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AVN.COM BUSINESS PROFILE - How to Kick Ass in the World of Porn

AVN.COM BUSINESS PROFILE - How to Kick Ass in the World of Porn

It’s no accident that Kick Ass Pictures is one of the best-known producers of porn in the industry. Founder Mark Kulkis is a smart man, and he knows how to make an impact. Signing Mary Carey to an exclusive contract and orchestrating her run for governor of California, for example.

But the story starts long before that. …

Like so many before and after him, Kulkis came to Hollywood with the idea of writing screenplays that would end up on big screens with big stars and klieg lights and maybe even a step on the stage of the Kodak Theater to accept the Academy Award for his brilliant work.

Things started off well. He wrote a screenplay, got an agent, and the agent said he needed to keep turning them in.

Then something happened. Writer’s block. To get over it, he decided to try something else, something with no pressure, just to get going. So he wrote a porn script.

“It was the most fun I ever had writing,” Kulkis told AVN. “It was an epiphany, and I realized that a lot of the short stories I’d written had erotic elements, and it was kind of like, ‘Why didn’t I see this before?’”

Kulkis decided porn was his calling, and he just needed to figure out how to get started. He didn’t know anyone in the business, but he was familiar with some industry magazine called Adult Video News. Kulkis had this crazy idea that getting in with AVN would give him access to everyone in the business.

AVN was a smaller operation then, and getting in wasn’t as easy as it is today. He wooed them for months, begging for a job, even offering to write for free, but it wasn’t until he sent a Christmas package to the then-editor that things turned around. Soon afterwards an employee left, and Kulkis was offered a job.

“I got in,” Kulkis said. “It was a week before my 30th birthday, where you examine your life, and I was exactly where I wanted to be.”

He took advantage of the opportunity. He volunteered for everything and, before long, he found himself the managing editor.

“Basically, AVN was my business school. I learned everything about the creative side of the business, the business side. I was there for two and a half years. In the meantime I took courses at UCLA in photography, videography, editing, setting myself up to make movies.”

He did his first video (Barefoot Confidential, a niche line that, traditionally, didn’t feature hardcore sex) in secret, with Rob Black loaning Kulkis his house. Once he had his first title ready to go, he gave his notice at AVN and started working for a series of production companies as a PR man, as a buyer, doing everything he could to learn every element of the business, all the while hanging on to his video. Eventually he released it in 1998 through Extreme (while retaining ownership).

Nervous about the financial situation at Extreme, he decided to approach Hustler, which at the time wasn’t doing any videos. He talked them into letting him start up Hustler Video. Part of the deal was that they would allow him to distribute his own titles, and they would take a distribution fee.

“I’d never done anything like that before,” he said. “Basically I winged it, and learned as I went along, and everything ended up working out really well.”

He got Hustler off the ground, first through Jail Babes, a line featuring ex-con coochie that no longer exists but initially did well thanks to a ton of publicity. Then he got Barely Legal going, and it took off.

After Barefoot, Kick Ass started a Latin line called Chica Boom, a market that nearly no one was taking advantage of at the time. And it took off.

Two years ago he struck out on his own, opened his own warehouse and began distributing his own titles. And the titles kept coming: Grrl Power (now Teen Power), Specs Appeal, 5-Guy Cream Pie,and many more, most of them directed by Andre Madness.

And then came Mary Carey, a bubbly blonde with big 36DD tits, who Kulkis quickly signed to an exclusive contract. When the gubernatorial recall race came up in 2003, Kulkis decided to throw her hat in the ring. In the chaos, Mary drew attention and ratings. Blonde, big tits, always quotable — she was a journalists’ dream come true. While now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have won the race, Kick Ass didn’t fare too poorly, either.

Most recently, Kulkis has invented the Kick Ass Pussy Pump, a device that enlarges the pussy to unreal proportions. While some may say it doesn’t look pretty, Kulkis says interest in the series is high. “It’s something nobody has ever seen before. And how often can you say that in porn?”

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