PORN PART V: The end is coming, or rather, it’s here….

“I’m almost positive the one with the blue cap is the anal lube.”
“No, that’s the regular lube, the red one’s the anal lube.”
A director and video assistant argue, holding up what appears to be a kindergartner’s glue stick.
“Are you sure? We’re going to need these soon,” the director says distractedly, eyeing the kitchen set. The stove and camera are lined up perfectly to catch, in full Technicolor, the first insertion.
“I think so,” the video assistant answers, putting the tube of what may or may not be anal lubricant back into a large box with a few dozen other tubes of lubricants
“Are we almost ready to roll?” the director asks, forgetting the lubricant for a moment
I stretch my neck as the set erupts in a flurry of motion. Grown men are debating the finer points of anal lube. An attractive young woman steadies her handstand while a man thrusts into her repeatedly. The lights are bright, the room is hot, everyone is sweating. I am bearing witness to the filming of a pornographic movie.

Making movies

The Chatsworth sound stage where Taking Chance is being filmed is thoroughly unremarkable. More than anything this L.A. studio resembles a furniture store, with plush sofas and beds scattered in rooms with two walls, hallways that lead nowhere and light switches that don’t work.

“It’s just that, I- I need you,” intones Lee Stone to Aria, his co-star, as they run through their lines together. Backstage (upstairs actually) is a strange mishmash of naked women getting their makeup done, naked women paging through their scripts and naked women eating the bagels and muffins left out on the green room countertop.

A few minutes later filming begins. After five minutes and two takes of the opening dialogue, the sex begins. With nearly a dozen crewmembers and cameramen huddled around the small kitchen set, Aria begins performing fellatio on Stone. The filming of the oral scene takes about 10 minutes and goes off without a hitch.

“Now the fun stuff,” a production assistant tells me.

Stone begins having sex with Aria, who is sitting on top of a stove. There’s a lot of moaning, groaning, groping and screaming. “Oh fuck yeah,” was uttered on more than one occasion.

“Cut! All right. We’ve got a glare in the window,” says director Wesley Emerson, stopping the filming barely a minute after it began. A lighting technician adjusts the lighting rig. Aria and Stone continue to go at it.

The lighting problem is solved and Stone and Aria continue performing for the camera, eventually with such force that the stove becomes unbolted from the wall. Emerson smiles at me, thinking that he’s got a really wild performance on his hands. Then the stove begins to wobble, tipping from side to side, shaking Aria along with it.

“All right, we’re going to have to fix the stove,” Emerson announces, cutting the scene.

Some production assistants leave the set to track down some sandbags. Stone alternates between masturbating and having sex with Aria while the filming is stopped.

“You have to keep the wood,” he tells me later.

A few minutes later the stove is secured and filming starts again. This time they don’t run into any more trouble. The stove scene takes more than an hour to shoot. On the final video, it will likely run less than three minutes.

“Okay, we’re doing the cable now,” Emerson announces, as Aria and Stone resume their positions atop the stove. I eyeball Emerson.

“We’re shooting the scenes again for cable,” he tells me. “(This means) more shots of their faces.”

Cable sales allow video companies to save money, making two videos by the same resources in two versions of the film. Scenes are first shot for the hardcore video and DVD offerings, and then re-shot for cable without depicting genitalia. Some movie sets have two cameras – a “hot” camera for the hardcore offering and a “cold” camera for the tamer cable version. Today there’s only one camera on the set, so everything has to be shot twice. They race through the stove scene again, having sex while the camera carefully avoids anything too racy, this time finishing in about 20 minutes.

For the next hour Aria and Stone continue to perform, alternating sexual positions every 10 minutes or so. I’m beginning to get bored, having witnessed these two actors go at it for two hours straight. Then Aria and Stone change positions yet again.

“The pile driver,” Emerson tells me, as Aria and Stone redefine the trademark WWF maneuver. Aria does a handstand and rests her legs on Stone’s shoulders while he thrusts into her. The logistics of this scene are impressive. Due to its difficult choreography, I expect the pile driver to last a matter of seconds, but I’m stunned to watch it go on, for one minute, two minutes, five minutes. A puddle of sweat forms under their entwined bodies.

“Oh shit!” Aria yells, losing her hold on the sweaty linoleum tile, losing her balance and slamming her head on the floor. Aria stands up. Someone offers to get her an ice pack. “I’ll be all right she says,” pacing around the kitchen floor, beginning to cackle.

“OK guys, when you’re ready we’ll do the FIP,” Emerson tells his actors.

“FIP?” I ask.

“Fake internal pop,” he tells me. Pop is the porn term for ejaculation. “It’s how we end the cable scenes.”

After a few minutes’ rest, Aria has recovered and she and Stone go back to work. The FIP scene is brief – really just an awkward series of grunts and contortions. After the FIP scene, Emerson films the last part of the scene – the money shot – and then it’s time for lunch. Total time spent filming: two hours. Total running time on the finished movie: about 13 minutes.

A catered affair

I catch up with Stone and Aria in the green room as they eat catered lunches – salads and pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches. Stone is wearing a pair of thin silk pants while Aria dines in the nude. Stone is telling Aria about a recent trip to Prague.

“In the Czech Republic, the crown is like 30 crowns in a dollar. The dollar’s worth three times as much over there. I’d go over there and have a huge meal – appetizers, salad, a whole meal, desserts, drinks. For two people it’s like 15 or 20 bucks.”

“Oh!” Aria interjects, noticing something amiss. “I’ve got dried cum on my arm.” She laughs and continues to eat her sandwich.

I ask Stone how he was able to maintain an erection for two and a half hours straight.

“I don’t know,” he answers. “I owe it all to her”

And how much acting goes into a typical porn movie?

“I don’t act very well so I like to get a good fuck,” Aria tells me. “If I get a lame fuck I can’t fake enjoying it.”

Jasmine Klein, who also appears in Taking Chance, shares the same sentiment.

“Orgasms are the best part of doing this,” she explains. “I get angry if I walk away from a scene not having at least one good orgasm.”

The lunch break eventually ends and the cast and crew get back to work. This time it’s a new slate of performers – two girls and a guy. Stone and Aria are done for the day. I wander down to the set, but the stop-and-go pace is frustrating. After spending the better part of my day at the set of Taking Chance, I decide that I’ve seen what I came to see and head back to the real world.

A filthy future

We’ve seen the industry inside and out, but one question remains unanswered. What’s in the future for the filth industry? It’s growing more popular every year and raking in more money than ever. It’s also penetrating the fringes of mainstream entertainment and culture. Porn has emerged from the shadows, now operating amongst other semi-reputable corporations that find their home in the Valley.

But porn does not get a clean bill of health. Legal and political battles loom on the horizon as performers continue to face a plethora of emotional and medical issues. At the same time the industry continues to suffer in the face of overwhelming public disapproval.

Regardless of how the issues confronting Porn Valley play out, one thing is certain: there will always be a demand for porn and there will always be people willing to produce it.

Few in the world of porn have any misconceptions about what their contribution will mean in the grand scheme of things.

“What I do doesn’t affect the world this much,” says longtime director and producer Henri Pachard. “It’s what people jack off to.”

“Do I know what I’m doing?” asks director Jane Hamilton. “Of course. I’m making pornography, not saving lives.”

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