Tag Archives: Dani Daniels

Dan O’Connell: A Gentle, Loving Approach

by Rich Moreland, November 2018

Recently my photographer Kevin and I were on set with Dan O’Connell. Out of that experience, came this post.

What you will find here are testimonials and observations about a porn legacy.

First, a few of shots of Dan’s set to put you in the mood.

Outside . . . .

And inside . . . . First the equipment . . .

Then the room where the action is recorded!

[All photos are Kevin’s unless otherwise noted.]

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I wrote my first article on the adult industry in the winter of 2011. Previous to that, I’d visited the AVN trade show and networked in the business as part of a book I was writing on adult film.

All in all, I’m now a ten-year veteran of adult scribing.

During my industry tenure, performers have come and gone while behind the camera personnel–company owners/producers/directors–have remained remarkably constant.

Of everyone I’ve met and written about, no one stands out like Dan O’Connell, founder of Girlfriends Films and its leading director.

Dan’s warmth and understanding of performers’ desires and needs is well-respected industry wide. Likewise, his easy-going attitude on set is appreciated by every performer I’ve talked with.

But that just scratches the surface. Dan and the good folks at Girlfriends take things a step further. They care about the performers they hire.

From my perspective, Girlfriends is top-of-the-line friendly and always accommodating. Just a few weeks ago, I took my new photographer to GFFs’ facility in Valencia. There we met with company president Moose who assured me (as is his habit) that whatever I needed, just ask.

Like Dan, Moose is friendly and always available for conversation and a fresh outlook on the business of porn.

Photo by Bill Knight, 2013

Hall of Famer

In this post, I want to take a moment to celebrate Dan whose kindness, positivity, and political wisdom is well-known within the business. To put an exclamation point to that remark, let me say that in my industry travels over the last ten years, I have not once heard a negative comment about him.

And for good reason.

Photo by Morgan, 2015

The native Montanan is an industry award winner. Two of the most notable accolades occurred in 2015: Nightmove’s Lifetime Achievement Award and enshrinement in AVN’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor in porn. In 2012, he was tapped for XBIZ’s “Man of the Year.”

Of course, Dan’s greatest accomplishment is the creation of Girlfriends Films, a company known for charity sponsorship and combating piracy, the bane of porn today.

I decided to go back through my interviews to look at what performers have said about Dan. What follows in a brief catalogue of their remarks about a man they regard as a top-notch director and a friend.

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From 2013 interviews at the AVN trade show

Dana DeArmond at AVN 2013. Photo by Bill Knight

Dana DeArmond

On Girlfriends Film and Dan:

“They give you the freedom to do the scene the way you want to. They’re cool people. They advocate for the industry probably more than any other company. They’re very involved with the Free Speech Coalition (the industry’s political voice).

“I am in the Girlfriend Films family. They take really good care of me. They treat me awesome. I was sick this morning and Moose came up to my room with bottles of water and Pepto. I was like I am going to go down there and do press for this fucking company because they take care about me. I am not going to sit in my room and be sick all day. I am going to get my shit together because I love them.

“[By the way] Dan is fucking cool.”

Daisy Layne at AVN 2013. Photo by Bill Knight

Daisy Layne

On Shooting for Dan:

“I used to do some midwifing. Dan contacted me because one of the girls [he was shooting] was pregnant and she wanted to do a scene. I met up with her and she was like you used to midwife? And I said, ‘If you go into labor, I’ve got you.’ She was just so enthralled. We had a blast. Dan said he loved it. He wanted ‘real’ and we had chemistry.

On money:

“Several times Dan and I have worked out deals, I was expecting less and I got more and I even reminded him. ‘Dan, we agreed I was going to get this rate’ and he says, ‘Oh no. The scene was so beautiful I had to pay you full-rate.’ That was just above and beyond. He takes care of the girls.

“He wants acting. He has a script so you have lines to memorize while he’s doing the blocking. Then he shoots the scene. Generally, there is a little shooting after that. He’s doing your day rate, acting rate, scene rate. He gets quality work because the people who work for him know what to expect and he pays for it, so he should get it.”

[It’s worth noting that Dan gave me a space in the Girlfriends booth to interview Dana and Daisy, an accommodation not to be minimized because the trade show is a cacophony of club music and chatter that makes interviewing difficult.]

