I did a casting today with pretty much a complete stranger. Joerg contacted me after he had seen me and the Strawberry Seductress team on German TV.
He was interested in being in the next film production. I was not sure if he would be right because at the time of his application he was married and his wife did not want to be involved. Looking back at a production record of non-professional performers whose partners are not involved in the filming it worried me that his wife might get jealous and he has to pull out in the last minute.
But Joerg is single right now and we met in Germany over lunch.
It is always a strange feeling to meet a complete stranger – a phone conversation or low resolution image never really does a person justice. They do not show how someone sparkles in their own unique ways. Although it can work the other way too.
I remember from my times of doing internet dating that’s some blokes use heavily airbrushed photos or even photos of models that they have scanned in and in reality they look nothing like the hunk on the picture. But in Joerg’s case I was pleasantly surprised. He is really good looking and has a very nice vibe. His face is beautiful, almost angelic and he has got soft kissable lips and snow white teeth. He is 23 and looks very young and innocent but is full of mischief. I am sure that a lot of women will like him – it is one of many women’s fantasies to seduce a less experienced, young and gorgeous man. I really hope that I will work with Joerg. After lunch I took some stills of him on a nearby lawn. Simple, no frills and at this stage no nudity. We plan to meet up in Berlin when I will be there in October for the Berlin Porn Film Festival. We hope to shoot a solo play scene and possibly more, if the chemistry is right… fingers crossed!
Today I met up with Tuppy Owens, the UK’s most accomplished pro sex writer and activist and organiser of the Erotic Awards (www.erotic-award.co.uk). It was great to see Tuppy again – she is always so full of idealism and networking ideas. We met the manager of the Duke of York cinema in Brighton. Tuppy has had a dream for many years to put on an erotic film festival in a UK cinema. What better place than Brighton?
Tuppy would like to show some erotic film classics such as “Behind the Green Door” as well as films that have been classified as R18 porn and is therefore not accessible to may people who might like to see them. Similar to the Berlin Porn Film Festival, Tuppy would like unique and interesting porn films to reclaim the big screen and be presented as art rather than smut. I really hope it will happen. Berlin was amazing last year – four packed cinemas with a buzzing vibe – a celebration of the erotic moving image. I can’t wait for this years event from the 24th of October. And who knows, maybe next Spring porn will grace the Duke of York’s screen too.
Many adult distributors are picking up on the fact that yes, there IS a market for porn for women and they want a piece of the cake. When I was looking for investors to create my films I was told that porn for women would not sell. Now that companies that porn for women does actually sell. So the offers to distribute or sell my films have started to flood in.
A couple of months ago I had an offer for distribution of my films in Spain. Every time an offer comes my heart beats faster because a potential income will help to pay off the loan I took out to make “Female Fantasies” and if I might even make a profit, that could help to finance the new film.
The offer sounded good at first – they wanted to distribute female friendly porn only and I was glad to be one of the chosen directors. But they asked for a lot: The rights to print unlimited DVD’s, The TV rights, internet streaming and mobile phone rights. For seven years.
The amount offered was – brace yourself – £1000 per film. I could not believe it. Yes, I could really do with £1000, but I would make the same amount I sold 500 DVDs wholesale.
I was told by the distributors that this is a “take it or leave it” offer and that other big names have signed up to the same deal. When I phoned some of the other directors they told me that their fee was substantially bigger than what I was offered.
I did not sign the deal. To think that for seven years both of my films could be screened, streamed, sold and resold without restriction in two countries without me knowing where the material would go frightened me. Somebody would have made a lot of money and it would not have been me.
If I saw my films just as a product and would not care about the way they are presented, marketed or re-used, I could make a lot of money.
But I do care. I care that my message gets across and I stay true to myself and everybody who was involved in the making of this film.
I am not willing to compromise what my films are about to get the quick buck.
I almost had a distribution for the soft-core version of my film. I was very excited as I would like to see the films widely available to women and men who do not shop at licensed sex shops. It would be great to sell a soft version legally over the internet and at retail outlets.
But that bubble has burst for now.
Even though I agreed to an inflated production price and a minimal licence fee for myself, in the end the company pulled out of the distribution deal.
Their reason was that they want to be “fast and efficient” in their production cycle and think that they will not be able to work in this way with my films as they realised that I would like to be involved, rather than just signing the project off without having any input. They said time is money and my involvement in the process will be too time consuming and therefore cost them money.
The cracks between the co-operation began to show when they emailed me their favourite DVD packaging: a single woman with silicon boobs, her face airbrushed to the extreme against a white background. It was the typical high key porn look that the Americans tend to create for the blokes to enjoy. The kind of image I would use when I do a porn parody (like the one pictured here). When I explained that I would like them to use my stills on the cover of my films and that the image should show a couple or a hunky man rather than artificially enhanced porn star, they pulled the plug.
