Interview with the Director: Patrick Collins
Patrick Collins, the founder of Elegant Angel, tells it like it is . . . surviving in the porn industry is tough business . . . and how he was able to resurrect his company to where it is now by building a new image. Check out my exclusive interview below!
Q: How did you get your foot in the door so to speak into the porn industry before landing a directorial job with Evil Angel before establishing Elegant Angel as a fully independent film production?
A: My ex-wife, (Tianna), was an exhibitionist and our friend (Raven) was in the business. She introduced us to a couple of directors. It was initially an opportunity to explore ourselves sexually. There was no plan on starting a company, or of making it a career. Just playing out fantasies in the beginning.
Q: What did you learn with your stint at Evil Angel before taking on the task full-time with Elegant Angel?
A: I learned how to ship tapes, sell tapes, deal with accounts, and do production work. John Stagliano was a good businessman but most importantly in his dedication to detail he inspired me to create my vision.
Q: Occasionally, you starred in your own productions . . . are there any obstacles to wear both hats as director/performer?
A: On the one hand it is easier as a performer in that I can pick the girl I want to work with… on the other, it is more difficult to stay focused on all the technical aspects.
Q: Back in the 1990s, was it easier to establish a porn company that would be profitable as compared to now? How has the porn industry changed since then?
A: I was interested in turning a profit, but my motivation was to create something that appealed to me sexually and I believed that if I could pull that off the success would follow. I think it is more difficult today in some ways due to over-saturation of the current ( fill in the blank) fad. Be it MILF or teens, anal, or oral, or whatever, if a director likes a particular genre his/her chance of being successful is still quite high IF their intention is to film what they think is hot, not what they think the marketplace wants.
Q: How did you end up with your alter-ego name “Roscoe Bowltree”?
A: It was a name I picked up back in the early ’70’s from a guy that collected delinquent accounts over the phone. I loved the ring of it…
Q: What brought about the change of porn from being strictly features-based to what it is mostly now . . . gonzo? Who coined the term gonzo, by the way?
A: From what I understand it was coined by Hunter S. Thompson. It didn’t come into play in porn until around ’94-’95. My theory is it was the result of an industry trying to come to terms with a style of shooting that focused more on the sex than on the story line, as was the traditional approach. Don’t get me wrong, story, and plausibility are vital to me as a consumer, but taking a character to a point where that character is taken seriously by the audience is an enormous task that requires extraordinary talent and is therefore rarely accomplished. Additionally, once the penetration starts it is even harder… pardon the pun. In answer to your question I think that the term gonzo did help define a different approach to making porn. There are still features being shot but not many and I think even features have been influenced for the better by “gonzo”.
Q: Has gonzo changed the face of porn for the better or for the worse? Furthermore, do you still see a place for features-based porn? . . . or do you see more of vignette-styled porn taking over in place of features, which provides a brief story with the same intensity of gonzo?
A: There are a lot of uninspired poor quality shows out there, but for the consumer willing to do a bit of research there are also more very inspired high quality shows than ever before. And, unbiased information is more readily available so it’s easier to make a more informed decision. There will always be a place for features of the quality of Caligula. Whether production companies can find that quality attainable, and profitable is pretty remote, but not impossible.
I shot vignette style in the beginning simply as a way of compensating for my lack of experience and found in the process that it’s much easier to do a good scene in one day than it is to do a good movie in a day. It boils down to more time to shoot generally results in a better production.
Q: You’ve had the opportunity to work and direct in both sides of the Atlantic . . . in your opinion is it easier to make a movie here in the US as opposed to Prague or Budapest?
A: Here women are more comfortable with being sexual than women in Europe. Women in Europe are beautiful but when it comes to having a real orgasm it’s more difficult because they see it as a part of them they don’t care to share with anyone other than their mate. It’s an interesting cultural phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, I love European women and I still work there on occasion but your question was where is it easier to film, and for many reasons, that would be here for me.
Q: The 1990s seemed to be the golden age for Elegant Angel since it looked like you were releasing titles at a high pace because there was a demand for it with successful franchises like the Dr. Fellatio, Sodomania, and Buttwoman. Did you ever think at the time that quantity would lessen the quality of the videos released by your company or did it finally become apparent in the early 2000s that a change had to be done?
A: I never intended for the quality to diminish but it naturally did because what made the product popular was its quality and creativity, which takes time. Trying to release more seemed like a good idea, but it proved to be a big mistake. Quality suffered because the focus was on quantity. This is why we now release only one title per week. Anymore than that forces compromises we’re not willing to make.
Q: Unlike the 1990s, the 2000s seemed like Elegant Angel lost its beat or its market share with the appearance new studios trying to make a fast buck. Although you have had some hits in the 2000s like Big Bottom Sadie and Buttwoman Iz Bella, was it tough to compete with the new companies? How bad was the company hurting in the early 2000s with all the competition?
