April 10, 2017 | Posted in Pornstars by
Girlfriends Films co-founder Dan O'Connell is still a hands-on creator of the lesbian porn that fans of his company adore, even after being at the helm for over a decade. His work really has defined the all-girl porn genre and I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to ask the man about his creative inspirations that inspire a lot of dirty, lovely dreams in a ton of people.
So how did Girlfriends Films come about? What made you decide to create the studio?
"I was in a totally different profession and wanted to get into making documentary films. So I took a bunch of courses at UCLA, which inadvertently lead me to make Girlfriends Films' original movie, 'Lesbians Uncovered.' I got great feedback from that movie and people said that I should try my hand at making lesbian porn. Who can argue with a request like that?!"
"Women Seeking Women" is the most critically acclaimed and awarded series in the history of porn movies. Why do you think that people respond to that series the way that they do?
"The ‘Women Seeking Women’ title came from the dating ads that appeared in the L.A. Weekly newspaper before internet dating sites took over. We are now at Volume 141 and it is the only series that Girlfriends Films publishes every month. I think our other series are just as good but ‘Women Seeking Women’ is so well established. Perhaps it has the advantage that there is a wider variety of performers, whereas our episodic series involve many of the same characters and actors from one episode to another."
Prinzzess has been your contract performer for what seems like forever. What is it about her that best embodies what you want an all-girl performer to be?
"Every time I shoot Prinzzess – which is now over 180 times – I’m reminded why Girlfriends Films has retained her as a contract performer for 8 years. There’s a point in every scene when I see Prinzzess focusing on her partner with an animal-like intensity, where her mind is obviously 100 percent involved with getting that girl off. You can absolutely see it in her piercing, unwavering eye contact. When this happens, Prinzzess is almost always on top of the girl, her eyes gazing downward at her pretty and absolutely fixated on getting the girl off. I’ve shot more than 2,000 performers and I don’t recall anyone doing anything quite like what Prinzzess does. I’m not sure how many of the viewers notice this but it is something that fascinates me.
Prinzzess is a gentle soul and would never hurt anyone, but her stare reminds me of an MMA professional. She is also very resourceful and absolutely fearless, having grown up in the remote jungle of Belize near a religious colony. And it helps that she is cute, fun, has a good sense of humor, is low-drama, and is more honest than Abe Lincoln."
What is it about lesbian sex that still inspires you as a producer/director these days?
"I love the passion that we can portray with lesbian sex. A lot, if not most of Girlfriends Films’ movies have 'I love you' moments, which is something almost never done in a boy/girl movie. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to keep coming up with story after story after story, although once the story writing is completed it is a lot of fun to take your own fantasy and see it come to materialize with your favorite performers. And I like that there are two women and four breasts in every scene as opposed to only half that many if it was boy/girl. Also, I grew up in a strongly Catholic family and I still find an element of that delightful same-sex taboo that vests itself in lesbianism. Thank goodness I was taught religious homophobia by the good fathers and sisters or I’d probably have had a very dull career in something else.
While much of society condemns porn, I look at it this way: If laughter is the best medicine, porn can’t be far behind. Despite public opinion, I look at my movies as me doing the Lord’s work. The knowledge that you’re helping someone have an orgasm is very rewarding.
What I find most peculiar is that I’m a regular old white guy who also happens to be the most celebrated and successful X-rated lesbian movie-maker of all time. What’s with that? Why isn’t it a woman? It’s a little strange, but I’ll take it."
How did you develop the very distinct look that Girlfriends Films movies have? A lot of the performers seem more natural in their appearances in Girlfriends movies versus other movies.
"When I got into this, everyone was doing glam. I wanted a more realistic portrayal and asked the girls to dress like they were coming home from the office or church. More people can identify with that and it looks more realistic. I occasionally do a dress-up scene or movie and we can go all out for that like we have with our ‘Girls in White’ series that features 25 to 30 girls all dressed in real pageant gowns. But for the most part, I want the girls to look like they hadn’t expected to be having sex that day. That means no garter belts, fishnets or things like that. I also have the girls do their own make-up.
Make-up artists often over-do the girls, giving them a slutty look and I feel the same about shoot locations. After more than 500 movies, I’ve only used the stereotypical Malibu mansion once, and that was based on a story line submitted by a fan, who actually ended up doing a sex scene in that movie. If we are shooting a young girl, as we most often do, her bedroom should be a bit messy and full of kitsch, just like the rooms of most teenagers."
