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Below the Belt 6/30/2005
ALL WORLDS VIDEO CELEBRATES 20 YEARS!
GIO GOES BEHIND THE SCENES FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH RICK FORD
Kevin Brown ($20k winner) and Rick Ford at All Worlds 20/20 Party
As I mentioned last week, while all of you were celebrating pride here in Fort Lauderdale, I had to go away on a business trip. My travels took me to beautiful San Diego, which is also the home of legendary Rick Ford, one of gay porn’s most influential and acclaimed producer/director’s. Prior to my trip, I contacted Rick Ford and asked if he would be willing to meet with me for an exclusive interview. Not only did he say yes, but he offered me a behind the scenes tour of his headquarters as well.
For those in the industry, you know how rare this opportunity is and I must say that I was honored that Rick and his team felt that Below The Belt was worthy of this type of interview. As a matter of fact, Rick told me that his Operations Manager, Charles Ching, reviewed the site and stated, “you have to meet with Gio; the site is great.” He also told me that since my page is sponsored by FabScout and Howard Andrew (FabScout’s President) had treated Rick so well on a trip to South Florida last year, that he would be happy to meet with me. So, on a beautiful Friday morning in San Diego, I hopped in my rental car and ventured out to meet with Rick Ford and his team at All Worlds Video Headquarters. As I drove to All Worlds headquarters, I had no idea just how great this day would be.
Arriving at All Worlds, I was immediately greeted by very friendly staff members who eagerly brought me into the office where Rick was waiting for me. He was on a tight schedule, as he was leaving for his All Worlds Palm Springs Resort in a couple hours. He brought me into the conference room where we sat down and began our interview. The room was amazing; it has over 2,000 videos arranged in a timeline throughout the room. One wall is dedicated to the 100’s of awards given to All Worlds and Rick Ford over the years. You name it and they have won it!
GIO Rick, first I want to congratulate you on the 20th anniversary of All Worlds Video.
RF Thank you, we are thrilled to still be around and making movies for everyone to enjoy.
GIO I understand that after 20 years of distributing Dirk Yates amateur military videos, Private Collections, you have now decided to reveal that you are in-fact Dirk Yates. What made you decide to reveal the true identity of Dirk Yates at this point?
RF Well after 20 years I felt that it was time that people know that Dirk Yates and Rick Ford are married, so to speak. It also came to my attention that there were a couple people out there that were telling models that they were Dirk Yates and luring them into making videos under false pretense. One guy, I heard about, was doing this in Hawaii.
In the early days I discovered that bringing real sailors to my home and videotaping them provided a fetish type military fantasy for viewers. I kept myself off the camera in order to help promote the fantasy that anyone could pick up a military guy. All the guys I shoot, as Dirk Yates, are real military men, not like some other videos out there that claim they are using real military guys. I mean, I have seen some videos where the guy has a goatee and is trying to pass for military; in the military they do not allow goatees. Unfortunately, now they have pierced ears and pierced tits, which I cannot handle, because off base they can do anything these days. In the old days my viewers knew that this was a real marine sitting at Dirks Yates house and not some little West Hollywood kid dressed up like a marine. I decided to keep me out of it because I was providing a fantasy to men and that they figured, gosh, if he can pick up these guys than I can pick them up. There was not a week that went by that I did hear from someone saying I am flying to San Diego, can you tell me where to go to pick up a Marine or a Sailor? So my idea was, if it is a 21 year old watching my stuff or even a 60 year old, they would feel like, “hey I have a chance at picking up a military guy.” So by keeping me out of it, instead of them thinking I am some dirty old man who is paying them to be there, I felt it was best to keep it anonymous, so to speak, just for the viewers overall fantasy. Also you can’t be doing it for 20 years and expect people to think you are still in your 20’s, so they have to figure out that I am older now. I have also slowed down a bit, I do not do it as often as I used to because I have a lot on the plate now beyond just Dirk Yates. I still like the fantasy myself of not knowing who I am going to shoot or how it will turn out, but I do not hit the streets as often as I used to. So Dirk Yates and Rick Ford are sort of married now, so to speak.
GIO Well, I can tell you that nobody can even come close to copying your product line, many have tried but none have been as successful as you. I think it is very brave of you to share with the world that you are Dirk Yates and hopefully those who were trying to be your imposter will now stop what they are doing. So, All Worlds is celebrating its 20th year in the industry?
