At first I didn’t get why the Elegant Angel director of “Maddy O’Reilly Is Slutwoman” and dozens of other movies for Zero Tolerance, Black Ice, and 3rd Degree called himself “MimeFreak.” More confusing to me was how much it sounded like Mindgeek, the controversial parent company of Brazzers and several porn tube sites. For one thing, I hadn’t heard of him before, even though I’d been unknowingly watching his work for years.
“That’s the thing,” he says. “I stay in the background. I’ve been around for years, and people still say, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?'”
If MimeFreak, 32, sounds like a Porn Valley superhero, he’s got a great origin story.
“[In 2005] I was working in the duvet section of Bed, Bath & Beyond,” he says, “when [porn director] Chris Streams starts coming in. We get to talking over the next couple of months, and he tells me he’s a director. I’m looking at him, thinking, ‘You ain’t no Hollywood director…'”
Soon Streams had him shooting Behind the Scenes (BTS) footage for his 3rd Degree movies. “He told me that I had a good eye, but that I needed to hold the camera like a football, or a baby.”
This began an apprenticeship that eventually led to Elegant Angel, where MimeFreak has, as of this writing, directed seven of the company’s larger movies, including O’Reilly in “Performers of the Year 2014.”
But beyond the very real study and labor it takes to be a porn director, MimeFreak’s story illustrates something basic about San Fernando Valley’s greatest export: Success often involves a high tolerance for interesting people.
I still don’t understand how you got from the duvet section to shooting BTS
“We just got along,” MimeFreak says.
Raised by a single mother in South Central L.A., MimeFreak’s father died when his son was seven. By the time he met Streams, he says, his mother had installed a great bullshit detector.
“Some kids at school had told me to ask my mother about the Birds and the Bees,” he says. “So I did. She said, ‘Birds and the Bees? You mean fucking. Your daddy and I fucked in the kitchen, and that’s how we got you.
“So I went back to school with that information, and said, ‘I still want to know what the Birds and the Bees are. You hit me with some bullshit right there. I want to laugh, too!'”
MimeFreak’s sexual awakening didn’t involve discarded Hustlers behind the junior high school.
“I was jacking off to ‘Three’s Company,’ ‘Punky Brewster,’ ‘Small Wonder’ — the girl who was a robot …”
Punky Brewster eventually got a breast reduction.
(“The fuck is wrong with you?” MimeFreak tells Punky.)
“But by the time I got older, ‘[Zalman King’s] ‘Red Shoe Diaries’ was my shit.”
“People like Chris Streams, Pat Myne, and Mick Blue taught me to creatively problem-solve. What happens when Bonnie Rotten gets sick? Skin Diamond. Chris Streams told me to keep it simple. Sometimes you learn from other people’s mistakes when you figure out how to work smarter, not harder.
“But I still got a lot of that common sense from my mom, who kept us fed. She was a chef at Universal Studios. Five kids, five different fathers. She did things like bought the winter coats in the summer and the summer stuff in the winter. She’s still teaching me stuff about how to be a parent (MimeFreak has two children). You talk about that common sense, it’s not a South Central thing, it’s a My Mom thing.”
Your mother sounds like she’d love your wife, Tori Black.
“My mother loves the hell out of her. She (Tori) is like the female me. We’re both on opposite sides of the party, talking loud. My friends think she’s one of the guys. A good day is when we’ll watch movies all day and then have taco night. She’s sassy, she’s got her own demons like I do, and she’s always there when I have an emotional breakdown. I can tell why my mom loves her, because I love her.”
We try to emphasize that, despite how fun it can be, Porn is a Job. But can you talk about the type of personality that wins out?
“[They] think that now that I’m in the director’s chair I’ll coast? Fuck that shit: This journey continues. I book the locations that showed me love, I book the talent that showed me love, I put money in people’s pockets. And don’t think this material is something it isn’t: You can have all the crazy and the hoopla and the fire-breathing dragons, but people want a skin flick.”