Tim Von Swine: The Last Man Working in Porn

Tim Von Swine (TVS) is not likely to be featured in a glossy, curated cable show about the adult business, but he is a pornographer’s pornographer, embodying all the cynicism, dark humor, damage, and perseverance required to stay afloat in an industry that he’s certain is dead in the water.

“Porn is like a purgatory where you can’t go up and you can’t leave for a real job,” he says.

It’s an overcast day in a nice house in Northridge. Von Swine, who last month was honored by the XRCO for his title role in the Best POV Series winner “POV Pervert,” is shooting for his friend Mike John’s series “Praise the Load.” PTL is a blow-bang movie, and Dana DeArmond is kneeling on the hardwood floor ready to provide relief to four men: DSnoop, Mark Zane, Johnny Fender, and Chad Alva.

Most everyone has worked together before, and the mood is light.

“Anybody here on your No List?” Von Swine asks.

“Dana DeArmond does not have a No List,” she says.

“Oh…do you want some off-camera anal?”

DeArmond knows he’s kidding, unless he’s not, but TVS backtracks anyway.

“Good thing I got to pound Sarah Shevon yesterday,” he says, referring to an earlier scene (this PTL is the sixth). “I shot one right across the street. Otherwise I;d get right in there.”

DeArmond knows that, on the set of a blowbang, this is a compliment, so she takes it that way. We are not at a California Pizza Kitchen,

Like a lot of Porn Valley gonzo shooting locations, this airy home has a pool. TVS goes out to clean it for the required scene in which DeArmond, in bikini and high heels, is confronted poolside by a group of men that she then takes back into the house to blow en masse.

“I’m probably the only man in porn, ever, who actually worked cleaning pools,” he says.

Von Swine grew up near Venice Beach in the 1970s, playing hockey, skateboarding, getting in fights (“I didn’t get this nose playing piano”), and it was while cleaning pools that he got his first porn job, for the occupant of a guest house.

“He needed a production assistant, it was 2001, and I was going nowhere,” he says.

Four years before, Von Swine had lost his wife, Donna, to an overdose. While he is now (mostly) sober, the event made him feel that, despite the loyalty of friends, he needed to be prepared to be abandoned at any time.

“She was the love of my life,” he says. “We were together for eight years. I just couldn’t be a regular guy anymore.

“She was 23 when she died,” he continues. “Not cool.”

In a way, TVS says, porn saved him.

“You jump into this world where everybody is damaged in their own way, and you don’t feel like you stick out.”

Since 2001, he has worked for Red Light District, VoyeurMedia, Platinum X Pictures, Pink Visual, Shane’s World, Black Market, and handfuls of other exiting and shuttered video and web companies. He feels that his gig with Mike John, whose titles are distributed by Jules Jordan, will be his last job in porn.

“Unless you’re releasing five movies a month,” he says, “you’re out of business. But on the bright side, you finally can flunk out of porn now. Since there are no jobs, it’s finally getting to be a meritocracy.”

How do you get work and keep it?

“Look at my resume,” he says. “I’ve worked for everybody. There’s people I’ve pissed off, there’s people who’ve pissed me off and I will never work for them again. There’s dudes in this industry who I would tune up at the first opportunity. That said, you have to be willing to pick up the camera, check [STD] tests, drive people around, and not slack off. Honestly? People who don’t work are the ones who aren’t working.”

Loyalty and honesty are also important to Von Swine.

“I’ve known Mike John since we were kids. We grew up in Venice together. I don’t know if it’s that family mentality or what, but I value his honesty. And you may not like what I say, but I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve lost too much to make up stories about people.”

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“This business is too small to lie,” he says. “I know people travel in different circles, but you’re always going to run into the people talking shit about you, so it’s best to tell the truth and not waste your time.”

In addition to directing, TVS performs, both on camera and as a POV performer. He isn’t boastful about his onscreen appearances, but points out that anyone doing the job right needs the right attitude.

“I’m not Tim [real last name] when I’m performing. I’m ‘Tim Von Swine.’ My first POV was with Jasmine Byrne in 2004. Getting your head around the fact that you, as a male performer, are just another paycheck, or model release, is a liberating feeling. But you have to get your head there. You look into someone’s eyes and you just know she’s not looking at you. So you have to make it about your alter ego.”

“What happened that day?”

“I remember the first scene went fine, but then I just caught that look and realized how venal a situation it was. I had to take a break and come back as ‘Tim Von Swine,’ whoever that was.”

“And what was your new game plan?”

“You don’t need her to like you—This is porn; we’re in the business of helping people jerk off—You just have to find a way to deliver a load to her face.”

Von Swine doesn’t care if the detachment is ecstatic (“Steve Holmes is wired to fuck a chair; he’s so lost in his depravity”) or workmanlike (“Very few people are like Erik Everhard, who can do a standing POV with wolves biting on his ass in a blizzard”), just as long as a performer becomes detached from any expectations that porn is real.

TVS is quick to clarify that his outlook isn’t a despairing one, but he has no time for sugarcoating things, either. Whether it’s about the quality of his work or the longevity of the porn business.

“If I kept false notions about any of this, it would be worse when it all falls apart, which it will anyway,” he says.

I ask what’s wrong with the porn business and Von Swine does not talk about piracy or condom use, but a true stabilization of supply and demand.

