The Authentic Lesbian Interviews Andy Zane
Andy Zane is a relatively new director in the world of porn. He has directed popular titles such as The Altar Of Aphrodite and MILF Fidelity and is also responsible for our new PornFidelity exclusive, A XXX Documentary and I had the pleasure of interviewing him right before its release. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
Authentic Lesbian: Hi Andy, it’s nice to get to talk with you! The first question I love to ask is what’s a typical day like for you? When you wake up what’s the first song you listen to or show you watch on TV to get you going?
Andy Zane: Hey, thanks so much for having me on here I was really looking forward to this. Typical day is me waking up at the very last possible minute, hugging my bed intensely as I struggle to slide off of it and get in the shower. Music is HUGE to me, but my daily playlist varies because I go through phases. At the moment I’m all over the place. Been listening to Nine Inch Nails' Bad Witch EP or Grizzly Bear’s Painted Ruins, but then I’ve also been on a super nostalgic hip-hop kick listening to Wu Tang and Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and older Busta Rhymes stuff. As far as TV, The Simpsons is always my #1 go-to.
Congratulations on the XRCO and AVN awards for Dysfucktional - Blood Is Thicker Than Cum.” With the rise in popularity of taboo porn, that’s an impressive acknowledgement. In your opinion what set that title apart from so many others in the category?
Thank you! That was something I truly was not expecting at all. It’s a subgenre that I was really sort of ignorant and unexposed to for the longest time, so when Ryan brought up the topic of playing around with it I felt totally out of my element, which opened the door to do something interesting and new. I think what sets it apart is that I didn’t want to make it easy. I did a lot of research on the genre and it was a lot of “mom and dad aren’t home” or “spying on my sister in the shower” kind of storylines. Most people spend a minute setting up the scenario, about another minute of back and forth dialogue, and get right into it. I wanted to make it more elaborate and Ryan and Kelly were all for it. I mean, they both built a bed that hung on a wall so that I could get this really experimental shot of Tyler Nixon slowly falling back onto a bed. We put him on a skate board and rolled him back, it’s still probably my favorite shot I’ve ever done. For the Abella Danger and Small Hands scene, Kelly went and bought some old pews from a church that was closing down and we got extras, built a stage for Small Hands’ rock n’ roll sermon, and it was awesome! A lot went into it and I think the people who decided it was a winner saw and appreciated that, and I appreciate them.
In A XXX Documentary, Michael Vegas says that everyone just about falls into porn. Would you agree that you fell into directing porn, or was it a goal you were actively chasing? How did you end up working with Ryan and Kelly Madison with Pornfidelity and Teenfidelity?
I think he’s absolutely right. I think even if you have the goal to get into it, it takes a tremendous amount of luck to really get you anywhere solid in the industry. I fell into porn. I was not actively pursuing it as a career at all. I was a DIY filmmaker writing/directing/editing shitty experimental short films and music videos. I was 23 years old, living at home, doing really bad freelance work. The home situation was rough and I needed work. I answered an ad for a videographer/editor for an adult entertainment company. I was terrified because I’d always had these negative preconceptions about the industry and when I interviewed with Ryan, I was like, “This guy is like the coolest guy I’ve ever met, what the hell was I worried about?” There was no cocaine, heroin needles, people fucking and shitting in the corner. It was beyond normal and it felt better than home. They are the first and ONLY company I will ever work for in the industry. They’re my family and I adore them with every fiber of my being.
How long have you worked in the adult entertainment industry? Did you jump right into directing?
I started November of 2012, first as an editor and as time went on I got a few ideas in here and there and was camera operating as well with Ryan directing the scenes. I had no problem with that because he’s a really great director and I was intimidated as hell to direct any of it. He taught me so much, and both he and Kelly gave me so much room to experiment with so many things that this job became my film school. I left the company in November of 2014 to try my luck in mainstream stuff but ended up falling madly in love with independent cinema. Skeleton crews and low budgets were home for me, and with the mainstream stuff not working out, I was able to write and direct two feature films that got completed and submitted to film festivals and all that. One has premiered, and both are currently in negotiations for distribution. The thing about being an indie filmmaker is that it won’t pay your rent and if you have no connections to money or name talent, you’re not gonna make a career out of it. So after hustling for two years, I came back to the Madison's, and being the amazing people they are, they welcomed me back with open arms and I’ll never leave them again. I started editing for them again November of 2016 and in January of 2017 I directed my first scene with the late, beautiful, and amazing August Ames and I’ve been at it ever since, always learning and having a great time with the fam.
One of your movies I really enjoy watching is 1000 Words because I love getting to hear the perspective of the stars going into scenes, and you’ve taken a similar approach in A XXX Documentary, where the stars share a little about themselves before each scene. Why did you decide to take that approach with these titles?
Thank you, I really appreciate that. Well I think something that’s changed so much because of the digital age and tube sites is that we live in a time where anyone can make "porn." Amateur content exists on so many platforms and there are a lot of people who watch that stuff and don’t have to suspend their belief to get off. There are the porn fan "purists" and "traditionalists" who are truly the MVP’s of this industry because they know what it is to appreciate what we do as content creators. But I can also see the appeal to the voyeuristic nature of watching some unknown random filming himself fuck his girlfriend in the dark on his phone with the flash turned on. My goal was to remind the viewer that these incredibly talented performers are PEOPLE: REAL PEOPLE. There’s been a disconnect with adult performers because of the filmmaking and entertainment aspect of the industry. They’re constantly playing characters and being put into bogus scenarios where you have to suspend your belief. I just wanted to try to bridge that gap and remind you why these people are sexy and remind you that they’re whole human beings who have done and gone through some of the same shit that you have, and they’re still down to be openly sexual. And I wanted to show the audience what gets the performers off. There’s a lot of staging and routine that goes into shooting porn; this was a free-for-all. I wanted them vulnerable and real and having a great time, because sex is supposed to be a great time. I felt like our viewers and members deserved that.
