During the COVID-19 pandemic, GayVN caught up with some talent in front of and behind the camera to see how they were handling the time off—and what they see ahead for their industry and community. In this edition, we chat with Steve Cruz—who won multiple GayVN Awards as a performer, and this year took home his first trophy as a director (for Raging Stallion’s Outta the Park!). He recently followed that up with three Grabby Awards for Blood Moon: Timberwolves 2. He chatted with us from his home in Las Vegas as he still waits to complete his first ever Falcon feature.
BJ: How do you think the people in your area are exhibiting safe behaviors?
SC: I’d say they were doing great until we started protesting for haircuts. It doesn’t help when you have leaders of your community so hot to make money, they incite foolish people to congregate.
How have you personally been adjusting? How has life changed for you and your loved ones? What have been the biggest adjustments?
I was rushed home from the set in Austria when the travel ban was announced. I still have to figure out how to complete that project for Falcon Studios. But the experience was still wonderful…and getting to know and bond with the Falcon exclusives has been a new adventure as well. Really great group of guys.
The future for that release is tentative. It will either be an all-sex movie and we scrap the B-roll, because its incomplete; or, depending on how things develop after shelter in place, I may be able to try to shoot more footage domestically and make a new story emerge.
The one positive thing I can say is that this time is bringing out our creative solutions like never before. And if you embrace it, you can only grow. That release is probably out late summer or early autumn.
My company is keeping us safe and plenty busy. Although we can’t film in person, I’m editing and working from home to come up with new forms of entertainment that we’ll enjoy as soon as possible. We’re filming cam-style remote scenes right now. I recently put together my first scene, edit and trailers. I’m happy with the outcome for how restricted we are, and eager to try more of that. Shake it up!
I feel very fortunate we can continue our work in this difficult time when others are struggling—or worse, combatting the disease itself. These nurses and doctors are heroes—they should be celebrated.
What has been the hardest thing for you, and what do you miss the most?
The hardest thing for me has been watching how stupid and privileged some of us are being—trying to break shelter in place when it’s for everyone’s best interest. So, I avoid the news. Beyond that, shelter in place is easy. It’s common sense.
When do you think the porn industry can get back to creating content, and how will this affect how things are done in the near-term and longer-term?
No one can know when it will be safe, we just have to wait this out. That’s why we’re developing safe ways to produce new content right now. All of us are busy creating opportunities to pay our models and keep the fans happy during quarantine. I can imagine, now more than ever, people appreciate the entertainment distraction.
Falcon/NakedSword has been working the past few months in quarantine, adapting special programming that releases during what we call “Weekends on NakedSword.” We developed a category of entertainment called “Model Behavior.” Most of it is sexual in nature, but it’s not limited to just sex: there are games shows, cooking with porn stars and more. All are filmed remotely or with social distancing protocols. My scenes were filmed using webcams, and each scene ends in juicy cum shots with the guys. We’re working on the next steps to return to the new normal for production hopefully late summer depending on how the pandemic progresses.
I’ve seen firsthand how many gay men on the hookup aps don’t seem to care about social distancing and are more than ready to still hook up with a stranger. How do you feel about that, and what would you say to them?
I’d say be patient. Ride this out. Find a safer way to get off. I think because many of us work out and are otherwise healthy we think maybe we are invincible. An acquaintance of mine was recently fighting for his life in a medically induced coma; COVID-19 could have killed him. This man was in fighting shape before infection. Please Google ‘Mike Schultz nurse.’ His story on CNN will come up. Is this something worth risking for a maybe good time?
Realistically, how long do you think it will be until gay men can feel comfortable hooking up on the apps?
No one can know. If I was an app entrepreneur, I’d be looking at other revenue streams right now. We probably won’t be returning to normal, but a new normal that is evolving. It’s surreal. We are looking at how this impacts our own industry, how to do what we do more safely in a post COVID-19 world. Shit, I haven’t even left the house to buy food in three to four weeks. Thankful for delivery apps!
Talk about the importance of porn during this time for people, who need safe ways to get off, relieve stress. Now more than ever it seems porn is proving how much of a purpose it has.
Well I guess it comes full circle to safe sex. Once again, masturbation is the safest way to get off. I’ve been on a regular yank bank spiral as of late. I mean, if we can help, I think that’s terrific!
What lessons about life should this pandemic be teaching us?
Speaking only for myself, who’s been minimally impacted here, facing uncertainty makes you appreciate what you have, what you have worked for and what is essential to you. There is nothing more precious than life. You define what comprises your life, only you. Everything has more meaning. Relationships, what I do with my time, who I engage with and how. Especially as the world seems to spiral, it’s easy to not sweat petty encounters. This time is for savoring. For me, that’s made me more creative: cooking, mixing music, and upping my game on the job. I have not been bored. Our power has always existed in the present moment. It’s just become more clear.