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Jennifer James Talks About The Reunion

Porn Valley- Last time I spoke to Jennifer James had to be on the shoot of The Vampire Chronicles. But this time James wanted to talk and clarify whatever issues exist between her, Don Hollywood and Brooke Hunter [pictured]. James’ name got brought into a conversation last week when I was on a shoot, and the buzz was that James was the recipient of a stop payment on an $800 check by Hollywood. Hollywood gave his account of what happened.

Here’s what James has to say.

The matter begins with a grip named Jesse who worked one day on the movie Reunion which was produced by Hollywood and Hunter. Then his car broke down and he wasn’t able to work the last two days of the shoot. Hollywood didn’t pay Jesse for the day he worked and Jesse’s problems multiplied after that.

“His car did break down and he couldn’t get to the set- but that’s why he was late the first day,” explains James. “And I was there- he did a pretty good job, he wasn’t great but he did a plenty decent job. But because he didn’t get paid, the guy didn’t have enough money to have his car towed off the side road in Malibu. The police towed it to the impound yard. And because he didn’t have the money to get it out of the impound yard, they sold his car from underneath him. And because he didn’t have a car he couldn’t get to his job. So he got fired. Then he couldn’t pay his rent because he didn’t have a job so he got evicted from his apartment and had to go live with friends until he could find another job. He hasn’t gotten a car yet but he’s got a job and slowly getting back on his feet.

“All this misery was caused because Don wanted to be a dickhead and not give the $150 the guy was really owed,” continues James. “Those are the effects of that kind of action. It was a cascade of events. And yes the guy didn’t show up for the second two days because he didn’t have a car. And he wasn’t that bad of a guy- he did a decent job.”

Regarding comments about her, James said John Wilkes “the lighting genius” on Reunion came to her and said Jesse was in trouble and he needed to get paid. James was asked to call Hollywood and intervene.

“I did and I asked Don on a number of occasions over a period of months to get the money to Jesse,” states James. He turned me down every time. And the reason this whole thing came up is because John asked me to appeal on Jesse’s behalf for the 20th time. I finally said, John, listen, I have no sway over Don and Brooke because they owe me money. That’s how the whole thing came up.”

James said she really didn’t want the story getting out, because it would probably start a war. But James also mentions the fact that Wilkes is owed money from the Reunion shoot.

Besides directing for an agreed upon fee of $3,000, James was supposed to be paid an additional $2,500 for editing the movie.

“The only reason they wanted me on board at all was that it goes back to the cable deal,” says James. “They couldn’t get a meeting- both of them wanted an Erotic Media deal in Europe- it’s the biggest deal you can get. I told Don those deals usually pay $10,000 to $40,000, how much it will pay exactly, I have no way of knowing. But they weren’t even interested in taking a meeting with Don. Don does gonzo, little stuff. But I got them a meeting with Benny of Erotic Media and Dave Kravis [of Coastline] in Las Vegas. It was a meeting he [Hollywood] couldn’t get arrested to get into. Across the table, they go who’s directing the movie. Don goes, well, Brooke is. I go, well, we’re co-directing it and he [Benny] looks at me and goes if you’re directing it, fine.”

According to James, Erotic Media saw The Vampire Chronicles which she shot with Dru Berrymore.

“They’ve seen a copy and because of that they were willing to sign on and look at Reunion as long as my name was on it. They didn’t know Brooke and Don. They don’t look at people’s movies they don’t know. They don’t bother.”

James said her job was to make a movie that would sell to Erotic Media.

“We went ahead and shot the movie but Brooke and I didn’t butt heads like Don said,” says James. “We seemed to get along fine I thought. The movie went really well, we brought it in on time and got gorgeous footage. It’s a beautiful fucking movie. I shot camera on it. I edited it- I put the music in. I had a little bit of a hand in it getting made.” From there James said the movie was taken to Coastline.

“They looked at it and they liked it,” James continued. “Then it became a question of numbers. My job was done. I didn’t guarantee Don a $30,000 deal. How could I guarantee him an amount of money? I thought I could make him a movie that would get him a deal with Erotic Media and I did my job. I got them a deal.”

According to James, it was up to Hollywood, as producer, to negotiate the dollars and cents.

“That’s not my job,” says James. “I’m just a bitch making a movie. And I did my job.” James said she later heard that Erotic Media complained about the fact that the girls in the movie were older than they really wanted.

“They wanted hotter girls. They wanted big name girls so the movie didn’t get as big a deal as it should have gotten.”

“It’s a beautiful movie and Brooke wrote a great script,” James continues. “She did a pretty good job putting it together and when she started falling apart on the set, I kind of gently stepped in and made things move faster. But it all ran pretty smoothly. As far as the grips and the other production assistants, those were all Don’s family.”

