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Eddie Powell Captains New Sensations’ Romance Series

Jared Rutter

Director Eddie Powell vaulted to prominence last year with several well-received releases on the New Sensations Romance label. His “Love Is a Dangerous Game” won the XBIZ Award for Couples-Themed Release of the Year. His “Dear Abby” and “Lost and Found” are nominees for Best Release by the X-Rated Critics Organization. At 34 he’s on the brink of a major directorial career.

But to many it seemed like he came out of nowhere. Industry insiders, reviewers and fans were scratching the heads and wondering, “Where has this guy been?”

I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and make it a little bit better every time, or try something new.

Well, he’s been with one company — New Sensations — for 12½ years. He started off in web design, then “moved into editing the ‘My Playthings’ we used to produce, and from there went into strictly just shooting.”

He started directing in 2006 for the short-lived reality line Greedy Video, shooting all nine volumes of the series “Fuck for Dollars.”

He did his fair share of turning out wall-to-wall, all-sex releases for New Sensations and Digital Sin. He even got to helm several of the interactive “My Playthings.” When the company began the Romance line in 2009 with “Eternal Love,” directed by Lee Roy Myers, Powell shot camera.

After Myers left the company Powell got his chance at directing his first narrative feature, “Awakening to Love,” with Samantha Ryan and Dale DaBone. Since then he’s held down the director’s chair for seven more Romances: “Almost Heaven,” “With This Ring,” “Lost and Found,” “Dear Abby,” “Love Is a Dangerous Game,” “The Friend Zone,” and the soon-to-be-released “Love, Marriage and Other Bad Ideas.”

Powell feels that “Lost and Found” was a turning point in the series. Until then, “we had sad stories with happy endings: love and death, the passing of a loved one. It was kind of depressing. So I said why don’t we do something a little more fun-hearted?”

The movie had several first-rate performances but the scene-stealer was Boz, Powell’s own adorable dog, upon whom the story turned. “I think that was the first adult movie that incorporated an animal as a plot point. He did a good job.”

An even bigger turning point occurred when the company launched a script-writing contest via Twitter. The winner was Jacky St. James. Powell showed her script to company owner Scott Taylor, “and he loved it.” It became “Dear Abby,” and Jacky became an integral part of Powell’s team, writing “Love Is a Dangerous Game,” “The Friend Zone” and “Love, Marriage and Other Bad Ideas.”

“For me,” Powell says, “I haven’t seen anything closer to Hollywood than what she’s writing. She comes from a mainstream background and she understands pacing and storylines. She just gets it.”

As a director he has learned by doing. “The only formal training I had is I went to the Art Institute of Phoenix. I have a degree in computer animation and visual effects, that’s about it.”

Shooting features “was a challenge only because I’d never done it before. I was always doing the striptease in front of the window, bring in the naked Neanderthal man and have sex, just make sure you get the good angle. But I always thought the material could be more theatrical. And then when the Romance series came up I thought, perfect, great.

“I was scared. I knew my way around sets because I’d been on so many, but I never really was in a directing role. A lot of what I learned, I did tons of research. I do my fair share of learning on my own. It’s been an interesting ride. And I think I’ve gotten better. I’ve definitely improved at directing actors, things like that.”

Powell says, “We’re making money on [the Romance line]. It’s meant to be an entry-level couples film. And it’s succeeding that way — we’re hitting our target market.”

New Sensations uses condoms for all the Romance sex scenes, even though it often contradicts the behavior of the mostly monogamous characters in the stories. Interestingly, in light of the current condom debate, Powell says it “absolutely” increases sales to their target market. “We can sell to a lot more people using condoms than when we don’t.”

Powell works with a four-man crew — and gets results. “I break everything down to its most simple form. I don’t mind having a small crew at all. It’s easier to manage. I think everyone understands that we all wear multiple hats.”

As for the future, “I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and make it a little bit better every time, or try something new.”

Right now he’s on a roll, thanks not only to his Romance releases but to the “Anchorman” and “Scooby-Do” parodies he directed. But he hasn’t let it go to his head. “I don’t like to toot my horn so much. I’m lucky. Extremely lucky.”

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