Marc Dorcel SA- Adult Studio

By on February 20, 2020

Paris, FR – What can you tell us about the early days of Marc Dorcel and how the company was founded?
Well, young Marc wanted to study Art Deco- be it pottery, watercolors or painting, he had a special gift for arts. Unfortunately, our budding artist did not follow up on this path, his parents being against him embracing such a risky career.
Marc et Gregory Dorcel 01
He took his first steps in life working in a sewing machine company as an industrial designer and was soon promoted to the technical and commercial department. After 26-months military service, he went back to his work at the sewing company. Although he was earning a good living, Marc was always eager for more; his friends had their own apartments and nice cars and Marc was getting increasingly ambitious: he wanted to have a business of his own. He then met somebody who stirred up his whole life.

At that time, his parents owned a house in Seine-et-Marne. Right next to it lived the owner of a public works truck company who made up to 500 francs a day for transporting goods between different building sites. That seemed an easy job to Marc who then had the idea of buying 15-ton trucks, hiring drivers and setting up his own transport company.

Thus, in 1965, with his parents’ financial help, Marc Dorcel launched his own business, ‘Transports Dorcel’. But a rather buoyant beginning was to be followed by a bumpy downfall. Mechanical problems soon caused a great number of trucks to be stuck most of the time in the car repair shop and the company started to operate at a loss. This nightmare lasted for over a year and then, a fed-up Marc Dorcel decided to give it all up and sling his hook to an apartment on Place des Vosges. It is not far from there that one day, he will have another chance encounter which will prove to be crucial to him.

Every day he used to pass by a man who spent his time opening dozens and dozens of envelopes with checks inside. Marc Dorcel soon made friends with him and discovered that he earned a living by selling erotic literature by direct mail throughout the region. As Marc Dorcel remembers: “He was just lolling around in a meadow, did nothing all day except go to his PO box to get his mail, and nonetheless, he lived reasonably well!”.
In 1968 Marc decides to take up a new adventure- publish erotic writings. With two friends, he founds ‘Select Diffusion’, to sell books with vitriolic titles through advertising. Debts soon force Marc to let go of his transport company, He hopes that direct-mail sales will be a growing success. Actually, the launching of this new business would scare off many since its revenues rarely exceed five to six pounds a day.

Moreover, one of his partners splits off in an attempt to avoid what seemed to him to be a company that is doomed for failure, leaving only Alain P. who, on the contrary, is a staunch believer in the venture. Time will prove him to be right, On the way, Marc will come across a talented Swiss journalist, Pietr Bauer, who, impressed by Marc Dorcel’s charisma and thinking he was dealing with an important publisher, readily gives him the publishing rights on a remarkable erotic novel – ‘Ursula’. Paired with the writer’s literary talent and a cleverly prepared book launch, the manuscript quickly becomes a best-seller in the region: over 20,000 books sold in less than three months.

This is the beginning of Marc Dorcel’s success as he is striking gold for the first time. Right before the Youth Commission takes action to ban the material from minors and from being exhibited and advertised in any way. This was a clear condemnation of the book.
Repeated summons to the seventeenth correctional chamber, together with the corresponding convictions for breach of moral standards by means of the book, do not scare Marc Dorcel, on the contrary, drive him to create a new publishing company:

‘Select Diffusion’ thus becomes ‘SDC’ (simply, ‘Sélection Diffusion Contact’). But at the beginning of the seventies, the craze for erotic writings starts to fade: the audience is in need of images. Far from living off his reputation and current achievements, Marc Dorcel is considering diversification. Erotic photo-stories are already on the market, mainly imported American magazines with ‘retouched’ pictures (genitals and pubic hair were hidden under grossly drawn underwear), for which people would spend up to 120 or 140 francs (quite a bit of money at that time). Marc Dorcel then decides to launch the first colour erotic photo-story on the French market. A truly genuine revolution’ Typical ‘Dorcelian’ style is already clearly identifiable throughout the pages: superb young posh women, wearing stylish enticing underwear. Once more, it’s big success! But censorship, together with a devastating tax control, will put an end to what could have been an endless gold-mine- Marc Dorcel was back to square one.

Far from giving up, a few months later, he undertakes the photo-story adventure all over again. Business goes flying colours while Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s advent to power in 1974 brings about changes that will soften censorship. He sets up a new company, ‘Éditions Pierre-Yvon’, and moves into new premises on ‘rue de Sèvres’. Two video recorder repair engineers share the premises’ patio. Soon dazzled by their neighbours’ high-quality publishing, they soon talk Marc Dorcel into retranscribing all glossy paper printed materials onto videos, thus giving birth to ‘Vidéo Marc Dorcel’.

The very first X movie produced and directed by Marc Dorcel in 1979 was ‘Jolies petites garces’ (Pretty Little Bitches). Credits for this 53-minute video include a certain Maryline Jess, future ‘Dorcelian’ muse, and a young man called Stanislas Piotr at the dawning of a brilliant career. By the way, to celebrate his 100th production, Marc Dorcel re-published this little jewel, to many collectors’ greatest delight. Today, his opinion about ‘Jolies petites garces”’ is unmerciful: “This movie’s technical defects mark its very genuineness. The ingenuousness of some of the situations make it even more moving”.

