02 January 2011

INTERVIEW WITH BRYAN OCKERT -- PART ONE

In my time as a blogger and a writer for numerous gay mags, I have always had questions about the gay adult film industry, specifically on the web. With so many websites to choose from, I always wondered why a few of them always seem to rise to the top and come up in conversations about the subject consistently. One site that always is mentioned is ChaosMen.
ChaosMen is run by Mr. Bryan Ockert. He has been running the site for 10 years and has seen the transformation of the web and blogs and websites. Bryan has been able to maintain ChaosMen as one of the top three sites for gay adult videos for many years now and hasn’t gotten sick of the work or the challenges. ChaosMen offers its subscribers numerous types of videos – Solos, Safe Sex, Glory Hole, Edge (where a model’s limits are tested and pushed a bit), Serviced (where one model lays back and gets serviced either by another model or by Bryan himself) …..but there is one type that may have caused a little stir on the web. The Raw video – no condoms, just raw sex between the guys, sometimes with breeding action and sometimes with a mouthful of cum. ChaosMen’s models are good looking guys that you could find in any city or town, which adds to the appeal and the fantasy. The subscriber could see these guys in their town andthat fuels the fire.


I was lucky enough to get to talk with Bryan. When I approached him to do an interview, he was more than gracious and more than happy to talk about his work, his life and his models. Before we started, Bryan told me that he had only done 3 or 4 interviews about ChaosMen but none had ever been the cover story.


Bryan Ockert is a very straightforward bloke – no nonsense, no pretense – just a man with a job to do. He doesn’t try to explain the porn away from what he does. Instead, Bryan fully understands what people want and expect to see from his site and embraces the adult side of the internet. He does this with complete knowledge and understanding of the stigma behind the word “porn” but Bryan doesn’t balk at that. The site takes up so much of his time that he doesn’t have time to react to the gossip or the online stories.


ChaosMen takes up so much time of Bryan’s life that it has been close to ten years since he’s been out on a date. Bryan had an eight year relationship and has no desire to look for or to start a relationship right now.


“I have taken myself ‘off the market’ deliberately,” Bryan said. “For many years I sucked cock for a living. Heck I have awards for it. It takes a strong partner to deal with that. My work pace is, well, astounding. There would be no time to build a proper relationship anyway. People who become my friends make no demands on me for face time. They know how busy I am and never pressure me to go do things. I don’t like to do anything else but work on the site. Even if I go see a movie I get too anxious about all the things I need to be doing. ”


HISTORY OF THE SITE


“I had no desire to be a photographer, videographer or even a pornographer!” Bryan responded when I asked him about the origins of ChaosMen. I had thought it might have been from a desire to be a photographer.


“Way back in early 1998, the Internet and chat rooms were just starting to really take hold. I would chat online, and had invested in this new thing called a ‘digital camera.’ I had never shot film, but liked how instantly I could get a photo from the camera to my computer. While chatting I would take a picture of myself each day, to give the people I was chatting with a sense of seeing me every day. Very low tech compared to today’s camera phones!
I eventually had a ton of photos, and many people online were interested in what it was like to be living in conservative Texas as a young gay man.
So I started a journal, at first compiling the photos, but then taking pictures of my life in Austin, my friends, parties, home projects, you name it. “


Back then, about 1998, Bryan didn’t have all the free blog and free bandwidth access that we have today. However, his photo journal became wildly popular and he had thousands of visitors each week to see what he was up to. And Bryan had to pay for all that bandwidth and traffic.
“I started a small membership area with ONE photo shoot a month of a hot guy I knew or found. My hobby had become so expensive that I needed a way for it to pay for itself. I eventually ended up doing a photoshoot each week and then I started dabbling in video. I added cams around the house. I guess you could say I was on the forefront of the Cam in the House craze!”


Bryan took a breath and leaned forward, saying, “I just didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing, so I stopped doing the photo journal at the time when Blogs took off. I had started shooting video and suddenly, I felt that I needed more privacy in a very competitive field.”


He sits back again and looks right at me.


“Honestly, it was a question of money. How was I going to pay for my online persona? Digital imaging was good, and I loved the creative photography more that I did the ‘porny’ stuff, but the artsy stuff wasn’t paying the bills. Video cameras were getting cheaper; bandwidth was faster and cheaper, so it was only natural to evolve to adult films. I grudgingly went, though. For the first year of the video-oriented version of the site I barely would put anyone naked on the front, still trying to be as artistic as possible.”
With a laugh, Bryan finished, “But that didn’t last because it was clear what the audience really wanted to see, and what would catch their eye!”