The girl/girl market seems to be just thriving more than ever these days. Why do you think that is?
"First of all, there is a very large percentage of males who get off on seeing two girls together. It is not at all uncommon for a guy to want passion and romance in addition to sex. I’m surprised that boy/girl porn hasn’t yet evolved to the stage where passion and romance are more common. I do think that the girl/girl producers are being much more creative and – for the money we spend on production – are making better movies than the boy/girl producers. Maybe that’s because nearly all the girl/girl producers are copying what I’ve done successfully."
Is there a series that Girlfriends does that you feel is a hidden treasure that doesn't quite get the appreciation that you think it should?
"In 2007, we had a great series titled 'Unnatural Daughter' that starred the original Keisha (who would probably be in her 50s now) and Courtney Simpson. The story was about an older/younger lesbian couple who moved to town and, as the homeowners were homophobic, they had to pose as mother and daughter in order to rent the house they wanted. Courtney got out of the business after we finished the second episode and we dropped the series. But it has always stuck in my mind as being a great story with unlimited potential. Late last year I figured out a terrific new story line and we began shooting it this past February. Reagan Foxx is now the mother, Karlee Grey is her psychopathic, pathologically lying roommate and Violet Starr is her daughter. I’ve developed this into a much better and extremely creepy story with some really good character and story twists.
This revamped series also explores the explosive consequences of living a lie. The first episode will be released toward the end of April 2017 as the 'So Wrong' episodes in Girlfriends Films’ "Twisted Passions" movie series. I just finished shooting the second episode a few days ago. Either this or our 'Messed-up' series [in the 'Lesbian Psychodramas' series] is the creepiest project I’ve ever put together. Between the two series, a panel of psychiatrists would have no problem committing me to a mental hospital."
How do you cast your movies? What else really draws you to a performer?
"I am so particular and selective about casting that it is a miracle that I ever make a movie. First off, it is a bit like dating in that I have to find the girl sexually attractive. I am so jaded by being exposed to a few thousand hot girls over the past 17 years that me finding someone sexually attractive is now a more difficult hurdle for the girls to pass.
My stories and sex scenes almost always feature a dominant girl seducing an inexperienced and passive girl, so I need one of both types of girls for every scene. I want that submissive, inexperienced girl to look like she just came from Bible study, so she should have no tattoos or implants. The dominant girl will likely be a little older and physically larger.
Then, there are a whole bunch of criteria, including performing ability, acting ability, reliability, attitude, enthusiasm, and being low drama. I was once somewhat tolerant of drama but will no longer put up with it. For purposes of publicity, we also like a girl with a good social media following. That said, I will often shoot one of our favorite girls with whomever she wants to work with. That helps solve the problem of trying to figure out whether the girls I am putting together will have chemistry. Also, once a girl has proven herself, I have a tendency to use her over and over again, especially as all our performers must love being with other women and are not just gay for pay.
If we see that a girl doesn’t really like doing girls and is just trying to sneak in under the tent flap to get a paycheck, she doesn’t get invited back. My favorite heartthrobs over the years have been Heather Starlet, Scarlet Red and currently, Violet Starr. All are soft and sweet types who really like girls."
What is coming up from Girlfriends Films this year? What can fans look forward to seeing?
"I love the creepy stories even if they are turning me into another Norman Bates. So, more creepy stuff. Our other director, B.Skow, is also a creep writer. I think my new ‘So Wrong’ series is the best story writing I’ve ever done."
Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans here at Fleshbot?
"In addition to making movies, I am working on a number of other large, ongoing projects and am still a college student. So I don’t have time to get on forums or do social media. As such, I probably give the impression of being a self-important snob whose success has taken him to the point of not caring about his fans. And that is not the case at all. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the same simple country bumpkin I’ve always been and am highly approachable. I never forget that our customers are the people who have allowed Girlfriends Films to stay in business, and for me to live such a great life. I mentioned the difficulty that writing story after story entails, and the thing that keeps me repeatedly going through this process like a mouse on a wire wheel is the fans who appreciate what I do."
All of the images and video here appear courtesy of Girlfriends Films. Click right here to pick up Girlfriends Films' latest release "Lesbian Psychodramas 25" right now!