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"I used to have an electronics store in Jersey," he recalls. "I came out here on vacation and decided to move my family out. I got a job selling electronics. I was the first guy to bring disco mixers to L.A. Then I went to work with my uncle, selling Oriental art. I didn't know anything about Oriental art.
"Luckily, out of the blue I made a sale for $80,000, made myself $20,000 commission, got me started [on my own gallery]. Sammy Davis Jr., Robert Culp, Pia Zadora were all my clients. Lost my lease there."
That was when Rinaldi started selling tapes directly to video stores. "Out of the back of my van, selling to mom-and-pop stores," he says. "It just got tiresome, although I was making good money. I just couldn't drive any more.
"I was making real good money when I could get $20-$25 a tape, but a lot of guys started coming into the business cutting the prices, making a quarter a tape, a dollar a tape. I saw where that was going. I had the opportunity to join Video Central/Tight Ends and I jumped at it. I ran the one-stop for a while, and then eventually I got into production. That's how it started. Tight Ends was three years, now I'm in my fourth year with Wildlife," where he's vice-president and head of production.
Wildlife has nine current lines, Screw My Wife, Please; Screw My Husband, Please; Dirty Newcummers; Ren LaRue's X-Rated Auditions; Titty Fuckers; Girls Home Alone; Handjobs; plus Train My White Ass, a new interracial line, and Pussy Playhouse, an all-girl line. The lion's share of these ("80%") are all directed by Rinaldi, who also helms the occasional feature. Rinaldi eased into production while he was running Video Central, Tight Ends' distribution operation.
"Rod Fontana was doing the production, and then when Rod left, they said 'Now you're in charge of production' Rinaldi recalls. "I said, 'I don't know anything about production.' Rod really was a good director. I would say he's my mentor. We used to sit around and talk, and come up with ideas.
"We had a title [at Tight Ends] called Fuck you! I said let's do something. Put no chromes on the box, who's gonna stop us? It was Box Cover of the Month. We did very well with it. I went on from there, watching and learning, until I had the opportunity to do it myself." By the time Rinaldi started directing, he knew what he wanted to see on camera and off camera as well.
"When I started to direct, what I wanted to see was people having fun," he explains. " People have fun on the set, and it shows in the video. I get what I want done, but I do it in a nice way. I'm very open to constructive criticism. I think that flexibility allows my crew to respect me, through respecting their views. I surround myself with good people, and just I try to stay out of the way and not fuck it up.
Courtesy of AVN Magazine