Orgasm News Interviews Mike Kulich; “Giving Back is Also a Huge Part of My Mission”

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from www.orgasm.com – Mike Kulich has been dubbed the ‘Golden Boy’ by Awarding-Winning Adult Industry Actor James Bartholet and for good reason. He is the owner of several companies including Monarchy Distribution and has released a new AVN award nominated male enhancement product called Reload.

Dave Kingsley of Orgasm News caught up with the successful entrepreneur and spoke to him about getting into the Adult Entertainment Business, his mentors, and what it takes it make it in this ultra-competitive Industry among other things.

Dave Kingsley: Congratulations on your AVN/XBIZ awards Nominations for best New Production company for your company Assence Films! What does this nomination mean to you?

Mike Kulich: The nominations this year for us are huge. In all my time in the business, I have always considered myself a marketing guy first. I have seen a lot of my intuition and ideas win awards for a lot of different companies and people. To finally implement those ideas into my own company and see them pay off with sales and recognition from my peers in the industry proves to myself that I have reached a new level in my career.

DK: Can you tell us a little bit about your companies Assence Films and Monarchy Distribution?

Mike: My goal when starting Monarchy was to bridge the gap between Internet producers and regular adult studios. I have found that 70% of the content produced worldwide is produced mainly for Internet. When you look at porn on a global scale, the numbers are staggering. There are over 10,000 DVD new releases every year and that number just starts to scratch the surface of how much content is really produced.

I wanted to attach the two business models and give those Internet content providers a shot to make money on a platform they wouldn’t have considered before. Our first studio that we launched was Assence Films. We teamed up with Howard Levine & Exile Distribution to handle the sales and the numbers from our first month were phenomenal.

Our debut title Anal Artists got coverage on CNN, TMZ, and the Huffington Post. The success of that title gave us a jump-start and ever since then we have been rocking and rolling. Assence puts out between 2 and 4 titles per month and the sales and popularity are huge.

To have that studio which is really what started it all for us be nominated for both AVN & XBIZ as best new production company of the year is overwhelming. Since Assence’s inception, we have launched 13 other production lines that go through a variety of different distributors.

DK: What are your long-term goals for both companies?

Mike: Obviously the main goal of the companies is to make money, but that’s not it. I have always reached out to people from every sector of the business. I always tell myself that my first job is a professional adult industry networker. I reach out to everyone, I never a dismiss an idea, and I try to team up with people and create business models that have not been done before and that is one of the credits to our success over the past year.

Giving back is also a huge part of my mission. We have done a number of different charity projects with a wide array of different organizations. I tried to make charity a keystone in our business model. It is the right thing to do and if you look at it from a business perspective, the public has their opinions on what we do for a living. These charity projects help us show society that we contribute just as much, if not more than any other small business.

DK: You have been a creative force behind several adult titles. Tell us about the creative process: how do you come up with ideas? How did you find collaborating with others?

Mike: When it comes to creating a title, I am very hands-on when it comes to production. Because of our contracts and relationships with so many different internet producers we have an enormous library to choose from when putting together a title. I monitor fan message boards religiously, as well as sites like Freeones to see what is trending.

I talk to a lot of different people in the industry and see what genres are selling well, what girls are selling well. When I put together a title, it is almost like creating my own recipe. I hand pick the ingredients I know will be perfect and mix them together. I oversee everything from content approvals, QC, artwork, editing, authoring and packaging.

DK: Who do you find is the most creative minds in the industry?

Mike: This is a tough one. I have always admired the work of people like John Stagliano and Andrew Blake. I thought John’s movie Fashionistas was one of the most creative porn movies ever made. Andrew Blake’s shooting style is just beautiful.

However, the business has changed and I have seen different trends come and go. Two guys who have really made a name for themselves are Jeff Mullen & Scott David. They are hands down the kings of the parodies. If you watch their movie Not The Brady’s it is spot on from the sets to the music. Axel does it the same way. That attention to detail goes a long way and reflects the success of all of those guys.

DK: What are your thoughts on the Porn Parody craze in the last few years? Has it been something that has benefited the industry?

Mike: One of the reasons I never moved into the parody game is because of the people I sell to. A good portion of our revenue stems from broadcast deals and when you are parodying a mainstream movie, chances are they are not going to take it. However, I have seen people who do focus on those types of movie be extremely successful in the DVD/VOD market. I also think that the parodies have helped the industry with more acceptance by the mainstream. It makes sense.

