Adam Glasser - Family Business
If you met Adam Glasser, you'd have no idea that he was one of the biggest Directors in the adult entertainment industry. He's a regular guy with highly irregular job. With his hit Showtime series Family Business, Adam has given millions a glimpse into the world of adult entertainment that few have ever seen and in the process has changed some perceptions of an often misunderstood industry. As we talked to Adam Glasser (AKA Seymore Butts) we got a real sense of his mission - not only make entertaining films but also provide quality sex education to adults who might not have any other avenue for getting information.
Thank you for spending time with us this morning. I know you are probably busy as ever gearing up for the Adult Video Expo in Las Vegas.
The Family Business DVD looks great! How involved were you with the show, the DVD, all the things that happened in terms with what went on the screen?
I'm very hands-on. Basically everything has to come through me at one point or another.
So you've got to be able to say, "No, we're not going to film this part" or "Hey, I really want to emphasize that".
If need be. There wasn't a lot of "we don't want to show that part", to be honest with you. We're pretty free with what we showed. But, yes, if it came down to that, I'd definitely say that.
Has being on a reality TV series had an affect on you personally, your business and your life? They followed you for how long?
Actually they're still following me around. They'll be following me around later on this afternoon and tonight. However, business certainly has picked up. More people have been exposed to the Seymore Butts brand name than had before. We don't get as much exposure on Showtime as we would on network television, but its still certainly provided a boost for business. From a recognition stand point, it's certainly increased that as well. Hardly a day goes by now that somebody doesn't confront me in a positive way, because of the show.
Do you feel like you are reaching a new audience with the show?
Oh, I am. I know I am. I get the letters that confirm it, because of the show.
At what point do the adult entertainment industry and the mainstream entertainment industry collide? And what does that look like?
I think the line continues to get more blurred. Look at what's happened on television. The gradual steps from the day Ricky and Lucy first spent in bed together, to the day that they decided to show David Caruso's ass on NYPD Blue, to today's fascination with Paris Hilton right after her porn video got exposed to the masses. I think it's just natural. Look in movies: serious directors are putting hardcore scenes in their movies, especially out in Europe. There was a movie called "Romance", that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival that included some hardcore scenes and recently, Chlo? Sevigny did an oral scene in Brown Bunny.
The worlds have collided?
Yeah, I think the collision's been happening. It just continues... it's a continuous kind of thing.
Does this mean we'll see adult directors doing more cross-over style work and mainstream directors doing more mature style films?
I think that it will probably be a combination of both. I think it's natural that more people will seek us out. I get a lot of letters from people who tell me how the show has proven to be a great introduction for their female partner or wife to adult entertainment, because it opened their eyes to the fact that it was normal people like them that were involved in this industry. It's not necessarily filmed by perverts and scumbags like some people's pre-conceived notions.
People think Boogie Nights.
Yeah, people think Boogie Nights or even worse than that. Mainstream America hasn't a clue to what our industry is like. Generally anytime that our show has been featured in mainstream media it's been with a negative remark from some news show. It's the only time mainstream gets to hear about it, except when they watch the movies. I'm talking about the people who haven't been exposed to it before. Now they're being exposed to the guy who makes the movies, and the process, and the people involved. And they're saying like "oh that guy was kind of cute" or "that girl was really pretty" or "I didn't realize they had such pretty girls in movies". It just opens their eyes. It was one of the most important thing to me about doing the TV show - being able to give that other perspective to people.
In one of the bonus features you say that if you, your cousin and your mom were in the shopping mall, and if everybody had to write down what the three of you do, nobody would write down "adult entertainment".
We don't wear scarlet letters; we're not easily detected. We're just normal people who have an outrageous job and work environment. Kind of like of the opposite of the Osborne's who are outrageous people in a somewhat normal environment.
So what's your favorite aspect of adult entertainment?
The impact I can have on people's lives. The fact that it's a great educational tool that is used by a lot of people. Sexual information is not easily attained. You have to go seek it out. A lot of people aren't comfortable or haven't been made to feel comfortable about doing that. When you can get them information that impacts their lives, give a guy a tip that makes him a better lover, without making him feel like he has to enlarge his penis, he actually applies that to his life and it actually has some substance to it. That kind of confidence, and giving somebody that, is a very powerful thing.
So a guy coming up to you in the street saying, "Hey man, I saw one of your videos, and I tried this out and now I am a champ" - is that the best kind of kudos you can get?
Yeah, I had a guy come up to me and say, "I just want you to know I recognize you and before I started watching your movies I had absolutely no confidence with women, and now just let me tell you, I'm the man." Let me just tell you, if you hear a guy say that to you, and he meant it, it's pretty cool. I had a woman write a letter to me saying, "After 27 years my husband finally got it right. Thank you". That's a long time, brother!
So you like opening your fan mail then?
Well now it's basically my email. But yeah, I do enjoy that.
Now, let's catch up on some of the loose ends from Family Business Season One. Maybe they'll get covered in Season Two... You had a fascination with Jesse James; did anything ever come of that?
