On one hand, it is very compelling for me to produce top notch films that include interesting little bonuses for the viewer like scripts, dialogue, good acting, and the like. This is the hallmark of such current directors as Michael Ninn and Max Candy. But, hard (and expensive) experience has taught me that the "porn industry" has no easy way to promote this sort of feature film product. On the other hand, Gonzo is a fast and cheap product to produce, and so many internet surfers just love it. Hats off to the Bang Bus boys for picking up on "reality TV" programming and taking it to our industry.
The math is pretty easy. A typical Gonzo video shoot over two days runs around $3,000 to cover airfare, catering, talent payment, and the like (On the cheap side, "True Gonzo" can happen in a 4 hour period and cost a whopping sum of $500). Post production takes about a day and 5 to 7 scenes are ready to upload.
A typical Feature Film shoot over 16 days runs around $200,000 to cover the large cast, crew, catering, location rental fees, hotels and the like. Post production takes about 6 months and involves professional color correction, massive amounts of editing time, music composers, DVD box cover art, DVD replication, and distributor negotiations.
Here is the balance I've worked out for Wasteland.com: We produce a ratio of 90% gonzo to 10% "feature films". Gonzo is easy. Bring in some good BDSM talent, and with no real plot or scripted dialogue, just let them beat the tar out of each other. The members love it. It is cheap and easy to film, and gives lots of good original content for paysite updates.
Feature films are more difficult and expensive, but very fulfilling on an artistic level. We produce several of these every year and, although they have limited market value and revenue due to the collapsing DVD market, are our pride and joy.
Gonzo helps underwrite more serious film making efforts. Serious film making feeds the artistic soul.
It's all about balance.