April 16, 2004

Hitch in the Shooting Schedule

Via Venomous Kate, two porn stars have just tested positive for HIV; a number of performers have been quarantined as potentially exposed, and production has been suspended on a few sets until the extent of the outbreak is known.

So much for economic growth in the San Fernando Valley.

Posted by Attila at April 16, 2004 08:55 AM

Are you volunteering to pick up the slack? I know a brilliant - albeit a tad slow in actual shooting - cinemaphotographer and a linguistically adept fluffer...

Posted by: Little Mr Mahatma at April 16, 2004 07:56 PM

"Fluffer." I'm going to tell him you said that. ;)

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 17, 2004 12:04 AM

Of course, what will actually reflect well on the industry is if this gets them to finally implement a long-overdue condoms-mandatory policy. (To be fair, many of the large producers are already condoms-mandatory, and hats off to them.) They'd better; if they don't, the goverment will do it for them.

Posted by: Christophe at April 17, 2004 12:55 AM

I'd like to see how many porn actors have contracted HIV, and compare it to the number working, and then do a similar analysis of stunt performers for action films, to determine which group is at greater risk.

What proportion of current smut features condoms at present? Would you be willing to be the trailblazer, if the government isn't willing to step in?

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 17, 2004 02:09 AM

The problem is market. If condoms in U.S. productions become mandatory how will it affect sales of U.S. films. I bet sales'd drop. Will it send yet another American market overseas where rules may be more lax?


Posted by: Little Mr Mahatma at April 17, 2004 07:29 PM

While we don't know how many porn actors have contracted HIV, this is the first HIV scare in the industry since 1999.

I'll admit that Blowfish hasn't had a consistent policy on this, but in our defense, I'll say that: (a) We've made exactly one film, and (b) the one M/F couple in it knew each other before the shoot, are married, and don't use condoms in their daily sex life. If we became a standard producer, we'd be condoms-mandatory.

I'm not convinced that requiring condoms would cause a huge flight overseas. Many of the major producers (Wicked, Vivid, Private, VCA) are already condoms-mandatory, even when doing overseas production. Requiring proper safety requirement to any business adds cost, but that doesn't mean it is the wrong thing to do.

Posted by: Christophe at April 18, 2004 09:32 AM

It wasn't a question of cost; I'm wondering whether, from a male POV, condom use detracts from the intended result of the film, e.g., sexual excitement. After all, isn't there supposed to be a vicarious enjoyment of the action therein?

A lot of men I know still hate condoms, and I've been told that the only ones that are remotely workable--that is, transmit a sensation approximating that of bareback sex--are the lambskin variety, which of course are next to worthless from a disease-prevention POV.

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 18, 2004 12:33 PM

That's a good question. Here's my take on it:

Just to get it out of the way, the question isn't (obviously) what the talent thinks feels good. They're professionals, and they'll cope. And except for the minority of serious whackos, they're not any wilder about getting a disease than the female talent. (After all, HIV is the nastiest thing out there, but it is still not the only one.)

The jury is out, and might always be, on whether or not condom use in movies turns off the male viewers enough that they don't buy the product. The major studios (Vivid, Wicked, Private, VCA, etc.) that are all-condom are doing just fine, so it's clearly not a product-line-killer. Most of the female Big Name Stars insist on condoms, and no one has a problem with that. In fact, the only major studio that I can think of that is condom-optional is Evil Angel (and I'm not 100% sure on that).

Most directors have gotten pretty good at cutting in such a way that you don't see the condom go on or in use except during the actual in-and-out. Transparent condoms are much clearer now than they used to be, too.

The smaller studios are generally condom-optional or bareback-required. One could argue that this is their ecological niche, and they are picking up viewers who want to see bareback sex. But none of them are eating the majors alive.

Waaaaay back in the mid-90s, the major studios argued that any condom use at all would kill off sales. Then, they felt they had to switch (in part because the female superstars were demanding it), they did, and nothing bad happened... the industry kept growing just like it did before. I'd have to take that as evidence that the concerns about condoms killing sales are overblown.

As far as condoms not feeling like anything (the "showering with a raincoat on" problem, as we like to say), condoms have gotten a lot better in that regard over the last five years. The Avanti and Inspiral feel pretty good to my wobbly bits.

It's true that we are probably years away from a barrier that feels just like bareback, though. Given the alternatives, though, I think this an area where we can just be grownups and deal with it.

Posted by: Christophe at April 18, 2004 06:35 PM

I hadn't realized that they cut out the actual process of putting the condom on. I'm sure that makes a big difference, experientially, to the male viewer.

The big revolution would be if they allowed the man to simply come inside the woman, rather than having to show the semen. I've always assumed that this was so the viewer would know the actor wasn't just simulating orgasm (as if some guys care about whether even the women they see might be doing this).

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 18, 2004 11:44 PM

The revolution has been here for quite some time as judging by the plethora of creampie sites and films...not that I'm aware of such things...

Posted by: Little Mr Mahatma at April 19, 2004 08:57 AM

I will always trust you to be aware of these things.

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 19, 2004 01:03 PM

Yep. I have eyes but cannot see, 'specially after the S.O. is done reaming them out with a torque screwdriver.

Posted by: Little Mr Mahatma at April 19, 2004 03:24 PM

Ah--the vague, fake protests of the fundamentally happy man.

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 20, 2004 12:59 AM

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