“People still think we’re selling 20,000 copies of movies,” he says. “When we’re lucky to sell 3,000. Internet companies—Reality Kings, Brazzers—are shooting for updates, not for fans. Oversupply is what killed porn.”

Von Swine says this in between breaks. One guy had to be sent home because his test wasn’t able to be verified. He high-fives people as he leaves. I lean on a kitchen counter strewn with porn and hockey magazines. Von Swine lives here, and keeps a tidy office in the back.

“I used to run around trying to clean the place up, move the magazines around,” he says, “but then I thought, Why? People want to see a house that looks lived in during a blowbang. You’re not waiting for them to say, “Hey, nice house.'”

In the living room, DSnoop is speaking for the quartet of men DeArmond is sucking off. He is an affable dude and sounds just like Snoop Dogg.

“Yeah, baby, snort that fuckin’ dick juice up, you nasty little girl.” he says.

“You can be nasty, too, Baby,” she says.

“Yes, we’re nasty men.”

Later, DeArmond says, “I’m a crazy mix of issues and neuroses and body dysmorphia,” to which DSnoop replies, “Ohh, keep saying that crazy shit.”

Despite porn’s modest aims, TVS doesn’t think success in porn is a fluke. He mentions John Stagliano, Christoph Clark, and Joey Silvera as geniuses whose commitment were as important as their timing.

In addition, he busted out a few terms that, if he didn’t invent them, he helped to popularize, such as The King’s Chair (seated man receives blowjob from standing woman—and DeArmond’s variation is that she also humps the man’s knee) and the Teabag Merry-Go-Round, which needs no explanation.

He is satisfied with his own several dozen movies as director (and twice that as performer) as examples of quality jerkoff material.

“It’s not Kubrick,” he says.

Von Swine has been dating the performer and Padded Kink webmistress Kelly Shibari for more than a year, and they make a cute couple and are very supportive of one another.

“But I would tell anyone, I lost the love of my life. Donna was it,” he says. “I won’t marry you and I won’t have kids with you. But I’ll be loyal, I’ll help.”

At times, Von Swine’s fatalism seems relentless. He is not lying when he says he is not cynical or hopeless; he takes pleasure in the company he keeps and he’s content with his work, but he is always aware that everything will end.

“Porn is a terminal career,” he says. “This is a terminal life. But I’m not exactly joyless about it. I just feel like Jackie Gleason.”

Indeed, Von Swine’s screen saver is a shot of Jackie Gleason from the pool shark movie “The Hustler.”

“You know, I got into porn one fateful day when I went to clean a pool,” he says, “and I fully expect to leave with nothing to show for it except some great stories.”

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One of those stories involves a Christmas party a few years ago.

“It was some friends of the family of my late wife,” he says. “Kind of a Hollywood party. I got introduced as The Porn Director, and this group of three well-dressed 50-year-old ladies were very interested in the terminology, the things that went on at a porn set.

“They were astounded to hear that the girls come to us, that we don’t go out looking for them. You can tell that they really loved hearing about honest, dirty sex, about girls learning to love being plundered in every hole…”

“You mean, ‘This is just my job, I don’t really think about it that hard'”? I ask.

“Yeah,” Von Swine says. “Eventually it got uncomfortable for me, and I had to stop talking. And I’m supposed to be the Porno Scumbag.”

I ask TVS what he’ll do when and if porn, as is his prediction, can no longer provide a living wage.

“Porn’s a roll of the dice, Dude,” he says. “But I can still clean pools. That’s an honest job.”

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: You have to be limber in this business; Home for Eros Day with Dr. Suzy
See also: Tim Von Swine

9 comments

  • Great interview. Thx

  • I would also like to mention that there are many of us that are still working. We just don’t get out much :)

  • Dirty Dan

    Thanks Gram. These behind the scenes interviews are really interesting to me.

  • You’re right, James. There’s still a lot of people laboring in the pornfields, just not as many as last year, or the year before. This series is about how various people make it work.

  • Thanks, Gram, for such an insightful interview with Tim.

    Yes, he may be fatalistic. Yes, he may even at times seem overly pessimistic. But given his life history, you really can’t blame him.

    I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be able to spend the time he has here in the best way we can. He’s an amazing guy who honestly has treated me better than any other guy I’ve ever dated (and I’ve dated way too many to count, LOL). He may never say “I love you,” but he shows his affection, loyalty and devotion every single day. He’s honest, sometimes brutally so, but has never lied to me. He may sleep with other girls, but that’s porno, and it’s not cheating. He’s old-school in every sense of the word and I adore him for that.

    And I’d take him over any guy who says the words and then cheats, lies, and otherwise devalues our relationship any day of the week. I think most ladies would agree.

    I know this is a long comment, but I’d received some questions about my place in Tim’s story, so just wanted to clarify :)

  • Thanks, Kelly. Those three words are tremendously powerful for someone who respects them, and I agree that TVS’s actions speak even louder.

  • JR

    I hated TVS halfway through this, and ended up with major respect. Good job TVS, good job (?) TVS. We’ll all be cleaning pools eventually.

  • JR

    Uh, I meant Good job Gram. I’ll let you guess whether or not you had the parenthetical question mark.

  • Pingback: “Porn is a terminal career” — Tim Von Swine : POONTALK

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