Going through the archives of ChaosMen, then called ChaosinAustin.tv, I did come across one very interesting solo video. The very first one, the video of Bryan. I asked him about that video.
“I only did one solo (video), and even then it was just done as an experiment in filming.” Bryan leaned forward again, getting a little quiet. “I am actually very reluctant to be in front of the camera. There are plenty of better built, gorgeous guys out there that SHOULD be filmed or photographed. I just worked with what I had – Me!”


So, I had to tell him about the poll taken in DINK. ChaosMen was voted the hottest site by over 12,000 gay men and Bryan was voted THE HOTTEST site owner. I asked him what he thought of that.
Bryan stopped for a moment and looked a little stunned. Then a smile crossed his lips.



“WOW! I didn’t know that! Not because I don’t appreciate audience feedback, but because I NEVER go look at my competition sites nor do I view affiliate blogs, read reviews or industry magazines. I just do the best I can and I put out the best videos my guys can make. I never know what is going on in the ‘industry.’ It’s like I am in this little bubble, making videos that I would like to jack off to if I was sitting at home cruising for porn.
But as for me being the hottest site owner…..That’s funny. The thing I usually say when I hear things like that is, ‘There’s just no accounting for taste! Thank goodness!’ I am VERY glad people still find me hot at almost 50 and that bodes well that our gay community might not be as ‘ageist’ as we generally think.”


I told Bryan that when I wrote that I was going to interview him, I was flooded with emails and letters with questions to ask him. Many guys out there want to see more of Bryan in videos – like the Serviced and Edge videos. That’s something that other sites don’t really do. And why isn’t the site named after Bryan? Why not BryanOckert.com?


“I think it is a mistake to name a website after a person’s name,” Bryan responded. “ It’s like Shamu the whale. The original Shamu is long gone and the audience doesn’t think or want to know that this isn’t THE Shamu they are seeing. So porn sites that are all about the videographer/pornographer will hit a wall where they can’t perform anymore.
The difference is my vision for the site I think. My vision for ChaosMen was a team of super hero porn stars. I loved comic books growing up and certainly found their physiques sexy. So I am very reluctant to make the site about myself or to show a lot of me. I have been at it 10 years…from 36-46 basically. Your body changes a lot during those years. I still weigh under 160 pounds, but my abs are long gone and I just feel like in an Edge or Serviced video the scene should be about the hot model, and I am just a conduit to their orgasm.” Then with a little laugh in his voice, Bryan said, “I try to keep my clothes on as much as possible.”


IT REALLY IS HARD WORK!


Bryan shared just how much work the site actually is for him. Not only does he manage and book the models, but he picks them up at the airport, shoots all the video and photos, edits the final videos, encodes them, manages the website, answers tech questions and designs the site itself! No rest for the weary. Bryan gets about 6 hours of sleep per day with time also spent at a gym trying to maintain an acceptable weight.


He does have some help….from his parents! His father helped him build his studio and is a CPA- so he does Bryan’s taxes. Mom does his bookkeeping. She even paints rooms before shoots and cleans as well. Bryan has a friend that helps with photo retouching.
But he doesn’t want to do anything else. He loves his job.
“However, when a dude takes 45 minutes to nut, I wish I had a desk job!” he shared with me with an evil grin.


“I think the hardest part for me is dealing with the pace AND being a stand-in parent for a lot of the models. My phone does not stop ringing with phone calls for emergencies they have. From rent or car payments past due, to sick parents or girlfriends, to ‘my fence blew down in a hurricane!’ it’s pretty much non-stop requests to be their hero….or ATM!”


Besides booking the model’s flight and hotel for the shoot, getting them and feeding them, Bryan has the actual video shoot to worry about. He told me that most of the guys are indeed straight and it can take a couple of hours to get 18 minutes of useable footage.
“When I go over the four hour mark, I know we’re in trouble!”

A typical video takes Bryan 2-3 hours to cut, sometimes longer if the guys were struggling to stay hard or cum. Then it takes another day and a half to create the video files, upload and create the content that affiliates need. After all is said and done, it takes about two full days to edit a video. Now do this math – Bryan has 3 releases or more in a week. How many days per week does he edit? He edits constantly.


“I ingest all the video which is much faster now that I shoot video onto a memory card. It may sit for a month before I can get to edit it because I am so far behind in editing. I am usually way ahead in terms of what I have to deploy- at the time of this interview I have enough video to last me till April- it’s just not all edited!”

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR MORE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH BRYAN! HE TELLS US ALL ABOUT THE MODELS, THE WORK AND THE FUTURE OF CHAOSMEN!

Cheers,
"The Camera"


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