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Conversations with Oren of TightFit

Porn Valley- I spoke to Oren Cohen, head of TightFit Productions, Tuesday morning. Cohen started out being a chef and wound up owning an adult entertainment company that includes a studio. But it makes more sense when you coinsider the fact that Cohen’s got roots in the adult industry that go back to his grandfather.

Cohen’s grandfather owned CPLC back in the Seventies. And when he died, Cohen’s grandmother sold the company. Meanwhile his father and mother started a magazine distribution company called Lucky. They separated and she left the business with Cohen’s father. Cohen, on the other hand, dropped out of high school when he was 15 and was a chef. He moved to San Francisco and went to culinary school, working in restaurants at night. To make additional money he started a small distribution business out of the living room of his apartment. he started selling product including tapes and magazines to liquor stores and adult book stores in LA.

Cohen subsequently opened a business in San Diego and had several accounts there. By this time he wasn’t cooking any more and joined up with his father, starting Lucky Media about four years ago selling comps and sell-through product. he used the capital from that to shoot new releases. he would have done it sooner.

“I had all the ducks in a row, everything was in place and something went horribly wrong,” said Cohen. “I had people that were ready to leave their companies and come work with me. I had a whole crew, and mind you, this was at a time when you could have made some real money doing this. It didn’t happen and it took me a couple of years to get my bearings straight and do it again.”

Cohen’s company TightFit, www.tightfithd.com, separate from Lucky, has been releasing new movies for the last year. It does about eight releases a month.

“We kind of shied away from the cheap sell-through product,” he says. “And we’re trying to do something different. Everybody else is banging their head against the wall saying it’s not working. I’m not going to bang my head against the wall.”

Asked if he was experiencing the long hot summer that many companies kept referring to this year, Cohen thinks it’s not just the summer but the new state of the business.

“I don’t think it will ever be the same- there’s too much product; we still have the same amount of retail shelf space we had 25 years ago with 80 million other people trying to fight for it. It’s biting us in the ass. I blame ourselves. I blame the manufacturers. I think we created the monster we have right now. We foolishly looked at this ancillary revenue stream of the Internet square in the eye and called it found money. Just like the music industry did with iTunes. And guess what guy? It’s your only money. When Apple was taking 66 cents of a 99 cent download from the music industry back then when it was extra money it was fine. Now when Tower records is going out of business, that’s your blood. It’s sad and tragic. I can deal with it but we did it to ourselves.”

Cohen misses the days when you could put an equivocal amount of energy and love into something and get it back monetarily.

“Nowadays if I put another five grand into a title, I’m not going to see that money on the bottom line. There’s less and less of an incentive to give a damn any more and that sucks.” Instead, Cohen took his company budgets down with the belief that he could make better movies by spending less money.

“When you have to do things guerilla-style, it forces you to have a clearer, more concise vision of what you want. And with technology we’re given many more choices in the creative process that we use as an excuse for a creative process. I like the good old days where you only had one chance to get it. I just believe we make better movies by spending less money.

“Ultimately you can shoot on the best camera, the best location and the highest resolution, but how compelling is the imagery that you’re selling? If you have a hot sex scene, people will watch that on VHS. People will watch it on a security camera if it’s hot. But you’re never going to replace a compelling image or a story with technology or money.”Cohen says his company is looking for a contract girl but doesn’t want a “cookie cutter contract girl”.

“I don’t want a girl- I want a woman,” he says. “I want somebody who’s strong, in control of her own sexuality and will scare the shit out of me. I haven’t found that yet. Directors? I direct some of the stuff and Jax is our main director as well. He started with us and has been in the industry for years bit no one ever gave him a chance at directing. He’s great with talent. he’s got a great vision and I was happy to work with somebody that was a little greener that wanted to do things where we wouldn’t have to break bad habits or deal with an ego. He’s been wonderful.”

Cohen’s company plans on doing a co-party with Adam & Eve in Vegas. And he’s got a new movie launching which he doesn’t want to say too much about for the moment.

“But it’s going to be very different,” he says. Another thing worthy of mention, and something for which Cohen must be applauded is the fact that he’s running a three-page spread in AVN announcing that TightFit is no longer shooting anyone under the age of 21.

“For me it’s about what’s going to make me feel good as a human being,” he states. “I think a backlash is inevitable. I’m tired of seeing little girls that hardly have a command of their own sexual energy.

“Much less a command of the English language,” I remind Cohen.

“Exactly,” he says. “I just hate seeing them used as a passive fuck hole on camera with all that misogynistic shit going on. To me that’s not sex. I want to see a real woman really getting off. I want to tell people what kind of man would hit a woman. A bitch would hit a woman. I have a lot of contempt around this issue. I ant to make porn what it used to be which is hot and sexy instead of a guy walking on set with a rock-hard cock instantly. Have the guy walk on set with a limp dick. Have a girl suck him off like in real life- like it used to be.”

Cohen discovers that his company is coming up with post production solutions for a lot of other companies.

“I think our business model has shifted quite a bit,” he acknowledges. “Probably right now 50% of the work that we’re doing in our building is for other people, i.e., custom content shoots. And we’re probably the leading experts in HD technology in the industry. We’re doing a lot of HD stuff for HD DVD; HD editing, HD work flow solutions, artwork- we’re kind of working ourselves into a post-production house as well. In war they only people that win are Lockheed and Raytheon- the guys in the trenches with the bullets don’t win. I’d rather be the guy making the planes.”

As far as Wednesday night’s open house is concerned, Cohen said he wanted to show people the studio space, www.tightstudios.com, his company has available.

“Rather than making it a lame event and having a bunch of guys walking around a bunch of sets, I thought I’d bring back the old school casting call like Jim South used to do. I invited all the agencies out with their girls to do a mixer with the directors. And we’re having a still photographer there. We’re going to give the girls free glam shots on our sets for their websites and for the agencies. It’ll be fun- booze, girls, directors.” Cohen says if things work out, he’d like to try doing a casting call every month.

“Not for any self-serving interest but only to bring back the whole camaraderie aspect of the business that I miss.”
 

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