A: It wasn’t the competition as much as it was lack of direction and passion on my part. I became uninspired basically, which correlated directly to the lack of focus on my part.
Q: You’ve tried to add new people in the past like Axel Braun who did a couple of good movies raising the company’s game to compete with the other companies like RLD. Why didn’t these acquisitions give you the competitive edge?
A: The simplest answer is that I had lost my passion. I violated my own beliefs by looking for what might sell, as opposed to what I knew was hot. Running a production business is a much different experience than directing a movie. I made mistakes but it was a great learning experience. We all have to pay our dues one way or the other.
Q: Since you are the big cheese at Elegant Angel, what made you decide to come up with a business strategy that would eventually resurrect the company but at the sacrifice at reducing releases per week?
A: No sacrifice at all. Revenues are up, costs are down. Which proves that quality and focus are viable and necessary elements to our success.
Q: Since then, you have rebranded the Elegant Angel logo and brought it into the next century properly so to speak. Also, you have changed the presentation at brick and mortar stores throughout the country? Furthermore, you have retooled and reinvigorated your succesful lines like Buttwoman and Slutwoman and launced new series like Big Wet Asses? With all these changes, is Elegant Angel at the place you want the company to be at . . . or is there any other changes that have to be made?
A: Change is necessary and exciting, new blood brings new energy and creativity. Healthy competition is a good thing and we have that here with William H. Mason, L.T. and myself. We’re fortunate to have a group that take pride in their work. At the same time, if we don’t challenge ourselves it’s easy to become stagnant and that’s a pitfall we try hard to avoid. But at the end of the day, it is a group effort, that has crystalized under the direction of Graham Travis. His dedication, intelligence, creativity, commitment to quality and his understanding of all aspects of production, marketing and customer relations inspire all of us to be our best. In nearly twenty years I haven’t met another person as thoroughly gifted and we are fortunate to have him.
Q: Are there any big announcement for Elegant Angel for the near future?
A: Not that I can think of right now.
Q: You’ve had many directors both past and present, but William H. Nutsack has been there throughout the peaks and troughs of the company. How is he different from the directors that have come and go? What does he bring to the table, so to speak, than other directors?
A: William H. is just a great guy. I have been fortunate to watch him grow as a director and cameraman. His musical talent is outstanding and he has a great sense of humor… well sometimes he’s a pain in the ass, but seriously, the main difference between William H. and most other directors is that he always tries his best. I am honored to call him my friend and am sure the best is yet to come.
Q: You’ve been in the business for a long time . . . what is the future of porn in relation to tanking DVD sales on the whole for the industry and the emergence of enterprising horny couples who just need a camera to become instant pornstars?
A: I have been in porn for a long time, but I am not much of a futurist. I think DVD’s will be viable for some years to come. I think good porn will always be profitable, and I love watching amateurs!
Q: When you are directing, how do you deal with obnoxious or diva female talent who usually arrive late for the shoot?
A: Thankfully, that hasn’t been an issue for us. I always try to have a personal interview with the talent prior to shooting and I can only recall one time a girl didn’t show up for a shoot. But she was afraid of flying and I was in Budapest… shit happens.
Q: What’s the perk of being in the adult film industry? What don’t you like about the industry?
A: Pornographers are in the business of creating an alternate reality. Most of my life I have enjoyed exploring alternate reality and it caused me some real problems. Porn allows me to play pretend and make a living at the same time. Mostly, my movies reflect my fantasies. The things I cannot, or would not actually do in real life, I can explore on film.
Q: What’s your take on the HD format? Are you going to be releasing your flagship titles on Blu-ray or HD-DVD in the future? Why or why not?
A: Maybe. William and I were just discussing the possibilities of zits, razor bumps, and nose hairs in H.D. Its potential as a new fetish could be huge. With attention spans rapidly declining I can see a day when an entire movie could be a 90 minute lingering shot a boil, freshly popped and oozing multi colored gunk.
Q: Will you be resurrecting the “Blowjob Adventures of Dr. Fellatio” series anytime soon or will you be releasing a new blowjob/blowbang series to compete with Evil Angel and Jules Jordan Video?
A: I don’t think so. It’s tough to come up with enough original interesting shots for one blow-job let alone a movie or a series. But if someone came up with something new and unique, maybe.
Q: If you weren’t in porn, what would you be doing?
Q: How does porn contribute to society?
A: In the same way any form of entertainment does, it allows us to put the madness at bay for a time. Whether it’s Clint wasting a bad guy, or Daddy getting head from the babysitter when you get down to it, certain behaviors are best left to actors, but at least with porn, some good can come from learning the proper techniques.
Favorite non Elegant Angel Director: Alex De Renzy
Favorite non Elegant Angel Movie: Caligula, Femmes de Sade
Favorite mainstream film: King of Hearts [French]