Production

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
8

The average cost of producing a feature length sixteen or thirty-five millimeter [1725] sexually explicit movie for theatrical release is seventy-five thousand dollars. The costs may range from thirty to one hundred fifty thousand dollars.[1726] A sixteen millimeter film that will be marketed on video tape costs between ten and thirty thousand dollars to produce.[1727]

The sexually explicit film industry is presently in a state of transition from a theater centered base to one dominated by video tape cassettes viewed in the home.[1728] Not surprisingly, the most rapidly growing method of production is to shoot a sexually explicit movie directly on video tape.[1729] A sixty minute video can be produced in two days at a cost of between four and eight thousand dollars.[1730] A ninety minute video is often taped within three days at a cost between ten and twenty thousand dollars.[1731] The costs primarily consist of performer and crew fees.[1732]

Most sexually explicit movies begin by the producer[1733] choosing a title.[1734] The producer attempts to choose a title that will attract the customer's eye and make the movie more marketable. One current trend is to take popular general release movies and develop sexually explicit "takeoffs" based on the titles and plots of the general release movies.[1735]

After a title has been selected, the script is written to suit the title. Sometimes, however, the script has no relationship to the title.[1736] In addition, it is not uncommon for producers to use the same script for more than one movie.[1737]

Once a title is chosen and a script written, the producer finds a location at which to shoot the movie.[1738] Films may be shot in motel rooms, private homes or on sound stages.[1739] The primary consideration for the type of location used is often the budget allotted to the particular film.[1740]

After a location is selected, the producer chooses the performers.[1741] Producers sometimes contact performers through agents.[1742] The producer usually looks through the agent's book listing performers along with their photographs[1743] The producer may choose a performer on the basis of appearance alone or on the basis of previous performances.[1744] The producer may select performers by using a "cattle call," in which ten or fifteen performers are asked to appear at his location for an interview.[1745] In Los Angeles there are two agents who specialize in providing performers for sexually explicit films.[1746] The agent receives forty-five to fifty dollars a day for each performer that he provides.[1747]

The producer is looking for several things when choosing the performers. The most important factor is appearance.[1748] Producers may want performers who have certain anatomical characteristics or who look particularly youthful.[1749] The second criterion is that the performer must be able to do the sexual acts called for in the script.[1750] These acts may include sadomasochistic activities, anal sex, group sex, urination and defecation.[1751]

Female performers earn $350 to $500 per day of performance.[1752] Male performers earn $250 to $450 per day of performance.[1753] Better known "stars" of sexually explicit movies earn from $1,000 to $2,500 per day of performance.[1754] Performers may also be paid on the basis of the number and type of sex acts in which they engage.[1755] Some performers receive $250 per sex act.[1756]

As with any filming, the producer must own or rent lights, cameras and props.[1757] The necessary equipment costs five hundred to one thousand dollars per day to rent.[1758] Larger production companies usually own their own equipment.[1759]

The technicians used in sexually explicit movies also may work in the general release film industry.[1760] Others work in the sexually explicit film industry when they are unemployed or need to supplement their income. Still other technicians began and remain exclusively in the sexually explicit film industry.[1761]

When the producer is ready to begin filming, he will often contact the agent and instruct the agent to have the performers meet the producer at a designated location.[1762] The producer sometimes transports the performers to the shooting location to avoid attracting the attention of the police or others.[1763] The police often learn of sexually explicit movie shootings when a neighbor complains about activities next door.[1764] The producer may also have security personnel check for police surveillance while the shooting is in progress.[1765]

Once on site, the performers go through make-up and wardrobe, and have a script review.[1766] The script is usually minimal and is rewritten during the filming.[1767]

Dialogue scenes are usually shot in the first two or three takes.[1768] The sex scenes are usually filmed in one take.[1769] The director will usually tell the performers exactly what he wants them to do.[1770] The director will tell them which way to turn their heads and what positions to use while they engage in sexual activity.[1771]

The most important part of the movie is considered by the trade to be the male ejaculation scene.[1772] This scene is always filmed when the male's penis is outside the partner's body.[1773] The male usually ejaculates on the buttocks, breast, or face of his partner.[1774]

Still photographs may also be taken during the shooting[1775] and are used for promotional material such as fliers, film or video package covers, posters, as well as unrelated magazine layouts.[1776]

