His career started in the entertainment business as singer, actor, teacher, manager. Having wanted to be in films he decided what better way to start than with a "gay fuck film."
When he did his first work, Dreamer, he had no experience and just fumbled his way through. For that video he chose Clay Grant because he wanted someone who wasn't too slick.
West's work can be characterized by the amount of work that went into the scripting because he enjoyed that most of all. He also used two cameras, one for the master shots and the second moving around for special shots to edit into the flow. He also preferred to shoot in two or three days over a weekend so that he wouldn't have to count on performers showing up again a week later.
After Dirty Words, in 1975, West quit the business for about 9 years because he had been cheated by theaters and a business friend being murdered gangland style. HIS bought the rights to Dreamer and talked him into returning to work in 1984 with Arcade because the business was less dangerous.