Stuck in the Middle With You

Roy Karch
We are well aware of what it costs to make a good movie. And we know how much you can spend to make a bad one. The range is vast. So is the difference in the quality of the product.

And there’s the rub for those of us who make the movies. You find yourself stuck in the middle again. Give them an inflated budget; you’re likely to price yourself right out of the market. Give them a low-ball cost breakdown and they think you’re an inept amateur. So, what gives? Pay more for less? Or even pay less for less. Have we fallen so low that the middle seems like the high ground? Apparently so. Clowns to the left of me…jokers to the right; and here we are, with the middle so squeezed out that much of the industry has been out sourced, out bid and put out to pasture.

The mid-sized budget has gone by way of ultra cheap schlock and high priced ostentatious exercises in mediocre story telling. Technicians and writers, are being replaced by the mouse and the snappy “say it how you would say it” attitude.

Videographers and cinematographers have been replaced by point and click wannabes who will work for half a dollar and a piece of good pussy at the end of the day. Nuance replaced by over-kill. A soft whisper replaced by the cackling and gurgling sounds of yesterdays whores in training with tomorrow’s dreams. Love scenes have become hand jobs single girl masturbation scenes, a mainstay in all of porndom are now referred to as solos. Where did all the passion go?

There was a time when you hired a girl to act in a movie that may contain explicit sex acts; just read the release. Just like the middle class in America has been narrowed to a sliver, the dwindling mid-sized porn budget is quickly becoming a fading memory of what was once the paradigm for all product being made. Where is the mid-range? From what point do we rise above or fall back?

Can a $200 dollar porno compete with a $500,000 blockbuster? In a word, most definitely yes! The proof is in the inescapable and insatiable appetite of the porn viewing public. A girl jacking herself off with a stick sitting on her toilet bowl, shot by a $89 dollar cell phone camera locked off by propping it against a hair brush on the counter top, now can get as many views as the next piece of wanton trash, uh...art…uh, ego driven culture tease?

It all depends on what you come to the party for. A quick look/see during lunchtime in the office broom closet or for the promise of everlasting orgasms brought by the lube and the blow-up doll beside you with your favorite fantasy lived out in front of your eyes. In color or black and white; large screen or cell phone; 50-inch plasma or your seven-inch PC monitor. Size no longer matters when the middle narrows.

How does all this matter to the filmmakers, the distributors and the creators of the new media platforms and delivery systems? Or, does it matter? Even, should it matter? Is the bottom line the top of the heap? Is the low-end the new hi-end? Well, it always starts with the fans. Always has and always will. The fans are the buying public; tube sites, however, allow the fan to avoid the buying part of that phrase. Fans, aka porn-hounds drive the production of the content. Right? Well, it depends on whom you ask. You see, as the middle shrinks, the need to be good gets replaced with that which turns a profit. No problem there. After all this is America. Unless it’s really completely the opposite. That is, if the profiteers are driving the production. They drive what is being made and feed it to the hounds. The decisions are based on spreadsheet analysis that determines the cost of the some 13,000 titles released each year for the past several years.

How cheap can we make it? How much can we make from it? Those are the words we live by nowadays.

Unless, well, unless of course you are the artist, the purveyor of the dreams love the taste and the smell and being right there in the middle of all of it. Right where you want to be. Where you need to be.

Then…the voice, first like a whisper, but growing into a roar says, “Hey, can you do it all for $500?” Don’t get me started!


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