LOS ANGELES — Nick Manning realizes the porn business has changed considerably since he started making a name for himself as a top performer in the early 2000s.
Lately, when guys approach him on the street aspiring to be porn talent, he is happy to give them a reality check.
“Guy comes to me and says, ‘Nick, I want to be a famous porn star like you and I want to get started now,’” Manning says. “I told him, ‘I've got some advice for you, go work at Home Depot. They have an excellent pension plan.’
“He says, ‘No Nick, I’m serious,’ and I go, ‘So am I! ... I have bona fide superstar friends in this business for the past 15 years who are going broke and getting their homes foreclosed. Does that sound like the career for you?’”
Manning continues, “Do you know what his response to me was? ‘Well if everyone’s leaving, now is a great time to get in.’
"They don’t even realize that it’s just a shot in the dark for even the best of them. There’s no road paved to glory, but everyone thinks it’s so easy.”
Manning, who has more than 750 movie credits and 2,000-something sex scenes on his resume, knows otherwise. As the number of porn companies shooting has decreased along with DVD sales, Manning says he feels the quality of what's being produced has also suffered. So after more than a decade of constantly working, traversing the porn circuit spouting his trademark line, “Droppin’ Loads,” now he is carefully picking his spots to perform. Fortunately for Manning, he is in a financial position to be able to make those choices.
“I don’t really want to work with a girl who’s making less than I am, or even the same,” Manning explains. “I want the girl to be someone you’re paying two-thousand dollars to. There probably are 20 girls that they are paying 2,000 to 2,500 dollars to, why am I not working with them?
"I’m working with this girl that you got for 700 dollars and an agency fee? … I’m scratching my head... It’s like, 'Why would you get a race-car driver and stick him in a Yugo? You don’t need me for this. Dude, if you’re going to make it this way, who cares, no one’s going to see it.'”
Manning, who is represented by L.A. Direct Models, may not be taking every job opportunity that comes his way, but the former semi-pro baseball player and Wall Street exec remains active with plenty of other projects, such as compiling footage for his DVD series “Droppin’ Loads.”
The now-defunct studio Sin City released the first four volumes, but Manning notes that he still has a remarkable amount of unreleased footage, enough to fill literally dozens more volumes.
“So right now, I just put together [Volumes] 5, 6 and 7 and I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, maybe I’ll stick them in a time capsule,” Manning jokes. “But dude, this shit is awesome and I’m looking at this thinking, man this is so much better than these things that other people are complaining about. So I’m just going to keep doing only that. And it doesn’t require any principal photography. It just requires me to put them together and edit it.”
Speaking of editing, the performer's documentary “Droppin’ Loads: The Nick Manning Story” has been in the making for several years and already has attracted interest from cable networks such as Showtime. Manning said the filmmakers have amassed a goldmine of footage from following him since 2001.
“Even more than that, these guys have about 40 hours of reel-to-reel footage from my childhood that my parents donated,” said Manning, who grew up in Chicago and has a Bachelor's degree in economics and international business as well as a Master's degree in human resources management. “In Hollywood, if they wanted to make something look like that, they’d spend millions of dollars and my parents gave it to them for free. They were the best documentarians ever! They literally have my first day coming home from the hospital. They take me out of the car and bring me into the house…
"My dad looks like James Garner with his million-dollar smile. Are you kidding me? They were trying to shoot a documentary from Day One. I told the documentarian, 'My parents were much better documentarians than you. Their camera never even shakes!'”
The childhood footage is so thorough that even Manning wonders how his parents pulled it off.
“I look at it and go, there’s my mom, there’s my dad, who’s holding this fucking camera? It’s a mystery camera person there all the time.”
Manning says in total there are 260 hours of documentary footage the filmmakers are attempting to edit into two separate, three-hour parts — in addition to a reality show.
“So at the end of the day, they’ll probably use 20 of the 260 hours,” he says.
Manning, who is the subject of a forthcoming book also called Droppin' Loads, also has about 200 unreleased sex scenes he’s shot during the past several years. He is using that bank of scenes as content for the “Droppin’ Loads” porn series, while at the same time mixing in lifestyle footage that won’t be in the documentary with each volume.
“We have footage of Dana DeArmond from like 2005 talking about me. Then it went right into some conversations she was having the day of the shoot and then right into the scene,” Manning says. “So you see her over a five-year period too, which is pretty cool. I never realized when we were shooting all this stuff that it would actually be useful in adult because it was such a mainstream project I never intended to be released in porn. But it’s pretty cool, it’s coming together so I’m just going to keep doing those and see what happens.”
Last summer Manning went back into intense training for four months to get into shape for a photo shoot and feature story for a national men’s fitness magazine that is expected to hit newsstands later this year. His friend Duke Mulholland, an adult industry production vet who is also a prolific writer, took the photos and wrote the piece.
“I got so sick — ripped over a 16-week period,” says Manning, an experienced mainstream fitness and fashion model before porn. “I probably had one percent body fat. We took the pictures, and they came out great.”