“I have fun exaggerating certain truths about our culture.”
Last week I had a chance to ask , the guy behind Fraternity X and Sketchy Sex, about his role in creating and producing the content for those sites, as well as his winning porn past. I’m always fascinated by people who have been on both sides of the industry and who choose to stay on one or the other. If you want to know more about Mike’s past as ‘Jeremy Hall,’ . If you wanna know what’s next for Mr. Gilbert, check out his answers below:
Firstly, thank you for doing an interview with xhardxtimesx.ru! I know you don’t do a ton of interviews since you moved away from performing and the Jeremy Hall persona. But if people haven’t read about your on-camera days, give me the highlights:
Well I started in the business about ten years ago as a performer. My first pay-site was about jocks. I launched it with very little money. Basically paying my friends a couple hundred bucks to be in it. I didn’t have employees or business partners back then so I had to do everything myself. Including marketing and site management. It was a really good learning experience.
My personal curiosity is in why you think ideas like Fraternity X and Sketchy Sex have been as successful as they have. They kind of live in stark contrast to stuff like Next Door or Cockyboys or Lucas, but people are still interested in watching. Is there just room for everything? Or do these appeal to something studio sites don’t?
I’d like to think its because we think outside the box. We’re not afraid to be different. Every site has its own set of challenges. Its all about understanding the fabric of the niche and figuring out the best way to bring that to life. For example, during a FratX shoot. The frat boys operate the cameras, they decided the shots, they shoot the videos themselves. There is no director. That’s why the videos seem so organic. Because in a sense they’re real. No one is acting, you’re seeing their real personalities. It was setup this way for a reason.
What people don’t understand about my sites is they’re usually meant to be parodies. I have fun exaggerating certain truths about our culture. FratX is making fun of drunken, arrogant heterosexual men who are mad at the world because they can’t take a dick in their ass. Likewise, there is a lot of truth in SketchySex. Everyone can relate to addiction and I believe there is a bottom in every gay man. I think part of the reason FratX and SketchySex are hits are because people can relate to these elements. It resonates with them somehow and adds to the realism.
What’s your role in bringing those sites to life? Were they your ideas?
I’m the producer. I oversee production. This includes development of new sites. Though I do collaborate with my distributor during the ‘inception’ period. After that point I tend to be stubborn until the site has taken full form. Then I’ll open up again to constructive criticism. So no they’re not all my ideas.
I like that you mentioned earlier that Sketchy Sex and FratX are meant to be “parodies.” But until you said that, I’d never thought of them that way. Do you think most people perceive them as imitations of behavior instead of just as illustrations of what they think guys are really doing?
Well they are intended to be exaggerations of peoples real behavior. Sometimes considered taboo. That combined with our realistic production style tends to shock some people. Also, I think a lot of people pick up on a sense of authenticity. For example the drunken arrogant frat boy who’s angry at the world cause he’s closeted and can’t take a dick up his ass. So he calls himself gay4pay and goes into gay porn. These are the kind of guys who end up on FratX shoot. So in a sense it’s kind of real.
It’s interesting to me that so much thought should go into the production of “realistic” or POV porn like SS or FX. It’s sort of like reality television, that way, isn’t it? The actions that are happening are happening to real guys, in the moment, but the scenario is totally staged in the same heightened way as a scripted plot&costumes porn. Do you watch reality shows? Do they inspire this sort of work? Or is it a separate idea?
No, I don’t watch reality TV. Most of our ideas come from the models themselves. I always ask them to think of ideas. Its good because they have fun with it. My shoots are never scripted. Its all improvised as we go along.
While SS and Frat X have been successful, this kind of ‘niche’ work isn’t always. Tell me about your role with ParoleHim.com and why that didn’t maybe go according to plan.
Well, I tried to do something different and experimental. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I think it failed partly because of the niche and partly because of my execution. It was a learning experience.
I work to avoid any trash talking or gossip mongering on this site, but . Is that kind of reception good or bad for your studios/sites? What about the industry at large?
They’re saying what they need to say to get more traffic and make more money. As long as they keep talking about my sites. I don’t care anymore if its good or bad.
The thing to understand is that controversy sells. You’re successful when you push boundaries and aren’t afraid what people think. Bloggers that trash talk my work are only doing me a favor. A lot of our online traffic comes from Google searches of our site name. I think that means people are talking about us. That’s rare in porn.
Do you think you avoid any of the BTS drama that big name studios have to deal with, by not using “famous” performers or “porn stars” per se (in favor of more realistic, genuinely horndog guys)?
We get our share of drama. But because of the atmosphere on our shoots. It usually blows over. We’re laid back. Most of my directors, camera operators and crew are former models and are the same age as the performers. Everyone is treated well. So they usually give us 100%.
How hands-on are you with Frat X? I’ve never noticed anyone setting them up or telling them what to do or how to shoot. Is somebody there directing that shit? Or do you just get a pile of footage at the end of a weekend and have to make something out of it?
Every site is different. For FratX the frat-boys operate the cameras and direct the scenes. Everyone has to bottom at least once. So there is a sense of camaraderie amongst the frat-boys. They review footage before every shoot so they know what I want to see.
You mentioned that a lot of your performers are “actually straight,” which made me make at my computer a lot. To your mind, what defines this? Like how many dicks have to go into your butt before you start checking a different box? I’m always curious how people define gay vs. straight.
You define it by how you see yourself. I have models who are married to a woman and have kids. They see themselves as being 100% straight but get gang banged by five guys on set. Go figure.
What’s next? I know guys like you always have something in your pocket. Anything you wanna tease us about?
I’ll be launching my new site in three weeks. The theme is ARMY GANGBANGS. I’ve been working on it for about a year.
Mike definitely has his wheelhouse all set. The gangbang formula is sturdy and reliable in porn. It’ll be interesting to see how this new site plays out, but expect to hear about it here, either way. I wonder where would you even find enough army guys for a gangbang? Is that a thing you about?
What do you guys think? Should we have more Sketchy Sex/Frat X around here? I’m always curious to hear your thoughts.