Male Talent

David Law
As a straight male performer, I think many adult companies take the wrong approach to male talent. Companies and talent agencies claim that they have a slew of men wanting to perform, and, therefore, they won't consider new male talent, unless perhaps they are bringing female partners into the business.

Yet, there are companies that use the same 15 performers over and over. This gets boring for viewers. And companies that try to do creative projects often end up miscasting because of their comfortable reliance on the same people. In the process, they ignore new talent who make the effort to get quality headshots, make audition tapes, get AIM tested, show up on set, read scripts and learn lines, do smaller projects to prove their worth and commitment, demonstrate professionalism and contribute something more than sexual performance.

Rather than cultivating a more talented pool of male performers that will improve overall quality of projects, companies condemn themselves to continued bad acting and sex scenes that look no different than the 20 other titles they put out this year with the same performers.

Adult companies are mistaken if they don't think male talent affects the quality or marketability of a title. I repeatedly read that women are making up a larger and larger percentage of adult consumers. They also have opinions about what type of men they want to see in projects and will make purchase decisions based on that opinion.

For historical perspective, look at "The Opening of Misty Beethoven." Jamie Gillis carries that movie. His ability as an actor and personality, fitting that role perfectly, makes that movie interesting to watch and something that people interested in adult film continue to buy.

I would offer a similar comment in regards to the success of "Pirates." While the fact that it's beautifully shot and details such as costuming, sets and makeup contribute to its value, it's primarily the performance strength of Tommy Gunn (along with Janine and the nonsexual supporting cast) that makes it interesting to watch, unique and appealing to a broader market.

Likewise, it's no mystery why Randy Spears can be seen in so many quality projects. He's one of the prime elements that makes them quality. He's a talented actor, versatile and contributes more than his sexual performance. As a result, his scenes are entertaining and valuable, improve the quality of projects and increase sales. I think the same can be said of Steven St. Croix, who continuously demonstrates his ability to add humor and depth to his scenes. It's also refreshing to see faces like Rob Rotten or James Deen, who introduce some variety and personality to projects.

None of these quality performers is perfect for every role. However, they demonstrate that appropriate casting of quality talent can elevate a project, improving its strength in a competitive market, and defeat the myth that male talent isn't a market force. Unfortunately, these performers are too often accompanied by a handful of less-talented performers that appear time and again in adult projects. For those companies that want to shoot typical scenes/projects quick and cheap, none of this matters. But for those companies that actually want to make something interesting, unique and appealing, they should pay attention. The adult industry does itself a great disservice by not integrating quality male talent into its projects. Relying on B- and Clevel performances from the same familiar faces will result in the status quo, which the industry may be comfortable with.

Companies that cast this way deny themselves commercially valuable opportunities. Companies that utilize a thoughtful approach to casting will find a wider audience, improved reputation, greater sales and performer contributions more valuable than just getting it up and coming.

David Law is owner of Aphrodite Pictures and an adult performer.