Sam Benjamin attended Brown University from 1995 to 1999, where he spent his time deciphering post-modern theory, drawing comic books, and making self-indulgent videos. During his tenure he maintained a regular strip in the daily newspaper and self-published two full-length black-and-white comic books: Masturbating into a Sock and Supersad.
Post-school life led Sam to Santa Cruz, California, where he discovered an impressive network of marijuana farmers but not much in the way of a contemporary arts scene. Yet it was in this town that he first hatched his pornographic destiny. A stoned midnight revelation led him to believe he would produce “feel-good” erotic films and sell them on eBay, garnering a modest fame for his efforts, revolutionizing a dying genre, and making a small killing in the process.
Sam’s first year producing “intelligent porn” was marked by low production values, financial blundering, and generalized sexual unease. He produced his first film, We Always Want, on a dime, but sold it on eBay for even less. His next effort necessitated a last-minute “stunt penis” that was, unfortunately, his own. His search for tractable hippie actresses within Santa Cruz County, more often than not, came up empty.
Hungry to play with the big boys, Sam swallowed hard and moved down south, to Los Angeles, where he found himself living in squalor alongside of a methamphetamine-sniffing iguana saleswoman and a desultory Mexican conceptual artist. Poverty was here; but so were the big-leagues, with the real porn-stars. He sniffed of them enticingly.
Sam worked a host of demeaning jobs (most memorably as a go-go dancer in a West Hollywood bar) before catching on as a director for a major pornographic production company. At night he dreamed of sweet porno love, and creating a “new” kind of adult cinema; but by day he shot crap and admitted it his own.
For three years he climbed the ladder. Gaining riches and accruing sins, he spent a summer living inside a porn mansion in Malibu; grew his hair out; found porn love, after all; broke his heart; aged; found rough sex; scared himself; burnt out; quit the biz; escaped to Southeast Asia; fasted; got boils all over his body; cleared his head; atoned for his sins; returned home; applied to graduate school.
Sam Benjamin graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2005, with a joint degree in Critical Studies and Integrated Media. He delivered the valedictory speech at his graduation.
This is his first book.