DK: What have been the most important things that you’ve learned about business being in the adult film world?

Mike: I have learned a lot. I would say my number 1 lesson is show respect, earn respect. In all my time in the business with every company, I have never tried to fuck someone over just to make a quick buck. Especially in the DVD business where everyone knows everyone you always have to show respect to everyone. Living by this mantra has helped me throughout my career to the point where some of my best friends of my competitors. Also respecting the people who came before you and learning from others mistakes.

DK: You have started a new venture: Reload Male Enchantment. What separates this product from others out there? How did you get involved with this industry? What interests you about it?

Mike: I started my career in video at IVD and left for about year to run one of the more successful male enhancement companies. Eventually, I decided I wanted to go back to video. When I was selling those pills, the market had exploded with companies. Everyday there was a new one and it was viciously competitive. I went back to video for a few years and saw that part of the market starting to slow down. Companies started going out of business and there were a handful of them left that were really successful. It seemed like a natural fit because I knew how to market the product and I knew all of the buyers. We launched it at the ANE show in Vegas and it has been doing amazingly well ever since.

DK: Also, congratulations on your successful collaboration with Kelly Shibari with two nominations for Kelly Shibari is Overloaded. What have you learned from working with Kelly?

Mike: One of the things I learned from Kelly was don’t judge a book by its cover. When I first saw the movie, I wasn’t sure we could do something with it because it was a single girl in a niche title. Boy, was I wrong. When we started the marketing campaign and selling it, we couldn’t keep it on the shelves. Kelly should be credited with that because of her ingenuity and marketing skills. That woman knows how to market herself and it paid off big time. Overloaded has been one of our most successful title to date. In looking over all the nominations for both AVN & XBIZ, I do not think there is one person more deserving of winning than Kelly.

DK: You have mentioned Howard Levine in a past interview. Do you consider him a mentor? How has he helped you?

Mike: Howard Levine is by far one of the most amazing people I have met in the business. Old school attitude, and knows the anatomy of a porn DVD better anyone. When I first wanted to go into Adult DVD he was the first guy I interviewed for. I think Vivid’s success should be credited to him. For over 25 years he has created an amazing relationships with vendors all over the world and cares about what he sells. Monarchy would not have been possible if he hadn’t taken a chance on me in distributing our first line.

DK: Is there anyone else you consider mentors in the industry? If so, who are they and how have they helped you?

Mike: There are tons of them. Frank & Mike Koretsky, Scott Taylor, Steve Orenstein Greg Alves, Steve Volponi, Howard Levine, Jerry E, Adam Hasner, Wendy & Jim Crawford. The list goes on and on..

These are all people who have inspired me along the way to not put the carriage in front of the horse and produce stuff that will get results. All of them in my eyes are amazing businessmen & women who have really showed me how to run a successful business.

Some other mentors are all the guys who fought for our profession: Larry Flynt, Steve Toushin, John Stagliano, Phil Harvey, Christian Mann, Rob Black, Max Hardcore Mike Norton, Reuben Sturman, and Russ Hampshire.

DK: What fascinates you about porn?

Mike: To tell you the truth, not much. Porn for me has always been a product that I sell. What fascinates me about the industry as a whole are the people that I get to deal with. If I could deal with the same types of personalities but be selling toilets or jewelry, I would probably be just as happy.

DK: How important to you believe the Internet is to the porn industry? What are both the positives and the drawbacks to the Industry in regards to porn?

Mike: The Internet obviously has revolutionized and reinvented the way people view content. That goes for ALL types of content whether it be porn, mainstream movies, or music.

I don’t believe that the Internet has ruined the porn industry, but it has certainly changed it and made it hard for companies that were once prosperous and defined the industry to compete with new technologies. DVD has taken a substantial hit from the Internet.

The pro of the Internet is it expands our audience exponentially. The cons are that it makes our projects and work so easily vulnerable to piracy and theft.

DK: What are some projects that you are currently working on?

Mike: We have our regular movies from all our different lines coming out every month. However, we do have some big things in the works that will be announced and launched at the AVN show in Vegas this year.

DK: Has your family and friends been supportive of your involvement in the adult film business?

Mike: My family and friends have always been supportive what I do because they see that it makes me happy. Being in the industry makes dating a little bit difficult but I have learned to accept that as an occupational hazard.

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