Three years ago, this reporter sat down with multi-XBIZ Awards nominee Jasun Mark to discuss his lauded career as a producer and director for TitanMen and, in particular, a notable position as an adult-biz renaissance man. At the start of his career in 2005, Mark recalled landing a gig as an editor creating DVD motion menus for Fratmen (“That was actually a job at one point,” he observed with a wry chuckle).
“On my second day, I ended up rewiring the building because the phone lines didn’t match the phone system that we had,” said Mark. “I didn’t really know how [to do it] but I figured it out and I did it. That’s kind of been my secret. When a job needs to be done, I’ll do it. I’ll figure out how to do it.”
I really like the fact that filmmaking is now accessible to everybody. It forces us all to try to get better and do better and keep up with each other.
It’s a work ethic that continues to this day, despite an ebb-and-flow to his adult career over the past several years. Soon after Mark’s 2017 interview with XBIZ, Titan quietly paused its production of new content and he found himself at a fork in the road.
Today, after a detour out of adult, Mark is back behind the camera. He still socializes with his former Titan production team (“It’s like getting together with my brothers. It’s great. It’s a wonderful family.”) and has rekindled his polymath’s love for every aspect of production.
When we spoke, he enthused about test scenes for “Trailer Trash Boys,” recently uploaded to AEBN and NakedSword. He and performer-director Trenton Ducati have launched what Mark described as “playing around with being low-end and fucked-up at the same time, but looking great. We want this to be a site that people are laughing with and still getting turned on.”
XBIZ: Since our last interview three years ago, there have been a lot of changes for you.
Mark: A lot. A lot! Catch me up, I can’t even remember — I was still with Titan, then?
XBIZ: You were. We talked about how what you were doing was your dream job. And how, on your first day, you had to smear mud all over Francois Sagat.
Mark: Yes, I remember! That’s still one of the more surreal moments of my career. That [behind-the-scenes] video is really funny. Every so often, someone will text me, “I just saw this video and it looks like you smearing mud all over Francois Sagat…?” [laughs] That’s one that still makes the rounds.
XBIZ: And you’ve seen some surreal things.
Mark: I’ve seen some crazy things in my life. A lot of them, I can’t talk about because I don’t want to embarrass anyone. Friends of mine will ask if they can come by the set just to watch, [and once] the group of titleholders that I was a part of when I ran for Mr. Los Angeles Leather asked if they could have a set visit as a prize or something. “Hell, no!” There’s stuff that happens on a porn set that we don’t want people to see. [laughs] You know, sometimes the model farts. Sometimes people fall down. Sometimes things go wrong; things happen. You don’t want to embarrass anyone. You want the final product to be a beautiful, polished thing that looks great. You don’t necessarily want to see what goes into [creating] it.
XBIZ: Tell us where you are now.
Mark: I left the porn industry completely for a year. I took 2018 completely off. I became an HIV health educator. I got all of the credentials and training certificates and I got very disillusioned very quickly for a bunch of reasons I’d rather not go into. I figured out that it was not the right environment for me. I’m a very creative person; I love to create. Filmmaking is my goal. And although I have a whole lot of different skills and I can, in fact, do a whole lot of different kinds of jobs, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s that Taylor Dayne song from the late-‘80s [“Love Will Lead You Back”], where she sings, “Sometimes it takes some time out on your own to find your way back home.” Cheesy as that is, that’s absolutely what it was for me.
XBIZ: I think a lot of people in this industry can relate to that. It’s good knowledge to have about oneself.
Mark: Absolutely. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a vinyl junkie. I love my vinyl. I have this huge record collection. I actually took a job at a record store for the back-end of 2018 while I figured out what I’d do next. I worked on a couple of mainstream projects. I’ve done a lot of visual effects for TV shows and movies that you’ve seen but I’m not allowed to talk about because we all sign NDAs.
XBIZ: How did you end up working with Trenton Ducati?
