XXX :: mr. Pam’s formula for success
Even if you’ve never heard of Pam Doré, a.k.a "mr. Pam," chances are good that, if you are an adult gay male, you’ve seen her work. Mr. Pam is the only woman making a living as a videographer and director of gay porn. She is unquestionably a shining star in what must be the most male-defined industry in the world.
Doré, 39, began up the lubed-greasy pole of the adult male film industry after completing her studies in graduate school at San Francisco State in 1996. She found herself going from graphic designer to editor; from editor to lighting designer; then to videographer; and eventually as the lead camera in dozens of big-budget projects.
She has since worked steadily with nearly all major players in the industry, including Falcon, Raging Stallion, Jet Set, NakedSword, Hot House, Studio 2000, Bel Ami, Black Scorpion and Colt Studios. A true force of nature behind the camera, mr. Pam has shot hundreds of scenes in international locations from Scotland and Serbia to Brazil and Israel, and the Dominican Republic to Ibiza.
Along the way, she has photographed every "above the marquee" gay adult star in the business in some of their most memorable scenes. Mr. Pam, who self-identifies as bisexual, is totally professional about her work. Watching super-hot guys get it on doesn’t faze her; on the set, she’s all business.
Working with Michael Lucas
In 2008, mr. Pam was invited to join forces with Michael Lucas, the founder and head of Lucas Entertainment, far and away the largest gay adult-film company in New York City. As the company’s creative director, she shot and co-directed with Lucas some of his best-known titles, including the highly lauded "Men of Israel" and "Assassins."
Lucas himself has amassed a reputation beyond the confines of gay porn. An outspoken critic of anti-gay Muslims, a defender of Israel and a fierce opponent of drugs on film sets and the trend towards mainstreaming barebacking, Lucas has a reputation as a hard-driving boss. For her part, mr. Pam describes Lucas as "amazing," "a visionary" and "a businessman with exquisite taste."
She admires him for his outspokenness, determination and the sense of style he brought to his films. She added that her crew often included a fashion photographer. That was "something they generally don’t do in San Francisco. Michael will do whatever it takes to make it work," she said. "Sometimes you think, ’This can’t happen!’ but then: It does! He’ll make it happen -- like shooting porn in Israel."
Back to the Castro
After what she describes as "three-and-a-half awesome years" with Lucas, in December 2011 NakedSword Owner Tim Valenti offered her a chance to return to San Francisco. She’ll serve as director of production for NakedSword Originals, a new division at the online gay adult video warehouse owned by the Charlotte, N.C., adult giant AEBN, (Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network).
The prospect of starting afresh was too tempting to resist. "It was a really hard decision to leave Michael," she told EDGE. "It was a great job, and a high-profile company. But I missed California, my family and my friends. It seemed like a fun challenge, and a good time in my career to make a change. So I decided to go for it."
mr. Pam is now back on home turf in the Castro. She admits to missing New York "more than I thought I would. New York is great, it’s crazy. And I miss shooting B-roll in Times Square."
As for NakedSword’s Valenti, he considers signing mr. Pam a coup for the fledgling offshoot company. The camerawoman will will make for "original content that is fresh, that is for new generations, and not simply re-doing the same formula over and over and over again," he said. (For his part, Lucas declined to comment.)
Becoming mr. Pam
So how did a nice girl like Pam Doré become mr. Pam, the woman who shoots the men while they’re shooting? The moniker (deliberately spelled with a lower-case "mr" -- to distinguish her gender, she says) has evolved into her directorial "brand" as well as nom de porn.
"My porn daddy John Rutherford gave me that name when I was still an editor," says Doré. Rutherford is legendary former head of Falcon Studios. Now with Colt Studios, Rutherford recalled the moment Pam became mr. Pam.
"Chuck Holmes, then the owner of Falcon, didn’t believe that woman had a place on or around gay video production or creative processes," Rutherford said. "One day, Chuck asked me who edited our latest Jocks movie. I nervously answered, ’mr. Pam.’ Chuck then asked me, ’Is he Asian?’ The rest was history, as they say."
