Ironically, though the demands have become more difficult and the rates have gotten lower, the pool of porn-star wanna-bes keeps growing. Mitchell says AIM receives between 500 and 600 inquiries every month from potential new talent about AIM's instructional videos, "Porn 101" and "Porn 102."

Thomas' former agent, Mark Spiegler, says "more women than ever before are trying to get into the business," even though companies are shooting less. "It's gone from people falling into the business to girls who aspire to be porn stars and plan to get into the business itself," Spiegler says. "There are a lot more of them, even though the industry has down-turned."

The reality is, with a few exceptions, there are no real "porn stars" anymore. "The average career in the industry now is between six months and three years," Mitchell says. "Nowadays, girls come in and, six months later, they're overexposed because they've been shot by every company. People want to see new faces."

But though some companies in the San Fernando Valley are scaling back, other adult businesses are booming — especially in the Phoenix area and on the Web.

In addition to popular Phoenix-based amateur sites like amateurallure.com, which features videos of "real amateurs" having sex, and First Time Video (www.ftvgirls.com), which specializes in videos and photos of young-looking models, the Valley's also home to Lightspeed Media Corporation and Aziani, two thriving adult-content online companies. The Valley's also the corporate headquarters of CCBill, one of the largest online billing companies for e-merchants — particularly adult sites — in the world. Business information corporation Dun & Bradstreet estimates CCBill's annual sales at $4.8 million.

The owners of Lightspeed Media Corporation and Aziani declined to give their exact revenue figures, but both say their companies are doing very well and turning profits. Lightspeed Media was founded in Glendale in 1999. By 2006, it was notable enough for the Wall Street Journal to profile its founder, Steve Lightspeed. "We make more than a penny and less than a hundred million," Lightspeed says with a laugh. "We're doing well enough to continue doing what we're doing."

Buzz Aziani created Aziani.com with his wife, adult actress Rachel Aziani, in 1999. The site features solo glamour shots of well-known adult performers. Like Thomas and her fiancé, Brett, the Azianis alternate between flying talent to Phoenix and working in L.A.

Dr. Mitchell says many of the resources for the adult industry are still in the San Fernando Valley. But with the Internet, location doesn't matter so much. "We're all connected now by computers," she says.

One thing successful adult-business owners agree on is that the only way to survive and thrive right now is to offer something that no one else offers, or to have an established brand with a loyal fan base.

Taryn Thomas believes her business features both.


The home Taryn Thomas shares with Brett T. is technically in Scottsdale, but it's in the middle of nowhere, about 10 minutes south of Cave Creek. To get there from northeast Phoenix, you drive for 45 minutes past numerous horse ranches and down a long dirt road that cuts through the desert and leads to a brand-new development. The homes here are all recently built and mostly unoccupied.

The secluded location and scarcity of neighbors were the main reasons the couple bought the sprawling, ranch-style house with the circular driveway. They can shoot nude photos or sex scenes in their backyard without worrying about prying eyes.

Much of their money has gone into their company, so the massive house is barely furnished. There are two large, solid-oak dining tables with matching leather chairs, a couple of brown leather couches, and a large flat-screen TV. Beyond that, the house is mostly yawning white walls and open space — until you get to the studio room.

The studio's décor is eclectic — each wall a different color, with deep blue nestled between soft pink and royal purple. A school chalkboard hangs on the north wall, above an old classroom desk and an American flag on a brass pole. Across from these props is an industrial dungeon-type setup, with several long, thick chains dangling from a wall of shiny sheet metal. And stacked against the west wall, going unused thus far, is expensive DJ equipment Thomas purchased last year.

Any room in the house is game for a porn shoot, but most of the action for the company has been shot in the studio or the master bedroom.

On a sunny Wednesday, it's the master bedroom where Thomas is filming a vigorous sex scene with British porn sensation Poppy Morgan. A slender brunette who's spent most of the day walking around in nothing but a bath towel, Morgan has also signed on to be one of the directors for Taryn It Up Entertainment.

While the two women go at each other on the couch, Brett hovers over them carefully, video recorder in hand. At one point, he leans in to get a close-up, and Thomas, whose head is out of camera shot for the moment, cranes her neck to peek at the LCD screen while Brett's filming.