What’s the most interesting thing you learned while listening to the stars share their stories?
I learned what porn is. I never knew how to tell people or justify why I do what I do or why it’s not a bad thing, and the stars had the answers (haha, so profound). These people do this unabashedly, with strong convictions and determination to make their life their own and I think it is the coolest, ballsiest, most bad-ass shit I’ve ever seen, and I’m so lucky to be a part of it. It seems unlikely to outsiders, but the people in the world who demand a sexual revolution need not look further for leaders than some of the performers in this industry. They’re evolved, dude. I mean none of them are perfect by any means, and they’d never claim to be, but they see sex in such a positive light. If more people were like the people in the documentary, the world would be such a better place.
Great directors always manage to pull great performances from their actors and it’s clear from your catalog that you have that ability. How do you connect with the stars on set to get those performances?
Well I’m spoiled because Ryan only books me the best of the best. I don’t know that I have the ability to pull great performances from them as much as they’re just great performers, but I know that the more comfortable and cool they feel with me, the more we can get on the same page and make a great scene. Usually before a scene, someone who’s never worked with me or each other, the male talent will ask the female "any ‘no’s’ I should know about?" And she’ll respond something like "no, just stay away from my asshole, you can lick it, just don’t shove your finger or anything in it," and after that they’re ready to begin. I often, not always, but often (especially for XXX Documentary) get them to talk beyond dislikes and get into what they like, what they want to feel, what they’re into. I tell them that if they’re not having a good time, we don’t have a good scene.
Music is severely underappreciated in porn in my opinion. It can set the tone of the movie and evoke emotions in the audience before any action starts. You won the AVN Award for Best Soundtrack for Alter of Aphrodite, and I must admit that soundtrack is lit! Can you tell us more about what goes into creating the perfect sound for your movies?
Thank you so much! I fully agree with how important the music is, which is why I stay away from royalty-free stuff. My sound guy Adrian and I are both musicians and in a band together called Porcelain Pale (shameless self-promotion), and he’s also a legit audio engineer, so he and I make all of the music for my scenes. AOA was really dialogue-heavy and kind of fast-paced, so we wanted to do something along the lines of what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did for The Social Network. Not at all comparing my campy porn to an Academy Award-winning film and soundtrack at all (haha) but that film was all dialogue and the music kept it interesting. Dark heavy tones, arpeggiated synths, texturized percussive patterns, and the occasional non-cheesy sounding string instrument goes a long way. I edit the scene, we both look it over, and find the tone and emotion, go through about two-to-three different ideas, and then run with scissors hoping we cut something. Random fact: James Deen actually told me that Eddie Van Halen won that award once, so that was really cool.
I love them all so much! It can be intimidating because I’m still fairly young in the industry. But before I got into the industry, I didn’t really know who anybody was so I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was to be working for Ryan and Kelly until I would tell my friends and they were like "HOLY SHIT DUDE!" They’re like the mom and dad I never had, and I’ve filmed them fucking… probably why my taboo shit does well (haha). Nah, but they’re also great friends and the best bosses anyone could ever ask for. Chanel has honestly always been my favorite person to shoot because we always have awesome conversations and she’s super down-to-earth, beautiful, incredible, and smart. I met her shooting Get My Belt with Ryan, and wanted to keep working with her ever since. James… I fucking love James; he’s my buddy! At first I tolerated him because I was thinking of a way to steal Chanel from him, but now I wanna steal him from Chanel (haha). Our dark senses of humor match up perfectly and we might be soulmates. Prince came highly recommended by James and I’m so glad because Prince is one of the coolest, most professional people I’ve ever met, and he’s great to have on set and always gives it his all. He also always compliments my crazy-colored socks so I love him forever. I met Ana on the red carpet at AVN this year and fell in love with her personality. Super cool chick, very real, incredibly smart, and we grew up around the same area. These people are stars for a reason, they work harder than most people and they don’t take shit from anyone. I love them all dearly and I’m lucky to know them.
As far as directing, where do you see yourself, or want to be, in five years?
Hopefully just being better at what I do. I hope to shake some stuff up in the industry eventually, get some larger recognition and appreciation for my family at PornFidelity. I wanna take on bigger projects and continue to have a great time working with great people.
What advice would you give to a young director looking to shoot adult content? What’s one thing they need to know?
I would just say, respect the people you shoot. Treat them like people. It takes an incredible amount of courage to do what they do and face the kind of prejudice they face every day from sexually repressed assholes who are jealous of their freedom or jerking off to them in secret.
Are there any projects you’re working on or ideas floating around that we can expect to see later this year?
I have a few ideas, but nothing solid or that I can talk about yet. Kind of waiting to see how some of my other stuff does before I throw myself into it.
Lastly, is there anything we didn’t touch on that you would like to tell your fans? Anybody you want to shout out and acknowledge?
Uhm, just please check out A XXX Documentary. Not just because it’s the thing I’m most proud of, but also because I think there’s a lot of great things in there that people can learn from or get perspective on. None of the people in that doc had to be that open and vulnerable with me or anyone else, but they were and that’s a beautiful thing and shouldn’t go unrecognized or under-appreciated. It’s the most honest thing you’re ever gonna see out of a porn documentary, I guarantee it. Thanks so much for this and everything, I appreciate you and wish you all the absolute best. You’re awesome!