RF Yes, June 14th was our 20th Anniversary.
GIO Really? WOW that is my Birthday. How cool…
RF (he laughs) Really… How nice. If I had only known… (He smiles and points behind himself at the wall of videos) Sgt. Swan was the first video and then they follow along the wall as a timeline of the videos we have produced. Not all of them fit in here anymore.
GIO Cool, so you have produced 2,000 videos thus far?
RF Oh, we have done over 2,000. We do 75 a year and we release 6 a month so that is well over 2,000 not including the Dirk Yates, Private Collection Series. The Private Collection is up to 240 volumes so that puts us close to 3,000 in total.
GIO Amazing! So for the 20th anniversary you have re-released Sgt. Swan’s Private Files on DVD exclusively through your website or mail order. To be honest, it is one of the first gay porn movies I ever saw and I credit you with my addiction today.
RF (laughs) That was beginners luck! We actually shot that film starting on a Friday in a small room about the size of this, sent everyone home and while they were gone I painted the room, re-dressed it for another scene on Saturday and did the same thing for Sunday and then had the thing in the can and edited by the following Friday, which is unheard of. I mean 20 years ago, we had to send to LA to get it edited and we had to rent all the equipment and so it was just beginners luck. I had Glenn Swann as the star who, believe it or not, is still here in San Diego and alive thankfully.
GIO Well Glenn certainly fulfilled a few fantasies for me! You could never shoot, edit and release a movie in one week these days! Well your beginners luck has paid off for you that’s for sure. So tell me about the big 20th Anniversary pool party and the $20,000 that you decided to give away, how did this whole event come to be?
ChiChi LaRue with Stetson and the $20,000 in cash!
RF A friend of mine Bill Higgins from Catalina, one of the pioneers in this industry in the early days who became one of my mentors so to speak was the inspiration. I was visiting him at his home in Prague and I told him that the greatest thing I had ever seen was a video he had done called Class Reunion where it was an orgy around a swimming pool. He chuckled and said, “you know it is funny, I had this $700 - $800 dollar motorcycle that I would give away and that who ever came to do this shoot I would put their name in a hat and draw one name out and the winner would get the motorcycle.” He had 21 people show up for the Class Reunion shoot. At the time, I owned a bathhouse in San Diego and that video was the most requested video from my customers. So, I thought that concept was so clever and thought I would see if that would work for me and I decided to give $20,000 to one winner. So when the 20th anniversary came along, we were brainstorming ideas and I said give me $20,000 and let’s see what happens. It did not turn out as good as I thought. My Producer, Dan Cross sent a letter out to every model that has worked for us, which is tons, and we had a little over 50 responses. I would have liked more, but we could have done a better job promoting it. All the models got a little money to be there and those who did show up were happy. I was very nervous at the beginning of how it would turn out and who would show up. Overall it did turn out good though.
Hot Models Entering the 20/20 Shoot Nude
GIO What was the total number of guys that showed up for the shoot?
RF 34, I wanted about 70. We did it in May, which is usually such a great time of year in Palm Springs, but on this particular day it got up to 115 degrees. So the heat may have deterred a few. It was definitely hot shooting on that day, but we actually did it very well. It is being edited right now and it is looking good.
Some of the guys during Circle Jerk Shoot
GIO When is it expected to be released?
RF Probably sometime in October. As for the contest part, it was done 100% honestly. We had each model sign their name on a piece of paper and at the end of the shoot I eliminated people by pulling names out and the last name called was the winner. By doing it this way, they could all see that their name was actually in the pool. It just happened to be one of our exclusives that won; it was in no way planned that way. So nobody can say that it was rigged in any way. We gave Kevin Brown $20,000 in cash and he stood there and cried. He is giving half to his mother and using the other half for college. So I felt very good about him being our winner.
Kevin Brown – AW Exclusive and $20,000 Winner!
GIO That is so awesome! You certainly helped him out that is for sure. Speaking about the All Worlds Resort, let’s talk about that for a moment.
