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Exec Seat: Q&A With Jake Jaxson, CEO of CockyBoys

Dan Cameron

It’s easier to see in hindsight, those moments signaling important turning points in the evolution of a studio. CockyBoys has been around since 2007, but few people in the industry were as familiar with the name Jake Jaxson when he took over the company in 2010. “Name of the Game” was the company’s first narrative feature, picking up notice in 2012, with “Project GogoBoy” soon setting the industry on fire—a fresh take on porn that was desperately needed in an industry too comfortable with routine.

The accolades started piling up for the film, the studio and the director, including XBIZ Awards, Grabbys and Cybersocket Web Awards. Coupled with a genius marketing strategy—scenes debut online slowly, the entire film later released on DVD to a new audience, giving each effort more than a year in the spotlight — the studio has continued to make itself part of the conversation, refusing to be a passing fad that burns bright but briefly.

I’ve said many times. RJ is “my eyes” and Benny is my “mind’s eye” — both keep me and our company realistic and grounded. I am an optimist, RJ is a pessimist and Benny is a Buddhist. So together we make the perfect person.

The latest CockyBoys project is “Meeting Liam,” a new reality-style series; also in the works is “Another Road Strip,” as well as more book deals. Starting in January will be “Meet the Morecocks” — a reality series based on the CockyBoys Porn Family. “We have been approached many times by reality show producers, and had lots of meetings. While many producers loved our story, they could never find a buyer who could move past the ‘porn’ part,” Jaxson says. “And that was fine—because that just gave me the opportunity to do it ourselves.”

Their success has also attracted press and mainstream penetration, from screenings at the 2014 Berlin Porn Film Festival to articles in New York Magazine (which focused on the relationship Jaxson has with business and pleasure partners Benny Morecock and RJ Sebastian) and Village Voice—which ran an article in late November of 2013 focusing on a conflict that has now given birth to one of the studio’s latest creations, “Answered Prayers.” As that effort is about to be released on DVD, Jason took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the whirlwind year.

XBIZ: You had a breakout year in 2013. How did that change things for you going into 2014? Do you feel more pressure? More creativity?

Jake Jaxson: Both. Yes. I don’t mind pressure. In fact, when things are too good, my natural instinct is to get lazy. But the truth is that I’m so grateful for the commitment and dedication of our troupe of exclusive performers (and all the guys we work with). I’m always trying to create something that’s better than the last. We are all learning, growing, and improving—I want them to stand tall and proud of all the work they do. And so far I could not be happier. Also, I feel a great responsibility to our audience, both members and affiliates. They are so supportive and we truly would not be here without them.

XBIZ: Did you find that more talent wanted to work with you?

Jaxson: Yes and no. We have lots of first timers apply, but I have a very rigorous application and screening process for first timers—I’d say we get about 1 in 100 from that process. As for established porn performers, we don’t get that many applying. Mostly because we don’t work with talent agents, so many guys are actively steered away. Which is fine. If I see someone I want to work with, I’ll just ask them.

Sometimes it’s frustrating because there will be a performer I would love to work with who will email us they’re in town and free to shoot. But it’s almost impossible because we plan many of our projects so far in advance since many have intricate storylines. Plus, testing often takes a week or more so we don’t have the flexibility to blow and go (if you will).

Also, I like to work with guys I know and trust, and who will stay with us for a while. Many of the guys I’m working with now have been with CockyBoys over three and four years. And I’m very proud and grateful for that.

XBIZ: What are your favorite memories of 2013?

Jaxson: This is going to sound like I’m kissing the ring, but winning the XBIZ Award for Best Studio and Director of the Year were huge. It was totally unexpected. Totally. I was there with RJ Sebastian, my partner of 15 years and collaborator, and when it was announced he was so excited for me he was jumping up and down with tears in his eyes. I’ve never seen him so excited for me. We both work so hard every day, and this was given to us by the leaders of the industry, so it meant a lot and I’m very proud of the accomplishment — it is in my office right next to my Emmy award!

XBIZ: What kind of response have you received from other directors, producers and companies?