The Rafael Alencar connection
Doré readily acknowledges Rafael Alencar as her own personal favorite actor. The New York-based porn superstar influenced her to move to the city in 2008. She has worked often with Alencar since his exclusive days with Studio 2000; she even crashed in his apartment while on assignment.
"Rafael hadn’t worked with Lucas Entertainment until I brought him in," mr. Pam recalled. "Before Lucas, Raffy had often done sweet, slow romantic scenes, so for a change of pace I cast him for a foot fetish movie, ’Feet Extreme,’ where he beat his scene partner with his feet. Now he teases me that, because of me casting and directing him in these hardcore scenes, his reputation has changed, and now he’s a tough ’bad boy’ in a lot of pornos. He’s really such a sweetie, and it’s all my fault!" she joked.
"We clicked right away from the first time we worked together," Alencar told EDGE. "We were simpatico. And nobody has shot me more than she has. She knows all my best angles -- every single scar on my body. But what she does with me, she does with everybody else. She can turn any model into a superstar."
mr. Pam credits Alencar with much of her success: "I learned a lot from Raffy. He is the one who pointed out to me to keep the camera moving and not just do static shots that would be edited together later. He’s also an amazing performer. He pushes the crew sometimes, and we’ll say, ’Let’s just stop!’ but he’ll have great ideas. Insane body and huge dick."
Her mommy side
Ambitious, vivacious, charming, and blessed with a musical voice filled with mischief and laughter, mr. Pam’s formula for success in the industry comes from a unique blend of her openness, her "slight nastiness" and her "mommy" side. She’s well-known for bringing positive energy to the set.
"Basically, I just ask the models to top themselves with each new performance," she said. "I think the guys appreciate that, I’m not creepy, I’m not slimy, it’s not like I’m there to get my kicks later. I’m there to produce art. And I have a great rapport with some of the guys."
She’s always early on the set, "wide eyed and bushy tailed -- carrots and celery as snacks in tow," Rutherford said. "She’s contributed a great deal to many of our projects and I value her as a good friend and peer."
Alencar believes that mr. Pam’s personal style of whispering positive messages in his ear throughout shoots is one of her invaluable assets.
Valenti agrees. "Her instincts are amazing," he told EDGE. "She can sense the humanity of the model and is creative and decisive in her direction. She is in total control of the set and the players."
In 2010 she scored a win at the gay adult industry’s annual honors show, the Grabbys, for Best Videography for "Men of Israel." It was the first time a woman had been so honored in the industry.
The Grabbys, formerly owned by Gay Chicago Magazine, are now overseen by producer Mark Nagel. Last week, Nagel contacted Doré to tell her that she had been nominated again, this time as Best Director along with Lucas for his big-budget production, "Assassins."
Challenges in the industry
EDGE spoke with mr. Pam about the special challenges she faces as a woman in a male-dominated industry.
EDGE: Tell me how you got started in directing gay male porn.
mr. Pam: It just fell into my lap. I was in grad school learning video production, and a guy in my class had his own post-production studio, editing United Airlines videos, family videos, and gay porn. I did an internship with him, and since I was new, I edited the gay porn.
EDGE: Which companies did you edit for?
mr. Pam: My first projects were for Hot House, Studio 2000 and Falcon. One day, Chi Chi LaRue rented the studio for a shoot, and I got to talk with her. This was when she was still working with Falcon. I decided the production side of things was way more exciting than the editing.
EDGE: So when did you cross over?
mr. Pam: I got my big break in 2004 when my porn daddy John Rutherford hired me to go on the set of "Buckle Roos," Colt Studio’s big cowboy movie. I was out on this cattle ranch in the middle of the Sacramento Valley for three weeks, doing a featurette documentary for the DVD, "eXposed: The Making of a Legend." Co-director Jerry Douglas asked me to shoot second camera for a scene with Marcus Iron and Dean Phoenix in a barn at night. And it was just magical. It seemed like the universe collided, the skies opened up, and this was where I was supposed to be.
Continued on following page with a Q&A with mr. Pam.