MY Very Brief Stint in the Porn Industry


“If you really wanna find out what makes people tick, just watch porn

-Howard Stern

So, I was listening to Howard while working out last week when he prefaced some awful-sounding, scat-porn clip with the above quote. It struck a cord that took me back to a time when, after a long day of watching porn at work, I rode home on my bike thinking the same exact thought.

It was around ’05. I had just been laid off from a good job as an Editor/Proofreader at a Pharmaceutical Communications Company. I had interviewed for the same job at another Pharmaceutical Communications Company and was waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I answered an ad for an Editor Position and was called in for an interview. Now, the ad wasn’t very specific, but it sounded legit, so I went in for the interview. The company was located in a building that was only a few blocks from my former job. A building I walked by every day unaware of what was going on inside.

I met the Manager, a nice guy named Mike. Here I am in a suit, and he’s wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He takes me into his office where he’s got the company website projected up on the wall: He asks me if I’m comfortable with adult subject matter, and I direct him to my website. With the cover of my first novel, Dead Bitch Army plastered on the wall over his shoulder, we proceed with the interview. He offered me the job, and then gave me some time to think about it.

I went home and talked it over with my wife. At the very least the job would give me good material for a future book (That book would become my as-yet-unpublished novel, Invisible Piranha). She agreed, with the caveat that I not get any ideas regarding our sex life. Well, maybe a few ideas, but nothing crazy. Well, maybe a little crazy, but…

So, you’d expect the environment at a company like this to match the subject matter, but the first thing that struck me upon being shown to my cubicle on the first day was exactly how mundane it was. Here’s an excerpt from Invisible Piranha that describes it best:

“The place resembled any other office, at first glance.  Cubicles sectioned off by department; sales, advertising, graphic design, accounting, editorial.  Short walls decorated with kitschy reminders of the occupants’ lives outside of work.  Slouching bodies clothed in business-casual costumes, languishing through yet another day or socializing on the sly instead of working.  

But then, as the sounds begin to register… 

Uncomplicated keyboard riffs over the genderless symphony of moaning and screaming that translated both pleasure and pain in one sonorous sucker punch; the smack of skin on skin; the moist crackle and pop of natural lubricants, bedsprings squealing, furniture thumping against hollow walls.   

From there the whole environment became surreal.  The lurid details begin to reveal themselves.  Stacks of adult DVDs sitting on desktops.  Adult film starlets simulating sex-acts on posters.  Hardcore screenshots with pixilated genitalia on posters promoting less ambitious productions.  Catalogs and flyers lying around.  Autographed photos of naked women hanging from cubicle walls like trophies.”    

The cubicles were manned by people who would’ve fit right in at any other corporate office, most of them going about their duties with aplomb, as if they were working in the furniture or soft drink industry and not Internet porn.

My official title was Editor, but the bulk of my job involved watching unlabelled (usually) foreign porn DVDs and writing synopses for them using industry buzz words. I was given a list of said buzz words, which included hits like: DPed, Spit-Roasted, Facial, Cum Slut, Cum Dumpster, Hot Man Love, Plumper Booty, etc. Next, I had to pick a screen-shot from every scene in each film to display on the film’s page on the company website.

I was given a stack of DVDs and left alone to watch them. The first batch was all hardcore gay films. Now, I’m all about live and let live. Who gives a fuck who you like or what you’re into as long as you’re not hurting anyone, but that doesn’t mean I want to sit through hours of hardcore man-on-man action. As a straight guy, it’s strange to hear two guys in the throes of sex with each other, but hey… Live and learn. Part of me felt like it was a test to see if I was there to actually work or to get off watching porn.

The movies kept cuming. The categories were endless: Amateur, Anal, Ass-to-Mouth, Babysitter, Big Butt, BBW, College Hazing, Blondes, Brunettes, Redheads, Black, MILF, Moms, Mature, Grannies, Older Men, Interracial, Double-Anal, Anal Gaping, Ass-Licking, Amputee, Lesbian, Face-Sitting/Smothering, Humiliation, Wrestling/Catfighting, Balloon Play, Bubble Gum, Farting, Spanking, Squirting, Pregnant, FemDom, Hogtied, Cockold, Threesomes, Animation, Milking, Trampling, Rimming, Adult Babies/Infantilism. The list goes on and on. And after all that they somehow felt the need to include a category for Kink. Really?

I started paying attention to the number of views that each film had. Most were in the thousands; hundreds of thousands in some cases. I found myself wondering who those people were and what made them want to jack off to this stuff. I started to really understand the business of porn. These films weren’t being made for the hell of it. They were being made to serve a huge market made up of some of the same people you and I walk past in the street everyday. These are their deep, dark secrets, the skeletons in their closets.

