Daze in the Valley
Copyright© 2010 by Jay Cantrell
Drama Sex Story: Chapter 56 - Adam Walters is a 19-year-old farm boy going to college in the big city. Reeling from the deaths of his parents and struggling with the financial hardship those deaths bring, he takes the advice of a friend and enters the porn world. With the aid of his pals - and some exceptional young women - Adam helps to transform a business known for wicked excess and questionable integrity into a stable, profitable enterprise. Note: Codes represent only physical acts between main characters
Allie, Sarah and Shelly plopped heavily on the couch when they got back to the apartment. The groups had split up on the ride back from the restaurant. Shelly and Sarah rode with Rachelle and Sean to discuss business matters. Mary and Walt rode with Allie and Adam to discuss more mundane topics. Still, Allie voiced the question everyone wondered when Adam walked inside.
"Do you think Dazzle will go for it?" she asked.
"No," Adam said succinctly as he got a bottle of water from the kitchen and asked if anyone else wanted anything. He was greeted by silence and he turned to see three faces looking at him incredulously.
"You think they'll pass?" Sarah wondered.
"Yes," Adam stated.
"Why?" Shelly asked. "What did we do wrong?"
"Us, nothing," Adam told them. "Look, Dazzle is a bottom-line company. They have no fall-back if this tanks and it's far from a sure thing. Our market sample is too small to give a true indication. For all we know, the people who bought Allie's video and who downloaded Sarah's trailer are all that's out there. We have no real data to present to prove otherwise. All we have is allegorical: we don't want to work this way so no one else will either. I see us going ahead and partnering up with Daystar and then Dazzle wanting a piece once they see it working."
"But you do think it will work, right?"Allie asked, sitting forward on the couch.
"Potentially," Adam admitted. "I don't think it is a sure thing. We'll need to watch over-extending at first. We want to make a splash out of the box, so to speak, but we really want to set a reasonable budget and stick to that budget. If we take $25,000 and make a feature that earns $100,000 it is going to have a bigger affect than if we spend $250,000 and it earns a million. Not many places have $250,000 lying around. But almost any reputable business has access to $25,000 either in capital or via loan. Am I making sense?"
"I think so," Sarah said, her brow furrowed. "I'm just not sure I understand your reasoning."
"Me, either," Shelly said.
"I do," Allie offered. "At least I think I do. He's saying that if we look at this from a purely capitalist viewpoint – $750,000 in profits is better than $75,000 – we're only proving what everyone knows. If you have a lot of money it is easy to make a lot more money. But if we go in small, with a budget that is not only realistic to us but others in the business, we will affect change sooner."
Shelly and Sarah's eyes narrowed and they nodded.
"Long-term it is better to turn a smaller profit now and prove it can be done," Sarah said. "Then others follow our lead, potentially reversing the downward spiral industry wide."
"Hmm," Shelly said with mock disgust. "I guess I'll just have to put off that villa in St. Tropez for a few years. Thanks you so little, Adam."
"I'm not saying we'll do it that way," Adam said, holding up his hands. "I am only giving my perception. We have some hard-core capitalists to join your crusade, Miss Smith. I'm sure you can sway others to your way of thinking."
"I'll vote with you if you promise sexual favors," Sarah said with a laugh. "Later though. I never thought I would say this ... but I'm fucked out."
"Me, too," Allie said. "That upside down thing was so hot. It was, well, it was another fantasy realized. Just like last night against the wall. I've never had someone I trusted enough to give him that much control over me."
"Now you do," Shelly said simply. "We all do. We can live out any of our fantasies because we know we're safe."
"How are you feeling?" Adam asked. Shelly smirked.
"Having been turned down by two-thirds of his harem, the sultan turns to the piss girl," she said with a sad shake of her head.
"That is not what I meant," Adam said quickly. Shelly looked up with a wide smile.
"I know, Lover," she said. "I knew what you meant. I'm a little sore. Not terribly so but enough that it is less than comfortable."
"No bleeding or anything?" Sarah asked.
Shelly shook her head.
"Nothing like that," she giggled. "Just the good old-fashioned stretched out pussy feeling that you all have bragged about for two weeks now."
"So we all want to cuddle together again tonight?" Sarah asked with a hint of hopefulness in her voice.
"Sounds like a wonderful plan," Allie said. Adam and Shelly nodded their agreement quickly.
The battles line had been drawn in the upstairs apartment. Sean and Mary thought they should invest as much in the projects as it took to make them successful. Rachelle and Walt disagreed.