Jaxson: Within the industry, we have had mostly positive feedback — but we get folks screaming on blogs and forums “Just get to the sex!” In fact, we had a rather nasty commentator going off on many blogs — including one that we owned. My staff had a feeling this was not from a “real” person, and when they checked the IP address, it belonged to “friendly” company we had been working with at the time. Needless to say, that was an uncomfortable call. But at the end of the day, we are all in the business of show!

Sadly, I have had little interaction with other directors other than Lucas Kazan and George Duroy — and both have been supportive and generous with their feedback. In fact, early on George trusted me with part of their business and I got to work close with him. He is extremely generous, focused, dedicated and can be a hard ass at times, but at the end of the day he cares greatly for his performers, staff and — above all — he respects his customers. I would be remiss not to credit him for part of our success in that he has set a standard in this industry that I strive to emulate. In fact, we all should.

XBIZ: “Answered Prayers” was influenced by a very personal experience in your life. How does it feel to put it out there? Is it what you hoped it would be?

Jaxson: It’s everything and more I had hoped it would be. But, I have had a love/hate relationship with this project while making it, mostly because it is coming from a personal place. Most of my work is influenced from my personal life. Most notably, “A Thing of Beauty” is a love letter to my long-term relationship with RJ Sebastian and Benny Morecock; but “Answered Prayers” was triggered by a series of upsetting events in the summer of 2013.

The first, being “outed” as a pornographer by the New York Daily News, who reported that Glenn Greenwald — the Pulitzer Prize journalist who broke the NSA/Edward Snowden story, and my former business partner and I had owned several gay adult properties together. The reporting was part of a smear campaign against him to discredit his reporting. I refused to comment out of respect for Glenn, and I did not what to add any fuel to the fire. However, the more I refused, the more intense the situation became. It was a bizarre and upsetting experience as many news outlets wanted me to help “fill in the blanks”, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I eventually wrote and posted an essay titled “I Am Jake Jaxson” — I said what I had to say and moved on as best I could. As a result, the story faded, but it created a divide with my parents who did not fully know what I did for a living, so I no longer have a relationship with my immediate family.

Many have asked me, “What does ‘Answered Prayers’ mean?” While it was inspired from dark and upsetting moments, it’s not about that. This is more a visualization of the constant battle in my mind—my religious upbringing at war with my current self, my optimism fighting to outshine a depressed and cynical worldview, and my desire to be loved overwhelmed by my fear of loving in return. I have just given human qualities and characteristics to my battling emotions. This battle is not new, and it’s a story that’s been told over and over, one told since Eve gave Adam the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Love, desire and sex—the set up for a perfect porn!

XBIZ: What misconceptions do people have about what CockyBoys is/represents?

Jaxson: That we are a “twink” site or only have guys with tattoos. I personally don’t like labels, and we don’t label or optimize based on a type. I want to celebrate self expression. We have little guys and big guys. Inked and pierced. Gay and gayer! I don’t ask or try to make our guys something they are not!

XBIZ: Tell me about RJ and Benny, and what they mean to you and the company.

Jaxson: Words will never describe what they truly mean to me. They have followed me, supported me and fought for me in this journey, and when I think about it I become overwhelmed. They allow me to create. That is a precious gift. And I hope I can live up to it and repay them in kind.

I’ve said many times. RJ is “my eyes” and Benny is my “mind’s eye” — both keep me and our company realistic and grounded. I am an optimist, RJ is a pessimist and Benny is a Buddhist. So together we make the perfect person.

XBIZ: What kind of man do you look for when casting?

Jaxson: In this order: Personality! Realness. Positive energy. Proud. Smile. Hot body. Big dick.

XBIZ: What is a CockyBoy, and has that changed over the years?

Jaxson: Yes. Before I bought the company, a CockyBoy was that Southern California jock boy who’s a cocky mother fucker, a boy with an edge with sort of a look but don’t touch” attitude. Once I bought the company, started directing the features and being more invested in the success of our performers though, a CockyBoy became a young man with confidence that is proud. Proud of his sexuality. Proud of exactly who he is in his own skin.

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