In the early 1990s, Chad Donovan was going to school and bartending in Dayton, Ohio. While working, he caught the eyes of porn star Chase Hunter and Mr. Gay USA Tony DiAngelo who were performing at the club. "I went home with them and had a threeway," Donovan recalls. One look at his massive cock "and they said, 'Oh my God… '"
At the suggestion of his new friends, Donovan quickly found himself with an agent and a four-year contract with Falcon Studios. Word of his endowment spread fast. Even Falcon prez Chuck Holmes arrived for the filming of Donovan's first scene in Workin' Stiff. "I was told that was a very rare thing, so obviously he was interested in seeing something that I had," says Donovan with a laugh. "He directed part of the scene I was in, which was a big honor."
It was the start of a long and diverse career that helped earn Donovan a place in the GAYVN Hall of Fame this year. Awards are nothing new to him; his first scene with Hunter Scott and Anthony Moore was so heated it earned a Best Threesome award.
Besides his appearances in such Falcon features as By Invitation Only and Big As They Come 2, he also appeared in Catalina's Secret Sex 2: The Sex Radicals. After Falcon, he had a three-film stint with Studio 2000 before working with Jim Steel at Vivid Man. Donovan also took some time in the late '90s to act in a series of plays (Ten Naked Men, Making Porn, Shooting Porn, All-Male Peep Show) for Ronnie Larsen.
But it was Donovan's experience at Men of Odyssey that propelled him into another league. After appearing in one of his favorite films (Carnal Intentions), he was approached by Odyssey honcho Bob East with a very tempting offer. "He asked me if I'd be interested in directing. He said I seemed to have a good knack for finding talent, I've been in the industry long enough, why don't I try putting a movie together?" Donovan says. "So I did."
Movin' On was Donovan's first stab at directing, and it also introduced him to rising star Antonio Madiera. The two have been lovers for nearly six years. "I had no intention of getting a boyfriend out of it. I hired the kid, I really liked the way he looked, he performed like a champ, and every time I looked down — when I wasn't even shooting him, I'd be shooting other boys in a scene — he'd be looking up at me with these puppydog eyes. I just couldn't resist. Back in that day, it was very taboo for a director to date talent, so we kept it very hush-hush for about three months."
Since then, Donovan has directed Madiera in Movin' On 2 and numerous projects for All Worlds, including Knight Spot, Riding Boys in Cars (one of Donovan's favorites as a director) and Soccer Shooters. Then the two took a break, retreating to Florida for a year-and-a-half before moving back to Los Angeles in December 2003. Donovan immediately started work as a production manager and director (Field Trip) for MSR Videos (also starring with Madiera in a scene in Studs N' Pups last year).
Donovan has since been scooped up by Studio 2000 as a director and production coordinator. Some production work for Hot House is also in his future. As far as life in front of the camera, Donovan is limiting his appearances. In 2004, he appeared in three other films: Jet Set's Parts and Service and Wet Palms, and MSR's Ten Tops, One Fuller. "If parts come up, maybe. It’s not something that I'm out looking for. I really love directing," Donovan says. "Nothing is out of the question, but it would have to be the proper role."
Donovan credits his peers with helping him become the success he is today, from influences like Larsen, LaRue, John Rutherford, and Steven Scarborough. "I'm surrounding myself with a lot of really good people… I could not have done it without Jim Steel, who is basically the person behind what made me what I am today."
As for what's kept him in the game for such a long period of time: "What is it? Insanity? I don't know, really. I don't know what's kept me involved so long. I guess there's a part of me that likes it, there's a part of me that's an exhibitionist, there's a part of me that likes the creative side," Donovan says. "And I guess as long as it stays fun for me, I'll stay in it."