"For your project," Walt said to Mary, "it is a good plan. You need to have access to whatever you need to get this done. For Sarah's project, it might work too. But we can't go about this like we've just hit the lottery or won big in Vegas. We have no credibility."
"Money buys credibility," Sean argued. "This is L.A."
"It's not L.A.," Rachelle countered. "It is Van Nuys. It is San Fernando. First off, it is a huge risk. You said it yourself: there is no guarantee this will make money."
"It will make money," Mary replied. "And we're going to have to pay money to get a big draw. Our best advertisement is the amount of money we'll be putting forth. I don't care what Daystar and Dazzle ante up. I want to make this a professional quality production."
"It can be," Walt said. "It will be. But look at it from this prospective. Say we drop a tenth of what we have. The big guns are going to hammer at us from the outset. They are going to do to us what they did to that Star Trek thing Sarah mentioned. They are going to nitpick every little detail because we spent more than everyone else. But if we slip in the back door, we'll have the market share before anyone notices we're there."
"I thought we agreed, no more small dick jokes," Sean laughed. "I see what you're saying and I agree to a point. Dazzle spent $20,000 and their whole set up is clichéd. I mean, the scene with Adam and Sarah was good. Don't get me wrong. But it still was straight from the cheesy porn handbook. We want to be better than that."
"And we are," Rachelle answered. "It starts with quality of the script and continues with the performer. I think everyone in the industry knows a feature starring Allie and Sarah would be huge, particularly after Peaches Magazine hits the stands. But we need to add quality in other ways within reasonable guidelines. We are trying to prove that this is the new way to do things for everyone – not just the new way to do it for those with a hell of a lot of money."
"And if we take a bunch of shortcuts, we'll fail," Mary protested. "If we don't go all out in our first effort it is not worth our effort at all."
"No one is suggesting we take shortcuts," Rachelle replied. "We are only suggesting that we start small – to prove we can do it and do it well and to prove there is money to be made in that sector. Then we progress. I know where you both are coming from. You see this as the backbone of where we go. I don't think that's the case. I think what Mary is working on will be our foundation."
"Technology moves too quickly," Mary asserted. "Sure, right now, what I did is cutting edge. In a year, it will probably be obsolete. That's why we can't just market it for a million dollars a pop. As soon as it hits the market, 10,000 tech guys a hell of a lot smarter than I am will start to poke holes in it. Once they find a flaw, they will exploit the flaw – and let everyone else know how to exploit it, too. Look at WebFront. They are the largest company in the world and have the best and the brightest working for them. They can't produce a product without huge problems. Why do you think I can?"
"I just do," Walt said with a shrug. "I think you took the right approach to things. You focused on one aspect and didn't try to fix everything with one piece of software. You admit you'll have to do DVDs separately. You admit that there is a scenario where your program doesn't work. Still, for now and I think well into the future, it will be better than anything anyone else has."
"Maybe," Mary said. "But it's also possible there are a dozen things already developed that are better. Their owners or developers might be holding on to them in order to drive up the price or because he is negotiating with one particular group. Once mine comes out, he has lost his leverage so he releases his and buries us. Sean and Adam will both tell you the same thing. You cannot build your foundation on technology. It shifts too quickly and is too unstable."
"She's right," Sean said. "I mean, if you asked me, that is what I'd tell you. Adam would, too. Sarah's project is never going to make us a huge amount of money. It will pay for itself and add some to our coffers but it will never be anything more than what it sounds like – a feel-good project."
"That's not fair," Walt replied. "It is not a feel-good project. I think she made some very valid points as to why we should do this and about the long-term benefits it will provide. Sure, it might not show a huge profit on paper – and I know that's what you like to deal with – but it will show a huge benefit in lowering costs in the future and helping us gain a firm foothold. Remember what Tate said: in the long term it will pay for itself 10 times over."
"But we're talking short-term," Sean pointed out.
"Are we?" Rachelle asked. "Is this just some college project for you so you can get into a top-line MBA program? Mary, is that what it is to you? Is it just a way to prove to your professors that you're as good as any guy and deserve a bigger scholarship? It's not that way for me. I plan to still be a part of this group no matter what else I do. Walt, how about you?"
"Yeah," Walt said. "I'm thinking about this being a huge portion of my retirement fund, actually. I have no plans to make a huge profit in a year or two then pull out."
