It’s not usually in the legal paperwork, but contract girls are expected to promote the movies they are in by posting about them on social media networks and doing interviews. We tweet, retweet, and usually put up some kind of blog post somewhere. Digital Playground already has the dissemination of pictures and trailers covered pretty well, so my promotional blog posts are usually something about how much fun shooting the movie was or something else vaguely related with a mention of or link to my most recent scene organically worked in. I’m having a hard time doing that with Watch Over Me.
The sex scenes were fun to shoot. I very much enjoy working with both James Deen and Erik Everhard in a penis-in-vagina sort of way. Regardless of whether the acting was passable or not, Robby D seemed happy with the footage he was getting. All of my stuff had to be shot on the second day because of some vaguely explained thing involving locations, but it proceeded smoothly even with all of the wardrobe changes and shooting the dialogue pieces out of order. It was a great shoot, but the fact that it was on November 6th obscures all the other details.
November 6th, for those of you who live outside the United States, is election day. Both the presidency and Measure B (the LA County ”condoms in porn“ law) were being voted on last year. Every single person on set was likely to be affected in some way if Measure B passed because we all work in pornography. Along with many other adult performers (including Mr. Deen) I had spoken with every reporter who expressed interest about how the porn industry protects itself and why we believed Measure B wasn’t the most helpful option. We’d blogged, we’d tweeted, we’d used the best tools we had to fight it. I posted one last “NO on B” tweet that morning while I was waiting for the makeup artist to finish setting up her kit. People were already headed to the polls and, for the moment, there wasn’t much else to be done.
We’d shot everything leading up to my sex scene with Erik by the time we stopped for lunch. Normally the crew would have been joking around. We all would have been catching up on each others’ personal lives and speculating on industry gossip while we stood or sat with our paper plates and cans of soda. On that particular day all we wanted to know was what the exit polls indicated about the election. A few people pulled up articles on their cell phones. It didn’t look so bad for Obama or for No on B, but it didn’t look so great either. Two hours later the first sex scene was done. Things looked good for Obama and bad for No on B.
There were still pages of dialogue between James and I to shoot. As the evening went on, the news was being checked every hour and then half hour. It looked safe to assume that Obama was in for another four years, but Measure B looked close. On hour fourteen of the shoot we started checking every time we stopped for ten seconds to tweak a light. Midnight came and went. It looked like Measure B had passed. I took a moment to smoke a cigarette while the crew was setting up for the sex. I was frustrated by the likelihood that people who knew little to nothing about porn had voted for something that at best would make our jobs slightly more difficult and at worst could make performing more dangerous. I was angry at the people who felt they had a right to spread views that had no basis in reality, and who represented them as fact. My feelings towards the AHF (the people who drafted Measure B and put ads up all over LA) were conflicted because they appeared to do good work with things like HIV awareness, testing outreach, and medical care for people with HIV/AIDS but were either misguided or being less than honest when they said Measure B was about improving our safety. James came out and told me they were ready to get the last scene. There were brittle jokes among the crew about how they might not have jobs the next day. I focused on James and how much I love having sex with him. Hopefully it came across in the finished product.
We wrapped with enough time for me to pack my suitcase and make my flight to NYC. I got off the plane at the beginning of a nor’easter and spent the rest of the day responding to journalists who wanted to know what porn as an industry was going to do next. Fun fact: My phone doesn’t get service inside my apartment. I did all those interviews on the front step while snow blew down and trees cracked in half from the strain of the storm. Reporter after reporter, I told them I wasn’t a lawyer and I couldn’t speak for porn or female performers as a whole. I told them I didn’t know for sure what was going to happen and tried to explain the pros and cons of a couple of the options being thrown around. During the last interview, as I was reminding the reporter that the adult industry uses a test which (according to the CDC) detects HIV in under twelve days, my superintendent came out to put salt on the sidewalk. He interjected, saying that I was wrong and it takes six months. I excused myself to the reporter, covered the phone with my hand, and told him he wasn’t helping. I felt small, futile, and cold. I felt better once I’d gone inside and thawed out.
Vivid, Kayden Kross, and Logan Pierce have challenged Measure B by filing a suit against Los Angeles County. The law itself can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Digital Playground, among other companies, just doesn’t shoot inside the county anymore. We still rely on the testing protocols we’ve had and been improving for over a decade, we just have a much longer commute to the locations. Rumor has it that some Department of Health employees see being sent to an adult film set as sexual harassment. Regardless of how these factors play out, there will always be people who want to see depictions of sex and there will always be people who are willing and happy to perform in them.