Debut novel mixes the evangelical with the pornographic industry
Alex Owens | Downtown News
Most San Diegans associate the porn industry with Los Angeles, but one of the most successful adult entertainment companies, Naughty America, has its headquarters in Downtown San Diego.
Even though the adult industry thrives on exposing flesh, it’s otherwise very secretive about the day-to-day dealings of the industry. For instance, because the majority of companies are privately owned, even journalists who cover the business find it impossible to get accurate readings over how much money the businesses earn.
However, a former Naughty America employee is giving the public a taste of what it’s like to work in porn, through his debut novel, “Erovinia,” recently published as an e-book on Amazon.com.
The book follows the adventures of a young man fired from working at a megachurch similar to The Rock in Liberty Station, who ends up working at Erovinia, a porn company headquartered in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Author Leopard J. Ferry, who like onscreen porn performers, uses a pseudonym to protect his privacy, worked at Naughty America for two years between 2007 and 2009.
He estimates the book is 60-percent fictional, but promises readers will learn a great deal of truthful information about the adult industry.
“Everyone thinks the porn industry is this nirvana; where you’re having sex all the time – even if you’re just a marketing person or a director,” he said. “It’s interesting and it’s fun, but, behind the scenes, there’s a lot of dysphoria.”
Ferry is quick to add that no porn was actually filmed in the San Diego offices while he worked there, but admits he was still shocked that an adult company had its headquarters located Downtown.
“It was really weird,” Ferry said. “When people think of porn, they think of Los Angeles, Porn Valley. So I was surprised when I got hired to help start an online publication for this porn company. At first, I refused to believe it was a reputable company that paid its employees on time.”
He was amazed to discover that the benefits he received working in porn were outstanding, including a 401k, and a good medical plan that included dental. He also found it amusing that a company that made its living off of naked people had a strict dress code for non-porn employees.
“When I started, you couldn’t wear blue jeans and you had to wear button-down shirts,” he said. “I thought that was ironic.”
Ferry said during his sojourn into smut, he met many interesting people who inspired characters in his book, including a few porn stars, who don’t fit into a stereotypical box.
“They run the gamut from the dumb stripper with a coke problem, to an intellectual Bay Area classically-trained musician,” Ferry said. During one interview, one of the actresses even came on to him, but he insists he declined.
“I didn’t because the porn company had a very strict sexual harassment policy,” he said, laughing. “The company saw itself as female-friendly and had very strict standards about what performers could and couldn’t say on-camera.”
One of the more amusing revelations Ferry put in the book is how porn insiders tend to refer to people not in the industry as “civilians,” much as military people might refer to non-soldiers.
“There is a sense in the porn industry that anyone who is performing is, in some way, a member of an ‘elite’ military unit.”
Though a megachurch is key to the plot, Ferry said he never worked in one. He included a church called “The Force” as a commentary on what he, as an East Coaster, feels San Diego to be like.
“Two of the main crosscurrents in San Diego are evangelical religion and the sex industry,” he said. “It’s what makes San Diego San Diego.”
“Erovinia” is currently available on Amazon.com and has received good reviews from the insiders who’ve read it, but Ferry hopes to turn it into a mainstream movie.
“I think the premise and the story are very cinematic and it would be insane not to make it into a movie,” he said.
However, he said he has no interest in going back working in the adult film industry in any capacity.
“It’s kind of like that crazy girlfriend who you once had,” he said. “It’s great while it lasted, but in hindsight, you realize you could never go through that again.”
“Erovinia” is available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Alex Owen is a San Diego based freelance writer.