Sunday, October 16, 2005

This is not a prologue (Part Three)

August 2001

While Dan sat on the sofa behind me, examining my recently acquired digital video camera, I wondered whether or not I should start by showing him my test footage of Karen, or just toss “NymphMania Volume 8” into the DVD player.

“This thing is fucking sweet,” I heard Dan say.

Examining was, perhaps, a little on the light side to describe how he was looking at the camera. He had his face only a few inches away from it, examining every line, every curve, every bump, ever button, every slot, every port, every outlet, from corner to corner, top to bottom. I worried that, with his face that close, drops of saliva would start to dribble out from his mouth and damage the fragile electronics. The man was, most assuredly, drooling.

Dan worked at the electronics shop with me, and had been a photography buff for years. He’d actually won a bunch of awards for his photographs at local contests, fairs, and such, which maybe didn’t sound like a whole lot, but it still meant he was generating better photography than the average shmoe wielding a point-and-click Kodak Special.

I decided to skip the porn for a second, and explain the situation to Dan first.

“Okay,” I said, “here’s the deal. I’m trying to become a filmmaker.”

“Holy shit, does this thing support Timecode? Fucking-A!”

I don’t think he was listening. I snapped my fingers a few times, inches away from his face. “Hello. Earth to Dan.”

With some effort, he pulled himself away from the camera and looked up at me. “Yeah, what’s up.”

“Listen, Dan. I have a proposition for you.”


I started to pace back and forth in front of him while I talked. “I’m trying to become a filmmaker. I know, I know, it probably sounds like a crazy dream, and maybe it even is. But I think that if we can pull some talented people together – and God knows there’s enough talent around if you know where to look at it – we might just be able to make something. Make it cheap. And then turn around and sell it a whole lot of money.”

“Cool.” Dan didn’t care much for the big words.

“Now, I’ve got a bit of money from an investor. That’s how I paid for the camera, and for the tapes and what not. There’s still a bit of money to go around, for more equipment as we need it, and for catering and all that kind of bullshit. I can’t afford to pay any of the participants in this project very much at the moment…well, actually, I can’t afford to pay them anything at the moment, but if things go well, we could all be rolling in the cash in no time at all.”


“But I’ve got a problem. I took the camera out for a test spin last week, and shot a bunch of footage, but…well, it looks like crap, to be honest with you. I dumped it all on my computer, and tried to fuck around with it and make it prettier, but everything I did to it just made it worse. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, because I’m not a photographer, I’ve never been a photographer. So, I think I need a photographer.”

“Uh huh.”

“That’s you, Dan.” Also, Dan wasn’t the sharpest tack in the drawer.

“Oh! What, me? Wait, start again.”

“Oh, God, listen. I’m trying to make movies, Dan. Films. Videos. To sell to people. They look like crap, so I need to get someone behind the camera who can make them look pretty. A cinematographer, or a director of photography, or whatever fucking title you like. You can call yourself the King of Digital Video for all I care, as long as you agree to run my camera for me.”

“You want me to shoot your films for you?”


“Oh, sure, yeah. Why not. I haven’t really done anything on video before, it’s all just been still photography stuff, but I don’t think it’d be that much different. It’d be fun to play around with something new anyway.”

“Okay,” I said, turning around and popping the NymphMania DVD into the player. “I want you to take a look at this scene real quickly, just so you can see the sort of look I’m going for, and then I’ll show you what I shot, and you can maybe figure out what I was doing wrong, and how to avoid it.” I punched some buttons on the remote control and then hopped onto the sofa next to Dan just as the images on the television came to life, mid-blowjob.

“It’s not amazing photography by any stretch of the imagination,” I said, “but you can at least see that the colours are, you know, true to life. The reds look red, and the blues look blue, but when I was shooting, every looked really washed out. Like there was too much white in it or something.”

I noticed Dan shifting uncomfortably next to me. I looked over in his direction and caught a look of noticeable discomfort on his face.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked him.

“Um, listen man, no offense, but…this is kind of creeping me out.”

“What is?”

“This fucking video.”

“What? Why?”

“Look, I’m…you know, all secure in my sexuality and shit, but I’m not real open about it either. And this whole sitting around watching porn with a buddy, well…it’s fucking weird.” He suddenly looked over at me. “Oh fuck, you’re not coming on to me, are you?”

“Jesus Christ,” I said, and hit the power button on the remote control. The image blinked into blackness. “No, I’m not coming on to you.”

“Then what was up with that video?”

“Because,” I said, temporarily unable to conceive of how thick Dan could be sometimes, “those are the kinds of films I want to make. Adult films. Porno fucking films.”

The words settled in eventually. “Oh,” he finally said. “Oh!”

“You see?”

“Yeah. Okay, yeah, I get it now.”

“Okay, so can I turn the video back on now so you can compare the differences in colour and quality and all that shit?”

“Uh, actually I’d prefer if you didn’t. I’m still not big on sitting around watching porno films in, you know, a social setting.”

“Well, you better get used to it. You’re going to be pointing a camera at two people mashing their genitals together.”

We sat there in an awkward silence for a few minutes, neither us entirely sure what to say or what to do following the bizarre, surreal turn that any conversation about one’s desire to get into the porn industry inevitably takes. Finally, I said, “Do you want to just take the DVDs home and check them out there?”

“Yeah, that’d probably be best.”

I pushed myself off the sofa and pulled NymphMania from the DVD player, dropping it in its case, then picked up the DVD I had burned of my own test footage, and handed both discs over to Dan. “Call me tomorrow or the day after to let me know what you think.”

“Sure enough.”

“And I swear to God if these things are sticky when I get them back, you’re fucking fired.”

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