Foreplay Column: Curse of the Deli Platter

As a former AVN Award-winning director myself, I would like to personally congratulate Jules Jordan on his much-deserved cover story this month. I very much admire his work, and refer to him as the Quentin Tarantino of porn—both are former video store clerks who became among the most respected and iconoclastic leaders in their respective industries. I also have to confess that I harbor a modicum of jealousy for the seemingly effortless manner in which he captures what seems to be the very id of sexuality. Then again, this is a man who gets into his work. Literally.

This is not to say that I was loath to make “adult entertainment,” but like my friend Michael Ninn, I was sometimes more concerned with what came in between the sex scenes than the sex itself. This was and still is a common problem in the story-oriented genre, which once ruled the day but has given way to the more purist efforts of filmmakers like Jules. And I get it. By the time I shot my last movie, Lesbo-A-Go-Go, I had pretty much had it with the headaches of creating a compelling storyline as well as the usual problems with male talent and their sometimes non-functional penises. Though I had sworn to never shoot a girl-girl movie (it just wasn’t my bag) or anything without a story, my 13th and final foray lovingly embraced both.

That said, I always enjoyed the challenge of trying to prevent the viewer from fast-forwarding between sex scenes. It was, admittedly, a hit-and-miss effort. Before parody became the over-saturated genre it is today, I pulled it off with The Ozporns and its sequel, and most successfully with Cap’n Mongo’s Porno Playhouse—for which I actually received fan mail congratulating me on making a movie that begged to be viewed from start to finish. There were even viewers who watched only the non-sex scenes repeatedly.

On the other hand, Jules (and his similarly blessed brethren) get around the storyline dilemma by eschewing it altogether and focusing on what the viewer really wants to see: the girl(s) and the sex. And I think the industry is better off because of it. There have always been loops, sure, but the modern all-sex feature is a new ballgame entirely.

One huge difference between then and now is the distance between the director and his talent. If Jules is not actually in the scene himself, he is operating the camera, inches from his subject matter. I, on the other hand, sat next to a technician at a cart with loaded with monitors and equipment, sometimes in another room from the hot set, and directed my camerapersons via wireless headset. It could be a very detached and sterile experience at times. Once, while shooting a Mexican wrestling scene, the reality of what I was doing burst through the door into my quiet enclave. A male performer was upset about the heat, the costumes, and the heavy dialogue, and complained that it was causing him trouble getting wood. He was completely nude, sweating profusely, and as he ranted I could see his half-chub dangling precariously close to the cold-cut and cheese platter I had been picking at during the shoot. After five minutes of venting, he stormed out of the room and I immediately turned to my video technician and asked, with grave seriousness, “Did his dick touch my cheese?”

I doubt that’s a phrase Jules Jordan will ever have to utter, god bless him.

—Tony Lovett, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of AVN.