The constant ambush of sexual perversity began to weigh on me. I like a little porn as much as the next guy, but this was way too much. I started to feel for some of the actors and actresses, wondering what kind of dark places they must’ve been in to agree to say… having some dude slap the shit out of them while pinching their noses shut and gagging them with his abnormally large penis until they vomit. I left work everyday feeling like I needed about 40 showers.

Thankfully I got the job with the other Pharmaceutical Communications Company and that was the end of my very brief stint in porn.

Don’t Call it a Comeback…


To put it simply, the Make U Famous debacle took a big, runny shit on my dream. If you’re not familiar with that went down, you can read about it here: Ain’t It Cool News

Ga head. I’ll wait…

All done? Pretty fucked up, right? I had never experienced anything close to the level of conniving, backstabbing, underhanded cowardly behavior that took place during that nightmare, and I grew up in the hood. In retrospect, I should’ve seen it coming. But I kept relying on this thing called trust. Live and learn, right?

Up to that point the Duza machine was moving ahead full steam. After three novels I was just settling into my place among a new crop of horror writers. I had finally come to understand my idiosyncratic voice and how to utilize it to its best potential without beating people over the head. I was collaborating with great artists to help translate my visual style via interior illustrations—a process that I thoroughly enjoyed. It seemed like a graphic novel was the next logical step.

But then the bottom fell out and writing (the business side, to be more specific) became that girl who cheated on you, the one you forgave, but then found it hard to look at without seeing some anonymous sweaty masculine figure conjured up by your insecurities thrusting and grinding on top of her as she moans in delight in a way that you could never elicit from her. So, I looked away.

While I never stopped writing, the mentality was no longer “write to live.” The inherent need to purge my brain of the surplus of words and images was still there, but I wasn’t going to stress about getting this or that published. If a manuscript was accepted then that was icing on the cake, but if not, then so be it. I became less of a presence online. I was less concerned with scheduling my day around writing. I would just let it happen.

I dove headfirst into personal training and teaching kung fu and spent more time being a husband and father. Not that I was ever neglectful of any of those things, but oftentimes I would be there physically while mentally I was elsewhere, compiling ideas for the next writing session. I did some acting, and stunt work, which I hope to do more of in the future.

I got myself an agent and passed everything on to him once I finished; one novel, two novels, three novels. Turns out he didn’t really understand how to market a weirdo like me, but no hard feelings. It’s not like I was really busting my ass to get the word out about my work.

Along the way someone would express interest in my screenplay for Hollow Eyed Mary, and I’d get my hopes up only for it to fizzle out each time. You learn that this is par for the course in the film industry, even moreso than in the literary world. The people who make it are either lucky or they simply keep plowing forward no matter how many times things don’t work out.

I became increasingly frustrated for allowing myself to be dragged into it again and just when I was ready to throw in the towel, I get an email like this:

“Hey man. I love your work. Any word on upcoming projects? I’m in need of a Duza fix.”

Then an opportunity arises with TV writer Morgan Gendel. We had become friends since meeting during the MUF debacle. Morgan’s a veteran TV-writer/producer who’s written for shows like Law and Order, Nash Bridges, Hunter, 21 Jump Street (The original TV series), Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and he created that awesomely bad Pam Anderson show V.I.P, so I would often defer to him for advice concerning some potential script deal. These calls would inevitably devolve into brainstorming sessions. After a year of this we finally found a project to work on together, a sequel to a Hugo Award Winning episode of Star Trek: TNG that he had written called Inner Light. He had pitched it years ago to the execs at Paramount and was told, “We don’t do sequels.” So, we came up with the idea of doing the sequel as an online comic. You can check it out here: The Outer Light

Next I get an email from Wrath James White asking if I’d be up for collaborating on a novella, Son of a Bitch. Then another chance to collaborate, this time with author Wayne Simmons on a novel, Voodoo Chile.

The collaborative process is different each time, but equally enjoyable, and I credit it along with letters from fans with helping to reignite my passion for writing. Another, unlikely inspiration was the wealth of material mined from conversations with my personal training clients. Training is a funny business. Your clients are often successful people who are used to dominating their respective environments. However, they might be overweight, or maybe they’re not the most athletic or coordinated person, and there you are, this living action-figure standing over them barking out commands. It’s a weird dynamic. You almost become their therapist. As a writer, it’s impossible for me not to expound on their tales once I get home and sit down in front of the computer. Some of them are wilder than anything I can dream up. And I’m good for some pretty off-the-wall shit.

In short, I’m back. I’ve got a couple new projects on my plate, some unpublished novels and a few screenplays to sell, and enough ideas to last a lifetime.

So, stay tuned…