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Conversations with Director Mitch Spinelli

Porn Valley- Rain Video owner Mitch Spinelli- – began his adult career at the tender age of 17, writing scripts for his late father, Hall of Famer Anthony Spinelli. But Mitch swears he wasn’t allowed on one of his father’s set until he was 18.

Mitch, who grew up in the couples’ feature era of the adult industry when d.p. was exclusively a baseball term, will be the first to tell you that he didn’t read the signs on the wall. Spinelli shrugged his solid shoulders at the thought of shooting gonzo and failed to change with the times. Eventually he had to sell the company- Plum Productions that he and his father built on the premise that porn fans like their sex with good acting and a good storyline.

Today, Spinelli has developed a harder edge for a line that he calls Acid Rain which he debuted with Give Me Gape. Tonight Spinelli gapes, er, appears with Alicia Rhodes [who appears in his next release Bust My Hole] on The Wanker Show at 7 pm on KSEX radio – .

Gene: Saw your latest, Bang My White Ass- good, solid hardcore action with some great behind the scenes material. Now you’ve got Bust My Hole.

Spinelli: It’s another six-scenes with hardcore, in-your-face, extreme action. Take no prisoners. I got Ashley Blue doing a d.p. with Tyce Bune and Sledge. You get to the level like a Zero Tolerance which is the in-company out there.

Gene: These kinds of scenes personally make you flinch?

Spinelli: When I first did Give Me Gape, it didn’t feel right but now it’s like what I need to do. Now it’s like you’re totally immune. You become de-sensitized where if they don’t do an ass-to-mouth and gag it’s not a good scene.

Gene: How many features do you think you’ve directed over the years.

Spinelli: Without my dad, maybe a couple of hundred. With my dad maybe 500 or so including what we shot for CDi, Metro and Legend.

Gene: You’re going into high numbers. Did the word burn out ever cross your door.

Spinelli: When I was doing the Rain stuff and the White Panty Chronicles, I was burned out then. Then I got a transformation and was re-energized with Acid Rain. I needed to embrace that change to be totally competitive. The field is wide open to be a player now. The marquee companies- Wicked, Vivid, VCA- they really don’t matter. They’ve left this huge void. To be a big company you don’t need a big building and 50 limousines in the parking lot. It’s totally different now. I think with a little publicity you get the name out there. I know my product is just as good as Red Light’s. I think I can do it. It gives me totally new energy.

Gene: Talk about White Panty Chronicles. That’s the line you started Rain with.

Spinelli: I call it Vivid without the story. I first did it about four or five years ago. I’ll admit, I got the idea from CDi and their Wet Cotton Panties. But it was a good line. I got a bunch of new girls. I got Tera Patrick. The sex was okay, but that’s what they were doing back then. It was totally gonzo. I interviewed behind the scenes. It did really good. Then about two years ago it started to run its course. It just got stale but I had a good run with it.

Gene: Mind talking about Plum and exactly what happened. We all have our highs and lows in this business.

Spinelli: Me and my dad did Plum together. It was basically feature-driven. That’s what everybody was doing. But the gonzo revolution started hitting with Evil Angel. I didn’t understand it. Refused it. If you don’t have a script and do a little rehearsing you’re not good enough. I didn’t embrace that change at all and Plum went right into the toilet.

Gene: How were the reviews treating you.

Spinelli: The reviews were good. But it’s like Wicked today- nobody wants it any more. It’s antiquated.

Gene: Where did you hit the wall with this. Did the distributors tell you, sorry we don’t want this any more.

