Tales from the Porn Side

Dr Lector: Or How I Stopped Worrying About The Absurdities And Learnt To Love The Difficulties Of Directing Pornography.

The objective of this article is to give the reader a inside view of the challenges from the Producers point of view when it comes to directing Porn in the UK.

Published Mon 31st Jul 2017
By itsAdult / Tales from the Porn Side

Dr Lector: Or How I Stopped Worrying About The Absurdities And Learnt To Love The Difficulties Of Directing Pornography.

The objective of this article is to give the reader a inside view of the challenges from the Producers point of view when it comes to directing Porn in the UK. I will talk about the many hurdles one must jump to succeed in achieving a industry standard final product and truthfully reflect on my past failure as a UK Adult Director. I have broken my failures and hopefully made a fool proof way of not failing by obeying on the 3 Golden hazards in Porn Production.

 

Rule 1 – The Limbo of Funding 

The first challenge and the main struggle for any film maker, or any artist within the realm of creativity is always going to be funding. To find capital to achieve ones vision. Funding is the goal we all, in every field must battle to achieve in order to pursue our creative ventures through all platforms. 

 

Rule 2 – Relying On Others 

The next major challenge is relying on people. Making something from nothing is a mantra we all, both performers and producers struggle with when not only just beginning in this industry, but even when you have achieved the level of stardom. Relying on others, wither that be co-stars, talent, crew, technicians, business partners, web developers or in my case, an investor. We can prepare as much of a contingency plan for when things go wrong, but we are always going to be at the mercy of someone showing up or not showing at all. 

 

Rule 3 – Ego is a Cancer of Creativity 

The last challenge I will mention is quite simply, battling egos. Ego is the one thing I will not tolerate on my film sets. I take pride in working with real down to earth, selfless people who believe in my vision, but demonstrate no self indulgent almost “Diva” tendencies. Ego is not just regarding Performers, but producers as well. Ego also spreads into the lack of Professionalism on and off set.

 

I know and have heard of certain production houses within the adult industry over the years who quite simply use their talented actors like cattle and run their companies like a conveyer belt, drained of all passion, craft and warmth. Personally for me, I build a great working relationship with all my Actors/Performers. I guess this may seem like a myth from everyone’s past experiences with some people/companies in this industry, but I was brought up to talk to a prince and pauper the same way, you talk to someone, anyone in the way you would wish to be addressed in return… I guess that memo skipped healthy chunk in the adult industry; internationally speaking. 

 

Using these 3 rules, I can honestly look back and reflect and self critique ones self into why my feature film; an adult feature length Hannibal/Silence of the Lambs porn parody failed. 

 

My first crime was breaking Rule 1, into why this film collapsed was down to finance and capital essentially. I had a personal investor, a rich gentlemen who was a close friend who fancied himself a Porn producer. He was willing to fund my feature. 

 

After I had cast my film, I was so fortunate to work with and have on-board my set the incredible Misha Mayfair, whom was one of the brain childs of this entire project. Misha showed noting but proactivity towards this project, we would rendezvous over the phone for weeks ahead of schedule and it was a mutual and next to perfect collaboration.  Note to all producers, Misha Mayfair is one to watch out for as she is growing huge in the industry and I can not recommend her more to work with. 

 

I had the return of a legendary performer Rebecca Jane Smyth, who I must admit, I felt like a virgin just being in her presence, the zeitgeist this woman brings to a scene is magic. She is incredible to work with.

 

And I also had a few others who were wonderful to work with. 

 

What my issue was is that I allowed myself to be too personally involved within other performers personal lives. Something I clearly stated to a couple that worked with me in the past that I could not continue to be their relationship councillors and your lack of professionalism is destroying this project day by day. 

 

This brings us into my breaking of both Rules 2 and 3 in one move. By me continuing to hire some of the bad apples in the crate that were infecting the set and atmosphere, it shows just why if one of these rules is broken, the other rules collapses too like a domino effect. Like shattered glass, the damage to just grows and grows until ultimately the whole thing is destroyed. 

 

The final death stroke to my Hannibal feature was the fact I had 2 scenes of 6 shot in the can, but there were certain off screen drama’s that tarnished two of my performers with a certain association that I have no interest, nor wish to be associated with. This ultimately rendered the first scenes we had shot, useless. The scenes will never see the light of day as I can not, and will not be associated with someone with that much vitriol. 

 

When I told my investor that what we had shot already, and what we had filmed, we can never show because its essentially as if we cast fuckin’ Ian Watkins or Ted Bundy as the lead of our film. He was disappointed, not as disappointed as me of course. But with that I told him if you want to pull out, pull out now as we were due to film the final days shoot in a week’s time. Which gives plenty of time to inform the cast and crew that this project is cancelled before they give up their time and cancel other work for this. However, he convinced me that he wanted to remain in this project non-the less. 

 

The day before the final day of filming, and just after I had recast the film, 14 hours before we are due to shoot, me and my investor have a final meeting, which is were I normally pick up the funding of film so I can pay my talent on the day of filming. Instead, He is 40 minutes late to our meeting, I wait. He turns up and says “I am out!”  Then leaves. 14 HOURS BEFORE OUR FILMING! 

 

This is where your humble narrator, loses his shit, chain smokes himself into a state of control and after asking 4-5 other possible investors to invest in this film. Realises the game is up, I know I have to make that horrid phone call and tell my whole cast and crew, super last minute. Even some of my crew already made travel arrangements, booked babysitters that I have to cancel the whole shoot and film in general. Whilst doing this I am feeling my reputation as a suave creative director slowly warp into someone who just wastes others time. 

 

For me talking to the people who believe in my projects and want to work with me and in some cases look up to me, it kills me to make that painful phone call, I describe like breaking up with a deeply loved girlfriend or boyfriend over the phone, then doing that 6 more times in one hour.

 

What amazed me was the understanding and overwhelming support I still received from these great people. Misha mayfair, Ella Bella and even the amazing studio facility we were shooting in (Murder Mile Studios) were so understanding about this. I had felt a failure and worthless to be quite honest, but my business partner Paul Taylor AKA The Nerdpervert of Dusk Films picked me right back up on my feet and gave me the most valuable lesson of them all. 

 

Which I am going to conclude this article with. 

 

Rule 4 – If The Money Is Not In Your Hand, Its Not There!

My good friend Paul Taylor taught me, that all these issues I have talked about happen in the industry every day, no matter how far or acclaimed you in the industry. Even Paul, with 15+ Years of professional experience as one of the UK’s leading pornographers STILL runs into these challenges. 

 

He taught me, that no matter who might have promised you something, wither that be their time, their services or their financial backing. Unless they have actually given you the agreement upfront, then they have not given anything. A promise is nothing to go by unfortunately. Something I learnt the hard way.

 

This leads me to my conclusion, which is what will I do for my next project, and what can you the reader who’s maybe intrigued in working in the UK Adult industry? 

 

Well its simple. I have one philosophy in filmmaking, a great director should lead, never dictate. I will still be a strong leader, but never cold. I will be open and friendly, yet remain affirmative and maintain that professional barrier between career and personal life. I will give people the benefit of the doubt, but will always be wary and have a back up; but mainly. We all in life learn from our mistakes; as unfortunate as this project was, It has not shaken my belief nor drive as a Adult Director, in fact it has driven me further into achieving my vision and goal within this great industry. 

 

My advice for all you out there reading this, Failure must happen to begin with, because it’s the ultimate tool in building your character, but more importantly, you will never ever be able to experience true success, without experiencing failure first hand first. 

 

Orson Swelles


 

 

 

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