Mark: I had figured there just wasn’t going to be a lot of work for someone with my skill set and then Trenton gave me a call, at the end of 2018, and said, “Hey, I need someone to help me out on the next Hot House movie. You want to come along with me?” I actually worked camera on Trenton’s first scene as a performer. It was the same movie where I was rubbing mud on Francois Sagat.
XBIZ: No kidding!
Mark: Same movie. It was that same weekend. We’ve known each other for almost a decade. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love Trenton. He’s one of the nicest, most genuine people. At the time, I was talking with a company that does movie trailers. I ended up flipping a coin, because I wasn’t really sure what to do. And I went with Trenton. And then I found out there was a lot of porn work and that I had a lot of friends in the industry who wanted to work with me after all this time. It’s been a really great experience.
XBIZ: That’s good to hear, because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of downtime for you anymore.
Mark: There’s a whole lot to do in this industry. It kind of feels like a brave new world, honestly. I’m really liking that performers can now be their own bosses. It used to be, if you wanted to be a porn star, you had to get hired by a porn studio. Now, you can shoot all your content in your own home with your friends and put it on your OnlyFans and if it’s good enough, you’re going to be making a really good living doing that. I really like the fact that filmmaking is now accessible to everybody. It forces us all to try to get better and do better and keep up with each other. I’m really excited to see where the industry is [going] right now. It feels like we weathered the storm from [transitioning] from hard goods to online.
XBIZ: It’s been 15 years since you entered adult. Have you found yourself pivoting as a filmmaker, or do you try to stay the course?
Mark: Filmmaking has changed so much since I went to film school. When I went to school, half of your student budget was literally buying film! And now, it’s all digital. And the picture quality is incredible and you can get these amazing results with a considerably lower budget. Underwater cameras used to be these cumbersome things and it didn’t look that great. Now, everybody’s got a GoPro and you just throw it in the bottom of a pool. It used to be, if you wanted a crane shot, you needed a helicopter or a crane. Now, you can get a Mavic Pro and you’ve got a drone shot. The idea that we’d be able to use a drone in porn movies…! Even 10 years ago, you’d need a helicopter to do those scenes. Now I just launch my drone and get the shot that I want.
XBIZ: You were one of the first guys in gay porn to start doing those overhead drone shots. I remember those TitanMen shots of the drone cruising over a house in Palm Springs with Liam Knox or someone floating in the pool.
Mark: Yeah, honestly, the reason was the Phantom drone appeared right around the time I started with them. It’s not like I was the one who came up with the idea. I wanted to get these particular kinds of shots. I remember begging Titan to get me a drone! One time, I needed a production assistant and I called up a friend and asked him to fill in. He said, “Yeah, man, I’d love to do it. Can I bring my drone?” I went, “Oh, my gosh. Yes.” We shot that opening sequence from [2016’s] “Jailbreak” with Jesse Jackman chasing Eric Nero through the fields and stuff. I cut the whole thing together and made it look really dramatic with the music, the whole bit. And I made sure I was at the Titan office, editing it, when the other editor called [Titan’s owner] into the editing bay. And I made sure I was working on that exact sequence when he walked in. He looked at it and said, “What’s that?!” His jaw hit the floor. Then I got my drone. [laughs]
XBIZ: And now, just the other day, I was watching a movie Steve Cruz did for Raging Stallion with these amazing drone shots gliding over the desert landscape and it pulls down on these two muscular guys as they’re approaching each other and begin to make out. It’s pretty incredible.
Mark: I almost hit a tree in one shot. You can sort of see your drone way in the distance but your depth perception isn’t the greatest. And this tree loomed right up in the foreground. I kind of panicked, but I didn’t fuck up the shot!
XBIZ: That’s a pro, right there.
Mark: The drone twirled around [the models] a couple of times and follows them. It’s a beautiful shot. I felt bad for the guys because it was really cold. They were blowing each other in the cold and wind, and we were all bundled up. But it looked great and we certainly got the shot.
XBIZ: You’ve described yourself as “an all-around fix-it guy.”