All I asked for was having input in the cover design of my own movie and an approval of the final, soft cut.
Am I asking too much?
It is strange that the big players in the industry seem to get excited by the idea of “female friendly porn” and then assume that they can package and sell it in the same old ways to maximise their profit.
For me it comes down to a choice between profit and creative freedom. And I can not imagine to let go of the creative control in order to make some money. To whitewash my films so that they fit into the mainstream marketing concepts would mean to dilute and distort them. And I am not prepared to do that.
I do believe in the films and I do believe that eventually I will make the money back I invested into them. But the films have to remain the genuine thing – erotic art from a woman with women in mind, rather than an average film with a tits-and-ass cover and the marketing catchphrase “porn for women” printed on the box.
One of the most difficult aspects in working with amateur performers is how they often underestimate the impact that them being photographed or filmed naked and/or having sex will have on their relationships.
In my casting questionnaire I ask the question “How would you feel if your partner/family/colleagues would find out you have appeared in a porn film?” The last thing I would like to happen is for someone to lose their job or break up with their partner because they have modelled for me.
It is important to me that potential performers understand that I can not control who will see their pictures or video footage once it has been released. If someone decides to appear in a porn film and does not tell their partner about it, they are taking a huge risk. Usually they get found out and then it is often me who has to deal with the outrage, anger and jealousy of the partner who had been left in the dark.
A few years back I did a photo shoot with a single mum in her mid-thirties. She had low self-esteem and found the shoot incredibly liberating. She loved the images and told me that it would give her the ultimate boost in confidence to see her best shots published. She agreed in writing to me publishing her images but she did not want her partner to know. He was already jealous and suspicious of her, so he went through her emails and found out about a publication in “Desire” magazine. He confronted her and she told him that she knew nothing of the publication to save her face. He was protective of her and started to bombard me with abusive text messages, hate mail and threats for weeks. I felt trapped. I did not want to “out” her in front of her partner as I feared for her safety and also felt that what I had agreed with her in writing was confidential. He was full of rage and tried to tarnish my name by approaching magazines that published my photos and the Guild of Erotic Artists telling everyone that I had betrayed his partner by publishing her shots without her consent. It was a nightmare. I had many sleepless nights, cried a lot and felt angry to be accused of exploiting a woman when it is my mission to support and liberate women. He only stopped when my lawyer stepped in and made sure he knew about the agreement I had with his lover. The model contacted me 2 years later and told me that she was now single, free and fancied another shoot and would like to see her images published. Somehow I did not feel like it.
Last year when I was shooting “Female Fantasies” a guy contacted who wanted to appear in my films but he told me his partner was not supposed to know. Having learnt from the photography drama a few years back, I told him then that this is not going to work as it sets my shoots up for dramas, tears and tantrums and ultimately jeopardises the production. When I heard from him again a few months ago, he said that he was now free and single and I believed him. This morning he called to warn me that his on/off partner was about to ring me. She had gone through his text messages and seen us arranging a casting and possible shoot. She was furious. I am not sure if he is back together with her and it is none of my business but if he is, I am surprised he did not tell her that he is going to be in a porn film. I don’t know what is going to happen now but now I am worried. I do not want a another rollercoaster ride when I need to focus on the production and make things work.
I am so angry, I could cry. I just called my bank to arrange an e-commerce account, so I can accept credit cards on the internet.
I really would like to be able to offer interested people the chance to download my films on my website. A lot of people, especially women do not want to go into a license sex shop to buy an erotic film if it means that they are greeted with wall to wall cum shots which are still on display en masse in the average sex shop. And it is illegal in he UK to sell any hard-core porn online and send them out by post. But strangely it is legal to sell hard-core downloads on the internet. So if I could find a way to accept credit card payments online, I could sell “Sexual Sushi” and “Female Fantasies” downloads.
But guess what? My bank asked me what I would be selling and when I said “erotic film downloads” they ask if it was PORN (oh, that wicked word that closes a thousand doors and opens the ones I do not want to walk through). So I had to admit that I sell kind of porn, a licensed and legal product that is worlds apart from gang-bang porn and the like. The lady on the phone suddenly sounded miffed. She said that my type of business does not comply with “their company’s criteria”. I ask what their criteria was and why I was ostracized for a perfectly legal product and transaction but all she would say again and again was “Your type of business does not comply with our criteria”. What criteria?
I felt so angry, I put the phone down. My money has not got blood and usually not even sperm on it.
