As far back as he can remember, Logan Pierce always wanted to be in the movies.
Growing up in Ridley Township, he was introduced to movies through gangster films, like Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas and Casino, and Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather series. An obsession with horror soon followed, thanks to the Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser franchises, as well as Brandon Lee's moody role as Eric Draven in The Crow.
In high school, Pierce, now 27, started making his own films with a group of local friends, and some of their work was even featured in local festivals. Their first project, which Pierce wrote, featured him — then 14 — as a suicidal office worker who shoots himself at the end. That movie resulted in a trip to the Ridley High School's guidance counselor's office for one of the film's creators. Pierce says that made the project a success.
Pierce's interest in the entertainment industry continued into college, when he attended Temple University as a film student and worked as a projectionist at the school movie theater, the Reel. In 2012, he landed an internship at a film studio in Los Angeles, his first break into the industry.
That's about the time he dropped out of school and started working in pornography.
"I see that I probably should have gone home and finished my degree," Pierce — his professional name, not his given one — says from a cafe in his adopted Los Angeles home. "But at the same time, this job is fleeting. I saw it as a crossroads."
Pierce shoots three to five scenes each week; he's shot more than 500 since getting involved in the industry almost six years ago. He's built a name for himself as a boy-next-door type and has the hardware to show for it: He's taken home a 2013 Adult Video News Award for best male newcomer (think of that as the Academy Awards of the adult film industry), as well as an award for best new stud from the X-Rated Critics Organization that same year. His credits include appearances with major names, like industry veteran Lisa Ann (who's from Easton) and scenes from prominent production companies.
Now, Pierce hopes to shed some light on his path from Delaware County to the adult entertainment business with a book, Between the Sheets: Rise of a Working Stiff. Described as "autobiographical fiction," the book is a self-published, fictionalized account of Pierce's upbringing and early years in the adult entertainment industry written under the name J.R. Verlin (also not his real name). He hopes to release several more books using his work in porn as the backdrop. The first is currently available via Amazon; signed copies are available through Pierce's website, WhoIsLogan.com.
As Pierce tells it, his path to pornography started long before his time at Temple — the school just gave him the opportunity to go to L.A. to get into the business. His childhood in Delco, he says, was normal. "There's nothing about my upbringing that was dark, or that someone could look at and go, 'This is what brought him here.' Other than my fascination with porn, it was as average as it could be."
He grew up like most other Ridley-area kids, eating cheeseburgers at Charlie's and roast beef sandwiches from Nick's. He wrote short stories and scripts, played drums, and performed in the Ridley High drama group. He went to dances and had a part-time job at a local pet hotel before going to college.
Currently, he returns home about twice a year to visit friends and family.
Pierce discovered online pornography as a teenager and then began reaching out to male talent through MySpace and Twitter to get advice about how to break into the business. Nothing much came of it, he says, but he learned that he would have to network and apply for work through specifically oriented talent agencies, which he began doing after being accepted to his film studio internship while at Temple.
His family had no idea he was going to L.A. to join the porn industry and believed he was working at a mainstream film studio.
Pierce shot his first scene during his first week in town, when he was 21. It went well, and as word spread about the new guy, he got more and more work.
"Being 21, being decent enough at the job to get work, and to continue working from there was a bit unusual," Pierce says. "For a stretch, I was the youngest guy in the business at the time."
When the internship that took him to L.A. was ending, he had to make a decision: Stay and tell his family what he had been up to, or give up his new gig and return home.
Part of the decision was made for him by a former girlfriend's parents, who Pierce says put together a dossier of his work and presented it to his mother and father.
He remembers receiving a call from his mother while he was driving home from a shoot in which she told him, "We know what you've been doing," but they didn't disown him. They didn't make him come home. However, they were upset, which Pierce says was understandable, given that he hadn't been honest.
"Up until that point, I had been lying to them," he says. "I had told them that my internship had hired me, and I was going to stay out there for the summer and keep working. I knew I should tell them, and that my days were numbered, but I just didn't know how to do it. Fate took care of it for me."
What followed was a conversation in which Pierce told his parents he was happy, healthy, financially stable, and not hurting anyone. His family, whom Pierce describes as open-minded, decided it wasn't the end of the world, and he continued his work.
"In a way, I'm super-thankful they told my parents, because it meant I didn't have to," Pierce says. "It took away my responsibility. But if I could go back, I would have changed it."
He kept performing until a fellow actor turned out to be HIV-positive, and there was a moratorium called on the industry. Being that close lit a fire under him to find other avenues for work and creativity, Pierce says, and he began treating pornography as a day job. He began to write.
"That was the moment where I really committed to writing this book," he says. "I wanted to commit everything I had to paper. At the very least, I wanted a story — something that makes my time in this business not totally in vain. Your whole life drastically changes [with HIV]. That could be me if I'm not prepared with a contingency plan."
In addition to Between the Sheets, that contingency plan has taken the form of Pierce's return to his first love: movies, and not the pornographic kind. He's starring in an independent adventure-horror feature dubbed City of Ticks that recently took him to Guatemala for filming.
He plans to stay in the business for the foreseeable future, if only to treat it as a day job to generate stories for what he hopes will inspire his writing and film careers. He hopes not to be trapped in the industry like some older veterans, who he believes have no other choice but to stay.
"That's what scares me: If I do it for so long, I won't have another avenue," Pierce says. "I could never be a teacher or a lawyer. I can't do a lot of these jobs that society puts on a pedestal. Will I ever be able to coach a softball team or a soccer team? Will I be welcomed at these events, given my past?"
Maybe not, but a writer or movie star or director might be. And for now, that's what Pierce says he is working toward. That, and a little recognition for his hometown.