Yeah well, I don't know. I hear different stories about that. I am disappointed in the girl to be honest with you. It didn't work out. The story I hear is that the owner of her company basically told her she couldn't get involved with me, no matter what she says or what she does.
Church and State? Contract girls over love kind of thing?
I don't know what they were thinking, if I am going to steal her, or I don't know. Whatever the case was or her reasons were, maybe I wasn't her type. But that didn't work out.
You were pitching a line of sex toys including, what sounded interesting, the "Come Hither" toy. I was expecting to see that in stores by the time the season was over. What ever happend to that?
Yeah right, me to. It all sounded interesting. Here's another great story - on the show the guy was real gung-ho for the toys, but after the show I was in the office with the big boss, not the guy that was on television. We sit down to talk money and he's like "look, this is the deal we do and that's it, I don't care what else your bringing to the table, if they sell great, if they don't then I am not going to give a fuck anymore."
Is that still on the table for you?
No, I don't know. It's not worth it for me. They showed me the number and the possibility of the money I could make on it, and I thought to myself "no". It wouldn't have even paid for a year of my son's private school.
Also catching up - is Merna's career taking off? Is she still in porn?
She's doing well. She's starting feature dancing. She has a column in Penthouse UK magazine now. The show really took off in England, by the way, because it's shown on free TV there. We have a real big following there.
Are you blown away to see little Merna your assistant turn into a porn star?
Yeah, and she got ... Season Two teaser here... new boobs!
What are some of the Seymour titles that she is in, if people want to check out her career?
Speaking of titles, is there any one title that you've come up with one that was absolutely insane?
A lot of the titles I do are kind of take-offs on other peoples ideas. In other words I did "Mission to Uranus" instead of "Mission to Mars". I did " Poetic Just Ass " instead of "Poetic Justice". I did a take-off a well-known adult title "Behind the Green Door", I called it "Behind the Sphinc Door".
At DVD Talk we have an adult section but we really talk to the mainstream audience. If you had to recommend a first Seymour Butts title for someone who has never picked up porn or maybe would never admit to picking up porn, what would it be?
It's hard to say, who is watching?
Let's say it's a couple. Man wants to bring something home to his wife. His wife's seen the series and says, "Okay, I'll check it out".
The first one I'd recommend is "Female Ejaculation: The Complete Guide". The reason is, it's a 'how-to' guide in addition to being an adult tape. If a guy doesn't know the beauty of a woman's G-Spot yet and they discover that thing together, it's going to just enhance that relationship and strengthen it. If someone was looking for a different type of movie which is non-educational, something like "Jamaican Me Horny" or "Tushy Tahitian Style" is a great movie for couples because it's me taking just one girl away to an exotic location and spending very intimate moments with her, combined with some of my hardcore sex scenes in the movie as well. But the majority is a bit softer and would play better for couples.
Have you done a critical feature or narrative with sex in it?
My films are pretty much all reality-based, they are a chronicle of my life.
So in a lot of ways you've been on a reality series for 12 years, and having Showtime's camera following you around is like a vacation from holding the camera?
I was just going to say that the great thing is, I don't have to hold the camera.
Do you watch other people's porn, or are you too busy?
Occasionally, you know. I only watch it if I need a quick release.
Do you find that there is any cross-pollination in the industry as far as checking out what other people are doing?
Oh yeah, I know for a fact that many young adult filmmakers have been given my movies to use as a guide. I am sure it happens with other people that do as well as me. I think that each respective company keeps their eye on certain people as guides.
What at the end of the day makes a great adult film?
To me, it's how much of the people who are having sex are enjoying themselves.
We hear that a lot from people who read our adult reviews.
To me it's one of the focal points of my film. Not only people enjoying themselves, but the woman's pleasure is a major focal point. Even if it's hardcore anal sex, for the women that I have, I make sure that they enjoy anal sex and therefore are going to enjoy themselves and that they like the people they work with.
So what is the ratio of the number of women you'll interview for a film and the number of women you will pick?
Usually I don't do a lot of interviewing. Occasionally I'll try to do a mass talent call. I try to make it mass even though I get a lot of flakes. Generally it's people sending me e-mails, girl's agents send me letters. A friend of a friend, etc.
So are you going to be showing at this year's AVN Adult Video Expo?
Yeah we're going to be doing a real big joint thing with Showtime. The DVD of the first season is dropping on the 6th, and the show starts on the 8th. They are going to have a presence at our booth.
Speaking of the DVD, the packaging is one of the most original I've seen. Where did that come from? Is that something Showtime pitched?
Yeah, I can't take credit for it. I can say that I liked it.
I've never seen a box packaged quite like that. It's innovative and neat. Especially die-hard fans of DVD will find it unique and interesting.
I think people will be surprised at how light hearted and fun the material really is.
I enjoy it. I caught it when it was airing on Showtime, then obviously checked out all the extra features on the DVD. I think there is a lot of interest out there for the series. Now that it's out there for people who don't subscribe to premium cable, I think it will have an even bigger second life on DVD.
When is Season Two planned to start airing?
From what I hear, January 30th.
Thank you very much for your time today.
- Geoffrey Kleinman