While they aren’t exactly the odd couple of gay porn, there’s a certain synergy to the way Joe Gage and Ray Dragon have found their growing groove. Call it kismet, perhaps.
“Yin and Yang? It’s a mystery to both of us. Mutual respect and admiration for each other’s gifts, probably,” says Gage of the secret to their success. “Our motto: Never give up.”
We’re known for featuring ‘average’ men from all walks of life in our projects, and sometimes it just seems right to return to the original concept and give ‘em what they want: a story that might actually happen in real life. -Joe Gage
Last year turned out to be another winner for Dragon Media, sparked by a new label and more hits to show yet again that the smaller studio can play with the big boys. And when it comes to talking about their endeavors, one difference between the two icons is apparent, at least according to Gage: “I’m the one with the big mouth.”
That’s fitting, because he has to cast a lot of men with big mouths to handle the likes of Rocco Steele and David Anthony — two of many studs that highlight recent efforts like “Working-Class Stiff” and the upcoming “Runaway Sons,” the 18th installment in the “Joe Gage Sex Files” series. But if you ask the director, his casts stand out for the way they differ from the formula so often seen in the industry.
“It’s an old-school director’s practice, creating and depending on a contained group of well-liked regular performers to get the job done — David Anthony, Joe Parker, Dale, Adam,” he says. “In their private life, most of our men are basically just like the rest of us. No divas. One gentleman, who works for us often, recently revealed that as a youngster he papered his bedroom walls with pictures of David Cassidy — having no idea why he did so at the time. The fact that he grew up to be gay sex star is a source of amusement to him now that he’s figured it out.”
It’s that unique outlook that has injected the studio’s efforts with a refreshing take, one infused with Gage’s obvious expertise with tapping into blue collar lust — which “Working-Class Stiff” delivers in spades.
“We’re known for featuring ‘average’ men from all walks of life in our projects, and sometimes it just seems right to return to the original concept and give ‘em what they want: a story that might actually happen in real life,” Gage says. “We asked around to see who among our regulars was available and right for the character, and it was a kick to see that every man we approached jumped at the chance of working with us again. A couple of newbies, and shazam, we had a cast.”
That includes Steele (“Aside from his obvious physical endowment, Rocco has a speaking voice that is second to none—clear, resonant and deeply masculine”) as well as studio vets like Dale Cooper — who also appeared in “Armed Forces Physical,” which earned a Movie of the Year nomination this year. “It’s nice to get the feeling that our work is appreciated,” says Gage, who also was nominated for Best Director, along with the studio. (As for the ‘Physical’ shoot? His first memory is decidedly unsexy: “Mosquitoes. Everywhere. Luckily the lust kept everybody going.”).
“We aim for a combination of men who have ‘been around the block,’ so to speak, with other guys who may have just fallen off the turnip truck. So to speak,” says Gage. “Neither one of us keeps up with much that goes on in the ‘industry.’ As for me, I’ve made it a point to never comment on the work of others in the field. As for discouraging, continuing trends: manscaping.”
The debut of the Private Stock label last year came with “American Bukkake,” an oral extravaganza that was a departure for the studio’s recent efforts. Dragon also got in on the action, directing “Sex in Bed” (also headlined by Steele), which he noted on camera was a departure for the studio and an effort to strip things down and get back to basics.
“The last place we film sex is in a bed—so it was time to break away from what we usually do,” Dragon says. “I also had a couple of new guys that needed to get in front of the camera—and just putting them in bed with a sexy partner is the best way to break them in.”
Gage has also busied himself with JoeGage.com, which houses a variety of the director’s inspirations (including some fantastic photos) in men, sex, art and America; and with a few projects at Titan (last year saw the release of “Cut to the Chase” and “Chain Reaction”), a relationship that might continue (“Hopefully something later in the year, if we can work things out. You never know…”).
If he has time. With the success Gage and Dragon have earned, that may be harder to come by.
“The company did more online business than ever before, with the surge in download-town taking off in a big way. The introduction of the new, basically non-story Private Stock line was well-received, and the ‘Joe Gage Sex Files’ line continued to pull in viewers,” he says, noting that they are looking to keep fan favorite David Anthony busy.
“David is featured in our just-released ‘Runaway Sons,’ and we’re endeavoring like crazy to build a new project for him that pairs him with another of our stock company dudes,” Gage says. “‘Sons’ is on track to becoming our best-selling release yet. There’s a new Joe Gage movie in the works: ‘Dad Out West,’ another ‘Joe Gage Sex Files’ project or two, and ‘American Bukkake 2: Business Edition,’ a suit-sex epic that is about ready to be unleashed.”