Friday, April 23, 2010


Julie Morrison and I are now in day 23 of Script Frenzy. The story has evolved, having started with our only very vague guideline that a romance would evolve between the two central characters in a small independent film studio. (This is a contest, after all. Blah blah romance fills pages quickly, and with only blah blah thought required to ladle this stuff out.)

Yeah, well, from past experience I should have known better.

Julie has this great heart for the badly downtrodden. Before I knew it, we had battered women camped out in the second floor of our “studio.” To give depth to the pain women can go through, it’s revealed that our central female character has made some unwise decisions in the past. As a result – and without going into a lot of detail – she is kidnapped by a man she had crossed, and (at this point in the story) about to be forced into amateur porno films. Heavy stuff here. Heavy heavy heavy. (On the other hand, and taken completely out of context, Julie’s line “A naked girl will attract attention” seemed to me to be something of an understatement.)

So much for our blah blah shallow quickie romance story. Oh well, Jennifer Lopez probably wouldn’t be interested anyway.)

Now. Although my writing partner and I don’t suggest to each other what to write, we do exchange technical suggestions. (Her contributions encourage me to add depth to my writing – something that doesn’t come natural to any man. For my part, having worked most of my life in television, film, and theatre, I can offer technical details that give a story a bit more creditability.)

All this is background to the story I’m about to tell you – true story – about the time I was asked to direct a series of porno films. In reading a gazillion posts on lots and lots of blogs, I don’t recall that subject coming up very often, so you might find it interesting.

It was right after I had won my second Emmy, and I was riding pretty high. I was regularly directing regional sporting events on television, one network was interested in me, I was doing specials of every kind, and on the side producing/directing commercials for a large advertising agency. (If you are over 30 and watch television at all, you’ve seen some of them.)

I had worked with “Dan” and his crew from the agency for a couple of years. Once or twice a month they’d take over a studio after normal working hours and we’d crank out commercials until the sun came up (and employees started coming in.)

Dan and I got along great. After a session or two, I had learned what he was looking for in general, and we became part of a smooth and efficient team.

After one particularly long and difficult shoot, Dan and I were having breakfast together when he broached the subject of adult films.

“I’ve been producing films for about two years now,” he stated flatly.

“Porno,” I questioned.

“We call them Adult films,” he corrected.

“What happened to your old director,” I asked.

"He moved on,” I was told. No other information was asked or given.

Here was the offer. We would produce ten films in ten days. An empty building would be our studio, equipment would be rented from the agency, and we would start each evening at seven, and must be completed by sunrise the next day.

Dan would produce, I would direct, and the two techs – camera and audio – would come from the agency, in fact would be men I had worked with on several occasions. “Talent” would come from a waiting list at the mega university that in many ways dominates the capital city in this state.

I was to be paid $200 per night – not a great amount of money, but at the end of ten days I’d walk away with $2000, tax free. Similarly, the techs were to be paid $150 each. The female talent each night would earn $200, and her male partner would be unpaid.

That was it. I was impressed with how incredibly easy it all was.

I declined the offer. I would love to say I was filled with indignation, but I wasn’t. There was no indication that anyone involved was being forced in any way to participate. Money was the draw, and at that time in my life I didn’t have the moral or religious attitudes that would later influence my life.

So I said “no.” Overall I counted at least 25 people who would be involved in the total project, and I didn’t think that many people could keep a secret.

Dan accepted my decision graciously, and nothing more was said. Three years later he moved to Denver.

All this was a number of years ago, and until Julie and I started this work, I had totally forgotten about it. I don’t know, nor care, if the “business” continued or ended.

On the other hand, I’m impressed as to how easy it all appears to be.



1 comment:

Q said...

Very cool...reminds me of an episode of Family Guy (probably not a show you watch regularly) where the dog, Brian, moves to LA and gets a job directing "adult films". The next day is he nominated for Best New Director for 3 of the 7 films he directed the previous day....yes, it does appear to be easy money. So the question arises then: why have so many of us taken the difficult path to making a living? Fear; modesty; morals? In my case, probably more that I don't like being told what to do! (and don't like to be seen in a bathing suit much less much less...)!