Mark: Trenton and I have co-directed a couple of features together. And on some features I’ve been second camera and done some of the backup work that always needs to be done. When you’re making a porn movie, 90 percent of the work that needs to be done is not on camera. Right? You’ve got hotels to book, models to book, flights to book. You’ve got a schedule to make. You’ve got to go do a lube run and you need somebody who can do the digital backup and make sure [the footage] is properly tagged and properly named and organized, so that when you deliver it to the studio, their editors don’t have to call you every five minutes and say, “Where’s the other take? What is this? I don’t have a script. Where’s the — ?” So I’ve been that guy. I’ve been helping edit the features when the editors got a little overwhelmed. It was audio cleaning, actually, and then a secondary-pass editor. I’ve done some scriptwriting, whatever needs to be done. My [mainstream] visual effects work means that I can do a lot of the fine-tuning when you need to fix a shot, or when you need to create something out of nothing, I’m able to jump in and help out. I mean, with Trenton, I’m also helping with the affiliate program, which is something I also still do for Titan. We do all the marketing materials, spreadsheets, all of it.
XBIZ: It’s really drawing on so many skill sets and talents.
Mark: You know what? That’s the new reality. You really need to know how to do everything. Not quite ten years ago, nine years ago, I edited an indie comedy feature. The director said, “I need a DVD.” So I just sent him the digital files and said, “Here you go.” And he didn’t know what to do with it. I was absolutely flabbergasted that somebody who was film director didn’t know how to do a quick DVD master. But that’s the mainstream industry, where everybody has a really specific job and nobody does anybody else’s job. In the porn industry, and outside the big Hollywood machine, everybody needs to know how to do everything. These days, there’s a lot of people out here who can do camera, they can edit, they can do the audio cleaning and they know how to master a DVD. And I can go in and do color correction. You need logos removed? I can do that. You need something added. Yeah, I can do that. I don’t think I’m unique in that way. I think a lot of people can do that.
XBIZ: Do you have a particular aspect of this job that you enjoy more than others?
Mark: Honestly, I love editing. That’s one of my favorite things. I really do enjoy most parts of the process, which is one of the reasons porn makes a little bit more sense [for me] because you do get a part in every aspect of it: you go from writing the script to finishing the edit. You’re part of every moment. That’s honestly part of the reason I enjoy working in porn more than the mainstream stuff. But I think if I had to choose one job to do, it would be editing.
XBIZ: I have to say, when I was production managing and producing, the editing process made me want to claw my eyes out. I’m a good supervising editor. I can look at a first-pass edit and tell you what’s missing or what needs to be tweaked. “Oh, we had a take here that was really good, can you put that one in?” Stuff like that. But I couldn’t sit there and do it. It’s a very specific skill set. I fully admire anyone who has the ability to do that. I’m too antsy.
Mark: See, I love it, although I’m pretty antsy myself. I live in a big loft in downtown L.A. in a big warehouse type of building. I love my neighborhood. And I like that I can get up out of bed, pour myself a coffee and look out on the street, maybe walk the dogs. And then just sit there in my bathrobe and do my work. If I want to take a few minutes off, I’ll go sit over on the fire escape and read a book for a bit. Then I’ll go polish my edit for a bit. I really do enjoy having that type of job. As long as it gets done, they don’t care when you did it.
XBIZ: It sounds idyllic.
Mark: It feels rather idyllic. I gotta say, when Titan told us they weren’t going to produce any new content [for awhile], I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to find that idyllic kind of job again. That was a fantastic family. I really do feel like I’ve found that kind of family again with Trenton. We’ve been producing a lot of content for [Falcon Studios Group labels] Hot House and Fetish Force, plus he’s got his own lines. He’s got GentlemensCloset.com, NastyDaddy.com and TrentonDucati.com and this new line we’re working on. It’s been a really great experience because I’m back with that family again. I kind of feel like, yet again, I caught lightning in a jar. I feel really lucky, honestly.