Ivan: The Last Working Man in Porn
Written by Gram Ponante
February 17, 2011
Original Article with Pics and Video

“I thought, ‘Seriously? I could do what that guy’s doing.’”

Anyone who has ever seen a porn movie being made, a porn magazine being edited, or a porn business being run (into the ground) will, if you give him enough time, say the same thing the director Ivan did when he had spent just a little time in the adult industry.

“I was doing some editing work at the old Extreme Associates in 2002,” says Ivan, whose family emigrated from Russia in the 70s and who looks like Rasputin might if he had stayed on his meds and eaten better. “And I couldn’t believe people got paid for what I was watching people do.”

Eight years later Ivan, who for several years directed and edited for Extreme, Anabolic and, currently, Tom Byron Pictures, says that the other side of skill is the real reason why some people survive in the porn industry: attitude.

“A lot of people don’t know how to hold a camera, or edit, sure,” he says, “but those things can be learned. You have to have the right attitude to wrangle porn girls, stay focused, and stay in business.”

And the right attitude is hard to come by. While the payoffs of working in the porn industry are many—close proximity to attractive, accessible women, a low barrier to entry where even minimal intelligence is richly rewarded (how do you think I got here?), and the ability to arrive at work in a hockey jersey—the disadvantages flow just as freely: depending on other people in such a relaxed environment is often an occasion of tears.

“I don’t like chasing people for checks,” Ivan says.

This is why people with a defined set of core competencies will often move toward an ownership role in the porn industry. Two years ago Ivan and some partners launched PUBA.com, a suite of content sites and official web addresses of performers like Asa Akira, London Keyes, Jayden Jaymes, Avy Scott, Natasha Nice, and Mason Moore. On Superbowl Sunday, PUBA streamed its PUBABowl.

“We don’t script that stuff,” he says. “Shit just happens. It’s naked girls, so it’s always fun.”

Ivan splits his time between PUBA, directing for Evolution Distribution (which distributes Tom Byron Pictures), Twistys.com, and mainstream horror projects under his real name, Slava Siederman. His office in Canoga Park, which is adjacent to the studio where he shoots most of his content, is festooned with horror posters.

“I appreciate porn and horror the same way,” he says. “They’re guilty pleasures but they’re both really basic.”

I met Ivan in 2005. At the time he was dating Kami Andrews, who would star in his horror porn classic “Texas’ Asshole Massacre.” Andrews left porn and moved back to Pennsylvania in 2007.

“I miss Kami,” Ivan says.

“So do I,” I say.

Ivan is one of those guys whose work is so integrated into his life that it is difficult telling where one ends and the other begins. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the fact that he edits most of his work.

“I’m shooting all day and editing all night,” he says, “and in the morning, I prep for shooting.”

I don’t ask Ivan when, or if, he sleeps. If there isn’t a camera in his hand, there is a litre bottle of Pepsi, and that is my answer. If you look at IamIvan.com, he breaks down more than a decade’s worth of porn and mainstream projects that underline a pragmatic work ethic that is unfailingly creative, if not always financially successful.

He has also self-documented long before social networking made that necessary. He says he is “an open book.”

“I never had that guilt about what I do,” he once told me, “so I’m always taking pictures and video everywhere.”

2012 marks Ivan’s 10th year in the porn business, which counts as several generations of porn performers and assorted industry personnel.

“I got in at a good time,” he says. “No one was making the money they used to, and people had started shooting their own material rather than having these big crews. I’ve always been more of a gonzo guy anyway. I feel bad for the guys who got into the business in the 70′s and 80′s and 90′s and were rolling in money but they didn’t adapt. They’re the guys suffering now.”

What about people getting into the business now?

“Those people have to realize it’s a job,” Ivan says.