By SexHerald Staff
Known as Jeff Mullen by day, Will Ryder comes alive as one of the industry’s top directors. Going beyond paying traditional lip service to a concept, his porn parodies may confuse viewers into thinking they are watching the original thing – just with more sex. His reach and innovation extends to all aspects of production, from screenplays to points-of-view, and has received attention from every news source on the subject. He has been nominated at least twice each for Best Director and Best Screenplay. But far from being just another jaded industry vet, he still has the zest for work and life – and younger women.
Starting out in the music business, Mullen took a chance job that would eventually lead to him changing the face of the adult industry as we know it today. With free gonzo all over the internet, Mullen/Ryder now leads the business in the parody movement. He considers himself an entertainer first, and his work shows it. One of the few directors to personally shoot his movies, he takes care in every detail as though it were his first film. That’s what happens when you do what you love.
SH: I turned 21 yesterday. I understand you are turning 49 tomorrow. Happy birthday!
JM: I don’t feel a day over 48, and I have the body of a 47 year old.
SH: I think you are ahead of most people in the United States on that one.
JM: There’s one thing I can do in my late forties that I could never do when I was in high school – date high school girls. Ba dum bum.
SH: They always stay the same age; that’s the beauty about them.
JM: You don’t wake up one day wanting to date older women. If you like younger women, you are going to stay liking younger women. You don’t get older and say, “You know, I’m going to date a 40-year-old.”
SH: You are open about your dual identity; you are Jeff Mullen and Will Ryder. Why do you use the name Will Ryder if you are not hiding your identity or anything like that?
JM: When I first started out in the business, I was a marketer, a publicist. I was cutting business deals for my fledgling company. As a marketer, I realized if you are going to market a product, one of the products I was marketing was myself, as a director. I couldn’t really talk about myself, so I created this character named Will Ryder, who nobody knew who it was; it was just a new guy, with an interesting name. Will Ryder, in the press, had a lot of fun. He was able to go to the parties, and get hammered, and meet the chicks, and all that stuff.
Then, slowly, as I became more famous as a director in the industry itself, the cat kind of came out of the bag. So now it’s kind of a fun thing to be: Will Ryder when I put the camera on, and, uh… Jeff Mullen during the days.
SH: So it is like an alter-ego.
SH: You mentioned you started out as a marketer. Could you go into more of how you began your career?
JM: I had left the music business after 17 years. I didn’t have a job. A friend of mine who lived in my neighborhood got a job working for New Sensations as a publicist. When they moved him to international licensing he said, “Hey, you should apply for the job of the publicist.” I said, “I don’t know anything about PR; I don’t know anything about marketing; I know nothing about porn other than watching it.”
But I went in anyway, and the owner was a very savvy guy, still the owner, Scott Taylor, and he took a chance at me, and we turned that company. While I was there, that was one of the fastest growing porn companies in the world. I left that company after one year of getting to work with Scott Taylor and learning everything about the business. I started my own company and they became my client, my first client, and before I knew it I had 17 different clients including Hustler Video, ECA Pictures, Sin City, the whole nine yards, I had everybody. I grew my little company in Hollywood and became a media powerhouse. And I learned everything about marketing; we became experts at marketing product in the adult world.
Also, when I started my production company, I was able to use a marketing division to really ramp up our products like Not The Bradys and all those kind of movies.
SH: How did you come to that decision, to start your own production company?
JM: Well with my business partner [Scott David] I said, “Well everybody’s a multimillionaire making these movies, how hard can it be?” And we found out it was very difficult. The porn industry is as competitive as the music industry or the mainstream film industry: it’s cutthroat, it’s do-or-die, it’s every man for himself, it’s a very difficult business, but it’s an exciting business, and a one that, you know, I get excited every day going into my office. The business itself is about to face extinction, but other than that, it’s great.
SH: And why is it that you chose to go with comedic and satirical porn?
