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Two months later, in the summer of 2002, the phone rang; Steel was on the other end. He wanted to try out Butders for a scene in Davie. It paid $150, Steel said. When the day came, Butders was jumpy. The set wasn't reassuring a "crappy" little apartment where another couple was finishing up a scene on the floor and having sex in front of strangers was nerve-racking. Midscene, Butders had to take a break and masturbate in the bathroom to prepare for the money shot. The girl opposite him was doing her first scene too, and seemed scared. "She freaked out when we did anal," Butders recalls. She was digging her nails into his pelvis.
And so a career was born. Butders began doing more and more scenes. He quit his job as a trainer, moved out of his mom's place, took a daily menu of supplements, and kept his pubic hair trimmed. His name got around. He was dependable, they said, easy-going, no-nonsense, a good "woodsman." He appeared on ballhoneys.com, a site focused on black, Latina, and Asian women; haileyyoungxxx.com, a Twiggy-like porn starlet's site; scoreland.com, "#1 in Big Boobs"; Miami Maidens, an amateur DVD series; and hotamateurmpegs.com, where he was the main male talent. Soon he was commanding $500 to $600 per scene, almost top dollar for "pro studs." (Female porn stars typically make $1000 to $1500 per scene in Miami's Internet-based industry.) Butders could live comfortably and pay off the tuition bills he had accumulated during his year-and-a-half of college.
People don’t go into porn to change the world. The lure of big paydays in Miami’s porn business attracts mostly young women from all over the country. Once they overcome any lingering doubts, the motivation is pretty simple, says Barbie, a former modeling agent who asked that her real name be witheld: “Okay, one hour of work, a thousand dollars.”
After being propositioned by a porn director in a South Beach club a year ago, Barbie, now 22 years old, started her informal agency. She advertised on adult job sites. Although most of her business came from established porn actresses, Barbie recruited more than a few “newbies” at bars and clubs. “They get drunk and they start talking about everything,” she says. After six months, Barbie quit. She felt like she had been using the girls she recruited, taking advantage of their insecurities and lack of savvy. “In retrospect, I don’t think I even cared about the girls,” she says. “I did it purely for the money.”
Joseph Thomas tells a somewhat different story. Known as JT, a well-endowed, gap-toothed star of bangbus.com, he sees Miami's porn world as a harmless ticket to financial independence and a laid-back lifestyle. "I'll be a pornographer for life," the 26-year-old said recently over quesadillas and spinach dip at the Clevelander in South Beach. The transplanted New Jerseyite worked as an exterminator when he first moved to Fort Lauderdale seven years ago, but he was curious about the porn industry. It sounded like a good time, and Thomas figured he was marketable. (He claims he has a ten-inch penis and can fellate himself, something he has done for gay porn videos but says he takes no pleasure in. "It's like tickling yourself.")
So Thomas went to work for a wealthy first-time director who paid him $40,000 up front to do 50 scenes. On the first day, the director told him, he'd have three scenes in a row. He would play an auto mechanic "servicing" three different women in a garage. "Dude, I can't do that," he remembers saying. "You're young," was the only response. So Thomas did it, squeezing in ten-minute breaks to catch his breath, eat a doughnut, or down a cold drink. The scenes never made it to the Web or video, but Thomas was hooked on the business. About 700 scenes later, he drives a sleek black Jaguar and talks about being a family man. He'd rather show you photos of his six-month-old daughter than the tattoo of a joint-smoking jester on his upper arm. His fantasy? To hang out on the beach with his girlfriend and daughter, and "not ever hear the word porn," he says.
Sipping a Johnny Walker Black Label on the rocks, his favorite drink, Butders is as likely to discuss the historical development of social mores as he is to expound on perky breasts. He segues seamlessly from brusque porn talk "My job is I got to get naked, put my dick in her, and come in her face" to starry-eyed domestic dreams "My destiny is becoming a good father and raising children."
Sometimes Butders, a bachelor, wears a wedding ring to shoots. It cuts down on emotional complications and ensures things won't go beyond the set, he says. In fact, aside from a little friendly chitchat before a scene, Butders rarely talks to the girls he has sex with. He even tries to avoid thinking about them while his body is crashing up against theirs. He imagines the innocent-looking makeup girl, he concentrates on the sensation in the tip of his penis, he daydreams about anything that will help him keep his edge. "You got to go to that happy place and get hard."