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18 comments
Guest
Guest

The porn industry today is in bad shape, and will likely become worse before it gets better. Porn has become a victim of its own success. When a product has been commoditized to the point it's nearly free, there's far fewer willing to pay for it.

http://www.latimes.com/busines...

Josh Reading
Josh Reading

The Phoenix adult industry has surely came along way in a short period of time. It is truly amazing to see it growing right before my eyes. I am really thrilled Taryn Thomas has started her own company and is making things happen for herself. Way to go Taryn!

Now on to other things. All of you bad mouthing Taryn is absolutely uncalled for. So stop being so childish, and saying things that are not facts.

John Philips
John Philips

I think this is a wonderful story. Taryn sure did a great job with taking control of her life. I have to give the girl credit. Congrats to Taryn and The New Times for such a great story.

Layal
Layal

At the risk of nerding up the drooling frenzy and the smack talking battles, I have a few observations and questions:1)Her dad creeps me out. 2)I wonder if the AIDS mess in the LA porn industry will follow them here, or if they are doing anything to prevent it. 3)What type of health care are they provided in conservative AZ? - Does Taryn require STD tests and provide them to her employees? - Are there organizations or clinics that cater to them here?

Now, back to your regularly scheduled flame war.

Someday, I'd like to read a story about a porn star without a troubled past. But then again, we all have trouble in our past.

sean
sean

Carly, think you made ya point with all ya posts??

Wanted to say that i wish Taryn the best.If anyone deserves a shot at this she does.

Good luck

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Johnathan
Johnathan

I read this article and smiled at all the shit talk all you lot have said about Taryn.

I've followed Taryn since the day she stepped foot in the industry and i am aware of all the shit talk that has been said about her too, but i guess that comes with any line of work people do in their lives.

I got a question for all you "none" Taryn fans out there, have you actaully seen any of her movies??

This girl is fucking AWESOME!!

"wannabe mobster"?? how old are you dude..?

AND you think if they was under federal investigation, Would Taryn of even done this article..? Would she still be the number one sort after pornstar in LA?Would there be such a fucking high demand to see her when she feature dances?

Mykal
Mykal

Tarny is a talentless angry drug addict.

Her "boyfriend" is a wanna be mobster who lies and is under federal investigation.

She is fat and her XXX scenes are very week, or phoney.

Her comeback is a joke.

Liar and thief is a they are.

Jon G
Jon G

I have to laugh at how other people have revered Arizona as "the next upcoming porn capital".... This comment was made before when Channel 5 did an expose 5 years ago and it's not any closer now than it was then. When in reality, more adult based businesses are in Florida or even New York. Does our proximity to Cali make us the next big thing?? It's a good article overall, it actually makes Taryn It Up Entertainment great PR too. But nothing is what it seems in this business; other than the fact that people make money in it. And Christian values continue to give free press to it and drive sales... ;0)~

Zac
Zac

I really liked this article. I enjoy this author's writing style and the way she handled the risque topic. The goal of the article was not to be accusatory or inflammatory, or to attack Ms Thomas, least of all with rumors. The author didn't hide Thomas' troubled past, and felt free to mention her problems and slight impropriety. I look forward to reading more of this kind of writing!

Will Donovan
Will Donovan

1. California is the only state where it is explicitly legal to produce pornography. See the case Miller v. California. In any other state, pornography can be considered a form of prostitution.

2. Taryn is not well liked in the XXX community. She burned a ton of bridges when she left, few people would have anything to do with distributing her DVDs. They derisively refer to her as "Chub-Chub) for her frequent weight gyrations.

3. Your writer failed to ask--or reveal--how Taryn got all the money to buy a house in Fountain Hills and start her own business--working on the East Coast for 3+ years as a prostitute.

4. She didn't start spreading her legs for money until 2004.

Will Novak
Will Novak

^Huh? Why would shooting porn be illegal in any state? Maybe its illegal in some backwards place like Utah, but not here we wouldn't do that.

Anyway, good to here the Valley is diversifying its economy, always glad to have an industry thats not tied to the housing industry :D

Steve Langord
Steve Langord

Excuse me but isn't it illegal to shoot porn in Arizona? I thought California was the only state in which porn can be legally shot on video.

 
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