Spinelli: You get a lot of passes. And the features at the time were costing $15,000 to do and your numbers are falling. You see your numbers start to fall. Back then it was all Elegant Angel, Evil Angel, Puritan was big. It’s a slow process but pretty soon before you know it, you’re up against the wall and profits are down. You got to say what the fuck do I do now. At that time I had a lot of personal problems. My dad was sick. I figured I’ll get out of the business and try to be a duplicator. I don’t need the pressure. I sold the company dirt cheap and tried the duplication. You thought you had bunch of friends but when you’re out of that game, nobody returns your calls. I figured I had to get back into the game. I did Rain with a gonzo-type of thing. It got me off and running. For four years we did really good. I was proud of it. It was three-scenes but I really pulled it off- White Panty, all-natural, that kind of stuff. Then about two years ago you had another revolution. Instead of hearing about Evil Angel, it was Red Light and Zero Tolerance. Again it was pass, pass, pass. So from maybe doing 2,000 pieces, I was doing 900, 800. I got really nervous again. I got a line of credit on my home. Took out about $150,000 and made six Acid Rain titles. I think it’s going to do well.

Gene: You were underage working in the business.

Spinelli: My first set I went to was Sex World. My dad wouldn’t let me on the set until I was 18. But I was writing scripts when I was 17.

Gene: He had that much faith in you to do that?

Spinelli: He did. I saw him one night. He used to write at my desk in my room. It was 12 o’clock at night. His hand was over his forehead. He was slumped. He said I can’t write these things any more. I can’t do it.

Gene: He got burned out.

Spinelli: He got burned out writing them. I was writing in high school and I said what’s the story. He said two guys and a nurse. Whatever. I wrote something like 10 pages. It was pretty good. Then the big one that he had a lot of faith in me was Talk Dirty To Me. He said let’s do a movie about Of Mice and Men. He explained to me the story and that was my first big script.

Gene: And for years you were writing under the name Michael Ellis.

Spinelli: Yeah.

Gene: Where did that name come from.

Spinelli: From Michael Corleone. And when we stayed in San Francisco it was at the Travel Lodge on Ellis Avenue. Back then it was 1977. My dad and I had a great relationship. We worked so well together.

Gene: What’s the one thing you remember about your dad?

Spinelli: On a personal note, he always gave you confidence. He’d stroke you. When you tried hard and you did it, he said, that’s great. You did a good job. He always showed interest.

Gene: And the one thing I’ll remember about him was that he was a great audience.

Spinelli: Amazing. You’d make him laugh so fuckin’ much. I though he’d be out talking on the phone. I’d go into his room and he’s reading your scripts. He always showed interest. He was totally sincere.

Gene: I was on one of your sets one time and he was lighting into me about putting cream cheese on a raisin bagel.

Spinelli: He didn’t like raisin bagels- and the fact that you put cream cheese ON a raisin bagel. We went out to lunch with Dick Miller about 15 years ago. We had matzo ball soup and Dick started squeezing a lemon in the soup. My father looked at me and gave the thumbs down. He proceeded to lecture Dick Miller about no mayonnaise on corned beef and there’s no lemon in matzo ball soup. And there’s no crying in baseball.

Gene: Where’s the one place where you can get good corned beef.

Spinelli: Brent’s Deli.

Gene: Still hang out over there.

Spinelli: Not as much as I used to. But I’m there every Saturday. Me, the wife and kid go for a little brunch.

Gene: And after all these years you got married.

Spinelli: It was funny. My wife’s a total civilian. I met her at a bookstore. She’s about 15 years younger. She’s Vietnamese and she had no idea. I was the farthest thing she could ever think. I remember just started talking to her. She was totally innocent. Her English was broken. I asked her out. She said okay. But on our second date I think I had a bunch of dildos in the backseat. Big black strap-ons, vibrators. She knew what they were but looked at them really funny. I had to explain.

Gene: To that point she didn’t know you were in the adult business.

Spinelli: I told her when we first went out that I did stuff for Playboy with my dad. She kind of understood. I think the dildo thing was about a week later. But now she works with me and is definitely a team player. She knows exactly what’s going on with everything. But you and me, we have some pretty good memories.

Gene: To this day I’ll never forget the shoot over at Gourmet with Jack Hammer. I was dying.

Spinelli: Then there was the one with Jim Travis and the Samurai. That was classic.

Gene: Wendy Whoppers Ninja CPA.

Spinelli: Then what was the funniest was when we all goofed on Joey Verducci that one day.

Gene: Some of those were classics for all the bad acting.

Spinelli: It was so bad it was like watching Pia Zadora.


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