Few companies in the adult industry have enjoyed the longevity of Homegrown Video, the DBA of parent company Xplor Media. The company is based in the quiet Republican enclave of beautiful San Diego, a town filled with normal folk, a place far from the wilds of Porn Valley.
Which makes sense, as Homegrown’s stock-in-trade is amateur porn, generated from real human beings around the country, a far cry from the professional adult stream of talent. These everyday people may not have the sculpted bodies, coiffed hair and perfect skin of your garden-variety porn star, but that doesn’t mean their performances lack sexual heat.
Quite the opposite, a fact proven by the every-expanding sales and niche lines Homegrown offers: Natural Bush, Horny Over 40, Housewives Unleashed and Handjobs Across America, to name but a few. All starring your horny couple next door, a Norman Rockwell scenario gone XXX.
“We look for people that are not based in the Valley,” revealed Moffitt T., the company’s CEO. Along with his brother and president Farrell, the pair took over the struggling, 1983-founded business over 10 years ago and have turned it into a profit machine.
“We look for people who like being exhibitionists,” Timlake continued, “people who like having real sex. For us, it's all about the heat in the scene, and they have to be happy and smiling, and enthusiastic. A lot of the [mainstream] porn is just over-directed, and the girls make the same noises in every scene, no matter who they're with, and it's like the stripper mentality. You can tell when they're doing it for the money, and we try to avoid that.”
Besides connecting with consumers, that porn aesthetic has connected with AVN Awards voters as well. The company’s self-titled flagship line, Homegrown Video, which Newsweek once called “the longest running series in the history of porn” — a to-die-for bit of free high-profile advertising which Timlake rightfully exploits the hell out in his marketing — won Best Amateur Series in 2004 and 2005. The line also won Best Pro-Am or Amateur Series in 2000, while Cherries was honored in that category in 2002. Homegrown Video 432, Southern Belles 4 and Southern Belles 8 took home Best Amateur Release accolades in, respectively, 1995, 1997 and 1998, while California College Student Bodies 16 won Best Pro-Am or Amateur Tape in 2001.
Much of Homegrown’s material comes unsolicited, literally “dozens” of scenes per month, he said.
“We still get a lot of stuff from, we call it the Mom and Pops, people that have known about Homegrown, shoot their own video and send it in. You know, girlfriends, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband and wife, groups of swingers, and then a lot of other stuff comes from producers that have access to these amateur people. So, I'll be able to find stuff for all of our niche areas. I'll be able to say, ‘You know I'm looking for five cream pie scenes,’ and the producer will go out and find the average talent and shoot it and we'll buy it.”
In fact, it was Farrell Timlake’s participation in the company that first exposed the brothers to the business possibilities of Homegrown, just after brother Moffitt emerged from college in San Francisco.
“Actually my brother was making videos with his girlfriend, who became his wife,” said Timlake. “Some of the videos they submitted to Homegrown and didn't get paid on, and they found out the company was going through bankruptcy proceedings. The guy that was managing asked if they wanted to put in a bid and buy it. He called me and another associate and came down and did the due diligence, placed a bid, and got it.”
Homegrown’s material comes from a broad cross section of folks. “There's affluent swingers to people that literally are living in a trailer home,” said Timlake. “People shooting in mansions, people that live in a VW bus, and they shoot in the mountains; there’s a gorgeous couple, a mountain man with a hot girlfriend, and they just live out in the woods and shoot some porn now and then. We've had scenes with people having sex in the snow. A lot of great stuff from Canada and the northwest, where they tend to not shave as much. People are tired of fully shaven girls with perfectly tan bodies and tits, and they want to come back to reality.”
Homegrown’s ever-growing Internet presence has been key to the company’s success.
“We have our content leasing site. homegrowncontent.com. There we have a lot of niche feeds for Webmasters,” Timlake offered. “We're actually gonna be relaunching that this year, coming up with a lot more feeds. So we have a handjob site, where we can lease our handjob feeds. It will be very specific. We’ve got another new site called myhomegrown.com, which we intended on launching a year ago, but the final version is just now getting launched.
“The nature of that is people that want to have a hand in their own distribution and get a royalty from their footage, they'll submit the footage to us, we'll go over the paperwork, do all the digitizing and coding, put it up on the site, create a DVD and handle all the fulfillment. Plus offering video on demand for their scene.”
Homegrown is currently at work on a number of pay sites as well.
“Homegrownvideo.com is the flagship site,” explained Timlake. “We just did housewivesunleashed.com based on the series. Basically, we're going to come up with about 10 new pay sites this year that will all be derived from the DVD series we have.” The business is literally “filled to the brim with ideas for new niches, Timlake stated, and there’s no end in sight.
“Most all of our ideas stem from feedback, whether it's on the Website, or our mail order, Timlake revealed. “If we get a lot of requests for Cream Pie, like we did in the mid- late ’90s, we'll go OK, we'll pull a few scenes from the Homegrown material, and put it all on in it's own tape under the Xplor label and see how it does. We did the same thing with Natural Bush. We had a lot of people requesting unshaven girls and put out that series, and I think it outsold other series, like 5-1.
“It's a little difficult trying to explain that to the wholesalers and retailers,” Timlake continued. “Because they tend to just want to put a hot blond on the box cover. That's their personal preference. I have to try to explain to them, look, this is what my buyers are telling me, people that plunk down a lot of money for each title. It takes a while to convince them, but now everybody has a cream pie series.”
Unlike many non-amateur companies, Homegrown/Xplor draws a line when it comes to content.
“We try to do things that are unique, which is kind of hard to do in this business. It went from anal to double anal to triple anal to, what next? Ear canal? Where does it end?” queried Timlake. “We're not trying to outdo the Valley companies. We definitely try to veer away from anything demeaning or derogatory or rough, any sort of rough sex type stuff. It's OK to be a little aggressive, but I think a lot of the stuff up in LA is, well, they're trying to be overly aggressive. That's never something we want to do.
“I think I've noticed in the past few years the [AVN] Awards have gone to the extreme stuff, anal stuff with 5 guys on 1 girl. I guarantee there's a segment of the population that will want that, but it's definitely not a place we want to be. I think overall we just try to stick to our basic tenants, which is real people, happy people, having great sex.”
For more information on Homegrown Video/Xplor Media call 619.641.7969 or visit homegrownvideo.com.