Prolific filmmaker Marc MacNamara — a regular XBIZ Awards nominee as Gay Director of the Year — is branching out as the newly installed brand ambassador for iWantGayClips.com. “I was minding my own business, cruising the ‘Missed Connections’ ads on Craigslist,” he jokes in an exclusive interview with XBIZ, when he received a call from iWantEmpire about their plans to break into the all-male market. He was “immediately sold” by the company’s “respect and passion” for adult entertainment artists. “We started brainstorming right away. I’ve been in this industry for over a decade and I’m proud to guide iWantEmpire into the gay market.”
He adds, “I once judged a needlepoint-and-crochet talent contest at my local mall. So I feel very confident in my experience, eye for design and skill set.”
Anybody and everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be a porn star. And you don’t have to be selling sex. You don’t even have to be gay. If they think they’ve got something to offer, they’re welcome to open up a store and sell whatever they’d like.
MacNamara was tasked with coming up with an aesthetic and overall design that would appeal to ardent fans of all-male adult as well as casual consumers who want to explore. “They’ve been in the straight market for some time with iWantClips and they were looking for someone who knew the gay market, knew what would sell and would have a creative eye about what the site would look like, what the categories should be and who we should approach,” MacNamara says. The primary design aesthetic came from performer Diego Sans — MacNamara’s partner and the star of his XBIZ Award-nominated “Tarzan: A Gay XXX Parody” — who drew inspiration, among other sources, from Amsterdam’s famed neighborhoods where red lights signified sex for sale by women while men-only assignations were said to be indicated by blue lights. “So we came up with this ‘glowing blue light’ aesthetic,” MacNamara says. He also describes “a long, long list” of proposed categories catering to “the gay audience, people who are curious, people who may be bisexual, an all-encompassing pleasure palace.”
In addition, MacNamara says he pushed for the inclusion of categories and clips that went beyond erotic entertainment to showcase a more personal, but no less intimate, side to the personalities of the featured models. “These guys have made really big names for themselves and you see [them] in these nice, polished scenes. But you don’t really get to know who the guys are; they’re playing a character. I really wanted to get to know the people behind all that.”
When he extended invitations to top performers to join the site, MacNamara encouraged them to be “as personal as they want to be, but to be creative. I equate it to Instagram. The scenes are the [Instagram] posts that are polished and that you want everyone to see. And the clips are like Instagram Stories. They’re quick snippets that are a little more personal, but not as polished.”
Many of those snippets are not erotic. The initial batch of clips uploaded by Sans, for example, feature glimpses of his day-to-day life. “He’s doing yoga, he’s working out, he’s talking to the camera,” MacNamara says. The idea is to appeal to consumers with varying tastes, from those who want to get to know their erotic idols on a more personal level, to those who are hungry for more sexual escapades. “It’s two very different forms of media,” MacNamara says. “Do you like highly produced (content) or do you like (it) more real? It depends on your fantasy.”
MacNamara sees an opportunity for clip stores to coexist with traditional studio fare. “Obviously I’m riding the fence, working for a studio and working for a clip site. A lot of people will pit them against each other as enemies. It’s like reality-TV versus a blockbuster movie. They’re very different and they’re both entertainment. It’s like watching Mariah Carey on a reality show and then going to buy her album: they’re two different things.”
He cites the easy accessibility of technology as the impetus for the growth of this sector of adult entertainment. “Technology is so consumer-friendly now. Anybody can learn how to edit, how to shoot. It’s not just the professionals who are doing it anymore,” he says. “Everyone has a phone now that has a high-quality camera attached to it. Everybody, on a daily basis, is taking a photography class. They’re learning how to film, how to take pictures. So if the technology is there, and it’s accessible, why wouldn’t they use it and make money off of it? The clip site is a great way to put the models in charge of their own stores and have them benefit from the star power they’ve worked hard to achieve.”
MacNamara drew up a list of “influencers” among gay porn stars and offered them an enticing package to join the launch of iWantGayClips. However, “Anybody and everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be a porn star. And you don’t have to be selling sex. You don’t even have to be gay. You can be a cam guy. If they think they’ve got something to offer, they’re welcome to open up a store and sell whatever they’d like.”
The director’s contributions include a freewheeling interview series that will be made available for free. “We’ve filmed nine interviews so far. They’re really fucking fun. I have a blast doing them,” he says. Veteran stud Rafael Alencar, for example, used his interview to announce a significant career move and opened up about everything from his turbulent childhood to steamy assignations with A-list celebrities. “When we sit down, it’s like two friends talking,” MacNamara laughs. “And a lot of shit comes out.”
In addition to iWantGayClips, which offers a per-clip, buffet-style selection, MacNamara says the concurrent launch of a subscription-based, all-male version of iWantFanClub will offer much, much more of select models and featured performers. “It’s basically a social media site” with customized clips and personalized interactions in addition to regular posts and videos. “It’s a more all-encompassing pleasure palace,” MacNamara says.
At the same time as he was prepping for the launch of iWantGayClips, MacNamara was also working on his latest epic for Men.com, which is not an erotic parody. “I’m so excited to be something original,” he said, and offered praise to Men.com for the creative freedom to follow his artistic urges. “It takes place in the South Pacific. It’s the story of a fisherman who finds something mysterious and all hell breaks loose from there. Lots of action and adventure.”
Just as his films offer models the opportunity to stretch their artistic muscles, MacNamara feels personalized clip stores empower performers and have revitalized the industry. “It takes so much to be a porn star,” he says. “I could never do it. And this is a great way for them to be making more money. When I first started in the industry, models were making a lot more than they do now. Their incomes should be supplemented. This is a great way to use what they’ve created.”