On the Set: Brad Armstrong Spins Wickedly Meta 'Camgirl' Tale

On the Set: Brad Armstrong Spins Wickedly Meta 'Camgirl' Tale
Charlie Thompson

LOS ANGELES — Driving through the charred hills of L.A. feels like going to a different planet, or else some blistering future where all that remains of vegetation is sharp-ended shrubbery. I pull up to the hulking house (naturally, in this part of town), the front yard of which had simply been left dusty like one of the surrounding horse farms. It hardly feels like I’m about to walk onto the set of the Brad Armstrong-directed feature “Camgirl” for Wicked Pictures; from the look of it, it seems more like I’m going for a trail ride.

I quickly realize upon walking in that this house is not a home. The first story is normal enough — lounge area, office with a discarded Japanese paper screen, kitchen with an island covered in snacks a suburban mom would’ve gotten from Costco (the good kind, that is). But once I walk up the stairs I immediately enter a restaurant complete with yellow tablecloths and a full bar. There is a courtyard with a mezzanine balcony, a generic office with a whiteboard, something resembling a talk show set, a “public” bathroom with a grandfather clock next to the door marked “ladies.” And rightfully for such a strange place the third floor escalates to being even more surreal: a hospital set and, down the hall, the room where the TV doctor delivers “the bad news.”

On the “Camgirl” living room set it’s the late afternoon. Armstrong steps onto the balcony occasionally to adjust the direction of the light casting a warm patina onto the set’s bright red couch. The coffee table, laden with an empty pizza box and beer bottles, looks almost romantic in the light. Armstrong walks onto the set and looks back at the tableau of 2018 XBIZ Best New Starlet Honey Gold splayed out on the couch, her skin shining like eponymous gold. He adjusts the light’s angle again, steps back, readjusts it. It’s a process he’s completely engrossed in, arranging the red curtains around the orange glow; it’s something to get just so.

The stills photographer directs Gold to put her legs up on the couch, which she does with some deal of effort. She yelps and laughs about how wobbly the couch makes her when she stands on it in stilettos. She asks Armstrong if she has to wear the heels, and he doesn’t flinch when he tells her they’re staying on. “I did fuckin’ heels on a trampoline once, don’t give me your…” he mutters.

2018 XBIZ Best Supporting Actress Kristen Scott

Her skirt is short, and she’s told not to reveal too much. “No pussy yet!” she laughs. “Just give me one second, I gotta get my giggles out,” she says before letting out a guffaw and readjusting herself into an alluring position on the couch.

I walk behind the “living room” and into a “bedroom,” where 2018 XBIZ Male Performer of the Year Small Hands and a couple of crewmembers are laying on the bed, resplendent. The bedroom is perfectly normal save for the bookshelf, which is covered in books about hemp, being a psychonaut and astral projection.

Small Hands is as handsome as he seems in videos, with a fully tattooed chest and charmingly small hands (well, proportionate hands — to everything but his prodigious dick) that he currently has down his half-unzipped pants. I ask one of the crewmembers if they only shoot porn here, and he says that they film everything on these sets. It makes me wonder if people know where that duvet has been.

The crew is admiring Ryan McLane’s figure (“You’re so fat!” they joke while touching his five hundred ab muscles), and rightly so. The tall, Adonis-bodied man makes his way over to the set with Small Hands to join Gold on the couch.

Everyone shuffles offset as Small Hands and McLane kiss and touch Gold in the tungsten-lit room. The sound guy and I look at each other, stuck on the other side of the exit and neither one wanting to cross the living room threshold to get back to the chasteness of the hospital set.

The photographer steps in again, his t-shirt emblazoned with a list of KISS tour dates for which I am roughly twenty years late. When everyone’s ready I finish shoegazing. Gold and McLane are laid out on the couch and Small Hands watches from the side, looking at Gold as she stares back at him. “This is the only time I look you in the eyes,” she laughs.

Taking a not-so-candid shot with the entire cast

Considering it is only her third B/B/G scene, Gold is understandably excited and anxious to figure out the positioning. “I can suck someone’s dick!” she offers. But Armstrong and XBIZ Award-winning cinematographer Barrett Blade, who have worked together for years, tell her to relax and let the men dictate the positions. “We’ll put you where you need to go,” Small Hands says.

Gold is full of advice as much as she is one-liners. “Don’t touch my cervix or I’ll punch you in the balls,” she exclaims before looking at McLane sincerely and offering an olive branch. “You can tell me I’m your dirty little slut while you’re getting your dick sucked.” Small Hands gets one too: “Can you smack me, please?”

I ask Armstrong about his reputation as the “Spielberg of porn” and he laughs, sitting back in his egg chair, script in hand. He leafs through, thinking of last minute things to add to the scene. “Every once in a while say, ‘You like sucking that big cock,’” he tells the men. Small Hands is eager to hit Gold, which seems to also excite her — but not Armstrong. “No slapping in the face.” But he’s not unreasonable: “You can slap boobs or whatever.” He looks into the distance and, after a beat and to no one in particular, half-jokes, “Let’s see who the Spielberg of porn is.”

Downstairs, 2018 XBIZ Best Supporting Actress Kristen Scott is getting ready. The actress, about to turn 23, is understated and stunning. She’s wrapped up in a big knit sweater with her balayage hair pulled into a side ponytail and barely any makeup on. Her big eyes shine when she speaks, her words deliberate. 

“I was camming originally in college and I was like, ‘I kind of want to do a little more with this and see where it goes,’” she told us. “So I moved out to L.A. and I’ve been loving every minute of it.”

