Interviewer: Timothy Snarr
Date of Interview: 4/23/2008
Broken In: An Interview with Jack Lawrence
“I’ll tell you a little secret,” whispers porn star Jack Lawrence.
“Okay,” I reply.
“Oscillococcinum,” he says. “They’re little, tiny white pills that you put underneath your tongue.”
It’s funny how useful bits of information can sometimes be picked up in the most unlikely of places. What had begun as an interview to discuss the recent release of Jack’s groundbreaking instructional DVD Breaking into Porn had quickly taken a U-turn towards an unsolicited consumer report for over-the-counter cold remedies. I suppose it was as inevitable as it was my fault. Moments earlier, I had apologized in advance to Jack in case I sounded a bit out of it. For the past week, I had been consumed by the hybrid cold/flu bug, which seemed to circulate endlessly through our office like a bad e-mail chain letter. Unfortunately, my symptoms had not yet subsided at the time of our scheduled chat. But, when faced with a less-than-desirable situation, Jack did what he always does – he tried to make the situation better.
Released earlier this year, Breaking into Porn is a 4-disc, step-by-step instructional Bible for anyone trying to get into the adult biz. The compendium contains invaluable insight, interviews, and information on getting in, hiring an agent, mastering self-promotion, and much more. It is Jack’s trying to make another less-than-desirable situation better. Over the past decade, the rise of gonzo porn and free video sharing sites has undoubtedly had a negative impact on not only film quality, but also the industry’s financial outlook. The size of the pie has remained the same, but the pieces have become smaller. “Too many companies that didn’t know what they were doing came in and oversaturated the market,” laments Jack as he reflects on the current state of porn. “That made it weak.”
While it’s tough to make the watertight claim that an industry such as porn, which generates billions of dollars each year, qualifies as broken, it is not tough to make the claim that more companies at the cash trough meant a need for more talent. And much like the greedy, uninformed companies that grabbed for a slice of the porn pie, the current influx of talent was no different. The maddening thing was that on top of the greed, the talent had been sorely lacking in one critical area: talent.
Jack and other top stars, such as good friend and “Breaking” contributor Tommy Gunn, grew tired of the big egos, the absence of common decency, the mistreatment of female stars, and the scheduling snafus that became more and more prevalent in many of the less experienced performers. “We don’t want to sit on set and wait,” says Lawrence. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on set where I get there at noon and [the directors] say, ‘Oh, shit! Somebody should have called you. The first guy couldn’t pop, and the second guy is struggling right now. Could you come back at four-o’-clock?’”
Breaking into Porn aims to do for porn meccas what adversity does for the psyche – make it stronger. “If people watch all of the 8 ½ hours, they realize they have a lot of practice and a lot of mental exercises that they need to do, not to mention logistics and setting up a game plan and strategy,” says Lawrence. “I’m trying to attract more gentlemanly performers who can still fuck the hell out of a girl, but I want them to treat the woman right and be prepared and know how to handle difficult situations.”
With the amount of scrutiny and blame the porn industry has suffered over the years, it’s hard to believe that nobody has done anything like this until now. Somebody should have spelled it out a long time ago.
Jack Lawrence is one of the good guys, a de Bergerac among the Dice-Clays that litter the adult industry. At 41, he is an extremely astute and accomplished porn veteran, despite just five years in front of the camera. Stints in the military, the police force, the fire academy, professional cycling, and a three-year stewardship as a male escort delayed his eventual arrival onto the porn scene. While some curmudgeonly types might consider the 41-year-old too old for an industry that revels in its youthful idolatry, to the spry, well-built Lawrence, age was never a consideration, except as fodder for a beautifully timed, self-deprecating one-liner. “I’m older than a lot of these girls’ fathers,” he cracks. Age, however, tends to be the beneficiary of youth’s indiscretion.
“It takes a lot of mental fortitude to handle this job and most guys have the raging hormones when they’re 18, 19, 20-years-old, but they just don’t have the mental capacity to handle this,” says Jack. With this film, Lawrence hopes to teach the “what I didn’t know then” set what he knows now, but wishes he knew then. “I definitely want to scare away the guys that have no chance at being in the business, because I’ve seen a lot of guys come out here and struggle,” he says.” “I wish I had something like Breaking into Porn when I was starting out.”
Lawrence had to rely on the old combination of luck and good timing to land regular gigs on screen. “Nobody wants to hire you unless you’ve done 50 scenes,” reflects Lawrence. Even Jack, despite his anomalously large…um…physical gift, was a long shot had it not been for his relationship to a porn star named Keisha, one of Jack’s escort clients from many years back.
