DeSimone worked on a masters degree in cinema at UCLA but didn't complete it. After working on the peripheries of the film industry, he was intrigued by the gay films being shown at the Park theater, some of them Pat Rocco's. His friend Nick Grippo suggest that with Desimone's film experience they should try their hand at it and make a little extra money.
They took their idea to San Sayles who encouraged them to go ahead. The film short Yes was their test shot and it landed DeSimone a job at Salyes' Signature Films doing softcore films and replacing Monroe Beehler there.
While Tom DeSimone was director, his friend and business partner Nick Grippo was producer. Besides gay porn they made 35mm sexploitation films like Prison Girls.
DeSimone wasn't too enthusiastic about the move to hard core because he didn't like the kinds of people he would have to hire and didn't want to rely on them. In 1975 he felt that the hard core would be soon exhausted by customers who had had enough and there wouldn't be any more new ideas.
DeSimone's preferred formula was six actors, three scenes and six cumshots. He couldn't use much dialogue because of the performers, directing them closely except for the sex scenes where he would just prompt them for the camera's angle. Still, his style was marked by character development so that there was some connection to the characters by the time they landed in bed.
Shooting was usually done in one day, rarely doing a retake. The price the distributor paid was set ahead of time and he had to make sure the cost left room for profit. Locations were chosen first for their convenience and scripts flowed from that but actors would be met elsewhere so that nobody would know where filming was taking place. Films were shot out of sequence. Performers usually were stoned as they waited on the set. His recruiting formula was to contact guys in the Advocate ads.
DeSimone considered himself homosexual (he had a long term partner) but not "gay" meaning he led a conventional life except for in bed. For a number of films he and Grippo would use a different name each time until Aphrodisiacs in the Male Animal was successful after which he kept the Lancer Brooks name.