While Christian Owen knew that a change was coming for Hot House Entertainment earlier this year, he wasn’t sure exactly when and what. One thing became certain: The building that housed the company’s 6,000-square foot studio was going to be torn down.
“We had a lot of things that we acquired over the years that we had to decide, was it worth keeping? Had we used it enough? Was it time to get rid of it and start over? So we threw away a lot. At first the crew and I didn’t know the company was being sold; we thought that we were maybe moving production to Palm Springs, so we had kind of cleaned house. Then later on we figure out that we were being sold,” the director says before adding with a laugh, “We kind of threw away a couple too many things that we probably should have saved.”
We all have a brand new space together, and all of us get to collaborate together. Kent Taylor is their lead photographer, and he and I are here in Vegas with (directors) Steve Cruz and Bruno Bond. All of us just get to bring our different expertise together, and hopefully create a really good, flowing space. -Christian Owen, Director, Hot House
With their trucks packed, the company headed to Las Vegas — the new studio base for Falcon Studios Group, the moniker Raging Stallion president Chris Ward chose after acquiring Hot House in July to join Falcon in his ever-growing family.
“There’s been a lot of excellent things that have happened… at first I was shocked, but I had thought I could kind of read from Steven (Scarborough) that he was ready to retire and be able to just enjoy his life,” Owen says. “But I knew that going forward it was going to be a great move for Hot House, and that by him selling the company to Raging and Falcon, they were probably the only people that would allow us to keep the Hot House brand going — especially knowing that’s where Chris Ward started. I thought if it went to other people, that they could totally completely change it and not respect the Hot House brand.”
Owen notes the move was overwhelming, and it was hard to say goodbye to the building and city they had called home.
“I went to Hot House using my design skills. I had really helped incorporate the studio into a really good flow space. I made our studio look and function like — I wouldn’t say a low-end Hollywood studio — but when you walked in, it wasn’t what most people would have thought about for a porn studio. It was well organized, we had places for models, for their wardrobe, we had a makeup area; it looked very professional,” Owen says. “But we all went with high spirits knowing that the move was going to be great. We’re moving in with a bigger company, we’re moving to a bigger space in Vegas, and I would get to take my design skills and help incorporate it here.”
And he’s going to have a lot more room to work his interior design magic, a challenge Owen relishes.
“When we first went on board with them, they had one space. All the trucks started to arrive in Vegas — Falcon and Raging sent five, and we sent three — and after the fourth truck, we were like, ‘We need another space.’ There was a space directly next door to the studio, with just a wall in between. So they took over that space as well. We’re shooting on both sides, and we’re now in the process in the next month of actually putting a door in the wall so we can connect them.”
Owen estimates the spaces at around 6,500- and 4,500-square feet, which will be necessary to accommodate shoots from the multiple studios — with roughly 20 shoots a month keeping everyone busy (the floor in Raging Stallion’s San Francisco-based office that once housed a studio is now the corporate office for NakedSword). Hot House will continue all of its lines, and Owen will now also direct Raging Stallion’s fisting line.
“We all have a brand new space together, and all of us get to collaborate together,” Owen says. “Kent Taylor is their lead photographer, and he and I are here in Vegas with (directors) Steve Cruz and Bruno Bond. All of us just get to bring our different expertise together, and hopefully create a really good, flowing space.”
Also making the move is top model Jimmy Durano, who will now serve as art director for Hot House. “The one really cool thing about having him as our art director is we have a little bit more collaboration together, so going into a movie beforehand, we can talk about how the box cover should be, we can go back and forth to make sure we get an exact photo of a model during a shoot. We get to collaborate more together on the full art direction of the movies, and obviously the after-product as well.”
That will also help ensure the studio keeps its own unique look and identity, which Owen notes is marked by sets and lighting.
“For all of my productions, I get to basically do the light and design with our grips, so I create the set, we built the set together, we light the set, and the same thing happens with all of their lines — their directors have a vision for what they want the set and the lights to look like,” he says. “We’re known for larger, more designed sets, more operatic sets and a lot more lighting, and in the industry today with a lot of studios using the same models, that’s kind of the way you have to make the lines different — the sets, the lighting and the direction of the models.”
Owen recently wrapped “Saddle Up,” his last San Francisco area shoot (“It was at a farm, it was beautiful; it’s been the movie I have wanted to shoot my entire career, and I finally got to shoot a farm movie in Sacramento”), and then filmed wrestling movie “Get Him Down” in Palm Springs. The first Vegas production was “Fist Pump.” Owen was then at work on an operatic set for the next Hot House production, one of many scheduled shoots that has almost every day in October booked.
The move to Vegas hasn’t really altered logistics with booking models: “I had kind of thought that when I moved to San Francisco, the scene was kind of the porn capital and we’d have all these models right there, but that wasn’t really the case,” Owen says. “The one big extra benefit of Vegas is that every weekend there’s a new party scene here, because it’s a whole new group of gay people that came in for the weekend or for an event or party. So there is constant change in faces here. But we haven’t really gotten to experience it that much.”
Still, Owen says he and Durano are adjusting to their new home.
“The Strip is what Vegas is all about, so we feel like we’re really part of the Vegas life with our studio here because it’s only five minutes away from the main strip. And the only thing that’s different — being based in San Francisco as a gay porn studio, it was very much more outgoing and everybody kind of knew who you were and what it was all about. Here it’s a little bit more on the quiet side, at least on the gay side it is. Vegas really represents America — you have people from all over the country. You think it’s going to be very gay, but it’s not…at least not yet.”
With Hot House, Falcon and Raging Stallion in town, expect that to change quickly.