Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part interview with porn director extraordinaire, Ivan. Part one can be found here.
W! How do you feel about feature films and parodies making a comeback? It seems like gonzo is going the way of VHS tapes these days. Is that true?
I Parodies seem fun but do seem as an overload that will at some point take a back seat to good ol’ fashioned fuck films or scenes. Porn goes in trends like life. But the basics of life as in porn… most of the time just goes back to that. Porn is created for one thing. People to watch and get aroused… have sex or jerk off and go to sleep, go back to work, go pick-up their date, or just go have family dinner. To most it’s a quick stress release THEN back to life. I think one of the reasons the internet is so popular is you can find what you want, watch it, stroke it, and off you go. Isn’t that the definition of gonzo? Sort of. Get in and get out. I don’t really think gonzo is dying, it’s just moved to a new media… internet. With DVD sales down, companies are trying to re-vamp themselves with new ideas. Hence parodies. It’s a different breed, a different market. Gonzo fans don’t want elaborate sets or storylines… they want a couch and a hot scene. Parodies give you storylines, dialogue, sometimes decent acting. Oh, and then sex. Story first, sex second. Gonzo gives you sex first, second, and third, oh, and maybe a two minute lead-up.
I do think many companies didn’t evolve with the times and that’s why they are dying off. The smart guys behind the internet porn boom capitalized on it. Years back DVD people smirked at web guys. Saying stuff like, “Oh it’s just internet, quicker scenes with lower rates because it’s JUST INTERNET content.” Woah, did they get a dick slap of reality a few years later. Those web guys built up content and their wallets on “cheaper internet rates.” Then took over. While old mentality gonzo companies tried to prove something or just be stubborn in change. So off they went. Yes, like VHS. As did FILM shooters when VIDEO came along.
W! You’ve done a lot of gonzo, so you’ve seen some really hardcore, borderline offensive stuff. Where do you draw the line on what you are willing to shoot?
I I shoot ONLY what the girl feels comfortable doing. Before the scene I talk to the girl about her do’s and don’ts. I also get to know them, joke with them, and just make them feel comfortable. I often have candy for the girls before the scene and stuffed toys after. Sounds creepy but really isn’t. That much, I hope.
At Extreme we shot hardcore stuff. But I told my bosses that I didn’t feel comfortable shooting anyone who is not into it. I’ve actually told a first timer during the break in the scene, if she wanted to go home and leave the industry, it was totally fine. She seemed like a deer in headlights. I felt it was the right thing to do.
Who are we to mistreat anyone? My feeling on every set is this: each person is someone’s daughter, sister, mother, wife, etc. Who am I to ruin her day or damage her in any way? Everyone of us goes home to a loved one, how would you feel knowing your loved one was treated [like] less than a human being? That is why I can’t stand directors who mistreat the girls and better yet ask for special services [by] making girls feel that their job is on the line. Fuck those guys.
W! You are straight edge, right? No drinking, no drugs, not even coffee? How did you decide this would be the way you live your life, and is it difficult to keep to the straight and narrow path in the world of porn?
I This is a very simple answer. I put in my system what makes me tingle inside or tickles my taste buds. I don’t drink because it tastes bad, coffee smells weird so I imagine it tastes the same, drugs, ehh, never felt the urge. But I do have a vice: pasta. It’s probably more unhealthy than everything I don’t do. Meth addicts are skinny with bad teeth, pasta addicts are fat with cavities. There is no statement, no message. I just do what I like.
And I have had my brother get me stoned a few times. Didn’t do anything for me but kept me from being productive. I don’t judge. Do what you want, just don’t hurt anyone or yourself.
I get really drunk once a year. On my birthday the last two years, we had a big birthday bash with me concluding the night puking away. On www.BestPORNweekEver.com you can see last year’s mess of me, this year’s will be up in early June.
To me there is no difficulty in any narrow path. I walk to my own drum, never fall for peer pressure, pussy powers don’t work on me… so it’s pretty easy because I truly don’t care what others think of me.
W! You have a very specific aesthetic: bleached hair, big beard, no pants, hockey jerseys… Where do you take your fashion inspiration from?
I I take my inspiration from comfort. Pants are not comfortable, so boooo to them. Jerseys are comfortable, so big thumbs up to that (I’m a sports junkie). Beard equals laziness to shave. And blonde hair hopefully will let me have more fun. In all seriousness, I believe in branding yourself. My real name is Slava, my porn brand is Ivan. Most now know me as the guy with matching jersey, hats, custom “IamIvan” Nikes, and the hair. All these things have cost me a lot, BUT this is priceless PR. You cannot go and buy my brand or reel. This has taken me almost seven years to create, develop, and hone. But with that said, your work has to stand on its own, too.
My lil bro (Ricky D) taught me this. Go yell, “Look at me, I’m the shit!” And when people look, you’d better be “the shit.” I believe my product goes beyond my specific aesthetic. So I have no problem wearing my orange gear because people will say… “Who the hell is that?” and I will say, “I am Ivan!” from IamIvan.com. Now that’s how you do it. And I think any company who gives a crap about their product needs people like me who can promote themselves, hence promoting the crap out of their product. This is where Anabolic truly dropped the ball, well one of many balls. And this is where my new employers value this type of director.
W! And dude, what’s your problem with pants? I mean, what did they ever do to you?
I Pants are mean! You ever hear the term “Meanie Pants”? One time in band camp a pant touched my bikini area. My giant balls don’t fit in them.
W! We understand you have a huge collection of old school 8mm and Super 8mm cameras that you cherish, and we’ve heard that you go so far as to take pictures of performers with them. In light of modern HD technology, what’s your fascination with these relics?
I My background is in film. My love is film. And I think film equipment is pretty rad. Especially old school equipment. It’s our history. When I got into porn I wanted to make my site all about these film cameras and girls posing with them. First two girls I shot with them were Lauren Phoenix and Katrina Kraven. This was like seven years ago. From that point on it became my drive. I like to Photoshop the pictures, I love posting them everywhere, and the girls seem to love them enough to have them all over their MySpace and business cards.
I actually had a mainstream filmmaking magazine do a cover story on this hobby. Check out the site, it’s a pretty who’s-who of porn girls with my cameras. I am at around 50 galleries/girls behind but slowly am trying to catch up. BTW, my site is www.IamIVAN.com. Cheap plug.
W! You’re a horror fan, with lots of your own mainstream and porn horror flicks to your credit. We at WHACK! have been wondering: what do you think the next big monster craze will be? I feel like zombies and vampires are both pretty played out right now.
I Well, I am a giant werewolf fan. But werewolves are expensive. I am hoping for a clown craze. My whole office is filled with scary clowns, some taller than six feet. I have a clown story in me and all the props. Just waiting for a worthy actress and time. I am a huge “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” fan. So maybe clowns. A Toxic Avenger porno can be fun too!
How about ugly old men? That’s scary.
I would like a hefty furry guys in jerseys fetish but I think this will cater to the wrong market.
W! If it’s the Wolfman or werewolves in general, will you play a lead role?
I I am the Werewolf of porn. Or with that maybe the Werebear of porn. Either way, yes because I have the furriness already at my disposal. Long live American Werewolf in London.