THE SWORD: You came from a background in indie film. It’s a pretty big jump from
art to commerce. How do the two compare?
BEN LEON: Indie filmmaking has
a spirit of its own. The spirit is focused on artistic vision and usually
driven by the director and the writer (who is usually the director on small
projects). What makes me laugh so much about indie filmmaking is that once the
vision is there 90% of the effort ends up going towards raising money to fund
the project. Plus indie films are basically a black sink hole of cash. Money is
almost never made and making money is not the goal.
As a director for Raging Stallion one of the
biggest perks for me is that I don’t have to worry about money. I mean, I get a
budget that I need to stick to, but the money is already there. Within that
budget I’m allowed to do almost anything.
And porn is well distributed, meaning that it goes
out all over the world without an ounce of effort from me. In indie film once
the money is spent and the film is made the next huge problem is getting it
scene and distributed. In porn I don’t have to worry about that. Raging
Stallion ships the video to hundreds of stores and individuals all over.
it just commerce?
I try to think of it as cultural creation. Even
though sometimes it feels like I’m just pumping out the next project, I am
creating visual culture that a lot of people see. In a lot of ways I get
to do exactly what all the indie filmmakers desire without all the work.
I know you’ve said that the genesis of GRUNTS was Tigerland with Collin Farrel. Do you pull inspiration from
mainstream film often?
You gotta pull from somewhere. I look at mainstream
stuff for lighting and camera work more than anything. I haven’t really
conquered plot or story yet. As technology pushes forward and high end shooting
costs less and less over time, someone like me has the ability to improve
production values without breaking the bank.
I watch some independent stuff, but usually with
horror. But there are always people out there doing good work and breaking
boundaries but it’s not always easy to find. I like old films too. Often old
films will have been made with technology that is easy to replicate. They had
to be inventive. Lately I’ve been watching Kenneth Anger stuff for
funny â€“ cause Anger has that interest in the occult and on the less, uh,
puritanical side of culture, so it’s a natural fit. He’s pulling a lot from the
fringe elements of culture, which is familiar to anyone working in porn.
In reality I pull from everything I see and hear. I
spend a lot of time looking at photography for inspiration. Since I have not
been focused on writing plots or scripts I’ve been focusing most of my energy
on the visual, so photography is a big influence. Lighting is really a big, big
thing and actually it has been a focus of much of my recent shooting. Playing
with light can be really fun and take a boring set and turn it into something
that is actually visually powerful — at least i hope it can! I’ve been working
on designing new lighting set-ups. I learned lighting mostly form Chris Ward
and some from JD Slater and now I’m working on pushing my knowledge and my
But you’re not big on dialogue.
Film is a visual/audio medium and porn is even more
specifically focused on the visual. So that’s been my focus. What can I do to show off a man in a new way, to see the bodies
with a new eye. That’s I focus so much more on light and camera work more than
plot or dialogue. However, I am working on my first script for a move
called Dirty Loads that will be
filmed later this year. It will be my first production completely directed by
me that has a story and characters.
Obviously you see a disproportionate
amount of Raging Stallion porn — what do you do for a break? Who else in the
business is making porn worth watching?
I respect the work that a lot of other companies
do. Titan and Lucas especially have a visual style that I am occasionally
jealous of. But because we make porn that is in a similar vein, I watch them
more for technological inspiration â€¦ I love amateur web porn, and a free straight porn on the internet.
have access to tons of Raging Stallion porn â€“ is there anything that you pay for?
porn website I pay for on a regular basis is Fratpad.tv, which I really love.
I’m not sure exactly what the elements are that get me going there but the guys
are hot and semi-real and they act like real guys â€¦ except naked and the
occasional hard-on. Most of the content is just an extended tease and for some
reason that gets me going. Plus the guys are a very different type of man than
what I film everyday.
What would you change about this
industry if you could?
I would stop barebacking companies from filming
and making money. I want to try and push a little less muscle and abs on people
and a little more everyday hotness. I wish I could slow down production just a
tad and spend a little more time on each project. But the company has been
growing so rapidly that it’s hard.
But you’ve managed to carve out some time for non-porn side
projects. Has working in porn changed the way you think about filmmaking in
As I said, money is a big issue in filmmaking
and porn is one way to make films that make moneyâ€¦ A smart porn
producer/director understands the limits of a budget. We try and produce things
that we are capable of instead of some crazy ambitious vision. Chris and I will
find a location that we like and can afford and build a movie around it. We use
resources that we have already developed. And we fund everything ourselves so
we don’t aim for the moon every time. We approach each project with the intent
to make it as good as possible with as little as possible. That doesn’t mean we
don’t spend a lot of money. When we spend money it’s because we know that if we
spend â€˜x’ amount we can make something particular work. It’s very reality
It's an interview with Phillip Aubrey: porn star, Spencer Reed's boyfriend, burp fetishist.
The COLT superstars joined a protest in Rome against the Catholic Church in order to make the claim that gay people are not pedophiles. There was a chihuaha involved.
I feel sorry for people with fetishes that can never be realized in real life. Take this Flickr user, who has to make do with his giants fetish using Photoshop.
I'm not one for bragging about intellectual accomplishments (it's something I learned from, you know, graduating with honors from Brown University), but Conner Habib is justifiably excited about his blurb in a book written by Carl Sagan's son.