When I was but a little kid, I once asked my dad how babies are made. He had trouble explaining and went back to reading his newspaper. Fortunately, a neighborhood kid, Kevin Connelly, told me it was the result of a man "putting his 'thingy' into a woman's 'woo-woo.'" Then he drew a crude picture.
Now, let's skip ahead to adulthood. I'm in an industrial section of North Hollywood, across from a sheet-metal shop and ready to be a clothed extra in a porno movie. You know, during the plot parts.
Porn fun fact!: Have you ever thought about a career in porn? Men earn $250 to $450 per sex scene, while women snag $400 to $1,000. That's a lot of crack and pudding!
The first scene's on the roof. Mariachi music blares from the restaurant next door. Planes descend in the background. "What's the movie about?" I ask the jaded boom-mike operator, hoping to prepare for my role. "I'm really not sure," he mumbles.
Ron, a veteran director of some 500 porno films (including The Sopornos I, II, and III), explains the two-day feature shoot of The Contortionist, penned by Raven Touchstone. "This one's about a codependent woman who becomes everyone she meets," Ron, who's clad in stylish suspenders and thick black glasses, philosophically elaborates. "She becomes the victim and the rescuer."
Not to mention that she gets hand-shaken a lot.
Ron gets serious now, even evincing a bit of nostalgia. "Nowadays, people don't want to see features. There's no style, no nothing! The actors used to be responsive," the director says. "Now they're a whole different breed."
"Let's hurry, I got to get home to my wife," barks Harv, who's wearing a police uniform and will portray Officer Dick Husky. Harv is best described as one ugly mofo.
After some small talk about Harv's kids, everyone's ready to roll. I'm wearing a trench coat and a hat for the clothed-extra role of detective. I've chosen to go by the clothed-porn-extra name of Harm-on-Hammer!
"What's my motivation?" I ask the director, who's been kind of oblivious to my presence.
"You walk from this side of the roof, to that side," he mumbles.
I think about it for a moment.
"This side of the roof, to that side," I repeat. "Got it!"
Cameron, the blond porn starlet with huge fake ta-tas, sprinkles a canister of ashes, supposedly the result of cremation, off the roof.
"More tit," directs the cameraman. "More drama."
I walk from one side of the roof to the other.
"You're under arrest," cries Officer Dick Husky, grabbing Cameron by the waist and exposing her upper body as she struggles and squirms. "You're under arrest for scattering ashes in a public place, indecent exposure, and ... AROUSING AN OFFICER!"
"Aroused?" coyly shrieks Cameron.
Raven Touchstone can write some mean dialogue.
The morning drags on. The set inside is now inhabited by large numbers of older, unintimidating men and sleazy father-figure types. One guy looks about 100; he pages through porn magazines with a very old woman who could pass for a worker at a craft-fair booth. (Could she be Raven Touchstone?)
Being very careful where I sit, I set up camp at the food table. I'm sad to learn that I'm being relieved of my role as a clothed extra. Maybe I shouldn't have smiled and waved at the camera!
"Just let me know if you want me to walk from this side of the room to that side," I tell the director as I put a heap of salsa on a chip.
It's a reality that male readers probably won't believe, but after a relatively short time, a porn set actually does become boring. At least, this one's boring -- until the shotgun masturbation scene starts.
"Harv, what are you doing?" bellows the suspenders-clad director, to help the actor find his motivation.
Like Brando, Harv thinks for a moment.
"She's playing with the gun and her Mrs. Butterworth, and I'm encouraging it," Harv answers.
Cameron, naked, places the firearm between her legs.
"That's it, precious. There's your new best friend. Get intimate with it now!" commands Harv, referring not to his Gerald Ford, but to the shotgun.
Cameron cocks the gun and diddles her Mrs. Butterworth with it.
A group of big, leering guys and gramps around the set get real quiet and start breathing heavily in unison. It sounds like they just ran a 5K.
Porn fun fact!: Did you know Raven Touchstone has penned more than 600 porn scripts in her 20-year career? She was also a child actress and was the voice of the mama doll at the end of the original Planet of the Apes movie.
Let's move to hard-core.
Harv appears solemn, almost meditative. He's a 15-year veteran, yet still nervous. His fingers are pinched around his nose. He occasionally stares intensely off into space. He's getting into character, or waiting for the Viagra to kick in, as if he were Olivier transforming into Richard III, only with a boner.
"We need water on the set," the production assistant announces.
"OK, we're rolling here," says Rob, the producer of The Contortionist and the Milton Berle of porn-set humor. "Cameron, get a dick in your mouth."
The director, with cigarette in his mouth, yells, "Action!" Harv removes Cameron's shirt.
"Hand on her breast again, Harv," a cameraman directs. "Arch your back again."
My stomach loudly grumbles. The jaded boom guy shoots me a look. Naked Harv is now at full attention. I don't find this pleasant.