Know before you go, part 2 of 3: Shooting styles amongst the houses
This is a three-part blog entry that will give background information about adult video projects and how they operate, so that others will have candid information before they decide that videos are the choice for them or not. I will be honest, and this means it will not be possible for me to sound completely unbiased in some instances. It isn’t my intent necessarily to besmirch anyone, but rather to describe events, so that possibilities aren’t overlooked (e.g. if it happened to me, it’s possible it will happen in a similar manner to you). In part 1, I am going to go line by line and describe the ins and outs of my experience with Sean Cody. In part 2, I am going to compare and contrast my experiences at the four houses for which I have worked thus far. In part 3, I am going to give some practical advice and talk about the advantages of working through an agency.
There are people who want to dismiss me, because I’m “just a whore.” I would point out that I have a Mission Statement, and I am writing this particular three-part entry FOR POTENTIAL PORN MODELS.
The extreme (but not unexpected) backlash I am getting from Sean Cody/gay-for-pay supporters boils down to this: Our desires are very intimate, and they reside in a place very close the core of our identities. My whistle blowing isn’t the problem, in and of itself. The problem for them is that I have done something that undermines their fantasy that these straight men ENJOY gay sex. But that is impossible. Straight men cannot enjoy gay sex any more than which on some levels it is). I think it would not only be healthier, but also more pragmatic, to desire the people who are capable of giving you as much as you give them.can enjoy straight sex. If you enjoy both, then you are bisexual. This gay-for-pay “ideal” isn’t tenable when you really scrutinize it. My showing that their fear is true (that the models do it for the money only) attacks their fantasy, and they take it as a personal criticism (
I have found that if my intuition tells me something, I should listen to it. You have to treat your fantasy life with as much care as your reality, because they are interconnected. If you are conflicted, address the conflict.
I wrote the first portion of this blog knowing that it would upset some people. But this is how change happens. In some tiny way, I hope that I am contributing to the eventual withering of gay-for-pay options in the LGBTQ Adult Entertainment community. There are a great many people saying a great many hurtful comments (and making assertions based on being acquainted with me through +3 degrees of separation and speaking as if they know me), but I know that my truth is as valuable as anyone else’s.
(A side note to people who now “hate” me: Your hatred will never silence me. Ever. The tone of this blog will not be changed by your conscious and purposeful dedication to ignorance of how gay-for-pay pornography undermines you as a gay man. I’m sorry, but that’s what spinach tastes like to children.)
Now, this entry will compare and contrast (for the benefit of models considering which, if any, companies to choose) the shooting styles and on-set cultures of Sean Cody (SC), COLT/Buckshot (CB), Falcon (F), and HotHouse (HH). I am going to look at Recruitment Issues, Travel/Accommodations, Shooting, On-Set Culture, and Gay-Affirmative Attitudes (whether in the presence of gay-for-pay models or not).
Most video companies will have a link somewhere on their pages that is called “Become a Model,” or something to that effect. Before you click it, please consider waiting until I have written part 3 of this blog (The Advantages of an Agent). There’s a lot going on in the background before you even arrive, and you have to be certain you are ready. I cannot suggest strongly enough that you NOT work with anonymous recruiters who approach you randomly on sites like Model Mayhem. NEVER AGREE TO ANYTHING WITH SOMEONE YOU HAVE NOT MET OR CONVERSED WITH AT LENGTH, ESPECIALLY NOT IN WRITING/EMAIL. BE YOUR OWN AGENT OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL.
If you decide to contact the site directly, you should completely and honestly fill out all the information they request. You will do yourself no favors in being dishonest. Do not misrepresent yourself. If you are not willing to participate in various activities, then do not say you are (e.g. Saying you will allow yourself to be fucked and then refusing to do so is a waste of time, money, and energy for everyone involved and could result in your developing a reputation as being difficult to work with). For my part, I will kiss, exchange oral, and exchange anal (with condoms). I am very specific that I will not do heavy bondage, fisting, and other fetishes. Tell them who you are and what you can do.