The $800 is another story, adds James.

“They were supposed to pay for the music licensing; they were supposed to pay for the editing and the editing was $2500.

“Up until the final cut they had been happy all the way through the process, they loved the edit version,” says James. “Up until the final process they had paid me everything except the last $500. [The other $300 came from expenses James had to put out for dubbing and for tape.]

According to what James says, she was originally going to delivery the masters and receive $500.

“But Brooke came back and said I want four sets of Masters- two in regular DV Cam and two in HD.” James bought the tapes and struck the masters. The HD masters came out perfectly she says. Granted that there were some problems in the transfer.

“But once I realized the mistake I was able to go back and fix it immediately,” she added. “They couldn’t wait a day or two for me to fix it immediately? And they took it to Video Images. All Video Images did was simply transfer them from HD masters to DV Cam. All that takes is the run time of the tapes. I can assure you they don’t charge charge $2000 to run a set of tapes- come on.” [Which is what Hollywood claimed.]

“All he’s doing is covering his butt,” says James. “As far as stopping the payment on the $800 check, when I dropped off the Masters. I said I spent $300 to dub all these tapes. If you went to any dubbing house and you made four sets of Masters they’re likely to charge you some money. So $300 for dubbing four sets of Masters plus tape costs, I didn’t think was particularly unreasonable.”

James said she didn’t anticipate Brooke Hunter asking her for additional masters.

“I thought that my job was simply to deliver one set of hard; one set of soft HD masters and then I’m done like most companies. But she came back and said I want additional dubs. I said I really don’t do dubs- I’m a production outfit. She said I want you to do the dubs. I said it’s going to cost a couple of hundred bucks.”

According to James, there were no problems with the HD dubs.

“I kept a copy of the HD’s and I had them spec’ed out at a PV studio. There’s nothing wrong with them. They came across perfectly in broadcast standards.”

In any event, James said Hollywood wasn’t prepared to write her a check.

“They said oh let me see if I have one in the truck- they obviously weren’t intending on writing me a check as I handed them the masters which had me a little worried.”

Nonetheless, James was given a check and had no reason to question it.

“On the way home from that very meeting I get a call from Don on my cell phone and he says we’re a little tight for the money- can you wait a day or two before you deposit that check so we can make sure the money’s in that account? I said sure Don. These things happen. We all get tight. I’ll wait a day or two. And I did.”

James said probably within minutes of the conversation, Hollywood put a stop payment on the check. James says she has a record that states the stop payment was put on the check two minutes after Hollywood got off the phone with her.”I went to the bank and said I want a direct record- when you put a stop payment, it says the moment and the second when it got enacted.”

“This was a week before they checked the Masters,” James continues. “So them putting a stop payment had nothing to do with their being a problem with the regular DV masters.”

James said she nevertheless wrote checks against the check she received, assuming it was good.

“So I never bothered to worry about it- as it turned out, the check wasn’t good. It bounced and all my checks bounced and so I got hit for all kinds of late fees. I got royally fucked on the other end and it really messed me up.”

James says a stop payment makes things pretty clear as to where everyone stands so that’s the reason why she never discussed the matter with Hollywood at the time.

Prior to that occasion, James said she made a movie with the Hollywoods called The Fed Who Loved me.

“I assumed that at the end of this process it would all work out because I owed them money from that movie- and I’m still going to pay them no matter how this whole thing comes down. They’re still going to get the money that I owe them. That’s the way I do business. But they took that $800 long before they knew there was any problem with the masters.”

James said she made it clear at the time that if there were any problems with the Masters she’d handle them.James is also puzzled because she edited a movie called Memoirs of a Modern Day Geisha for Hustler which was edited on the same system she cut Reunion.

“Hustler has a reasonably tight QC department,” James goes on to say. “My movie didn’t come back with one single refusal. Not one single check against it. It sailed through technically. How come that movie sailed through Hustler, and their movie somehow failed so miserably they had to go spend $2000 to have it re-cut? Come on. Give me a break. I’ve been doing this for a decade. I didn’t just fall off the apple cart.”

James said this whole situation stuns her because Don and Brooke were two of her best friends.

“Until the check for the $800 got stopped, I thought we were all the best of friends,” says James. “I thought that everything was wonderful.”

James said it would have been easier if the Hollywoods quit pretending like they had a million bucks and called to say they were tight on funds and couldn’t afford the $800.

“If you just took it out of the money that you owe us for “Fed” everything would be fine,” insists James. “I would have gone, okay, that’s what friends do for each other than putting a stop payment on the check behind my back.”

Originally, James said she was going to let it all go and square the difference as far as who owed who what until she read Hollywood’s comments.

“I’m not perfect,” James says. “Some of what Don told you was true. And some of it was spun.”


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