A Lone Gunn

Porn producer Jim Gunn makes a living on the low end of cinema

He wants Taijé in his next movie. She isn't repelled by the idea; in fact she's porn positive. "Some people have the antiquated belief women are being used in the porno industry," she opines, sounding like the earnest college student that she is. "But it's the men who are lining up. It's not us being victimized. Men have this weakness in their bodies, and we are taking advantage of it." Still, she worries hard-core sex immortalized on film could some day come back to haunt her.

"You should think about it," Gunn says. "The chances of someone seeing you are slim. You know there are thousands of movies that come out every year."

"I know," she says. "Maybe sometime over the summer if I need the cash."

A family affair: Patrick and porn-starlet wife Sandy Knight
Joshua Prezant
A family affair: Patrick and porn-starlet wife Sandy Knight
Porn is a $10 billion business nationally; Gunn claims a six-figure income from his work
Joshua Prezant
Porn is a $10 billion business nationally; Gunn claims a six-figure income from his work

Tommi, while interested, is also wary. She has the necessary experience -- "I had sex with the whole seventh-grade cheerleading squad," she offers -- but what if her parents find out?

Gunn offers his business card. She tucks it into her thigh-high white stockings.

"What's your phone number?" he asks.

"What, so you can call me up and leave a message on my home answering machine that my mom will hear, "Hi, this is Jim. Do you want to be in a lesbian fuck film?'"

"I would never leave a message like that," he replies sheepishly.

"We'll see," she says.

Sandy introduces Gunn to Debbie, a buxom blonde from the Pamela Anderson school. Debbie politely turns him down. Dancing is as far as she ventures into the sex business. Then Sandy hooks him up with Darrien, a demure brunette, but she won't cross that line either. "I have a 100 percent Italian father who would kick my ass," she says. "And I have a 100 percent Polish mother who would kick my ass."

No takers, it seems. But the trip isn't a loss. It takes time to convince women to have sex on camera. That's why he spends two or three nights a week at Broward and Palm Beach county strip clubs. "I try to bring them into the business... and I try to do it when they are young, before they change their minds or get too many tattoos."

As it turns out, Sandy, her husband Patrick (who showed up at Gunn's table later that evening), and Taijé would all soon appear in a Jim Gunn movie.

Porn in the U.S. is huge business, though no one seems to agree on exactly how huge. The numbers tossed about by mainstream media range from $10 billion to $20 billion annually. Even the lower figure is about equal to what Americans spend on sporting events and live music combined, according to Frederick S. Lane's book Obscene Profits, The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age, which was published last year.

Another way to look at it: About 12,000 new adult movies were released in the United States in 2000, says writer Gene Ross, who has covered porn for 15 years and cofounded the industry's biggest trade magazine, Adult Video News. That means a total of almost 33 flicks per day.

Since most of those movies come from Los Angeles, it's not surprising that the same faces show up repeatedly. "There are male performers who have been in 10,000 movies," says Ross, who recently parted from Adult Video News and now writes about the industry on his Website, www.generossextreme.com. "And there are a few guys who have made 12,000 to 13,000."

It's the same story for women, who for obvious physiological reasons can perform in more movies than men and tend to earn more money per scene. They're the real stars.

So how does an aspiring producer distance himself from this glut of smut? "Fresh faces," says Ross. "That's basically what Gunn's doing. He shoots in locales a lot of other guys haven't tapped."

That's what passes for a gimmick in this most uncreative offshoot of the Hollywood entertainment juggernaut. You can be a maverick simply by picking up your camera and moving to the subtropics.

The lack of cineporn in South Florida is odd, because related industries are booming. In 1997 the Sun-Sentinel put a price tag of $1.5 billion on sex-related commerce throughout the state. With a booming economy and the arrival of tens of thousands of transplants since the Sentinel's estimate, the number is clearly higher today.

Escort services are found on every corner in some neighborhoods. Video stores, X-rated theaters, and sex-toy shops are ubiquitous, too. And a handful of magazines have cropped up, such as Xcitement, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, and Score, Voluptuous, Baby Face, Leg Sex, and Naughty Neighbors, which are published by the Score Group in Miami. South Floridians are also making money on porn Websites. And directors from California occasionally shoot special projects here.

But Gunn is possibly the only professional, full-time, nationally distributed porn-film producer in South Florida, says Ross. The moviemaker apparently has the place to himself. Even the California-based porn trade press has largely ignored Gunn. "Like much of the business, they are very Californiacentric," he says. "I don't encourage them to investigate me. Then there's more for me. This is a copycat business."

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