After a few years of shooting for companies like Hustler and Sin City, Frank Bongiorno decided it was time to strike out on his own, forming Purrrfect Video in 2003. In the two years since, Purrrfect has managed to carve a niche out of the oversaturated adult market with female-friendly content.
Purrrfect’s signature line is Real XXX Letters, a series now 10 volumes deep. It’s a series that Bongiorno says has had more staying power than he imagined.
“Three of the volumes have now gone past 10,000 pieces total and I just reprinted 2,000 of every volume,” Bongiorno says. “I’m coming out with the point of purchase displays. I put them in a couple San Diego stores to see how it worked and I sold 25 of them yesterday. Every store in San Diego bought one at 500 bucks a pop. I’m also working deals with the Goalie chain and IVD.”
Bongiorno, who is involved with every aspect of Purrrfect titles from selecting talent to videography to editing to sales, has a very clear idea about how he wants the final product to look. He believes that most of the porn on shelves today is offensive to women and tries to stay in the middle road.
“I try to be hard enough for a guy to visually get off to and it has to be plausible enough for a woman to enjoy,” Bongiorno says. “I spend a lot of money on every minute in my video and I want people to watch the whole thing and to get something from it.
“It’s real sex,” Bongiorno continues. “We don’t do double-anal, contrived, standing-on-your-head piledriver type of sex; it’s a circus act. We tell the girls to have an orgasm. We don’t film girls who can’t orgasm on film, we don’t film girls who are doing it for the money, we don’t film the typical porn star. It’s gotta be young, natural girls who want to share their normally private sex lives for entertainment. It looks like they’re having sex and the camera just happens to be in the room. It’s the opposite direction than most of the industry.”
After Real XXX Letters, Purrrfect’s next biggest line is the newer Girls Playing. Originally intended as a one-off with modest expectations, the first one sold surprisingly well, convincing Bongiorno to continue shooting it.
One unusual catch to the Playing series is the appearance of real, non-porn girls who Bongiorno interviews outside local clubs.
“I ask them what they like about their porn, if they watch porn, if they like fooling around with girls, what they’ve done, what they want to see in porn, what they want to do, you get some really great answers and we use those interviews to segue way scenes,” he says. “It takes all the cheesy acting out. It’s a great softening up for couples; they’re able to see what their peers are into and it breaks down barriers. The first one sold a couple thousand pieces and then over the next year is sold an additional 4,000 pieces. I get orders every day. So I went out did a second one.”
Another innovation Bongiorno has incorporated is using local bands for the soundtrack. Sick of dishing out thousands of dollars a year for “crap music” and surrounded by starving musician friends, he decided to begin funneling his music budget to the locals. The bands that have been featured thus far include Stoopid and G. Love and Special Sauce.
“Everything in there is from local San Diego bands, all original music. The bands jumped at it and now I have more bands lining up to make music than I can count. It’s all good stuff.”
The San Diego-based company is still a small operation with only three employees including Bongiorno. It’s a heavy workload — with Bongiorno doing all the sales himself. He also employs an assistant “that does everything” and a one-woman marketing team who spends each day calling every adult store she can find a phone number for.
“I make more money than I ever have before and I smile every day and I enjoy what I do,” Bongiorno says. “It’s great, and we only have up to go.”