JM: We consider ourselves entertainers much more than pornographers. There are plenty of pornographers out there who can do all the dirty, nasty sex, where the girl’s giving head and he slaps her tits in her face and spits in her face: we don’t do any of that shit. I don’t like it, it’s not my cup of tea, and we wanted to combine comedy with beautiful naked women! And this is the easiest way to do it. And we hit a niche, with our comedy, most specifically the Sitcums, you know, like sitcoms but only sitcums? And this whole new trend in porn exploded, based on what we had hit, success-wise. Now everybody and their cousin are trying to capitalize on the Sitcum market. And it’s a lot of fun being a leader of it.
SH: What was your favorite television show growing up?
JM: I liked the Brady Bunch, obviously. The Brady Bunch has been very good to us obviously, with Not The Bradys XXX. I liked all of the classic TV shows from the 60s or 70s, and 80s. I liked Cheers, I liked all those shows, I liked Married With Children in the late 80s, early 90s; we have a spoof called Not Married With Children XXX.
SH: How much research do you do for a parody and how do you direct the actors in terms of spoofing characters?
JM: Even though it’s comedy material, we take it very seriously. We get the box set, and I study all the years of the originals, everything from characters, how they interact with each other, to camera angles, camera heights, and the type of look it has, the colors, the sets. My business partner, Scott David, is in charge of the indie wardrobe and the set, and he does a phenomenal job on working with our crew to build the sets almost exactly like the TV shows’. The outfits, we are very particular that they are from the period. If you’re doing a Brady Bunch in the 70s, you’d better have bell-bottoms, and those kinds of clothes, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. We’re the most accurate company at doing it. We believe in getting it right; there’s no reason to do it half-assed.
SH: Many people believe that porn’s scripts are deteriorating with the internet offering strictly sex, and many other people believe that porn parodies are fighting that. You’ve been nominated for AVN’s best screenplay for at least two of your movies. What do you consider when you’re writing your scripts, and why do you think comedies, especially parodies, are as successful as they are?
JM: First of all, people are looking to be entertained. The New York Times recently did a story, which was total bullshit, about the declining scripts, so they can go to hell. They got the story completely wrong. Right now, and over the last couple years, scripts have been on the rise, not on the decline. Five years earlier, the scripts were declining – everything was gonzo. They were a little bit late on the story; the competitive nature of doing each of the scripts has never been higher. Maybe back in the 80s it was higher, because everything was scripted back then.
You know, overall, porn has gone gonzo over the last ten years. And sex-only will always continue to have an audience. We’re just carving out our own niche with story-based product. Women love it, too, so our movies are not just for men. Our movies are so high quality and innocent that is makes good couples’ fare. Guys can jerk off to it by themselves, but if you want to watch it with your girlfriend or your wife, there’s a huge, huge enjoyment factor with our movies.
SH: One of the movies that interested me was last updated in October 2007, and you mentioned changing the title. Has anything happened with Porn: The Musical?
JM: No, we have not made Porn: The Musical yet (that’s a great question). That’s really what I want to do. My business partner doesn’t necessarily agree with me, and we’ve been so busy cranking out these Sitcums, that we just haven’t had time to do it. And doing The Musical literally is going to take four months to make it correctly. It’s a big part of our year, and right now we just haven’t devoted our time, and with the path that pornography is in now, as far as free internet access, that day may never come. The free porn on the internet is killing the industry. It’s killing any real chance to make really ambitious projects. The window’s in the next six months: if we don’t get to it in the next six months, we probably will never get to it.
SH: Now, Not The Cosby Show XXX is becoming very famous for its interracial sex subplot, rather than being advertised as an interracial pornography. It kind of just integrates everything, and people are praising it as the greatest interracial porn of all time.
JM: Yeah, it really is, I mean, I have no doubts about that as far as entertainment value. Not The Cosby Show XXX is by far our best movie ever. And it’s not a movie for blacks, it’s not a movie for whites, it’s a movie for just people. It’s interracial by nature, because it’s whites and Asians and blacks all having sex, but it’s just, it’s like the Huxtables. It’s a big, happy, well-functioning family that has sex! If you like the TV show, you’ll love this porn version. Thomas Ward plays Cliff Huxtable, and he absolutely nails it. It’s like having Bill Cosby on the set. Unbelievable. And he helped sell the movie, and we got some phenomenal performances. Misty Stone, who plays Denise, delivers a tour-de-force performance. She doesn’t have any idea how good of an actress she is: she’s Hollywood good. She has no clue. I don’t say that lightly. That’s a very difficult thing to say. But that’s the way it goes.
