IS THERE LIFE AFTER PORN?
‘AFTER PORN ENDS’ FINDS
FIRST TIME DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR
BRYCE WAGONER ON A BOLD,
FASCINATING JOURNEY TO DISCOVER THE
INCREDIBLE AND OFTEN UNEXPECTED ANSWERS
The Feature Length Film, Produced By
Oxymoron Entertainment and Set For On Demand Release
By Gravitas Ventures May 21 and DVD Release
August 21, Includes Riveting Interviews With 13 Former
(And Some Legendary) Porn Stars, “Industry Godfather” Bill Margold
And A Porn Expert UCLA Professor
Can porn actors really live a normal life after porn?
The very legitimate and intriguing question filmmaker Bryce Wagoner attempts to answer in his fascinating first feature length documentary “After Porn Ends” (www.afterpornends.com) actually took root a few years ago with a slightly more sordid but comical image: vegetable porn!
Wagoner, a working actor and short film director, was on a soundstage doing motion capture work. A bunch of his colleagues on the set were killing time, looking casually at porn on the internet. “They were all laughing at what they were watching,” Wagoner says. “My buddy Albie was completely flabbergasted at the veggie porn he was looking at. He came up with the magic words that have driven me ever since: ‘How can you do anything in your life after doing that?’”
The passion stirred by that off the cuff remark and Wagoner’s quest to discover the answers led to the remarkable cross country and emotionally compelling journey at the core of “After Porn Ends.” Produced by the groundbreaking film company Oxymoron Entertainment, the film is set for On Demand Release May 21 by Gravitas Ventures, LLC, one of the world’s largest On Demand programmers, whose reach will potentially put it in 100 million households. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers, producers and distribution companies to leading cable, satellite, telco and online distribution partners. It is available now for pre-purchase on iTunes and will be released on DVD August 21.
A fast moving and heartfelt documentary that examines the life and careers of some of the biggest names in the history of the adult entertainment industry—and the ups and downs of what happens to them after they leave the business and attempt to resume “normal” lives—the film includes interviews with 13 former porn stars, many legendary in their realm.
These include onetime California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey (89 titles), Houston (67 titles), Crissy Morgan (the most popular “online” porn star), Raylene (224 titles), Asia Carrera (389 titles), Seka (217 titles), Randy West (a whopping 1296 titles!), Amber Lynn (365 titles), Bill Margold (considered by many to be the “Industry Godfather”), Tyffany Million (129 titles), John Leslie (a veteran of 20 years and 542 titles, who passed away recently), Nina Hartley (who appeared in the film “Boogie Nights”), Shelley Lubben (who became an anti-pornography advocate after a lengthy career in the business), Richard Pacheco (a onetime Playgirl “Man of the Year”) and Luke Ford (the “Perez Hilton” of porn and author of “The History of X: 100 Years of Sex in Film”).
“After Porn Ends” also includes the insights of Dr. Neil Malamuth, a Professor of Psychology, Communication and Women’s Studies at UCLA who wrote a book and teaches a class on the harmful effects of pornography on individuals and how society deals with them.
Entering the filmmaking process without an overriding agenda or up front thesis, Wagoner and producers Christopher Mallick (Founder of Oxymoron Entertainment), Andy Weiss and Susan Dynner discovered that their subjects had a fascinating range of stories and life paths both before and after their years making adult movies. As the promotional materials explain, “They were artists, baseball players, child prodigies and even Ivy Leaguers. Now, after their lives in porn, they’re television stars, bounty hunters, writers and social activists.”
“After Porn Ends,” which liberally intercuts interview clips with racy scenes from some of the participants’ work, asks and answers: “What happened in between? And now that they’ve moved on, can they really live a normal life after porn?”
