XBIZ caught up with the naturally caffeinated Manila in mid-January and slowed him down long enough to get an interview.

XBIZ: How’s this headline? – “Valley boy makes good in Valley’s major industry.”

Bobby Manila: Yeah, I pretty much fell into the biz as a local kid. I started dabbling in porn about 2000 but wasn’t full-time until 2002, when I started shooting for an amateur gangbang site. That led to other Internet sites, then I started doing my own stuff at BlackAttackGangbang.com.

XBIZ: When did you move from scenes and vignettes to movie-length work?

BM: After starting my site I started working for a lot of DVD companies while still connecting with all the big Internet companies. Working for all the biggest net programs out there, I really started feeling like the ‘King of the Internet,’ you know?

XBIZ: There aren’t too many others who can claim that throne. How have you maintained the crazy workload?

BM: I don’t try to do all of it anymore. I even used to edit my own stuff, but now I have a crew. There’s me, my photographer, the production assistant, and the makeup artist – four of us. It takes a team and I have a great one.

XBIZ: What’s it like on a Bobby Manila set? What’s the vibe?

BM: A Bobby Manila set is all about the product, making sure we’re shooting the best stuff possible for the company and the customers. There’s no rushing things. We take our time and do it right. It’s sort of a ‘buffet method’ - I shoot a lot of good stuff and we take what we need and put it together.

XBIZ: Seems to be working out well. Why is that?

BM: I’ve been very lucky shooting my style of vignettes and stories. I concentrate on good hardcore sex, shot real clean, with high-quality in every detail.

XBIZ: What’s you camera of choice today?

BM: The Sony EX1 — tapeless, good optics, great build quality, and dependable.

XBIZ: Interracial seems to be a successful niche, and much of what you do. It makes sense in a lot of ways for you, doesn’t it?

BM: Definitely. I actually own another five sites that I started myself, all interracial ones. As maybe the only Filipino-American [male] in the U.S. porn business, I bring that ring of truth to the material. I know it inside out.

XBIZ: What do think your reputation is? Does it matter?

BM: Sure it matters. I think I’m seen as one of the good Internet shooters out there, with a consistent style and quality. I’m known for taking pretty good stills, too, but I am stronger on the video side, I think. I’ve always focused on quality and high-end stuff. Even though I don’t shoot for Brazzers anymore, I still shoot the top girls and the top guys, and always at the highest quality. I’m currently doing it for Twistys, Naughty America, and others.

XBIZ: It was almost two years ago that Belladonna famously remarked, in this column, that she didn’t fear the recession because quality always sells. She thought the economy would squeeze a lot of the bottom-feeders out of the business. She was right, wasn’t she?

BM: No question. I’ve seen a lot of companies, a lot of directors, come and go. They shoot one or two movies and disappear, while I made a commitment to be strong on the DVD side, and have shot over 200 of them. The lists have me at about 115 but they’ll catch up to my output soon enough.

XBIZ: You’re an Internet guy who also shoots flicks, with your hand in both markets. Don’t you see the DVD side fading out, though?

BM: Yeah, I see the DVD market declining, but there will always be people that want that actual, physical product in their hands. There won’t be as many, but DVDs are not going away. But it’s no longer something you can just pick up in a minute to make money in it, whereas maybe 10 or 15 years ago that’s all you had to do. Those days are long gone.

XBIZ: What’s your take on the future of porn?

BM: Its future is looking pretty good. We are more mainstream than ever, and we’re seeing celebrities doing porn now because it’s hip and acceptable. It also means there are a lot more beautiful girls getting into the biz, and I mean a lot!

XBIZ: How’s life for Bobby Manila today?

BM: Life is good. I’ve been very lucky, working in a business I really love. I like being known for high quality, as a director who gets the job done for both the producers and the customers. Keep those two groups happy and you’ll always be working.

XBIZ: What’s coming up for you?

BM: I am doing a great movie, ‘Filthy Families Part 3,’ for Reality Junkies, starring four of the hottest girls in the business — Julia Ann, Alexis Texas, Bree Olson, and Rachel Starr. Top talent, Bobby Manila directing, Reality Junkies, Mile High Media — man, that’s a primetime gig there, isn’t it?

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