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January 22, 2016

Agent Howard Andrew Talks State of Gay Porn

This article originally ran in the January 2016 issue of AVN magazine. Click here for the digital edition. Talent manager Howard Andrew interrupts a recent phone conversation with the following announcement: “As I’m sitting here in the parking lot, Scott Riley is mooning me. He’s mooning me.” The lighthearted moment occurs just as Andrew was chastising himself for putting a negative spin on questions that had been posed to him as the industry’s leading talent agent; he insists that getting mooned by one of his models is more indicative of his day-to-day experience. The number of male performers repped by Andrew’s FabScout Entertainment currently hovers around 60—half the number from just a few years ago, which he attributes to ongoing industry contraction as more and more studios close, merge with larger companies or go dormant. He sees that trend continuing; there simply aren’t enough scenes being produced to support a larger roster on a consistent basis. Even with a reduced roster, he wearily describes “[dozens] of phone calls [from models] yelling that you’re not getting them work. I’m doing the best I can!” (He also cites professional ennui for a smaller talent roster: “I’m getting older and I’m getting tired and I have less patience for it,” he adds with a chuckle, noting that FabScout marks its 15th anniversary next year.) Keeping up with current trends is an ongoing challenge. “Models have to realize that 10, 12 years ago it was all about that clean-cut Falcon look,” he says. And then, “all of sudden, maybe seven or eight years ago, tattoos were in. Tattoos and a rougher edge were the thing.” That particular trend had seen a dramatic reversal. Edgy is out, along with a brief obsession with the metrosexual or plucked-and-manicured “Jersey Shore” look. “Studios are leaning away from tattoos. It’s the same thing with pubic hair and chest hair. Try to tell a model (today), ‘You need to keep your chest hair!’ I just kind of shrug. ‘We’ve told you five times (if) you have no pubic hair, you’re not getting any shoots. We’ve told you five times not to get a tattoo across your forehead.’” If you’re sporting a hairy chest and a fit “dad bod” physique, you’re more likely to get cast today. “A pretty face and a hairy chest,” says Andrew, citing Landon Mycles, Colby Jansen and recently announced Falcon exclusive Tegan Zayne as examples. “A little bit of a dad bod going on. A little bit of chest hair, body hair and not covered head-to-toe in tattoos.” Andrew is also seeing far more male models who do not view having sex with other men as a particular obstacle for making money, citing an even “50/50 split” in his current roster between models who identify as gay or bisexual and those who are straight, which is “way more than it used to be,” he says. “The straight guys are finding trouble getting jobs and keeping jobs (in straight porn). Sexuality isn’t as much of an issue. There’s not as much of a stigma” around being perceived as gay or having gay sex. When considering market trends, Andrew predicts more fracturing with niche (and sub-niche) product becoming even more sought-after. “More kink markets, more webcam and more gonzo.” In particular, he sees continued rapid growth for webcams. “I talk to people about webcams every single day. When the boys are complaining that there’s no money (in video), I tell them, ‘Go to webcamming.’ If you’re going to sit at home doing nothing, then why not turn on your webcam? I have one guy that’s an artist and he paints pictures while he’s on webcam. If they want him to get naked, he’ll do it.” He also notes telephone services, similar to phone sex lines of yore, where “customers can dial in and talk to a porn star” as another burgeoning field of growth for gay adult performers. “I’m doing research into that. There are private phone numbers and private extensions for porn stars (who) put themselves on schedules. It’s kind of neat. It’s just audio, no video.” Andrew grimly notes the seismic changes wrought by social media and believes the commonly accepted practice of giving away free content in order to lure paying customers to a membership or paysite is going to have to change. “Twitter and Facebook have made porn stars (too) accessible to the general population,” he says. “Everyone puts out links to their free porn and everyone sees it and they don’t want to buy it.” The same issues threaten his livelihood. “Social media has made it so easy for models to contact studios directly that we’ve almost put ourselves out (of work),” he says. However, “studios get a ton of emails every day. They don’t look at all the emails. When a model is doing three or four or five scenes, and trying to juggle a school schedule and a work schedule and a shoot schedule, it becomes a lot for some of these guys and they do need assistance. Some of them are very, very capable of handling all of their own bookings. Others—“ he breaks off, laughing. “Some of them do need help.” His agency can be found online at FabScout.com.

 
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