Today, I'll give all of you aspiring content providers a few tips that will help improve the overall quality of your productions, and in turn, your sales. While I am not by profession a "content provider," I did spend 14 years as a "working pro" in the highly competitive Wedding market, and know a thing or two about making a girl look good on film (or as the case may be today, "electrons"). I also shoot exclusive adult content for my lovely wife Dawn's amateur site, and will pass on some of this "real world" advice:
Don't Overdo It...
When Dawn and I shoot, the limit on the number of scenes, shots, or takes is how much time and energy we have (old folks, you know), and how long it takes for her to yell "Put the damn camera down and FUCK me!" This is a reasonable way for a couple to approach a shoot. We do it because we're "into it" and because "it's fun." When it stops being fun, or the back-pressure builds up to the point that I can't hold the camera steady, it's time to "play..."
Contrast this to a more typical "porn shoot" where some over-anxious pervert is drooling at the thought of getting his latest model naked, his inane comments caught forever on the video tape he hopes to sell. He's thinking of only two things: "I'm gonna make this bitch earn her money" – buy shooting as many stills and as much video as is possible in the short amount of time his cheap-ass is willing to pay for, and "Boy, oh boy, I hope I get laid!!!"
This attitude leads to the hurried, stressed, and unconvincing porn that we've all seen far too much of, as well as the abuse of models, and that oh so familiar look on their faces, where you can just "hear" what she's thinking: "This really sucks, I'm bored, and this guy's a dick! I can't wait to get out of here!" Relax, you'll get better results.
Lighting Is Everything
Repeat after me: "Lighting Is Everything." Again: "Lighting Is Everything." Good, now remember that. Many folks, especially those "trying for an amateur feel" disregard lighting. Sure, "amateur porn" aficionados often like imagery that looks more like a collection of snapshots and less like a glamour portfolio, but paying attention to the basics can greatly improve the quality of your work.
There are many great books and videos on lighting. One book that I really enjoyed was "Light: Science & Magic : An Introduction to Photographic Lighting." Practice lighting on inanimate objects like a mannequin, where you can experiment for hours without boring, or paying for, a "live" model. Just try to keep in mind that a turd is simply "a piece of shit" – but when properly lit and composed, it can become "a piece of art..."
Shoot Once, Repackage Endlessly
Realize the value of shooting to a story line, and trying to show a "start to finish" scenario. This gives you a "full length" feature video, but one that can be clipped down into shorter segments, and even smaller, into teaser clips for MGP use and for members on 'dial-up' connections.
For example, shooting to a story line might involve me "catching her masturbating" at which point she'll see me, and then be compelled to suck my dick, and I'll be compelled to pound her little peach... This content can then be made into a voyeur clip, a solo girl clip, a P.O.V. 'gonzo style' oral clip, a straight sex clip – plus a feature-length video for a DVD compilation.
Mini-DV cameras are incredibly inexpensive these days, with single-chip models available for a couple of hundred bucks. While this level of equipment isn't "pro grade" by any means, having a second camera locked down on a tripod with a decent view of the action will not only provide a back-up if something goes wrong with your primary video camera, but it provides "b-roll" footage for editing, and you guessed it, additional "exclusive" footage.
For example: I can shoot using two or three cameras. The main footage (shot with my 3-chip) is mine for use on Dawn's site. I also have the footage from the 1-chip, which can then be sold as "content" for other sites, if I wish to use it that way. Content producers can do the same, offering "exclusive," "semi-exclusive," and "discount" footage all from the same shoot, all with little additional overhead – but delivering substantial additional revenue.
The bottom line to this little rant is that producers only need a little ambition and care in what they're doing to be able to produce better results – both in their imagery, and in their bankroll. Take a little more care, strive for greater excellence, be creative, and experiment. You'll be rewarded for doing so. Shoot sharp! ~ Stephen