Wagoner’s journey took him to 16 different locations around the U.S., from the mountains of Southern Utah (where the recently widowed Asia Carrera lives with her children) to Kansas City (Seka), Las Vegas (Randy West), other parts of the Midwest, Arizona (where Tiffany Million resides in the prison capital of the U.S.) and of course, Southern California, where the multi-billion dollar industry is based.
“We found that everyone’s story is extraordinary in some way,” says Wagoner. “Except for Shelley, who had a horrible time in the business, everyone’s story about their work has some similarities as a balance of good and bad. Everyone had their own exit strategy, and of course the guys could work till they’re 60 while most of the women had to retire much younger for obvious reasons. One woman was supremely happy with everything, both during and after, while others did all they could to reclaim normal lives with varying degrees of success. In recent years there has been quicker burnout because increasing consumer demands translated to the big stars going from 8-12 films per year to that many per month! There were a lot of surprising moments. One of the women left the industry seven years ago and told us how her husband and kids saved her life. Then, some time after we shot our footage, she called crying to say that she was going to go back, because of financial necessity. It’s the only thing she knows.
“What intrigued me along the way is that despite the way some people may view their chosen profession, porn stars are people too,” the director adds. “Society has its own illusions of the mystery of what goes on in this business, but nobody’s ever taken a look at what happens to these folks afterwards. Our film offers a 360 degree view of that world, and what viewers will see is that the people I’ve talked to who do porn are the strongest and bravest I know.”
Mallick’s first feature film “Middle Men” (starring Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and James Caan) was about the birth of the era of online billing, a business which drew millions in revenues from the porn industry; the story is drawn from the producer’s own experiences as founder of a company that created the first software program for online billing. His company’s most recent scripted feature is the Hitchcockesque thriller “Columbus Circle,” starring Ribisi, Selma Blair, Amy Smart and Jason Lee.
Mallick thinks that one of the strengths of “After Porn Ends” is the fact that neither Wagoner or the producers took a moral position on the industry or its participants. “It wasn’t about us declaring whether this is good or bad for the participants or society at large,” he says. “It was more, ‘Let’s hear their stories, because true stories often have elements that are too good to make up. The stories our subjects tell is one of the human condition – what led them in, what happened during their time, what hastened their departure and what their current lives are. We never ‘led the witness,’ so to speak. We just heard their stories, edited down from hundreds of hours to 93 minutes and tried to cut it truthful, rather than take the easy but ultimately ordinary route of being salacious or judgmental.”
As could be expected with a concept on such a hot topic and using the word “porn,” Wagoner faced a lot of slammed doors from the upstart documentary producers he approached, many of whom feared taking it on would tainting their efforts to establish their own particular brand. The quirky story of how Wagoner hooked up with Mallick and the team at Oxymoron that helped him bring his vision to life starts out with, “guy walks into a bar”—literally.
Drawing on his training in Theatre and English, the Richmond, Virginia native—a graduate of East Carolina University—moved to L.A. and had worked for five years as the lead motion capture actor in World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown vs. Raw, portraying WWE Champion Triple E. While trying to break into films behind the scenes, he had also shot several short films.
“Andy Weiss was a regular at the restaurant I worked at and knew I was an actor,” Wagoner says. “He thought I would be a role in ‘Middle Men,’ which he and Chris were producing. When he told me about the concept of guys billing for the porn industry, I mentioned my idea for ‘After Porn Ends,’ which I had been pitching for a while. I had been making some inroads contacting some of the former stars that would eventually be part of the film, and Chris immediately realized the concept’s potential. Six weeks later, I had a contract and we began pre-production.
“From my experiences in the documentary world,” he adds, “I found that most directors and producers play it safe, doing important work on topics like education, war, children and certain social issues. Our film doesn’t fall into any of those categories, and it’s both scary and exciting to chart such new territory. I’m excited about the response so far, and thrilled that guys like (Academy Award nominated filmmaker) Morgan Spurlock are loving it. When I told him how much we made this for, it looked like he’d seen a ghost. It was definitely fueled by passion more than dollars.”