Executive Seat: Takin' Care of Business

One of the driving forces behind the steady rise of Girlfriends Films is an unassuming executive that knows what it means to be under pressure. Crisis management is what the man they call Moose did for a living long before he began representing one of the top lesbian studios in adult entertainment.

The former firefighter and EMT has parlayed his former career navigating through lifethreatening situations into a key leadership role at GFF in less than three years. Since joining the company as the director of domestic sales, Moose has emerged as owner Dan O’Connell’s right-hand man, and this year smoothly transitioned into the role of vice president of the bustling company.

In this exclusive interview, Moose talks about what it takes to keep GFF on the forefront and about his unique professional background.

XBIZ: What does your job entail as the vice president of Girlfriends Films?

Moose: We have a small in house team and in order to make sure everything gets done I get in early and make sure I am on top of everything that we need to focus on each day. Our team is awesome and we all wear several hats so I regularly check in with everyone to see if I can help them in any way. I try to stay well networked in the industry and maintain relationships with our vendors and buyers, and of course focus on sales!

XBIZ: How did you transition from director of sales to VP in two years?

Moose: A combination of the help from the GF team and Dan [O’Connell’s] trust in me have helped me get where I am today. I love my job and what I get to do every day. I care about this company as if it were my own. Paying attention to details has allowed me to brainstorm new ventures and ideas as well as streamline various company processes. Hard work, dedication and constant brainstorming have allowed me prove myself and further my career.

XBIZ: What are your biggest challenges at Girlfriends Films?

Moose: Maintaining our standards for buyers so the playing field is fair and our brand retains its value. In regards to that, removing Girlfriends Films video clips from hundreds of pirate websites is a neverending job. We focus on this not just to protect our brand, but to help our DVD distributors and buyers, as well.

XBIZ: How has the administrative structure of Girlfriends changed since you’ve been there?

Moose: Nobody has ever quit or retired from Girlfriends Films. We provide employees with health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and 401(k). We have really come together as a team and have made effective changes in various roles.

XBIZ: What do you attribute to the strong brand recognition of Girlfriends Films in the marketplace?

Moose: Great quality productions that stay true to our main demographic. Dan is amazing at what he does and focuses on creating authentic material that reaches all audiences’ needs. We also have a strong marketing and PR team that keeps us constant news in all media outlets. A lot of it boils down to constant attention to detail and trying to be the best at everything we do.

XBIZ: What is the company doing to grow its already loyal fan base?

Moose: We have an amazing forum for our fans where we listen to what the fans want and work on giving it to them. Fans can also chat with our Girlfriends Films ladies on the forum which helps pull in new fans. Additionally, our website carries a monthly newsletter that keeps fans posted on any new news with the company and its stars.

XBIZ: Describe a typical workday for yourself …

Moose: I like getting in early… peace and quiet can get a lot done! Then I start with overseas calls, East Coast calls, Skype conferences and then AIM is open to make sure tests are all good. Dan and I meet around 9 a.m. every day to brainstorm on tradeshows, contracts, deals, production, girls, and all the other tasks that come with making five movies a month and getting them distributed around the world.

XBIZ: How did you find out about the opportunity to work for GFF?

Moose: I was very lucky at the 2007 AEE Show. I met Dan on Wednesday night when he was setting up the booth. He needed a hand, I pitched in, and we immediately hit it off. After talking shop, he thought I would be a good addition to the company and I started working at GFF shortly after.

XBIZ: What was it that attracted you to a career in adult?

Moose: I was a fireman and broke my foot in several spots… After that, fire structure boots would not work with all the pins I now had in my foot so I looked for jobs in sales and marketing since I had previous experience in those areas. So my girlfriend at the time, now my hot wife, got me into the industry as a sales rep.

XBIZ: What was your familiarity with adult before you got involved?

Moose: Nothing! I was always trying to be an entrepreneur and make something work — I patented a few products and started a website… But nothing that related the adult industry.

XBIZ: What is your professional background?

Moose: Firefighting and emergency services. I worked on “Monster Garage” for five years while also running my own EMT company that worked different events. I also helped a friend start his hot rod shop, BS Industries, which has been featured on three television shows and won 2009 SEMA Best of Show.

XBIZ: How would you describe your experience working with Jesse James and West Coast Choppers?

Moose: It was an experience of a lifetime. I was the Firefighter/Safety Officer on “Monster Garage” for five years and his Baja 1000 firefighter for two years. Every week it was a new crew that got a crazy building project. Working for Jesse and being close to lifethreatening situations on a regular basis really makes you understand that he’s very smart but also willing to go past the edge and take enormous risks.

XBIZ: What did you learn from that job?

Moose: I was able to see so many projects go through start, middle and end. It really taught me how to think outside of the box and that with the right team anything is possible.

XBIZ: How did being a firefighter change you? What did you take away from that?

Moose: I always wanted to be a fireman and then after going through the academy and finally being able to rip cars apart, fight fires and apply all you learned is like no other feeling. I took away a brotherhood I can count on 24/7 — these guys are truly crazy.

XBIZ: What emotions do you have when you’re going to fight a fire?

Moose: Firefighting is in you and it’s that reaction of when things get crazy you open your eyes more and do what your trained or else it can be you and all your brothers that fall through the roof and no one gets out safe. Even cutting someone out of a car that needs medical attention… First you need to protect them, and then cut the roof and door off just to mobilize and transport them — it’s such a rush.

XBIZ: Where were you born and raised?

Moose: I was born in Panorama City, Calif., and raised north of LA.

XBIZ: How did you get the nickname Moose?

Moose: I was a volleyball player and could jump above the net to block. A great friend of mine nicknamed me Moose because he said that’s what I looked like jumping up at the net with my hands up to block. Then the Fire Department continued to use it and when I started with Girlfriends Films it worked for marketing because no one forgets the Moose.

XBIZ: What is an accomplishment you’re proud of…

Moose: Girlfriend Films...We are killing it! And my career with Girlfriends Films — I have grown a lot with the company.

XBIZ: What are your plans for GFF in 2011 and beyond?

Moose:We will continue to look at all the functions in the company and improve on any of them in any way possible. We’d like to find a good size office/warehouse to buy and grow into. We will look at some more cable and internet opportunities. We’ve built a great DVD distribution network and are giving consideration to taking on some additional lines. We realize that we need to improve our core business as well as entertain growth opportunities in new directions. Girlfriends Films won the Free Speech Coalition’s 2010 Leadership Award, which is given to the adult-industry individual or company that exemplifies the highest level of business practices and innovation. We are extremely proud of that and it’s given us even more incentive to remain the standard-bearer for the industry.

XBIZ: How do you maintain balance in your life?

Moose: Outside of work I spend time with my wife, friends and family. Traveling, playing volleyball, going to the beach… With my smart phone I am always connected to the office.