Nevertheless, in 1979, success strikes like lightning: very quickly, over 4,000 tapes of ‘Jolies petites garces’ are sold to sex-shops for 500 francs each, profits are enormous. This craze can be explained by the then prevailing context- a law had just been approved about X movies. Up to then they had been released in all movie theatres but from now, they would be restricted to specialized projection rooms. This law greatly enhanced X video boom!
And if ‘Jolies petites garces’s screenplay may seem today rather concise, Marc kept all those photo-story ingredients that make an explosive mixture in his movie: finely-crafted sets, well arranged actors and actresses and excessive use of lingerie are all blended into a refined eroticism, cleverly balanced with hardcore scenes… Marc Dorcel himself was surprised by the audience’s broad acceptance. This will not keep him from continuing his stride of building a whole video collection: he produces and directs two more movies, ‘Les mauvaises rencontres’ (Bad Encounters) and ‘Orgie extra conjugale’ (Extra-marital Orgy). This is the time when Marc Dorcel decides to give up photo-story activities and dedicate himself full-time to movie production. He hires Michel Barny, a gifted movie-maker with whom he makes over fifteen movies. Together, they work relentlessly, screenplays become more sophisticated and sets are carefully chosen and always luxurious… resulting in ‘Tendre Corinne’ (Loving Corinna), ‘Ma cousine de Paris’ (My Cousin From Paris), ‘Hôtel Bon Plaisir’ (Good Pleasure Hotel)… (directed by Michel Barny), and ‘Julie la douce’ (Sweet Julie), ‘Les culottes de Charlotte’ (Charlotte’s knickers), ‘Belles de rêves’ (Dream Girls)… (directed by J. Helbie).

How did filming adult movies back then compare to today’s movie production?
The movies were based on big actor roles and a big story line. The actors were more actors than performers. The staging was very meticulous because the films was very expensive (one scene cost a lot). Today, with digital technology, we can retouch, cut and edit each scene, it’s easy and It costs nothing. In In earlier times, the sense of taboo was very strong, and the storylines were very well developed. Nowadays, it’s replaced by performers with accomplished intense sexual performances. Regarding distribution, the aim was to get maximum exposure and sales around the world with a large production budget. Today, most studios aim to make a lot of low budget scenes. Today, DORCEL is committed to developing quality content, products and high services with an elegant style. We always take care to deliver maximum quality to customers.

What is size of company today, how many staff and in which fields do they operate?
100 Employees spread across:
– Production of content and product manufacturing
– Purchasing and sourcing
– B2B distribution licensing and wholesale
– TV channels VOD platform web services development
– Marketing team
– Administration
Annual gross revenue – 45 million dollars.
The head office is in a Paris downtown district in 15,000 square feet building and we also have 10 adult retail stores in France.

What are some of the main Awards, recognitions you have received?
2019 Grand prix stratégies du brand content bronze – catégorie social content Dorcel Challeng.e
Grand prix brand content catégorie retail e-commerce #Noëldesadultes.
Europa award glamcore movie of the year, ‘Clea Private Banker’ (XBIZ).
In 2015 Agence MARCEL #sanslesmains – Studio of the Year (XBIZ).
And many others…

How well is Dorcel recognized in France? In Europe?
Of course, in France the name Marc Dorcel is well rexognized, including by those who never watch adult movies. Due to the physical presence, most people know us because of our adult retail stores. In Europe we are known by most adult movie consumers and people interested in sex toys.

What differentiates a Dorcel movie and performer from other adult studios?
DORCEL invests more than others in movie production. We have better developed storyline, atmosphere, aesthetics, location and stylism. Kind of ‘luxe a la francaise’. It’s a mix of luxury and perversion. We have also had contract star such as Anna Polina and today its Cléa Gaultier.

How has Dorcel successfully navigated the move away from VHS/DVD to online viewing?
In 2001, we created the first VOD (Video on Demand) platform in Europe. Today, there are more than 200 VOD operators worldwide and our website is one of the most effective in Europe for generating traffic and revenue. Oddly, despite the explosion of the digital media (70% of our current activities), the DVD segment is our important. DORCEL is the last producer to offer high quality DVD movies.

What can you tell us about movie production?
For a movie, the budget is about 50,000 euros. For a biger film, the budget is 200,000 euros.
The filming is completed in 3 to 10 days, depending on the movie. Like any audiovisual production, issues can arise with the availability of performers, travel and of course for outdoor shoots, the weather.
Our editing is quite involved and takes 3 to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the movie and the dubbing is in 6 languages (FR, ITA, EN, ES, DE, POL). All filming is with condom.

What legal issues are there in France to content with?
In France, the significant law to protect minors is 3 years in jail one is found to have exposed a minor to pornographic videos. Contrary to what is usually thought, France is very conservative. Dorcel is appreciated by the institutions because the company has always been respectable. We always developed our activities in a serious way and by protecting minors AND actors. We have the respect of the public, the respect of the professionals and the respect of institutions. The protection of the minors is a major issue. The distribution of content is conducted within the parameters of parental codes.

What can we expect from Dorcel in the future and where do you see pornography and movie production heading?
DORCEL is already a global company. We aim to be a diversified global adult company selling content, toys and lingerie. The key to developing the DORCEL brand over the next years will be to produce more quality product, gain more experience and further develop brands.

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