Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mike South: Southern Fried Pornmeister

This interview originally appeared in 1998 in issue #13 of Married Punks.

Mike South: Southern Fried Pornmeister

Mike South is a true Southern visionary.  His Southern Belle series is one worth watching to see real people having real sex.  See my review of number nine of his hot series in the last issue to see what I mean.

While a lot of people in the adult industry skirt honesty and refuse to deal with the underground press (Bizarre Video, to name one, wants nothing to do with the underground), South embraces the truth and understands where the true fans are.

This interview was conducted via e-mail.

Married Punks:  When did you first get into the adult entertainment industry?

Mike South:  About three years ago.

MP:  How did it happen?

MS:  I attended the CES show in Las Vegas about ten years ago or so and was walking through the adult section.  I was thinking, "I could do this," but nobody really wanted to talk to me.  Finally, Rick Savage gave me some straight talk, and I took what I learned from Rick and I thought about it, then I started visiting video stores all over the country and I would ask anyone who would talk to me questions about the videos.  What did they like?  What did they dislike?  What tapes rent best?  What sells best?  Why?  Then I watched about a thousand tapes, the ones people loved, the one people hated and everything in between.  Then when I thought I had it figured out, I bought a camera in a pawn shop and started practicing.  A year later I actually shot my first vids.

MP:  Why did you get into this?

MS:  It looked like fun, and I had always had an easy time with girls, so it seemed like a good fit.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an average looking guy, but I learned that attitude is way more important than looks.  Girls like being around a guy who is having a good time, and I certainly am having fun.

MP:  How would you describe your videos?

MS:  Pro-Am, true Pro-Am.  Most of the girls that I shoot are doing it for the thrill of it, very few want to be porn stars.  They just want to do the video for the pure thrill of it.  Many don't even care if they get paid and a few have asked me if they have to pay me to do it.  Everyone gets paid, though, so for many they get that unexpected bonus.

MP:  Who do you think your videos appeal to?

MS:  My videos are designed to appeal to the broadest market without sacrificing my "core" audience.  The "core audience" for anyone in porn are the guys who are really into porn and watch a lot of it, and there are more than you think.  For these guys I always give them good, clean, well-lit close ups, anal if the girl is comfortable with it, and facial cum shots.  For couples, the reality based angle is a turn-on, usually the girls have real orgasms; I'm very good at making them forget that the camera is there, that's partially due to my cameraman as well.  He gets the shots without disturbing the action.  I always make sure that the girl is into it.  If she isn't, then I won't shoot her regardless of how pretty she is.  I don't want girls who are only doing it for the money.  I always keep their makeup fresh and the scene interesting.

MP:  What has been your best experience with the video production?

MS:  There have been several standouts.  I recently shot Men's Magazine model Sana Fey in her first boy/girl.  We shot live, hardcore, boy/girl sex at a rave party in Tampa, Florida with literally hundreds of people watching us.  She loved it.  But probably the all-time best was a recent shoot with a girl named Valerie.  She is a college girl in Orlando, Florida and wanted to do it once for the fun of it.  She was so excited, she was literally bouncing off the walls, and that really came through in the video.

MP:  What has been your worst experience?

MS:  Two years ago in August I did a shoot 40 miles outside of Las Vegas in the desert.  It was 114 degrees at noon and we shot from noon until 4 pm.  There was also about a 10 knot wind blowing, so it was like fucking in front of a giant blow dryer.  That one was tough, but the location was awesome.

MP:  Sounds sticky.  How do you get people to appear in your videos?

MS:  Ninety percent come to me as referrals from people I have shot in the past or from magazine editors or other people who know me.  The other ten percent are usually dancers that I meet when I go into a strip club.  I tell them what I do, but if they want to be in a video they have to ask me.  I don't solicit them to do it.  It has to be their idea.

MP:  What are some of the awards you have won?

MS:  I have been nominated for more than I can remember, but I have won an Adult Video News (AVN) award for best amateur video (the AVN award is our industry's version of an Oscar, and it means a lot).  I have also won a few regional awards, including "Best Pro-Am Series" from The Rocky Mountain Oyster.

MP:  What Southern state has the wildest women?  Based on my experience with a girl named Baby, I would have to say Texas.

MS:  Based on my experiences, I have to say Florida, but only because of the luck I have had shooting in Tampa.  Tampa is an awesome town; the girls are pretty and wild.  Maybe it's the nude lapdances they do there.  Second place would be a tie between Georgia and Texas.  Dallas and Houston are both great towns for hot, new girls.

MP:  Baby was from right outside Houston.  Okay, where do you see the adult industry in five years?

MS:  From a technology standpoint, DVD is gonna rock and roll, though it will take a while for it to replace VHS.  When HDTV standardizes and the DVD companies get their act together, DVD will kick ass.  As for the business, there is a glut of porn out there right now, and the quality is all over the place.  I  mean, there will be twelve thousand new releases this year in the adult biz, most of it shitty stuff like the four and six hour compilations.  Those will be the first to die out because people rent them, see the shitty quality that is characteristic of the extended play modes, and get wiser.

The problem is that for Vivid and other companies to put this shit out is self-defeating.  For example, a guy turns eighteen and goes into his first adult section.  He sees a lot of stuff, but is drawn to a Vivid six-hour compilation.  Why?  Because he figures he is getting more for his money.  He takes it home and puts it in his VCR, the picture is washed out, it won't track properly and the audio sucks.  He now has the impression that this company produces shit in a slick looking box.  Hell, he may even think that is characteristic of the whole industry.  He returns the vid and doesn't rent again.  Now for the store angle, that store just rented one six hour video and lost a customer when he would have likely rented two two-hour tapes and been happy with the quality he saw.  So the store rented one shitty tape instead of two good ones and probably lost a repeat customer in the process.

I expect a shake out will come and the people producing quality will survive.  The rest will be kicked to the curb by a better educated market.  An educated consumer is the adult video business' worst nightmare.

On another level, look for more Federal legislation like the "Child Protection Act," which honestly does nothing to children.  With guys like Max Hardcore getting into some serious verbal and borderline physical abuse, the enemies of our business are going to use that to try to further their cause.

MP:  Any last words, plugs or death threats?

MS:  Nah, I'm a black belt, but I'm also a real pacifist when it comes to physical violence.  I try to avoid it if possible.  As far as last words, I only want to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who has bought and rented my tapes.  If it weren't for you, I could not do this job that I enjoy so much.  When you buy or rent my tapes, you are doing me a favor and I appreciate it, so I'm gonna give you my best effort.  Thank you, and look for all Mike South's new releases under "Elegant Angel Video."

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