It is clear from Scott’s impeccable line reading that she’s a trained actor. “I have been doing musicals and I was a part of acting clubs growing up, and then I went to an acting and modeling school. It’s been a big part of my life, always.”

In the feature, Scott plays Kelly, a cam girl who gets found out by her boyfriend Dillon (Lucas Frost). He goes on a rampage and tells Kelly’s parents about her work. Honey Gold’s character, another cam girl named Roxy, jumps to Kelly’s defense and brings over Donnie (Small Hands) and Chris (McLane) to beat up Dillon.

Abella Danger, casual and petite with a deep-seated calmness, putters around the first floor looking for some lilac lingerie. She tells me that Armstrong asked her to bring something that wasn’t too “porny” and laughs. “I’m playing Lucas’s new girlfriend after he leaves Kristen Scott,” she explains. “I’m having sex with him and then Honey walks in on us and she drags me by my hair and there’s a fight between Lucas, Ryan and Small Hands. My character didn’t know what she was getting herself into — I was just having sex with this guy and didn’t know what other stuff was going on with him.”

Brad Armstrong directing Abella Danger and 2018 XBIZ Best Male Newcomer Lucas Frost

On the couch sits 2018 XBIZ Best Male Newcomer Lucas Frost who, wearing black sweats and with his hair brushed back, looks like someone out of a Supreme ad. He jokes about his body hair, how certain studios will ask him to shave the patch on his chest — one of the only parts of his body where hair even grows, he says. His thick beard is there presumably to balance this out.

“Dillon is pretty much your grade-A typical douchebag,” says Frost, who himself is anything but a cold douchebag. “I’m pretty much an asshole [in the feature].”

It’s Frosts first time working for Armstrong and he’s been enjoying it. “I like it a lot,” he said of the director’s style. “Armstrong’s very professional, he keeps us all fed, he sees it from a performer’s standpoint, which is very nice and refreshing as a male performer because a lot of directors don’t necessarily see it that way, and it makes for a rougher day. But being a performer himself, he knows how to make things a little bit easier on us — it’s definitely a less stressful environment.”

The director’s style is very flexible to the benefit of the talent, says Frost. “He’ll work with you. Like, the first day of this shoot we had a very difficult sex scene in a car at night with Kristen Scott, and instead of shooting a typical five-position sex scene we shot a BJ and one position. It’s a full-length sex scene but it made it a lot easier on both of us to not have to do five awkward positions in a car with a condom. It was late, it was cold, it was raining — just little things like that.”

Frost’s accolades are well-deserved considering how much the performer has been working. “My year is going really well, actually. March is a really busy month. I shoot normally about 20-25 times a month, some of those being two-a-days.”

Upstairs, the scene is starting. “Eye of the Tiger” is playing in the background and the entire crew groans. “This is the biggest boner-killing song there is,” Small Hands laments as he masturbates over the guitar riffs.

Gold and the two men are directed to play to a candle placed on the table in front of them, the location of the “webcam.” The scene begins and everyone is dead silent as Gold fingers herself while looking at McLane, Small Hands grasping her lightly around the neck (but not, of course, slapping her face).

Armstrong notes the irony of making a feature based on one of traditional porn’s fastest growing competitive markets. “Unless you’re an internet guy,” Armstrong says, it’s getting difficult. “But I’m sailing off to the beach,” he laughs before turning to Gold, “Don’t stop fucking his dick.”

Armstrong crosses his arms and mentions something about editing out “dick drunk” adlibs. His experience begets prescience as Gold, getting fucked on the couch by Small Hands, screams, “Are you trying to fuck me until I die from coming?”

Angela White

The director films only about four features a year, all of them with a surprisingly pruned down crew for what amount to some of the biggest titles in porn. Armstrong is certainly no stranger to behemoth productions, having written and directed the huge sci-fi adult feature “Euphoria” in 2001. (The title had an estimated nearly $200,000 budget.) But after making “Aftermath” for Wicked Pictures in 2014, Armstrong realized that small crews were the way to go and has been working that way ever since. Still, they are among the biggest crews in the biz.

“Start rubbing balls!” Armstrong yells at the set. Gold, who rides McLane while sucking off a somehow steadily standing Small Hands, diligently starts rubbing balls. McLane tosses Gold off of himself, standing up on the couch opposite Small Hands. With a deal of showmanship Gold alternates the dick she’s sucking on like someone in the stands of a tennis match. They both come onto her face.

“I came a little too hard and I lost my ability to really concentrate,” Gold admits after the scene wraps. “So after that moment it was just … spit, dick, coming and balls. Two dicks may not sound like a lot of dicks but for me, personally, it was overwhelming. Because you look one way and there’s one there, the other way there’s one there.” The sentiment didn’t show on set.

There are several other scenes filmed before the title wraps that night: Frost pounding Danger in a whirl of fiery revenge complete with throatfucking and anal. The big fight scene, with fake blood at the ready, follows: Gold, Small Hands, McLane and Scott barge in, laying the smack down on an unfaithful Frost. Armstrong finishes with the film’s closing shot, Scott and her parents coming to terms in a car in a way that the audience might not expect.

As night sets on the strange house and surreal canyon, things begin to quiet on set. The remaining performers gather their items and crew members power down the cameras. The lights dim, and the omnipresent afternoon glow of the living room set goes dark. Yet the tale of a cam girl and her misadventures, once edited and boxed up with that Wicked Pictures polish, is certain to inspire audiences to snatch up a copy and tune in for a grand old time.