You should be prepared with pictures to submit. They do not have to be professional, and probably should NOT be professional. The houses want to know what YOU look like, not what you look like after Photoshop. Most sites will want some or all of the following to accompany your application: Shots of your upper body from the front, left, right, and back. Shots of your lower body (nude usually) from the front, left, right, and back. They may or may not request pictures of your penis (usually erect, when requested at all), and you should include pics from the front, left, and right. They will probably request photographs of your ass, so make sure you get left, right, and back. Make sure the images are well-lighted, or you will have to repeat this process until you send photographs they can actually see. Sending dark pictures implies you are trying to hide blemishes.
To ensure success, approach the sites that use models who are similar to you. You will be discouraged, perhaps unnecessarily, by rejection from sites that do not use your look. Get in where you fit in. 🙂
It is routine for the house in question to pay the cost of your travel. You should expect the company to purchase your travel, cover your hotel, and provide a per diem for food (usually about $20/day). They should also cover any transportation you need to and from the airport, to and from the shoot location, and to and from the hotel when you are traveling for the purposes of the shoot itself.
Different companies go to different lengths in this regard. SC picked me up in a limousine and put me up in a 5-star resort hotel. SC also provided continental breakfast that included a very impressive buffet, and they also took me to very nice restaurants (of my choice) after the shoots were completed. CB, F, and HH sent drivers in their personal cars (which were all safe and comfortable), provided hotel accommodation, and paid per diems.
DO NOT WORK FOR A COMPANY WHICH EXPECTS YOU TO PAY FOR TRAVEL/ACCOMMODATION OR SEEKS TO REIMBURSE THEMSELVES FOR IT FROM YOUR FEE.
Each company is pretty distinct from the others in this regard. Before you apply to a company to be a model, watch some of their videos and learn what you can about their processes. In particular, pay attention to how often the camera changes angles. Every time the angle changes there is the possibility that a take ended. The more often the angle changes, the more takes are required, the more staging will be necessary, and the more likely the chance for exhaustion.
SC duos require 6-8 hours, and the number of takes is rather staggering. This is reflected in the way the cameras bounce from spot to spot throughout the film. If you are going to be the receptive partner for a SC video, do so knowing that it will be long day. The product itself will be highly polished, and it will be delivered to a huge audience; however, SC pays far more than other houses, likely because their shooting days are long. Expect each take to last between 15 seconds and 2 minutes (with breaks in between).
CB has a variety of aesthetics. For the scene in which I participated, shooting lasted an hour or two, and we used only one or two condoms. The camera operators walked around us, and there were additional cameras on stands. Our takes lasted considerably longer, some of them lasting several minutes. Expect a very high production value from CB (SC work is beautifully produced, too). COLT is one of the premier producers of gay erotica, and there is a reason for it: They make stunning work.
(A side note: Although I have never worked with Randy Blue, I did my CB scene with Topher Dimaggio who has. He told me that at Randy Blue he never experienced a shoot that lasted longer than 3 hours. This included the time necessary for taking still shots.)
Falcon is another top-notch team with whom I enjoyed working. If you work with F you can also count on a very polished product. They make gorgeous movies. The scene I shot with them took about two to three hours to complete, required approximately 10 condoms, and was accompanied by a great deal more shooting of introductory material. Although there were more separate penetrations for this scene, Benjamin Bradley was so adept as an insertive partner that I was never uncomfortable. SC required very little introductory material. CB recorded only a few moments of Topher and I hugging as an introductory image to our scene, but F created a scenario in which I was cruising Benjamin at the beach and started a conversation as a means of introducing our scene.
HH was a great deal of fun, and they produce high quality videos. Their movies are just plain HAWT. Their live show I shot didn’t intimidate me, because I’d done so much cam modeling prior to the scene with Lucas Knowles. If you are going to do the Backroom for HH, you will probably be asked to do a live cam show and one or two pre-recorded scenes for later distribution. I suggest practicing your live skills with a webcam in a chat room. It will make it easier to absorb the idea that there are many eyes watching you. The takes for HH were similar to those of F. They didn’t last as long as the CB takes, but they were longer than those for SC. My scene with Conner O’Reilly took about three to four hours.