"And neither do we," Mary said with anger creeping into her voice. "Do I think this is where I'll be working and what I'll be doing in 10 years? No, I don't and I also hope I've moved forward to bigger projects. Will I do my utmost to make sure someone is trained in what I know before I leave? Sure I will. I don't think of this as a lifelong commitment. It is a sidelight to where I'm going. It will look good on my resume. I don't discount that. But I also think we need to maximize our profits now while the market is open. We need to decide if this is a business venture or if we're just on a goodwill tour for people that we like. If it is a business – and I thought it was – then we need to focus on making money. If it isn't, we can do things smaller scale."
"It will be a hell of a lot easier to turn a profit on a $25,000 investment than it will be on one three times that size," Rachelle responded, also with a touch of venom.
"True," Sean said evenly. To him this was a philosophical discussion. It wasn't personal. He saw no need to get angry until it was time to get angry. "But it will be much easier to make a marketable product with a larger budget."
"Will it?" Walt asked also in a calm voice. "We just spent four hours over two days showing companies how it would be easier to make a profit by lowering expenditures. Say we toss a $250,000 at the project. What would we spend it on? The talent, from what I gather, is six performers, four of whom have a vested interest in working for a reasonable rate. Ben and Holly will do the production and direction. I'm sure they will work for a reasonable rate, particularly given the performers.
"There is no need for on-location shoots. Anything we can do at a field in Granada can be done in a warehouse in Van Nuys. Regardless of what we want, we're not going to be able to buy expensive advertising to promote it. They won't sell it to us even if we drop a half million. We're going to advertise on the net and in trade publications and by word of mouth. I think, when we sit down and total up the costs, it will be far less than what either of you think it will be. Anything we spend beyond that is just wasting money to waste money. Rather than bicker and quarrel, let's wait until we get back from Break and talk to Ben. He has already been running numbers for a week. We'll see what Dazzle is willing to put in and what Daystar is willing to put in and we'll cover the rest."
"Dazzle will balk," Sean said, agreeing with Adam on this point, although they hadn't discussed it. "They'll want in during the second half and they'll want Mary's products but they are too ego-centric – especially the woman – to give way to anyone. She didn't want to work with Ben because it meant a loss of status for her. And she viewed us as a bunch of snot-nosed kids who had no idea what we were talking about."
"She might be right," Walt said. "It goes back to the fact there are no guarantees. We might put out a tremendous product that is light years ahead of what the industry has seen before – and everyone might hate it."
"Which is another point against wading in too deeply," Rachelle pointed out. "This industry, from what I've seen and heard, is reactionary. They will wait to see what our product does before they commit to anything similar. We'll have time to make a bigger splash with our second feature, if we need to. I agree with Walt – and if anyone ever mentions that again, I'll hurt them – but there really is no need to spend a lot. We can do it right without breaking the bank. And if it sells, it will be huge."
"I think we need to broach this to the group as a whole instead of fighting individual battles," Mary said. "Look, I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings with what I said. But Subarctic is never going to be a tech company."
"Says who?" Sean asked. "It started out as real estate venture. Now it's an investment group in the adult industry too. There is no reason it can't have a tech branch or an engineering branch or a marketing branch or any other branch. What I want to do over the next two years is to grow Subarctic as large as we can. Then, when we graduate and move forward, we can decide where Subarctic goes. As much as it pains me to admit it, I agree with Walt, too. I can see this venture being at least a minor part of my life forever."
"You can see yourself being named CEO of a multi-million dollar corporate entity by the time you're 25, you mean," Rachelle smirked.
"CFO, maybe," he said. "I'm more of a numbers guy. We'll need someone with a better idea of long-term planning for the top spot. At least that's how I always figured it."
"Adam?" Mary asked. Then she answered her own question. "Adam."
Sean nodded and smiled.
"Why not?" he asked. "I saw the financial statements from his farm. It's going to make it and it's actually doing pretty well. He got either really lucky and hired a good manager or, and this is my guess, he already knew who he could trust and turned it over to him. I've been following the farming industry pretty closely since I found out. He's thinking five years down the road, sacrificing small profits now for long-term viability. It's a shame he can't see any dividends from it. If the earning reports he's getting are right, it's making about $12,000 a month clear. I'm sure he wouldn't mind seeing a little of that from time to time."
The group nodded gravely.
"On the brighter side, he's happy," Rachelle said. "I mean, you know, with his living situation. I do sort of missing having him around though."
"Yeah," Walt agreed. "I miss not having coffee ready when I get up of the mornings."
"A couple of months," Sean said. "We'll close on the house when we get back. There is no reason we have to wait until June to move in."
"You mean that?" Mary asked. "I mean, we could move in earlier if we want?"