SH: You have famously departed from parodies to make X-Play’s most expensive movie to date, Flight Attendants.
JM: We thought it was time that we make an original comedy, and we wanted to make a zany comedy: I’m a big fan of movies like Airplane, by the Zucker Brothers. So we made a movie that’s got a lot of Airplane in it. Very zany, off-the-wall insanity, lots of fun, and that is what we did with this movie. And we have an all-star cast, with girls like Hillary Scott, Kayden Kross, Teagan Presley, Eva Angelina, and Sunny Lane, and Shyla Stylez, and on, and on, and on, and Kacey Jordan, it just goes on and on. Incredible cast, and I think this will be our biggest movie ever. And ironically, I grew up on the same block as the Zucker Brothers in Milwaukee, so they were my neighbors when I was a kid. So we grew up on the same block and we are doing a very Airplane-esque Flight Attendants.
SH: And you have indicated some serious thought is being put into the screenplay.
JM: Say that again, sorry I got distracted: a woman walked by with her tits hanging out.
SH: You’ve indicated some very serious thought is being put into the screenplay, as an original script.
JM: It’s a 45-page script, which is unheard of in most porns. Probably there’s only been, over the last few years, a handful of porn movies that have a bigger script than 45 pages. Movies like Upload, and Corruption, and Pirates had bigger scripts, but 45 pages is a long, fun, drawn out script. And we’re in the process of editing the movie now, so we’re cutting and snipping and pasting and rolling and dicing, and having a good time getting the timing right of this comedy. Because everything in comedy is timing; I don’t care if it’s a porn comedy or a mainstream television show: it’s timing. Everything is timing. We had a lot of grueling days on the set of this movie. The movie took us nine days to shoot, which is a long time for porn, and there was one stretch of four days when we did 20 hour days back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Really, really rough. But a lot of fun.
SH: You’ve done all kinds of work in making movies, from director to producer to using your music and on and on, but primarily you are a director. How do you feel about the different jobs, and what is it about directing that has kept you there most of your career?
JM: Well it started out of necessity, we had nobody else to direct our movies, so I had to learn how to direct a movie. I didn’t have any formal training, like as a musician I had years and years and years of formal training. This I picked up on the go, on the fly, as they say, and it was the best way to pick it up, because when I sit there on the edit bay, I realize what I didn’t shoot, what I need to shoot the next time, that I should have got this angle, that I should have got this performance. So really, having all these jobs, and running this company, with my business partner, there is not an area of the company that we don’t roll up our sleeves and get into.
I am a director, also, that runs his own camera, so I also shoot movies, which is not really done a lot in feature making movies. Usually the director sits back or stands back and calls action and sets the actors up. I like to run the camera. And again, that was out of necessity at first; then, we couldn’t afford to hire a cameraman, now we have a second cameraman, Miles Long. But I like to go to camera, because I like to know exactly what I want to capture. I know what angle, what height, everything. All that I’ve learned to delegate, from running this company over the last five years, I never really want to delegate everything. There are certain things that I still want to keep my hands on. But, as you get a little older, running camera is very difficult, especially when you shoot sex movies because you’re hunched over the camera, you’re bent over. It takes a lot of strain on your body. But I like being a director.
SH: Last question: I know you are working on, or maybe you just finished, Not Monday Night Football.
JM: Yes, we just finished.
SH: Anything you can tell us about that?
JM: This is for the guy that loves sports and loves naked chicks. There are 20 girls in this movie, which is a huge, huge cast. It revolves around Monday Night Football, and we put Howard Cosell in the booth, we put John Madden in the booth, we brought in celebrities during the course of the game. It’s a very fun, light-hearted, fast-paced romp, with the sights and sounds of pro-football and the sights and sounds of beautiful naked women getting really in all positions. We have former Digital Playground superstar cover girl Angelina Armani, and beautiful girls like Lela Star. It’s incredible, great cast. It’s meant to be fun, you know, if you like football and sex, here’s the movie for you.
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