It is also common for two versions of a movie to be produced during the filming.[1777] One version contains more sexually explicit scenes than the other.[1778] The less sexually explicit film is sometimes introduced into the subscription television market.[1779]

A day's shooting may last from seven in the morning until two o'clock the following morning.[1780] During this time, the performers and crew are literally locked into the location.[1781] The meals are prepared or brought in and lunch and dinner breaks are taken on site.[1782]

At the conclusion of the shooting the performers are asked to sign a "Model Release."[1783] The performers are then paid for their work. Payment is generally made in cash.[1784] After the shooting is complete, the producer prepares a master print to be sold to the distributor.[1785]

The distributor first edits the movie and then adds the soundtrack.[1786] There are basically three types of sexually explicit films marketed: eight millimeter, sixteen millimeter and thirty-five millimeter.[1787] The eight millimeter films are usually made into loops.[1788] A "loop" is a seven to eight minute excerpt of a feature length film.[1789] A film may be purchased or viewed as several different loops such as "Swedish Erotica One to Six." "Swedish Erotica Two" is actually a continuation of "Swedish Erotica One."[1790]

While eight millimeter film was a popular medium of production in the past, it is no longer widely used.[1791] One law enforcement officer estimated that by 1990, eight millimeter sexually explicit movies will be a thing of the past.[1792] This prediction was based on the fact that eight millimeter films are usually of poor technical quality, lack audio sound, and the fact that lower cost video tapes of improved technical quality are replacing eight millimeter films in peep show booths nationwide.[1793]

Most of the feature length films shown in "adults only" theaters across the country are shot on sixteen millimeter film.[1794] Sixteen millimeter is a popular medium because, through film processing technology, it can be easily converted into eight millimeter or thirty-five millimeter.[1795] Few sexually explicit films are made on thirty-five millimeter because production costs are prohibitive.[1796]

Notes

  1. Thirty-five millimeter films are more expensive to produce than sixteen millimeter films.
  2. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 72. John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America, estimates that a feature length film costs between $75,000 and $125,000 to produce. Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America (Mar. 8, 1986).
  3. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 73.
  4. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Les Baker, pp. 203B-2-3.
  5. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 73.
  6. Id.
  7. Id.
  8. Id.
  9. The term "producer" is used to include the producer, writer and director as one individual, since this is usually the case. Id., p. 62.
  10. Id.
  11. Id., p. 63 (e.g., Romancing the Stone, Romancing the Bone; On Golden Pond, On Golden Blonde; the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard of Ahas; the Cotton Club, the Cotton Tail Club).
  12. Id.
  13. Id.
  14. Id.
  15. Id.
  16. Id., pp. 63-64.
  17. See, Chapter 17 for a detailed discussion of performers.
  18. Id., p. 64.
  19. Id.
  20. Id.
  21. Id.
  22. Id.
  23. Id.
  24. Id.
  25. Id.
  26. Id., p. 65.
  27. Id.
  28. Id.
  29. Id.
  30. Id.; The War Against Pornography, Newsweek, (Mar. 18, 1985), p.62.
  31. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 65.
  32. Id.; See, Chapter 17 which discusses performers.
  33. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, pp. 65-66.
  34. Id., p. 66.
  35. Id.
  36. Id.; Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America (Mar. 8, 1986).
  37. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 66.
  38. Id., p. 67.
  39. Id.
  40. Id.
  41. Id.
  42. Id., p. 68.
  43. Id.
  44. Id.
  45. Id.
  46. Id.
  47. Id., pp. 68-69.
  48. Id., p. 69.
  49. Id.
  50. Id.
  51. Id.
  52. Id., pp. 69-70.
  53. Id., p. 70.
  54. Id.
  55. Id.
  56. Id., p. 69.
  57. Id., p. 70.
  58. Id.
  59. Id.
  60. Id., p. 71.
  61. Id.
  62. Id.
  63. Interview with Don Smith, Los Angeles Police Department (Mar. 9, 1986).
  64. Id.
  65. Id.
  66. Id.
  67. Id.
  68. Id.
  69. Id.; See. The discussion of peep show booths for further information.
  70. Id.
  71. Id.
  72. Id.