“Keisha was a huge, huge porn star in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” recounts Jack. “She paid me for sex and saw my skills and kind of begged me to get into the industry. She said that I was someone the industry really needed because of my assets and my appreciation for women. She marched me right into Jim Phelps’ office, who was basically the only agent in town at the time and said, ‘This is a guy that you need to promote. This is the next new thing.’” The next new thing arrived brandishing an old mantra - chemistry.
Through five hundred ninety scenes, Jack has been a porn apothecary, carefully dispensing himself in just the right dosage. Take a look at any porn starlet’s “Most sought after male stars with whom to work” list. At the bottom, you’ll find the name of a printing company with a firm grip on proper grammar. At the top, you’ll find the name Jack Lawrence. “When you’re on a porn set, if you happen to luck out and have good chemistry with somebody, that’s awesome,” suggests Jack. “But, you also have to realize your momentum is going to be stopped all the time. So, chemistry is even more important.”
A good chemist creates complex bonds in the lab by combining simple elements. Jack uses that same blueprint on set. For him, a kiss is the fundamental building block of all great scenes. “It actually makes things hotter,” he says. “There are more girls in the business that do anal sex than kiss because kissing is emotional. A lot of women have to separate what they are doing from reality and they can’t kiss. That makes it really hard to work.” But, a good chemist will find a way. When rote methods don’t yield the desired results, other less conventional methods are tried. In fact, lab explosions, as Jack proved, can be just as fruitful as carefully controlled environments.
Back in 2006, Lawrence and several of his co-workers were holed up in the “lab” for 36 hours straight during the filming of Tristan Taormino’s debut film, aptly titled Chemistry. As they burned the midnight lube, something amazing happened. “Tristan Taormino rented a house for 36 hours and said, ‘You guys raise your hand and say what scenes you want to do and when and we’ll just shoot it,’” explains Jack. Though the entire cast continued to have copious amounts of un-filmed sex even after the film crew left at midnight, the cameras captured enough of the brilliant action to garner the production a Best Gonzo film award. But, it also won Lawrence an AVN nomination and an AdultCon award for Best Oral scene. “It’s the first time anybody had even been nominated in 25 years for a cunnilingus scene. It’s just been assumed that the best oral sex scene was always a blowjob scene,” relays Jack. Not anymore. It’s that kind of in-the-box thinking that has made Lawrence so successful. Not everybody feels that way, however.
To some, Jack’s new creation is not a carefully dispensed dose, but a lethal overdose of useful information that will further harm the industry. “I’ve had a couple male performers contact me and say, ‘Hey! What the hell are doing? You’re giving out all the secrets!’” As always, situational Jack diffuses any misgivings. “I explain to them, ‘Thanks for your concern. I wouldn’t do that to you. I’m scaring away the guys that couldn’t perform.’ There is a lot of brotherhood in this business and we all get along with each other. Once they understand what the project is really about, it’s about weeding out the bad and making the good better.”
“Sex is art for someone who can’t paint,” muses Jack. If that is true, then Breaking into Porn is Jack Lawrence’s masterpiece.
A masterpiece tends to have some sort of universal appeal in addition to the flawless technical applications that accompany it. Jack asserts that Breaking into Porn gives everybody the tools they need to get into the biz. While that may be the case, anyone familiar with porn knows there is one “tool” that cannot be taught.
“Size does matter a lot,” admits Jack. “But, one of the interviews is with Marcus London, who is one of the top feature guys in the business. He doesn’t have a ‘porn penis’ by any stretch of the imagination and he works all the time. The women love him. It’s not a matter of size; it’s a matter of finesse. You don’t have to be over so many inches to try and get into porn. You have to have a combination of things.”
If Jack can teach a regular guy like me, and thousands of others, to become porn stars, I thought, he must certainly know a thing or two about knocking out a pesky microbial nuisance. I decided right then and there that, if whatever it was did indeed contain some magical properties of some sort, I wanted in.
“What’s that stuff called again?” I ask, referring back to the cold remedy discussion from earlier.
“O-S-C-I-L-L-O-C-O-C-C-I-N-U-M,” replies Jack, reciting each letter slowly and deliberately enough so that I can frantically scribble the word onto my notepad. “It comes in a white package with yellow and orange trim. It flat out works.”
For a moment, I wondered how many other people had missed out on the purported miracles of a drug like Oscillococcinum because they either hadn’t met Jack or because they couldn’t pronounce the name to the pharmacist. I suspected the answer would be “quite a few”.
Thankfully, Jack took the time to spell it out for me. Somebody should have spelled it out a long time ago.
For more information or to contact Jack Lawrence, visit his website at jacklawrencexxx.com, or visit him on xPeeps at http://xpeeps.com/member.php?u=1302.
To watch Jack's video, go to http://vod.xpeeps.com/dispatcher/movieDetail?movieId=103858&theaterId=32372.