You could learn a lot from a porn star…
1. Understand what your audience likes.
This one’s famous: at some point in his career, Ron Jeremy realized that the fatter and more out of shape he became, the more money he made. “I like to think that I’ve given confidence to millions of men across the world,” Jeremy relayed in his autobiography, Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man In Showbiz. “They look at themselves in the mirror and think, ‘Y’know, compared to Ron Jeremy, I’m not that bad looking at all.”
2. Understand that audiences also like things that aren’t you.
In the book, Jeremy’s recounts stories about his (usually) friendly arch-nemesis, John Holmes. Yes, his was bigger than Ron Jeremy’s (by several inches), and he was skinny. Which is sort of a variation on the theme: “You can have all the good-looking guys with the body-builder physiques, guys out there in the audience want to see some gigantic penis going into some cute little blonde or brunette.”
3. Don’t do drugs.
Holmes (who was loosely portrayed in Boogie Nights) died after becoming embroiled in heavy drugs and crime. And it eventually killed his ability to perform on camera and make a living.
By sharp contrast, Ron Jeremy stayed clean, and that even includes Viagra: “The minute I need a pill to get wood, I’m going to retire from the business,” Jeremy wrote. “I don’t care how old I get. I want my boners to be au natural.”
4. Own it, no matter what the world says.
Musicians constantly deal with derisive comments and sneers from mainstream society. Well, it’s way worse in porn. Ron Jeremy may have existed in the ‘Golden Age of Pornography,’ (see Boogie Nights), but that doesn’t mean society was kind to skin flicks. Indeed, Jeremy’s sets were routinely raided in the early days based on trumped-up prostitution charges, which was just one part of society’s rather unfriendly view towards pornography.
Even these more liberated days, Jeremy is often treated more as a novelty than a serious actor.
5. Talk to your parents. Try to convince them.
Jeremy was lucky: his parents supported his pornography career, as long as he didn’t use the family name (which is ‘Hyatt’). But even if Ron Hyatt’s parents didn’t give their blessing, he probably would have done it anyway.
6. Gig all the time, and be willing to travel.
Ron Jeremy has done more than 2,000 films (a record), many of which required red-eye flights and 5 am wake-up calls. “It was a large part of why I became so famous in the porn world so quickly,” Jeremy explained. “I wanted to work. And if that meant leaving one set at midnight and driving to LAX to catch a red-eye to New York for another movie the next morning, I’d do it.”
7. Don’t Sleep.
“My friends have accused me of having narcolepsy,” Jeremy wrote. “While I’ll admit to occasionally falling asleep in public places, I don’t think a medical condition is to blame. If I slowed down long enough to get a proper six hours of sleep a night, I might not suffer from spontaneous napping.”
8. Just Say ‘Yes’
Ron Jeremy is a relentless worker, and says yes — flat out — to any role in which the production has a studio and budget involved. “I don’t want to waste time going over details,” Jeremy says. “If a studio or network wants in, I’m happy to do whatever it is. You want to do a reality series about Ron Jeremy cleaning his shoes? I’ll do it. Cruise around Sunset with some half-naked girls? Fine. Whatever. I don’t care. I’m not that picky. I’m a performer.
“That’s what I do. I entertain.”
9. Live what you do.
And what does Ron Jeremy do in his spare time? Hang out at swinger’s clubs having sex, because that’s what he loves to do. Just like artists should always be jamming and practicing offstage, even when there’s no audience (at least a big one). “From the moment I walked into the doors of Plato’s, I knew I was home,” Jeremy wrote about his late-70s exploits at the wild New York club. “It was a swingers’ club straight from the smuttiest edges of my imagination.”
10. Try new things, even if they scare you.
Ron Jeremy got into live sex in his 50s, despite all sorts of fears. That includes a complete lack of control over the filming, and total leap outside his comfort zone (controlled filming in closed studios), and… his erection. “And then there was the matter of my erection,” Jeremy relayed. “On a porn set, I could always ask the crew to leave so that I could focus on my boner. But what was I going to do with three hundred guys staring at me? ‘Hey, would you mind leaving the room for a few minutes? Thanks.””
Check out Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man In Showbiz here.
Image of Ron Jeremy by Glenn Francis, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).