Careers and Ed: Hard on the job - Page 2

Getting ahead in the Bay Area's burgeoning adult-content industry

For those interested, Schaefer says, "It's a great company if you're just getting started in BDSM." Kink follows the BDSM credo of safe, consensual, and respectful play and trains its PAs to make sure that all models are treated well, taking care to stop the shoot when limbs fall asleep during difficult poses involving mouth gags and rope.

Her coworker Guillermo Garcia, a videographer and PA, got his start by taking a number of production and editing classes in Final Cut Pro at City College. In addition to gaining more experience in lighting a soundstage on the job, the dreadlocked musician from Medellín, Colombia, says he enjoyed scoring the theme to Ultimate Surrender. He also has to make sure all the gadgets for the Fucking Machines series are in proper working order and, truth be told, clean the sex toys.


Over at Colt Studios, which is in a converted warehouse near Potrero Hill that also houses an accounting firm, a team of 19 people works hard to produce slick and beautiful photos, calendars, and videos of handsome, masculine guys.

President John Rutherford, who got his degree in broadcasting at San Francisco State, realized that making internal videos at Hewlett-Packard with straight guys wasn't in his future. He started working at San Francisco's famed hardcore gay porn company Falcon Studios just as he was coming out. Rutherford said he aims to run a team of creative and self-directed people who are serious about attaining company goals. He likens working with porn to a nurse working with blood. "I can't even watch Nip/Tuck, but here I think, 'Hey, that's a great picture; that's a big dick.' " It's all in a day's work.

His business partner, Tom Settle, says, "Our customer service agents get the question at least once a day: 'Well, what's it like to work there?' People have a fantasy that models walk around servicing our customer service agents all day.... We've had people come to work here looking for the forbidden fruit. When they find out it's not what they expect, they think, 'Well, I could never tell anyone I work here.' "

Not that it's dull working at Colt, a company with a 40-year history of male erotica production, mind you. The elegant offices are filled with fine art. Georgia, Rutherford's beagle, roams freely. The staff is urbane and witty.

Kim Ionesco, a Colt customer service rep who is starting to work more in marketing, jokes that she never thought her career would flourish in male porn. "I didn't hit the glass ceiling," she exclaims, sipping a Red Bull. When she started working at Colt, all her lesbian friends began clamoring for DVDs starring Chris Wide, a hot property in Colt's exclusive stable. She had no idea her girlfriends would know who he was. Then again, she quips, "I appreciate nice, polite, good-looking gay men." So why wouldn't other dykes feel the same way?

Even straight IT professionals such as Aaron Golub find working in male, mostly gay porn surprisingly refreshing too. Previously, he worked as an IT director at a multinational company but quit because, as he explains, "I did not feel like what I was doing was noble. I feel more guilty about generating junk mail. I've never sat there and said, 'Oh, I need some advertising,' but I've definitely felt like I needed porn. I feel like what we're doing is for people who really, truly want it. Where I worked before, I didn't feel like that was truly the case."

Aside from working toward the common goal of providing customers with images of Colt's much-admired, wood-chopping manly men, the twentysomething IT whiz gets to work with technology on the cutting edge.

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