Monday, March 17, 2014

My Strangest Day At Work

For those who have worked around porn in any capacity, there is no greater joy in life than the fact that real sex is absolutely nothing like porn sex. In real sex, you're allowed to fumble around and giggle, try different things on a whim, take a break for water, talk, and fuck in positions that are actually comfortable for BOTH of you.

What's missing is a small and fairly bored audience, interruptions to move lights and cameras around, pre-scripted positions, breaks to touch up the woman's makeup (and towel off the guy --- NOBODY sweats in porn), and much interest in the person you're fucking. Yeah, performers get along well enough, lord knows they kinda have to, but the action is so stilted and planned out that neither one is having much fun except on the most biological level.

And if the performers don't get along? Oh Christ almighty, you're in for a long day. Here's a little story about that situation, and the most uncomfortable day I ever had at work....
In 1988-89 I was doing camera work for a small production company; they were the sort of operation that kept liquor stores and indie book stores supplied with smut-fodder. No stars here or fancy sets --- we were shooting in a mini-mansion with a pool out back. There was a total of maybe sixteen performers cycling through. If you felt like working, you called in the morning to see if you were needed. If so, you show up, and if not, well, tomorrow's another day.

I show up, load my Nikons --- never knew what they did with all the film I shot, I figured they were also producing magazines --- and get my spare rolls ready. Pass the time with the video guys and soundman, find out we're just doing a one-on-one (yay, an easy day!) and the performers (fake names here) are... Jeff and Donna.

Oh shit.

Jeff was an easy-going guy for a male performer. Male performers are rather egotistical, but you have to be for the job. Massive amounts of self-confidence, along with physical control in those pre-Cialis days, were required. Donna was a little full of herself but left it at home. You can't be a primadonna or too full of yourself as a female performer. Quite simply, if you gain a reputation for being a headache on shoots, you can be replaced in a day.

So what was the problem? Jeff and Donna HATED each other. Maybe "hate" is too strong a word, but there was a mutual loathing, on a very personal level. They simply couldn't stand each other as people... And now the two of them get to spend the next several hours fucking and sucking.

It was a credit to their professionalism that they did well while the cameras were on. As soon as her makeup was done, I'd already taken my spread-shot stills of Donna and she'd smiled like a Lotto winner through all of them. The setup shots went fine --- Jeff was a plumber or cable guy or something stupid and predictable like that --- as did the sex, for the most part. But every time the cameras went off... Jesus on a pogo stick, the two of them are verbally sniping at each other like passive-aggressive professional wrestlers. Not out-and-out threats, that would have shut down the shoot completely, but lobbing insults like nobody's business, just trying to get under each other's skin. I noticed Jeff availing himself of the services of the fluffer---

(All the fluffers I met were absolute sweethearts. They also tended to have zero self-esteem, and were usually working the job to pay for rather heavy drug habits.)

--- much more than usual, while Donna would go outside and suck down cigarettes like they'd explode if she didn't get through them fast enough.

After a day of eye-rolling and throat-clearing on the part of the crew, we're finally ready for the money shot. Even while setting up the pose (stereotypical girl-on-knees, guy standing) they're still slagging each other, standard "go die in a fire"/ "give a blowjob to a bus" pleasantries. The director, for the first time that day, finally tells them both to shut up and play nice. We hear, "Camera... Sound... And action."

And within seconds, I had the epiphany of just how weird my job and the whole industry is. These two people went from spewing venom at each other to acting like they're the two most mutually horny humans on the planet. When her mouth wasn't full, Donna was giving her Lotto-winner smile and saying the usual, "Oh yeah, give me your hot cum baby" lines and Jeff is moaning and mumbling, "That's it angel, I'm gonna come." Meanwhile I'm scrambling around on my knees trying to get good level shots of the blowjob and not bump into one of the video guys. Jeff signals, me and one of the video cameras get into angled POV positions, and Jeff finishes off. We shoot another 90 seconds of Donna working on Jeff (who's dropping like a rock), and we hear "cut." I take maybe a dozen stills of Donna's face, and we're done.

Jeff, meanwhile, has wiped off with a towel and gotten dressed, forgoing a shower. Donna does the same thing: seriously, she wiped her face, stuck a cigarette in her mouth, and had her clothes on before we'd even started breaking down. Both of them were in their cars and on the street before we had the lights down. Meanwhile, the director in on the phone with the producer --- his boss --- ripping him a new one at high volume: "You dumb prick sonofabitch, what the fuck were you thinking? You know those two hate each other, why the fuck did you put them on a shoot together? The fuck is the matter with you, you have a goddamn head injury in the last few days?" And on and on like this, to the guy who signs his paychecks. Me and the rest of the crew made a point of keeping good and busy.

Keep in mind all this was twenty-five years ago. Has the industry changed since then? Shit, you tell me. However, I'm guessing it'll always be a strange business... And in a strange way, that makes me happy.


Oh, and here's some advice for our younger male readers: No, women DON'T want you to come on their face. (Okay, maybe a couple, but they're few and far between.) It's a bizarre conceit created in the porn industry that has no real logic, personally. Having worked in an adult book store and seen the facial money shot* literally hundreds of times, it made less and less sense as time went by. It's so contrived it's not sexy at all. So take it from your ol' Uncle Lenny, young guys: come where SHE wants you to come. Pulling out and aiming pretty much assures you won't be getting a second date.

*There are a couple explanations for where the phrase "money shot" came from.  The first is that like anal, female performers willing to take a facial get paid more. Not sure of the pay rates these days ---- BTW, performers are independent contractors, not employees --- but taking a facial can add a couple hundred bucks to your daily pay.  (Being willing to do anal and take a facial will make a girl's work day very profitable indeed.

The other is a bit more straightforward.  If the video box has a picture or three of girls with seminal fluid on their faces, that attracts more attention for guys browsing the racks, and thus moves more units: so those shots I took of Donna with her face dripping are going to make more money for the company, if they're part of the box art.

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, Black Sparrow Books is still in business.
    An autobiography is sure to get more money than fiction.
    Shit, with your job history, I would definitely buy a copy.
    More stories than the bible.