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July 09, 2018

New Savages Network: Exploring the Art of Porn

LOS ANGELES—It might seem a bit of a detour, now that you've begun reading this article, but frankly, the best way to begin to get a real understanding of its subject matter is to visit this site. Okay, you're back. Suitably impressed? Pretty spiffy for a couple of veterans from the adult industry—one director with a whole 15 (very well received) movies under his belt, and an actor/director/former Wall Street broker with more than 170 directing credits, and another 900-plus as a performer. The director and creator of the site is Jack The Zipper, whose works Squealer, Blacklight Beauty and Stuntgirl 1 all won AVN Awards for Best Feature and himself for Best Director, and most of the rest at least had nominations. The actor/director is the multi-award-winning Lexington Steele, now ready to open his new site on NewSavages.com. So ... take two staggeringly creative guys, put them together in one coffee shop, and what do you get? We'll let them tell a bit of it: "Lex is my neighbor," Zipper (as he prefers to be called) starts. "He lives down the road from me, and we just started having coffee at The Coffee Spot all summer; we would sit there for hours and we would talk about conspiracy and business—I mean he used to work on Wall Street and he's from New Jersey, I'm from New York, so we started hanging out and talking." "I guess I'd call it cerebral conversation," Steele jumps in, "and that's hard to find, too, because a lot of people that are aware of certain things that require research and study, very often you can't share that with someone because it might fly over their head if they're unfamiliar with certain things that are happening or certain things that you have to search to find out about, so our conversations can range from the metaphysical to the triple d.p. that the latest hot porno chick just did. When they began talking, Steele was in a state of transition because he was no longer directing scenes released by Evil Angel on DVD and by Gamma Entertainment online. Since there would be no new content coming to his Gamma site, he needed a new arrangement for his primary site, LexingtonSteele.com. Said Steele, “I saw what Jack is doing, and what he's putting together makes a lot of sense.” "What he's putting together," of course, is in part NewSavages.com, and its purpose is to be a go-to place for adult performers to host their official websites, merchandise sales and clip stores, free from some of the complexity and regulation they get from other similar sites. And they've just hired a director of artistic relations—Nikki Hearts—who can make that happen. "The original goal of New Savages was taken from the idea that performers should have the ability and opportunity to have control of their own website, of what they want to do, and then recognizing what holds them back from that and being able to provide them with the resources they need," Hearts explained. "So our entire goal is to make it a smooth, seamless, easy but productive process to make a fully functioning website that they can have constant income from, and to fully have creative control over. It's really driven by the needs of performers." "Site memberships are sort of on the wane, so yeah, that model is available," Zipper noted. "Products come and go with the public, but the clip store model and the à la carte vibe seem to be where the public's heads are at these days." Hearts agrees—sort of. "The way we have it set up is, each person's site is fully customizable," she explained, "so you could make your site a clip-driven store, which is, buy a clip and you get a private download so there's no streaming; it's a private download to own. And then there's also the option of a membership site if they have enough content. We want to make it as open as possible, so some of our performers will be offering everything from clips to Skype shows to Snapchat to custom videos; you can buy all that, and then everyone will also be having a tangible site, or part of the site, for merch like T-shirts, postcards, even magazines if they've been in them. I'm working with all these different design companies to get a thing going where we can just pump out the merch, get everything smooth-running, printers to have photo prints available—and we're also trying to keep everything nice and elevated, more than just an average clip store. We want everything to be artistic and have put a lot of effort into that. If you check out any of our sites, even our NewSavages.com site, it doesn't scream 'porn.' They made a great start to that website, and with that, we plan to develop that a little bit more, make it a little easier to understand." One of Hearts' projects is to try to attract some big-name actresses to make New Savages the home for their personal sites. "At first, New Savages signed a handful of performers, made some websites just to kind of give it a test run, see how everything works," Hearts stated. "Right now, we have Riley Nixon, Kaylani—you know, when I applied for the position, I didn't even know Riley had a site, and she's a good friend of mine, so I said to them, 'Obviously, some marketing needs to be done.' My idea when I took the position was, beyond Riley, we have some performers who have sites, probably have five or six including Kaylani; we have Savana Styles, Lexington's wife, a few other people, but those sites just got up and running and then came to a halt because there was no one to manifest things happening, help with marketing. "Performers get excited when they hear the idea of, 'Ooh, I can have a website,' but they maybe don't realize they're actually starting a business and it takes a lot of work," she added. "But it's also understandable that they would need help with that because it's okay they don't know how to run a small business. That's where I come in, to help with all of that. It's a big job, and I recognized we need some big names on this list; we need some killers; we need some girls with real drive who have content, who have fans, so I picked what I guess I would call my little dream team of five performers who were aiming to have their sites up and running before the next AVN, and then we just kind of want to push those sites." The five “targets”? "Kristen Scott, Janice Griffith, Leigh Raven, Charlotte Sartre and Julie Kat. It's a diverse group; each has a huge, dedicated fan base; they're all driven; they're really smart; they