Monday, October 15, 2007

Scheduling 101

Let's just get naked....

There’s a long held belief that the nude scenes should be shot first, because if an actor reneges, they can be fired and recast immediately.

You know what? I absolutely agree.

There are many unscrupulous actors who will lie to get the job and they deserve to be fired. Then there are a lot of actors who fully intend to do nudity, but then back out because of pressure from family, significant other, friends and especially other actors. Sorry guys, but you’re fired, too. (Just to be clear, whether an actor chooses to do nudity or not is entirely up to them. Nobody should do nudity if they are not comfortable with it. I believe your word is your word....if you agree to do something, you do it.)

But..... telling your actors you’re shooting the naked stuff first because you don’t trust them might not be the best way to begin. I’m just saying...

Diplomacy is our friend here, people.

The best approach with actors is to tell them you are scheduling the nude scenes first because you want to get them out of the way and concentrate on the story. And really, if your actors have never appeared nude before, they are going to be incredibly nervous! Why have that hanging over their heads wondering, "Oh God, is tomorrow the day? Gulp..."

Though I do caution against shooting ALL the nudity at once. The actors can burn out and start to feel like a hunk of meat rather than the talented actors you know them to be. This will show in performance. You know it will. It can also be somewhat disheartening for the crew - most of the crew usually hasn't read the script. They only know what they see being shot. So if you have a month long shoot, with incredible, dramatic scenes in your film, but the crew only sees naked people the first few days - they will think they are on a porn set and the negative comments will bring your production down.

Only you know what your film is, these are just some guidelines to help you as you plan for nude scenes. There are no absolutes. Just giving you some stuff to think about. Yeah. Like you really needed MORE stuff to think about.

Have you noticed that after working with the same group of people day in and day out, 15 hours a day, they kind of start to..... I dunno... get on your nerves??? Even people you really like. Now imagine if you had to kiss them and roll around naked as though in the throes of passion - when all you really want to to is hit them with the closest available c-stand.

It’s kind of like the idea behind the wrap party. You have the wrap party a week or so after you’re done shooting, everyone gets together and remembers that they used to like each other. I think the same principle applies with shooting nudity and/or love scenes. It’s just a lot easier to make out with a stranger than it is to make out with someone you want to bludgeon.

Morning Sex

I highly recommend scheduling nudity in the first half of the day for several reasons.

Actors are just as insecure about their bodies as anyone else. Probably more so. (Not unreasonable when one considers all the armchair critics who will feel compelled to share their opinions all over the internet.) Most of them will skip breakfast so their stomachs look flatter. Some of them will even skip lunch if their nude scenes are up after lunch. Crazy, isn’t it? Hungry actors are not at their best.. And this is all about getting the best that you can from your talent.

Another prime reason to shoot love scenes early in the day is your basic grunge factor Movie making is a dirty business. (Yet for some bizarre reason, there is never an adequate supply of soap and paper towels. You know it’s true. Just look at your hands at the end of the day.) A hot, sticky, sweaty, dirty business. (God, I love filmmaking!) If you want your actors to cozy up for a passionate scene, do it early in the day when they smell pretty. They will feel much more comfortable with themselves as well as with each other. Keeping a tin of strong mints around is an excellent idea as well - offer them to everyone.
Trust me, your actors will take them and feel much more comfortable behind a deliciously minty mist.

Photos by Don Albrecht

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sock It To Me!

Contributed by Mark Weiler

I am often asked how it is possible for a man to do a nude love scene with a beautiful naked woman without getting aroused. First, it is very difficult to do a love scene WITH an erection. Primarily, where would one hide it? And apparently it needs to be hidden because Hollywood doesn’t yet seem evolved enough yet to embrace the striking visual imagery of the male erection. Secondly, there’s nothing worse than leaving a set with blue balls. Unlike most day-to-day erections, set erections are usually left unsatisfied.

To assist in this process, we are not entirely nude. Men wear “socks” (or "booties") made from knee-hi nylon stockings, and women wear “patches,” which are actually giant band-aids, over their genitals. Both items can be found at any pharmacy in America.

The sock is pulled over the sack and shaft. Excess can be tucked in or tied off. Some wardrobe techs (who are responsible for providing the socks to the performers) also offer a hair tie (rubber band) to secure the sock in place. I do know one particular performer who needed the rubber band to keep the sock from slipping off. His response was, “What do you want from me? I’m Asian!” On the Emmanuelle series, a new make-up artist was curious to peek in on a pending love scene from afar. She gasped and ran back in the room to announce that the male performer was deformed. I went and check and reported that he looked normal to me. She said, “but he has a extra layer of skin down there!” unaware of the sock phenomena.

The sock acts as a numbing agent from stimulation. It also, is a bit of a psychological reminder to the rules of the game. After many years in the genre, the visual of a naked woman is not that arousing to me. It’s a very common, natural state found in any anatomy book. Physical contact and intimate chemistry is what turns me on the most. The general agreement among performers is that there will be no genital contact, and it’s a little difficult to have real intimacy when surrounded by ten fat, hairy, old, clothed crew guys pointing metal objects like mics, cameras, lights and bounce boards at us. However, there have been times when a woman will break the rules and grab or lick me, and I’ll get aroused. At that moment, the sock may then pop off like a slingshot and we’re left with the original dilemma… where to hide it?! I’ve found that pressing it up against the woman’s ass cheek to be the most effective until the director yells cut and re-adjustments can be made.

People also ask me why there is no full frontal male nudity in erotic cinema, and my response is that it is cinema. It is illusion and fantasy. Showing a flaccid penis kills the illusion of true love-making. The sock acts as protection for the artist so that the production company can’t use the full frontal nude photos for profit. We don’t get paid for that, and leaving some things to the imagination can be far sexier.

Unlike hardcore pornography, there is no necessity for male performers to get erections, therefore shyness, nervousness or equipment malfunction aren’t problematic to the production.
Also, unlike pornography, performers are not required to be tested or necessarily use contraception. Therefore it’s safer to leave the temptation out of the equation and just wear the damn sock. Besides, kissing is just as much fun and not nearly as much drama!

Mark Weiler has starred in over twenty erotic films including Visions of Passion, Sex Spa 2, and Naked Players. He also is a regular on the CW series, "What I Like About You," starring Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth. Mark Weiler is repped by Ben Scantlin at Imagination 9, (323) 874-9991.