I reached out Nica to see how she was doing and to get her opinion about AEBN bringing back her old studio Rock Candy, which had been dead since she left AEBN in 2014. So she read the press release and said “That’s pretty funny. I guess porn industry people just lie about everything.”
Since my Cowboys had already humiliated the Packers and I had time to kill, I asked her to elaborate by answering some well crafted and mind blowing questions. After you this, please tweet @Pulitzer and ask them where my 1st place ribbon is.
PTT: You said porn people lie about everything, what did you mean by that?
Nica: I guess I should rephrase that, but the press release makes it sound like Rock Candy was the original studio that set the trend for all the other studios, and I would assume that includes Icon Male. But Rock Candy was all me, so that doesn’t even make any sense. AEBN didn’t even want me to do a gay studio. They told me gay fans don’t want storyline in their porn. So reading this press release is just kind of… it’s funny.
PTT: So how did you end up doing a gay studio there?
Nica: I said to Jerry, you promised me if I signed here I could do gay movies. And he said okay but we don’t need another condom studio because we already have Raging Stallion and Falcon. But I reached out to people in gay porn and they told me bareback wasn’t safe, so I wasn’t comfortable doing it. But I was still whining about not being able to do gay movies. So Jerry said okay, we’ll give you one gay movie. We’re not going to build a website or anything, no branding, no promotions, just one movie. It was like throwing me a bone.
PTT: So then what happened?
Nica: So I wrote this really elaborate period piece film. And Jerry showed the script to the guys at AEBNGay and he said everyone laughed at it and said it would never sell. So for the first time I started to lose confidence in myself. I said to Jerry, if it’s a total bomb I’ll pay you guys back half the budget. That’s how scared they made men that no gay fans would want to see it.
PTT: But you made the movie and they put it on the site?
PTT: And then what happened?
Nica: I got an email Monday morning, I think it released on a Thursday, so then Monday I got an email from Jerry. It said I should start planning my next gay movie because we had a hit. So there was this mad rush to build a website for the studio.
PTT: So at first they didn’t even want the studio and they didn’t think there was any niche you could fill with storyline films.
Nica: That’s a hundred percent right. I created that studio with no support at all. And I don’t mind them reviving Rock Candy, I’m happy to see mr. Pam doing it because she deserves opportunities. But it’s not really a revival, it’s just a brand new studio. The original Rock Candy became Icon Male.
PTT: Why do you think AEBN wants to downplay that you came up with the concept and it wasn’t a group effort?
PTT: Also I know you got off twitter because a blogger posted your legal name and where to find you. Are you going to come back at some point?
Nica: He posted my real name and where I work at the same time I was receiving death threats from one of his readers toward me and my child. “I’m going to put a bullet in his head” about my child. So I was forced to leave my job, a career I was just starting outside of adult film. It was a turning point for me to realize that this sick person is just going to keep trying to get me hurt, to get my family hurt. My social media days are over because its these Donald Trump types running the internet now. Degrading and harassing people and rallying hate, inciting violence toward people. If you try to fight them it becomes your whole life, defending yourself against weird lies and attacks night and day. No healthy person wants a life like that. All I want now is to keep my family safe.
PTT: What are you working on?
Nica: I just got approval for a new project for Icon that I’m pretty excited about. I start filming it next month, and it’s kind of a natural progression from what I’ve been doing. So hopefully the fans will like it.
CYBERSPACE—It’s been four years since AEBN released its first original gay erotic feature, His Mother’s Lover, under its then newly minted Rock Candy line of gay porn directed by Nica Noelle. The boundary-pushing studio focused on an under-served taboo niche and quickly saw major success on the AEBN platform and beyond. Putting ordinary people in taboo situations coupled with emotional performances and rich cinematography proved successful in attracting a wider viewing audience for the studio’s typically off-limits religious and forbidden attraction themed films. Perhaps for this reason Rock Candy captured the imagination of both gay and straight audiences though the content was 100 percent male-on-male erotica.
Now, four years later, the studio that identified and filled a gap in the marketplace returns with a new feature, Secrets and Lies. But now that the market has seen seemingly every taboo broken or being broken at breakneck speed, how does Rock Candy plan on distinguish itself within a niche that it helped make trend?
This time around AEBN is keeping it all in the family by joining forces with sister company NakedSword to produce its first new original feature in more than two years. Secrets and Lies is produced by NakedSword Originals, the original content arm of NakedSword, and helmed by acclaimed gay porn director mr. Pam. Tim Valenti, president of Falcon Studio Group and NakedSword, conceived and executive produced the film; Jack Shamama of NakedSword wrote the intricate script.
Not a conventional studio itself, NakedSword has successfully created original content and independent features that stretch the typical definition of gay porn and aim to engage audiences both physically and mentally with entertaining storylines—albeit, not taboo in nature like Rock Candy.
Paying homage to the studio’s beginnings, Secrets in some ways picks up where Rock Candy left off by playing on forbidden family dynamics and taboo desires. According to the team at AEBN, the new Rock Candy feature is less dark and brooding, more modern and light, with a lightness that sets it apart from previous releases. Taking place on the Ridge Family Farm, Secrets and Lies is beautifully shot with bright, gorgeous cinematic moments both indoors and out and features cousins and uncles participating in very non-familial activities. NakedSword aims to do the Rock Candy line justice while at the same time moving the needle forward by adding an element of genuine light heartedness and chemistry that is sometimes missing from today’s taboo-themed content.
“Rock Candy began as an experiment to try and fill in content gaps across our platforms,” explained Matt Gleason, senior content manager for AEBN. “There was greater demand for this taboo content than was available at the time. We tried to use the data we had to more clearly understand what consumers were seeking. It aided in starting the line by helping with the selection of story lines, casting, and the sex acts that would be filmed. The hope at the time was to create filler content for the platform when we needed it but also to see if consumers found this content compelling. The experiment turned out to be very successful and launched well over a dozen successful films. It turns out that the numbers show consumers are still fascinated by this content so it only made since that we continue to produce.”
When it came time to find a new director and production team it was a no-brainer to team up with sister company NakedSword, which has won over a dozen major industry awards since starting its original content division. But the creatie team says fans shouldn’t expect Rock Candy to stick to the same themes that made it popular or to become another version of NakedSword Originals. Tim Valenti said, “Rock Candy will carry on by tackling controversial or taboo themes but moving forward in more varied and creative ways not seen before. Rock Candy will continue to be an experimental line while maintaining the highest level of quality production and standout performances by the industry’s biggest and best performers.”
The value of working within the internal company structure can’t be underestimated, Valenti explained. “Working with AEBN and using their internal data to assist in the script selection process and other aspects of the production process is probably the closest thing you can get to the kind of focus groups often used by Hollywood studios to determine what is likely to captivate and engage audiences the most. That is one example of the many ways that we are working together closely to keep Rock Candy a relevant and successful boundary-pushing line.”
AEBN has been giving the same data to content partners so they can better understand how consumers are reacting to their content, which hopefully leads to the ability to create better content using market data from one of the most-watched adult platforms in the world, AEBN.
Rock Candy and NakedSword’s Secrets and Lies debuted October 3 to huge numbers on AEBN. It is also streaming on NakedSword.com, with one episode being released every week.