RF (he takes a very deep breath) Well I loved Palm Springs and I thought, gee why not buy a resort out there! So I took my Controller out and we looked at this property, it was an already established clothing optional resort and it was a pretty good size. I had a vision of creating like a little MGM studio out there. I wanted a place for the guy, who sits at home with his 25” TV and jacks off to my videos and thinks that they will never have a chance to meet these guys, to have a place to come and see his fantasy in person. The concept was that every weekend I would shoot out there and people could see their fantasy in the flesh. I have a porn star out there every weekend signing autographs and doing a BBQ or stuff like that. Business wise, the resort next door became available (it was a bear resort) and if I bought it and knocked the wall down I could make mine even bigger. Rumor had it that it was going to be bought and become am all girl resort, no offense to the girls, but I did not want that next door, so I bought it. Then I bought the other one next door and now it is one huge complex, we have four pools and the grounds are great. We created a sight called the “walk of shame,” it is very tropical and there are places to stop and play along the way with televisions showing videos. The concept was that people could come in and get lost for a little while, nothing short of an outdoor bathhouse, but safe and clean of course. We allowed people to buy day passes and Gay Pride weekend we had 900 people and I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I said to myself, great this thing is really working! The concept was great and it went very well for a short time (he sighs).
Well, two weeks later the city calls and they said I had very envious neighbors. You see; all my neighbors are other gay guesthouses and resorts. Unfortunately, they have not been overly cooperative with me at all. I would go over to them and introduce myself to them and I think overall they were scared of me. Perhaps they thought I was this big corporation coming in and pushing them out, as they have smaller villa type resorts. So certainly there was some envy or jealousy on their parts and after the gay pride weekend they complained to the city about what I was doing at the resort with day passes. The city told me I was not zoned properly for allowing people into the resort on day passes. So I had to shut down the day pass offering. So at first I was a little depressed about it, but the resort is still doing great and this weekend is gay pride in San Francisco and I am sold out. I really have a passion about the resort and I love it out there. I hold no resentment toward my neighbors out there. I mean I can see their point as well, that weekend with 900 people and they were parking everywhere, at the other resorts, the church across the street, I understand it was difficult for them and caused frustration.
GIO That is a tough situation that you have had to face. But I am sure, as with your other business ventures, you will continue to thrive and who knows, the city may change the ordinance and allow you to do day passes again in the future.
RF Yeah perhaps, it is a very tough town. It is very transient out there and it is tough getting good help out there as well to work at the resort. The drug scene there is like nothing I have ever seen before, it is so rampant out there. It is sad actually.
GIO Well obviously the resort has been a huge success. A couple friend of mine in South Florida stayed at your resort last year and came back raving about how great it was. So I know you have fans in South Florida as well. They said you were filming the weekend they were there and got to see some hot action.
RF Well they were lucky to have seen that then, as I do not shoot as many films there as originally planned. I did a whole series out there called Porn Struck. I wanted to create a fantasy for the viewer by seeing the resort featured in the film. I would shoot all over and guys could watch a video and say, hey that was my room at the resort or hey that looks different from when I was there, and that way they could see what changes were going on at the resort as well. Of course they get to see some hot guys in action as well. But the city also told us we were not zoned for shooting movies at the resort and we would have to apply for a permit each time we shoot. However, I am just now starting to push for some change in the city ordinances as there are 3 gay councilmen and the mayor is gay. So hopefully, by working with the city, I can create some change in the laws and regulations.
GIO Over the past 20 years what would you consider was your biggest highlight as a gay porn producer?
RF Well it was probably when we did How The West Was Hung Directed by ChiChi LaRue. Several reasons really. One is Axel Garret, who was a straight marine that I brought onto the film and people just loved him. Also, I always wanted to do a western and I wanted it to be an authentic western. I did not want the costumes to look anything different than they would in real old west times. We actually spent $17,000 on costumes alone, such as socks, underwear and everything so that it was truly authentic. We found a western location and I had a stagecoach with six horses and I had to hire union people to guard the stagecoaches. We had makeup artists on board and I wanted to have every cliché that an old western would have. We had a huge cast of about 30-40 extras that were just walking the town. When we were filming out there I remember thinking to myself, this is as close to Hollywood as you will ever get. Obviously I am a frustrated big producer and this was as real and as close to a big movie shoot as I have ever had. For me, it was a great moment to see it all come together. I spent a small fortune on it and everyone told me I would loose my ass for spending so much, but I didn’t and it turned out well.
GIO Good for you, I am sure that was a great time for everyone involved.
