In the 20-plus years since, North has performed in more than 1,000 scenes and won numerous awards for his on-screen work. And although he showed no signs of slowing down as a performer, North realized several years ago that he could make more money — and extend his career — by moving behind the camera, as a producer and director. He launched his own "North Pole Series" in 1997, followed soon after by his "Anal Addicts" series. More recently, North introduced a blowjob line currently in production on his latest venture, "Natural Knockers."
XBiz caught up with North as he was on his way home to his native Halifax, Nova Scotia, just before Christmas and talked about his transition from adult movie star to adult movie entrepreneur.
XBiz Video: You've had a great run as an adult entertainment actor. Why did you take the leap to entrepreneur and producer?
Peter North: I thought about being in business for myself when I was working on sets, helping out on a scene or a shot. Sometimes they liked the ideas I came up with, so I thought 'I should be doing this myself.' I should have gotten more serious about it earlier on, but when I wanted to make sure all the pieces were in place and the time was right.
XV: What kinds of strategic alliances did you put in place that enabled you to go into business for yourself?
PN: I didn't jump in the way some people do. I didn't own a production company or even own my productions. I started by producing for New Sensations, where they paid me a set amount for my movies. They made money and I made money and everything worked out, then I decided I had to take it to the next level and do my own distribution. New Sensations gave me a great starting place.
XV: Was it hard to get the funding you needed to go independent?
PN: No. I have a partner, Richie Zaye from Zaye Entertainment, and he actually convinced me to do my own distribution because we crunched the numbers and looked at how much other people made from our movies, by distributing [them]. We had the right people in place, people we trust with good heads on their shoulders and good work ethics. And as we go along here, we're bringing great people on board, which will bring the company to a higher level.
XV: What are your most popular products?
PN: There are certain lines that are more popular than others. North Pole Series was the signature series, and that seemed to be the most popular one at the time. A large part of the reason it was so successful was that I tried to get the hottest girls and keep the quality consistent. Then the B.J. series, "Deep Throat This" surpassed that, even on my Internet surveys with buyers. Every fourth volume, we'd do a swallowing edition because people were requesting that. I started to notice that there was such a high demand for the swallowing [scenes] that I started the "Swallow This" series and the first volume has broken all of our sales projections.
XV: Does someone actually script these films?
PN: No. They're just ideas. There are certain ways of shooting it to get the full effect, and there are some companies that do it better than other companies. So what you do is take the best ideas from companies that are making good movies and formulate your own style without copying any particular format.
XV: You produce films for the straight and gay markets.
PN: All of my releases are straight, but Zaye also has gay and tranny titles. There's probably more potential down the road for his [Zaye's] gay and tranny stuff. There's a market out there for everything, it seems. The distribution products of Zaye's company, Moorehead Productions and Ducati Productions, compliment my products. Moorehead Productions is partnering with [heavy metal singer] Glenn Danzig for an exciting new horror/porn production, and Ducati Productions makes movies with strap-ons being used on both guys and girls. We each have something to bring to the table that is not competing with what the other person is doing. Some have a girl-girl series, which I don't have. We compliment each other really well with our combined product lines.
XV: Is it more fun being a businessperson or a performer?
PN: I have more fun as a businessperson. But there are definitely fringe benefits as an actor, too.
XV: You are in your 40s and going strong. Do you plan to remain active in the industry?
PN: Yes. I want to see how much I can grow this business. With the right people around you, there are no limits.
XV: What would you say is the key to running a successful business in this industry?
PN: Having a good attitude. Being straight up with people. Not extending yourself too much or going in over your head. It's important to do the research and do your due diligence and prepare yourself if you're going to make a move like this. I didn't have that much fear about it because I dipped my toes in through a distribution company. When I look back now, I should have started earlier because, throughout the early years, after a scene, the girls would tell me that fans were asking, "Did you do a picture for Peter North?" It didn't click with me at that time that — with Randy West and others producing their own movies — I also should have been doing my own thing.
XV: Despite the belated start, it seems like you are still experiencing a good deal of success.
PN: Well, it seems, even after all this time, that there's a wide range of fans who still know me and my work. It's just such a wide demographic and such a compliment. I don't want to compare myself to anyone famous, but when I think about it, many other adult film stars, as well as mainstream stars, have fans from all different age ranges as well. My loyal following has a lot to do with the success North Pole Enterprises and NorthStar Associates are enjoying today.