At SC, I got the distinct sense from beginning to end that the staff was overworked and burned out. Everything felt routine, as if they were all saturated by the cut-and-dry nature of the process. Everyone seemed tired before we began, and people seemed short-tempered. I felt more tension at SC than at the other houses. Another peculiarity I experienced at SC that I did not observe at the other houses: For the solo shoots, the staff leave the room where the scene is taking place as you fluff yourself, and then come running in with their cameras once you holler out that you are ready with an erection. At the other houses you simply fluff yourself while people wait to begin again.
The shoot for CB required more set up, because it was out on location. SC sets are mostly pre-assembled (and thus used repeatedly – you should recognize all the “rooms” by now on the SC site). Whereas SC generally uses one of a few sets that are always ready, CB, F, and HH may or may not venture out into new locations. While the CB shoot took longer to set up, the shoots themselves were shorter than at SC. Overall the length of the days was about the same as a result.
For the F shoot we were also on location, and so, like CB, there was more set up than with SC; however, just as with CB, there was a sense that the production crew ENJOYED working with each other. There was a great deal of levity on the F set, as there was at CB (both sets were decidedly warm and friendly). John Bruno of F laughs and jokes a great deal, and the other staff were fun and courteous as well. If you ever get the chance to work with Kristofer Weston or John Rutherford of CB, I can tell you that they are simply delightful.
The scene at HH felt as close to a hook up as any shoot I’ve done yet, partly because Conner O’Reilly is so easy to work with (very cute!), but also because Christian Owen and his staff were organized without being jaded. They use the same sets repeatedly (in addition to constructing sets for special projects), just as SC does. The HH shoot took a bit longer than we’d originally anticipated, but there was never any sense that anyone at HH was losing patience.
Expect each of these four houses to take time for solo photography to use as promotional materials. When you negotiate your fee (see part 3), understand that all of these houses will cover your travel and accommodation, and that the fee will probably include one or two 2 to 4 hour-photo shoots, as well as the scene(s) in which you will be participating. All four houses take exceptionally good still shots, and take great pains with lighting and composition. SC and HH required less time for the still shots, because they occurred on familiar sets.
I have made clear my experience with SC in this regard.
On the remaining shoots I have done, there was never any expression of concern that I, or anyone else, was “too gay.” If you work for CB, F, or HH you probably won’t have to worry about anyone obsessing that you might accidentally be seen as gay-for-real, rather than gay-for-pay. These houses also work with gay-for-pay models, but their attitude toward LGBTQ people isn’t negative at all. In fact, CB used a transgender MTF to do our hair and makeup. I fear; however, that my experience with SC may have infected me with some homophobia, because on the shoots for CB, F, and HH I was worried the whole time that my sounds were ridiculous. I have to unlearn that.
Regardless of the house(s) with which you work, you should acquaint yourself with their videos. Do you want to be portrayed in the manner and style for which the company is known? I prefer the idea of doing higher-budget projects, thus I have politely rejected work from companies whose work looks amateur. I have also made the personal choice not to participate in productions in which a “straight” man is “tricked” into having gay sex, so I have also politely declined work from those companies who feature it. Consider your brand and image, and do not dilute them by doing scenes which are not consistent with them.
With the issues of brand, and more importantly, health in mind, I cannot state it strongly enough: Avoid doing bareback porn. Politely decline every request you get. There are many obvious (and subtle) pitfalls to doing bareback porn, and there is no need to ennumerate them all. Do not do raw porn! EVER! NO no no no no no no no no no no no, no no no no no no no. NO! Do not do it!
One last suggestion: If you want to work with SC, work with them FIRST. They will not generally use models who have already gotten exposure on other sites. They want “virgins.” SC offers the highest pay, as they should, given the length of their shoots, the exclusive contracts (which do not include guarantees for further work), and the limitations the exclusive contract will place on any other adult themed projects you may wish to persue.