Last night, a great man left this Earth.
As a young clerk at New Fine Arts in Dallas, I religiously read AVN every month, and that is where I first learned of this guy named Christian Mann. I learned that he was one of the freedom fighters that stood up to a puritanical government that wanted to control what consenting adults could do in the privacy of their bedrooms. I was immediately determined to one day meet this man, shake his hand and then be able to tell friends and co-workers – “I met Christian Mann!”
Fast forward a couple of years and I had moved on to Dreamers, and eventually I got to go to the AEE conference in Vegas. I got to meet Christian but it was a brief handshake. Not nearly enough to satisfy my fanboy crush on him. I was going to have to work harder. Opportunity presented itself when Christian’s company Video Team was bought by another, Metro Interactive, and lo and behold my new point of contact for orders at Metro became Christian Mann. I was giddy. But at this point I was still a nobody, I had never really even talked to Chris for more than 2 seconds. Luckily for me, Christian had become good friends over the years with the owner of Dreamers and his wife. When I told my boss we’d be dealing with Christian now, my boss was as ecstatic as I was. He immediately began telling me stories of Christian and CPLC. He told me, “if you ever have a problem, you call Christian – he will take care of it, he’s a good man”. The legend of Christian was building.
I soon started placing orders with Christian and got to know him a little more and he also got to know me more and more. He was always funny and witty in our conversations, so much that he made me enjoy talking on the phone, and anyone that knows me knows that I loathe phone conversations 99% of the time.
Eventually my time at Dreamers was up and I moved out to LA to work for Shane’s World and Hush Hush Entertainment. We started a little monthly newsletter where I got to write editorial articles and generally put people on blast for doing unethical stuff. We made a lot of fans, but also a lot of enemies. Eventually we needed to pursue advertisers, and Christian Mann, now the general manager of arguably the biggest production studios, was one of the first people I pursued. Having a company like Evil Angel advertising in our magazine would be a huge statement of legitimacy for our little operation. I reached out to Christian and he agreed to start putting a two-page ad in our mag. I was ecstatic.
A year or so later marked the start of Operation: Takedown Piracy. I was fed up with seeing our content pilfered online not to mention the content of other studios where my good friends were working. Again, I reached out to Christian to try and get him on board. Early on I needed “impact studios” to give Takedown Piracy some real teeth to go after pirates. Once again, Christian came through for me and got Evil Angel on board. I’ll be honest, practically no one else over at Evil Angel knew who I was and quite frankly, the few who did probably didn’t care for me all that much. They only knew me as “the guy that talks shit about people in that magazine”, and they were fair to think that. But I knew I was more than that, and more importantly – Christian knew I was more than that. He was my voucher, and friends, you can not possibly have a better voucher than Christian Mann.
We began taking down content for Evil Angel and boy there was a lot of it, and I worked tirelessly at it. I went to Vegas for AEE and Christian jokingly asked “Do you sleep????”, he teased me about getting DMCAs from me at all hours of the day and night and that I must be a robot or something. He was playfully teasing, but what I heard was one of my role models praising my work-ethic. If Christian was impressed by my hard work, that was the ultimate seal of approval. Again, I was giddy.
Then one day Christian emailed me out of the blue and said that we needed to talk and for me to come by the EA offices. He didn’t say what it was about and he was very short and to the point in the email. I was absolutely panicked. This was my role model and our biggest client and my immediate fear was that they were dropping out. “Was I not working hard enough?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, all these worried thoughts ran through my head as I drove from Chatsworth to Van Nuys. I pulled up to the office, thinking “Christian is such a nice guy, he’s cancelling but wants to be a professional about it and tell me face to face.”
I sat down with Christian and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, we immediately got to the purpose of me being there. “You aren’t charging us nearly enough for the amount of work you’re doing. I want you to double our rate and use that to help grow your business.” ‘Ummmmmm yes sir’ was about all I was able to say. This was huge, and it just doesn’t happen in this biz, let alone probably any business. Here was this guy who wanted to make sure I was being fairly compensated and wanted to not just say he wanted to see my business grow, but he wanted to play a part and take actions that would help my business grow. That was Christian Mann, that was the kind of man he was. He introduced me to other people at EA and I was on my way, knowing full well the gravity of what this man just did for me.
I am where I am today because of Christian Mann. His support from practically day one has been instrumental in not only my business growth but my personal growth as well. I’ve had the pleasure over the years of meeting people who I held in such high-esteem that you work at being a better person because you want to make them proud. I wanted to be a good fighter for our industry because I wanted to make Christian Mann proud. I wanted to be a good man in life because it means you get to be in the same category as Christian Mann.
Christian may have ended this part of his journey but his impact and influence will live on forever. I know he has inspired others, and it is the job of those of us he touched to pass that inspiration on to others. In that way the legacy of Christian will far outlive anything in the physical realm. I’m so happy Christian had someone as loving and supportive as Melissa Mann to enjoy these last few years with. Their love and happiness together should serve as yet another inspiration for us all. Be good people, inspire others, never stop laughing and being silly and just appreciate everything and everyone.
Godspeed Christian, until we meet again my friend.
If you’re friends with Christian and/or Melissa on FB, then you’ve seen the amazing outpouring of messages of condolences, support and love for the both of them. Christian was part of our industry for well over 30 years, and in that time he’s come in contact with virtually everyone in our biz at one time or another. The amazing thing is he left a positive energy on everyone. He is in my opinion the most universally beloved man in our industry. You can read some of the industry takes on Chris on AVN and Xbiz. I know everyone is very saddened by his passing, but reading and hearing everyone’s stories about Christian is somewhat heartwarming – he just used so much of his lifeforce to raise up others – that’s something we should all strive for.