want to take control of their careers, and I think they all have the ability to do that with the right help. So that's what we're going to be focusing on, is just building them the perfect site, help them create merchandise like T-shirts, stuff like that; help them keep up on shipping—the whole thing to make it a really solid business for each of them, and the goal is to make their sites successful enough to where they can just work by themselves." And there's no question that Hearts has the business chops to do all this. She's got schooling in graphic design and spent several years as a marketing rep for sex toys, both of which will help her design marketing materials for performers and run occasional sales of their content and merchandise. "Performers don't necessarily have time for that when they're still trying to work and support themselves, so they need help. So that is part of my job, to provide them with, ‘Hey, here's your sale for the weekend; post it, 10 percent off; here's the flyer to post on your Twitter.’” Of course, New Savages isn't doing all this for free, but according to Hearts, the company takes a smaller commission than similar suppliers. "Yeah, we keep something like 22, 25 percent—I don’t want to quote a number, because I'm not sure, but it's a very low percentage. Most take between 60 and 40 percent, and then they also are all just template, plug-and-drop sites. What we deliver is a consistent framework that allows for customization. It's a proprietary content management system developed on an easy-to-use platform, with secure, private digital content delivery to buyers." "I have a very successful and very wise partner," Zipper stated, "and he was like, ‘What's the least percentage we can take from them so they're really happy?’ That's how we did it. ‘What's the least amount of money we can take and still give them something so they just stick around?’” "We are right now obviously focusing on big-name performers who have big fan bases," Hearts added, "but we're also open to making websites for photographers, videographers, artists, whatever. If you can sell and market your stuff in the same way a performer could, we're interested—and even now, Jack is shooting lots of stuff with all of the girls just to keep them up-to-date with having cool new content." But while Hearts is working to build the web-hosting business, both Zipper and Steele have other priorities that need their attention. For example, as plans stand now, Steele will be bringing his owned content (which is most of it, though he has partners on some) to his New Savages site, and the company also hosts Savana Styles' content as well. "She's amazing!" Zipper said, praising Steele’s wife. "She was a missionary and a nurse traveling around the world helping people before she decided to become a porn star. She's French-Canadian; she speaks fluent French and English and a couple of other languages, and is the hardest-working woman, and they're a really good team and a really interesting couple, and they represent the adult industry in a really positive way." But that's hardly all. Zipper, Steele and Styles are also working to form the company's content production arm, dubbed the New Savages Network—and one of its first projects will be a very mainstream-like web series, Apollyon Descending. "I'm a director; I'm always thinking of persona, and somebody's perception with the public," Zipper explained. "So we're going to build his platform and get LexingtonSteele.com 2.0 going for 2018, we're going to establish all that, and then, what can we do? What can we shoot? So we kind of hashed together a cool idea and we're going to shoot a continuing series for his site. So Jack The Zipper and Lexington Steele are actually doing something, and it's going to be called Apollyon Descending and that's a character we created. We're going to start shooting it in 4K and premium and every month will be a new installment of the series. Lexington plays an ex-Secret Service guy who was part of the mind-control CIA thing and was overseas in Europe and involved in the CERN business." While Apollyon Descending has been slow to get off the ground, Zipper is very happy with his leading man. "He's really cinematic," Zipper said of Steele. "I started working with him a little; we started shooting a little bit. We'd go behind the supermarket at 4 in the morning and just shoot with the sodium lights lighting the alley and just do some stuff, and I realized, 'Oh, man, this guy's cinematic; he looks great on camera, really naturalistic,' and that's how we started going. I asked him to channel Coleman Domingo, who's a very important character on Fear of the Walking Dead; he's an Idris Elba-like guy who just comports himself in the zombie apocalypse in that way. Look at how he navigates these graphic novel-like places and how he dresses and how he talks—in other words, he's not just doing sex scenes. We're going to shoot him taking soil samples up at Stony Point because he's a scientist and he's got military training and he can mix it up, and when the assassins from CERN come to California to hunt him down, he has to trigger his mind-control programming to be a killer again, and there's a big arc to it." "A lot of the things I would like to do as a director, I don't," Steele stated. "My brand is attributable to one genre, which is the high-end interracial and black-on-black, but I have not gotten the opportunity to be the thespian that I actually am, and this series will give me a chance to show my acting skills in something other than sex scenes." In fact, Zipper and Steele are still working out the plot elements to Apollyon Descending, and they've hinted at occult and even Olympian elements in the storyline, but when they do finally get some episodes in the can, they will debut on Steele's official website. "Now that we have Nikki in place, the performer network part of the puzzle is growing exponentially," Zipper informed. "Once we get past certain benchmarks with the platform, we’ll be rolling a ton of production. That will be the official arrival of New Savages as a label." Apparently, that "arrival" will coincide closely with next year's Adult Entertainment Expo, where New Savages will be hosting a booth, and in the meantime, they're hard at work building sites and filming content—and considering the talents of the principals involved, the adult community can expect a small earthquake when it officially debuts.

 
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