RF Jerry Douglas has done some things for me and Kiss Off was a movie that we did that I was very taken by. It was another shoot that was like making a real movie. Jerry is very talented as a Director. He will come up with a 52-page script and I tend to put scripts on post-it notes and tell the actor, this is what you are going to say. I always say…if you can suck and fuck, you cannot act (he laughs). But, Jerry makes actors out of these guys and he really takes them under his wing and we shoot for two weeks and we go through the entire script and he will say things like “you go down on the dick 8 times, not 9 just 8!” He is detailed but his products are incredible. Matter of fact, he won best video this year for Buckaroos. I owe him an enormous amount for doing some of our best product and we end up winning awards every year due to him.
GIO Well looking around this room it is amazing at how many awards you have won.
Just a few of the Awards on display
RF It should be more! (He laughs) Not that I am being greedy, but we should have won some that we did not. I think that because I am in San Diego and all the other producers are in LA, I sometimes get overlooked. But, I like to be down here and do my own thing and it has worked for me.
GIO Well it does work for you. You mentioned Axel Garret was one of you favorite performers to work with. Is there one performer that stands out for you over the past 20 years that you would consider your superstar?
RF (long pause) Hmmm, I have to think. Well Axel is one that people still talk about and he did very little as far as product. It is an interesting story of how he came around actually. It is interesting, as it has to do with Dirk Yates. When I do the Dirk Yates, I never turn a model away. Usually a Marine will bring me a buddy and he gets a finders fee and I will shoot his buddy regardless of what he looks like. I never make a guy feel bad or uncomfortable, it does not mean that I will use the thing. We have a room here called the “Nevers.” Those are the videos I have shot that will never be seen. Because I have this theory that you never know whom someone may bring me as a referral. On this one Friday a very heavy set Marine came and I shot him and then told him that if he had anyone else that may be interested I would give him a finders fee. The next day he came back and brought me Axel Garret. So that is my best proven point that by never turning a guy away as Dirk Yates, I may find an amazing guy. Axel was such a striking person. At 19 years old he was amazing and I was so nervous shooting him that I could not even stay in the room. He is in his 30’s now and I have seen him a couple times and he has matured nicely and is very handsome. Back in the day there were stars like Ryan Idol and Joey Stefano and Axel Garret was part of that group. Today there are not stars like back then. These days a studio will use a guy one or two times and then they are done.
GIO Why do you think the churn and burn, so to speak, is happening these days with porn actors?
RF I think that there is so much product being produced now, much more than in the 80s and 90s. Today a guy picks up a video camera and thinks he can be the next big gay porn producer. There is also a large influx of guys wanting to do porn now as well. This week alone I shot 10 guys that have never been seen before on film and it was no problem to get them. If I put a model under exclusive contract for five scenes, it will be a year before the first scene is out on the market and by then, most of the guys are gone and moved on. Rarely do you find a guy that can handle a big contract and stick around. Rod Berry was one that I signed and he has done very well. Of course, he has the personality as well. He has had a long career in porn because he has the personality to back it up. He makes everyone he meets feel great. He is going to direct his first video for us next month.
GIO I love Rod, he is a great guy! I did an interview a few weeks ago with Shane Rollins and he tells me he is going to direct for you.
RF Yes, he is directing for us next month. I am excited to work with him as well and give him an opportunity. I have not met him in person yet, my producer said I should give him a shot and I trust his judgment.
GIO Well I can assure you that he is an absolute great guy. Much like Rod Berry, he has a great personality and makes people feel comfortable around him. I know Rod from when he was working at Cupids in West Palm Beach, and I agree that he is a great guy. Shane told me he was thrilled to be directing a film for you and is very excited about it.
RF Well good, I am glad to hear that. You know, I will give anyone a chance and most of the time it works out well. I think nothing is better than a model/actor coming from inside the biz, he knows what the camera wants and what the actor wants. If he is smart, he will also listen. That was the success of Jeff Stryker, after three movies he learned it all and then went off and did his own. I am very confident that Rod Berry will do well; I am surprised that he did not want to do it earlier. But, Shane Rollins, that is good to know that you like him as well.
GIO Well I think it is great that you give these guys a chance. Obviously the industry has changed a lot over the past 20 years with the advent of the Internet and all the amateur porn being produced. The large studios have a ton of product out there and now we are seeing it all over the Internet as well. You have now taken your original film Sgt. Swan and re-released it, and I am sure it is doing well…
RF Surprisingly, yes. Very well I am happy to say.
GIO What is your take on the current state of the industry and where it is going, especially with the new 2257 regulations and that impact on the business?
