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From Disneyland to porn director: A chat with Digital Playground’s Joone

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Jesse Jane heads up the cast of Pirates.

Digital Playground's founder and director Joone made the transition from film student to adult film director to porn mogul. With stars like Kayden Kross and Jesse Jane in his family of starlets, the successful businessman found a formula for getting the most out of interactive porn when it was a new concept. He now is experiencing great success with his series Pirates, which has made the transition over to mainstream with a separate R-rated version (resist the "Arrrgh" jokes if you can).

How did you first come up with the concept to form your own adult film company?

I started Digital because I wanted to start a mainstream company to do interactive stuff and I didn't have a rich uncle so I thought, "How can I make a lot of money really quick? Oh, I'll do interactive sex." So that's how it started. We had this new medium, which was interactivity back then. It is commonplace now but back then I figured you could put a movie in your computer but that's just like a video. I wanted to find what we could do with the new technology so I started playing with it and I decided I could create a virtual experience where someone could customize their own sexual experience with a girl. The first virtual sex was virtual sex with Jenna Jameson.

Being a start-up company back then, how were you able to get such big stars right out of the gate?

This was actually when Jenna was just starting out. I thought she was great. We've been taking one step at a time and once you have success I think others see it and it attracts new people. We've been able to create stars and we find stars and we nurture them and invest the money to make them big stars. People kind of look at our track record and see the types of movies that we make and that is now the reason people come to us.

Can you tell me more about your famous Pirates series?

The first Pirates came out in 2005 and Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge came out last year. Pirates is a phenomenon and we edited out the sex and created an R-rated version of it and you could go to Blockbuster or Netflix and watch it. That has been something that no one else has ever done. Because of that there is a lot more popularity to it. The whole them of pirates is a lifestyle that people are attracted it. For me, the reason I did it was I loved the ride at Disneyland as a kid.

What other films rank among your most popular?

Our Island Fever series are like of like visual poetry because naked girls are with handsome guys in a tropical Bora Bora type setting having sex. It's like watching a honeymoon video. We've also had out comedy series with Babysitters, Teachers and Cheerleaders that have been very popular. It's just the girls being themselves. We get all the contract girls together for the same film and they have a great time. You can just see the chemistry.

Back when you were a film student, did you ever foresee yourself entering the adult industry?

I never thought about it, but of course I loved beautiful women and I was attracted to them. I always wanted to make movies and I think that after I started Digital, it kind of was clear to me that the adult genre is the last place you can make independent film. We don't have to answer anybody; we can make any movies we want. As long as there's sex in it. I like the fact that I own the line and can do other things with it. We just launched a line of sex toys that are Pirates-themed. Everything from jewelry that looks like it was from a treasure chest that's actually a vibrator to large vibrators. We actually didn't just use the same vibrators. We developed our own with new motors because there's two complaints all women have: they want it to be powerful and they want it to be quiet. We delivered on both of those.

Do you have any plans to pursue 3D pornography?

We have been actually working on it for a few years now. We're just waiting for the technology to catch up so we can deliver it. We're waiting for the Blue Ray players with 3D capability to come out and get popular. I'm just waiting on the big manufacturers. When they release it, I'll be ready.

Given that sex is such a personal, individual act, is it frustrating for a director when scenes don't play out as you envisioned them?

The thing that I have learned is that first of all, making a movie is always a series of compromises but there are also amazing things that happen that you were never planning on happening. When it comes to sex I have learned that you hire people who know what they're doing and you let them do what they do best so I give them boundaries to work in and then they work within that and it becomes a jazz type of thing where I'm there capturing it and they're going, and we're tweaking it. I don't like to stop the action. I like to keep in going so you get that chemistry, that energy, that passion. We want it to deliver on the story and on the sex.

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