How not to make an erotic movie
We sell Shoot Your Own Adult Home Movies, which features all kinds of tips about how to - uh - shoot your own erotic movies. Perhaps if I'd had this book before starting my own ill-fated career in adult cinema, I wouldn't have made the mistakes I did...
It all began when I was working on the website of a fairly well-known British erotic novelist (they do exist, you know - and no, I'm not going to name any names) and was struck by the idea of selling films directly through the site.
We decided that as most of the 'straight' bases were covered, we should move into more specialist areas - and thus put our first foot wrong. We were going to make a caning and pissing film. And not just any old caning and pissing film - a period caning and pissing film.
First step was to find some girls to take part. My friend, who'd attended several fetish fairs in north London, assured me that we'd easily pick up some suitable faces at one of these events, so I bowed to his greater wisdom and joined him on a visit.
As he happily burbled through the crowd, making contacts and straightfacedly asking any girl that took his fancy if she'd like to star in our film, I gazed wild-eyed around the crowd, almost all wearing black leather or rubber but otherwise looking surprisingly like participants in some fancy-dress Dungeons & Dragons convention, unable for the life of me to approach the girls and broach the subject of starring in an erotic movie without sounding like I'd just crawled out from under a rock.
By the end of the day we, or rather my friend, had found two girls - one hatchet-faced harridan with her hair pulled back in a facelift ponytail, who seemed to have picked her range of facial expressions from Dot of Eastenders fame, and her friend, a pretty blonde 21-year-old who had already starred in countless seamy productions.
Bizarrely enough the event ended with my friend and I taking turns to spank another girl - hard - for the benefit of a large crowd before the vigorous throat-cutting motions of a steward warned us that London's finest were on the prowl and seeking to avenge sexual misdemeanours with their truncheons and poor grammar.
On to the shoot, which was on the ground floor of a semi in Palmers Green on one of the hottest days of the year, made far hotter by the lights I'd managed to borrow and the heavy Victorian costumes the girls - a governess and her maid - wore.
I was surprised to find the novelist upping sticks and leaving the 'direction' to me - although to be fair neither of us had any experience of what was about to happen - so I was left with the girls, an obese, wheezing Welshman the novelist had got in and a professional filmmaker friend who provided the lights plus an extra camera. And we were off...
It was not an arousing experience. In fact it's fair to say it was fairly stressful. One of the girls hadn't learned any of her lines, while the other complained, after I provided her with a potty full of ginger beer rather than fresh pee to have her face pushed into as she was caned, that she didn't like ginger beer, and why had we thrown away the pee?
But it was finally done, and we got fairly excited looking at the rushes and thinking about how much money we were going to make in the brave new world of caning videos.
How wrong we were. The first rifts came when a friend who had agreed to lend us editing facilities for free was caught up in our fervour and demanded a piece of the action then provided the shoddiest patch-up job since Victor Frankenstein hung up his needle and thread.
The second nail in the coffin involved the novelist's further researches into the legality of what we were about to do: it turned out that we'd actually filmed criminal sexual acts (both the caning and the pissing) and would never get a certificate for the release. Selling uncertificated videos carried a pretty hefty criminal charge, and the novelist no longer wanted to be associated with the project - so it couldn't be sold on the site.
A series of petty wrangles ensued, punctuated by trips to various Soho shops to try selling the master copy, which netted us no cash but introduced us to a range of characters whose demeanour can only finally be described as - oily.
After a few months we'd pretty much given up trying to salvage anything from the situation except our friendships. I paid the investors back my share in the film and thought little more of it until a holiday in Sark about a year later, when I was watching TV with my girlfriend and who should appear but the cute blonde from our film, looking decidedly the worse for wear?
I watched, intrigued, as she gave a potted history of her life and times, then gawked in astonishment when, on being asked what was the sickest film she'd ever made, she replied, 'These two guys made me do a caning and pissing film, that was probably the worst.' Out of 300-odd movies, that's not bad. And hey, lady, you wanted to keep the pee in the potty before stuffing your face in it...