On my way back from London, feeling high as a kite – no chemicals needed! The edit went really well. We worked on Cicciolino’s solo scene which is so intimate and hot ending with a close up of his face when he comes. The sailor girl scene is also absolutely beautiful – the girls completely lost into each other, surrendering to pleasure. It was such a laugh to edit the new spoof scene: two girls, a carrot, a corn-on-the-cob and a cucumber – say no more!
During the lunch break today I whizzed off to Screenface, a professional make-up shop to buy a professional concealer palette which can create hundreds of skin tones. I hate spotty bum shots and don’t understand why many porn producers don’t seem to be bothered about concealing them. I love bums (epscially male ones) and think they are one of the sexiest, hottest body parts and should be shown off and played with a lot more.
While there, I bought some metallic body paint as well for an abstract scene I would like to shoot – and ended up spending over a hundred pounds. All in all this weekend editing, travelling up to London and buying props and make up has cost me a lot of money. But if it helps create my new erotic film that is unique in many ways, it will be worth it.
How great it is to be back in post-production. I love working with Seren my editor, fusing single shots with music into a sensual story. We got two rough cuts done and tomorrow we will create a third scene and work on the “grading” – the colouring of images that helps to convey different moods.
Tonight after the edit I went into Soho – treasure hunting for outfits for the new film. I found these gorgeous white translucent bloomers and matching see through bra and knickers (held together by a purple satin ribbon) – they will look gorgeous on Vanessa in the sequence when she gets caressed by an angel. After a delicious meal in Chinatown, I went to “Cabaret” – the new musical. I love the West End at night. London buzzes and the live shows are amazing. Cabaret features a whole chorsus line of gorgeous guys and girls in black see-through stockings and suspender belts. Guys look so hot in the odd bit of female lingerie. Guys, believe me, women don’t care if it looks “gay”. If the look shows off you chest, biceps and bum – it will be a turn on. Why is it that mostly gay men choose to dress up? I am a woman and I want male eye candy – so the show was a pleasure to watch. There was one guy in it with a clipper one-cut and he looked exactly like Marc Cuirass, the lead of my last movie. Marc used to paint one eye all black just like the performer in the show. The performer did it on stage yet Marc did it day to day which was one of the things that made him so unique. Marc died last year of a tragic accident and we miss him a lot, both as a friend and a member of the strawberry seductress team.
I always really look forward to being in the edit suite. It is my favourite part of making a film for me – walking in with tons of rushes, the rough material and walking out with a finished short story that makes the viewers heart beat faster. Today I am in Soho working with Seren Black again, a talented editor who does a lot of high spec TV work as well as promos and of course my last film “Female Fantasies”. He is fast and creative and I enjoy his input. It is challenging and sometimes limiting to be producing, directing and doing camerawork all by myself. To work with an editor is a luxurious pleasure I would not want to miss. Two pairs of eyes not only see more but see things from different angles which is enriching. We are going to make a start with Cicciolino’s solo play scene “The Naughty Gardener” and I can’t wait.
Today was a great day. Had a “ladies lunch” with Violetta, a regular get-together for us girls. Thai food and catching up with gossip – her latest naughty adventures at Gay Pride and what I have been up to with our new film. Vanessa joined us later for a coffee and the two of them got on like a house on fire… future playmates? We will see!
I then checked out one of the possible film locations – the five-storey house in the heart of Brighton. I love the kitchen, library and roof terrace and just hope that I will be able to afford the steep price tag. When you have no savings or funding, every expense is a potential obstacle. I am now creating the scenarios in my head and imagining all the fun ahead making them a reality.
The sun makes all the difference. Today the sun was out and everything glowed and everyone was in a good mood. Cicciolino came round and CAME… this time lazing on the deckchair in the sun in full view of all my neighbours (if they dared to stare out of their windows).
I liked to watch him – every guy is so different in the way they touch themselves and as women we hardly ever get to see that (unless our partners put a show on). Most straight porn shows women playing with themselves but not guys and as a straight woman I like my male eye candy.
Cicciolino certainly is eye candy. Hunky, muscular with a jagged face and a dimple on his chin. He also has a chunky cock and above all a horny attitude. Hats off to him for playing with himself in my garden pretty much in public and also for holding a hose with ice cold water over his head and body and making it look good. A new star is born.
I am in a really good mood because I feel that Cicciolino will be part of this project for more than just one scene. But also I followed up the lead that Vanessa gave me yesterday about a possible location and it looks like it is going to happen.
The woman who owns the house has nothing against porn being shot at her home and this is a first on my location hunt. I have seen the shots and the house looks brilliant and hopefully worth its steep location price tag. Will pop round next week for a reccie. It looks like this shoot is finally coming together and I can’t wait.