RF Well I think the 2257 regulations are going to have an enormous impact on the smaller companies. Hopefully it will close up some of the bareback places. I am just dead against bareback movies. I cannot fathom anyone with any morals at all allowing it. I had a kid come in the other day and he said he was going to go down and work for a bareback company and I said are you crazy? He said, well I need the $300. I mean, he is putting his life on the line for $300, come on! We actually pay more than that and provide a safe environment. Sorry I do not mean to rant on that, it is just a hard on that I have…
GIO No, it is OK. I agree with you on the issue of bareback.
RF I just cannot put that on the screen and feel good about it. I had hard dealings with re-releasing Sgt. Swan because it is bareback video. But it was shot before the AIDS epidemic. So I think that 2257 may affect those that are still doing bareback, hopefully. I am really glad to see all the studios jumping through hoops to be compliant. This is not just the gay industry, but also the straight porn world as well. So it is good everyone is taking it serious and as long as we have this regime in the White House we have to comply. As far as where the industry is going, I assume it is going to the Internet more and more. I just spent a kings ransom to create a streaming website All Worlds TV and Dirk Yates Live. I think that people are not always going to be satisfied with all the cams and amateur stuff out there and that they still want to see slick productions.
GIO I notice that more and more guys doing porn these days hold professional careers and perform in movies for the fun of it. I also notice that the use of drugs is forbidden by all the major production companies and that you also do not allow drug use on your sets.
RF Yes, there is a much more professional focus in the industry these days. We are all in the same mind frame about it and it is a business. I had a guy scheduled to come shoot 2 scenes for me next week and this past week he was up in San Francisco shooting for another major studio. While up there, he locked himself in a room and never came out and did not finish the movie. He was freaked out on drugs. The Director called us and told us what happened. He said, do not use this guy; we have had trouble with him. We all united and sent the kid back home. I told the kid that I was not going to use him as he screwed over a company in San Francisco and I would not use him unless he got himself straightened out. I will not work with anyone with a major drug problem. So, there is more communication between all of us these days. I Email and talk to John Rutherford from COLT and others as well. We are not all jealous and selfish of whom has what star or who did what or who is doing better. A few years ago it was like that, but not today.
GIO Well the industry is still thriving and doing very well. It is great to hear that everyone is cooperating these days as well.
RF Well you know, we produce great product. Even the straight industry tried to get into gay porn a few years back, but was not as successful as we have been. The gay videos are still the most expensive for consumers because the models have not brought their price down; they get paid a decent wage. In the straight industry the girls will lower their price and never be able to get it back up to where it may have been. Plus, they can shoot a girl for a day and use her three times because you are not dealing with a hard dick like you are in gay porn. They just crank out the straight stuff and they can pay their models a day rate. In gay porn we pay the guys a decent rate and we still get a decent price for the product.
GIO What is the next big thing for All Worlds?
RF Desperate Husbands Directed by Coco LaChine and Doug Jeffries is doing RAW 2 and Pig Trough is just out and getting incredible reviews. We also have all the new online content and streaming stuff. Doug’s movies are a bit more extreme than what I like personally, but they are doing very well for us. He is an excellent Director and has great vision. But, I guess I am much more vanilla sexually.
GIO Yes, his films are certainly stimulation in a different way. But they are shot very well and from what I have seen very erotic. Well I know you need to get to Palm Springs soon and I want to thank you for taking time with me. I wish you continued success in the future and I thank you for the influence you have had on the Gay Porn Industry. You have also created a genre of film making through your Dirk Yates persona that cannot be matched. I will go as far as to say that I have looked at many of your copycats on the Internet and they do not even come close to what you have created.
RF Thank you! I have always taken a chance on controversial items and pushing the envelope with good taste in mind. I have enjoyed my career so far and look forward to providing great stuff for the audiences in the future. Let me introduce you to Charles my Operations Manager and then let me show you around before I leave.
With that, Rick took me on a tour of the All Worlds Corporate Headquarters, loaded me up with some new movies to bring back to Florida and then headed out to Palm Springs. I must say that Rick was a gracious host and a perfect gentleman. It is no wonder why he has been so successful over the years. I also had a chance to sit down with Charles Ching, Operations Manager who introduced me to Coco LaChine and Rafael, both Directors. In a future article I will share that experience with all of you.
Once again, thank you Rick and the entire All Worlds team for your generous hospitality.
Hot Guys cooling off during All Worlds 20/20 Shoot
20/20 Images provided by All Worlds Video