From 2015 interviews done in LA:

Dani Daniels, 2015. Photo by Morgan

Dani Daniels

On Dan:

“Dan’s like a big papa bear. I love it. His brain is awesome, he can come up with stories that I couldn’t come up with in a year. I love working for him. His sets are comfortable. You always get to work with a girl you wanna work with. He treats his girls great. He’s got a great attitude. He’s calm and always about connection. He’s all about the girls—this real sex, real chemistry.

“If he needs something, he’ll let you know. If you’re blocking a shot or if you’re in the wrong room or whatever, he’ll voice it. But for the most part, he just lets you do your thing.”

On Girlfriends:

“There’s very few companies that will turn a camera on and say, ‘Ok, have sex. Do whatever you want.’ I feel like my best scenes are from Girlfriends films. I love it.”

Aidra Fox, 2015. Photo by Morgan

Aidra Fox

“With Dan it’s real the moment you walk on set. The crew gets along with everyone. It’s super nice. ‘What do you need? What do you want? What’s going to make your day?’

“When it comes down to the actual scene, it’s easy. He’s always puts me with good girls, someone that is very into their job, very into me and having sex. It’s just real sex, Dan lets you do the positions that you want to do for however long you want. He doesn’t really tell you how to have sex, just lets you do whatever feels good, whatever feels right and natural.”

Dan getting Dani Daniels (foreground) and Vanessa Veracruz ready for their scene. Photo by Morgan

Vanessa Veracruz

On Girlfriends Films:

“I recently started shooting for Girlfriends back in November. They are one of my favorite sites. I’m bisexual, I got into the business because I had an attraction towards women. Since I am a girl/girl only performer, there’s not a lot of companies to work for.

I love the way Girlfriends directs [their scenes]. It’s very different from what a lot of people shoot. It has its own style and it’s definitely more about sensuality, connecting instead of just being a sexual act.

On Shooting for Dan:

“Dan loves to talk about your character and he gives you a breakdown of what he thinks your character is supposed to be like. He’ll include other things to put the idea in your mind about the kind of person you are going to playing. Today, he gave me a little bit about my character’s background I can remember and convey during the shoot.

“Dan usually tells us he wants a lot of eye contact, a lot of touch, a lot of feeling. In my honest opinion, we don’t have enough of that in a scene. It’s more of the foreplay leading to the sex act which for me is exactly what I like to do.

“It’s a lot easier to enjoy the sex when you have an actual connection, when you’re looking into somebody’s eyes and really touching them and feeling their energy.”

“It’s awesome shooting for them and really connect with the girl that you are working with.”

Getting Jorden Kennedy (on the left) and Aidra Fox ready for their scene.  Photo by Morgan

Jorden Kennedy

“Dan actually cares about the scene looking beautiful and passionate because he cares about the viewers as well as us. To make sure that we’re having a good time, he wants us to be enjoying ourselves. Doing the scenes involving sex. He doesn’t cut. He doesn’t switch positions or do this or say that. He lets us have sex which, I think, makes it really nice to watch because it’s just natural.

“He might stop us once or twice to say ‘Can you position yourself more to the camera’ or ‘Can you push your hair back so we can see your face.’ But otherwise, he’s very open to ideas, especially with the dialogue.

“Dan is more flexible than most. I’ve never had him say ‘No we’re not going to do that.’ He encourages your input. He’s outside the norm as for as taking suggestions.”

From 2018 interviews done in LA:

Vanna Bardot

“I love Dan’s whole demeanor. He’s very easygoing. He’s never too serious. That makes working with him really pleasant. Lots of laughing.

“He says it’s all about real lesbian experiences. He likes the soft affectionate kind of sex. A lot of guys really like that. They don’t just want to see a girl getting pounded or slapped in the face. They want more softer touches. It’s really nice.”

Sarah Vandella

“This is actually my second time on set with Dan and what I have noticed is that he is extremely hands on in a way that will walk you through the scenario from start to finish.

“What makes Dan different is that he has this real gentle loving approach. When we go to roll, I know what is expected, I know where my mark is, I know the tone and the contents of the dialogue and it just makes for a great shooting experience.”

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So, there you have it. A handful of remarks about a director and overall nice guy whose has left his stamp on lesbian sex in adult film.

From my personal perspective, Dan, Moose, and the good people at GFFs are more than professional colleagues, they are among my most treasured industry friends.

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Some boxcover shots Kevin snapped during our visit with Dan and the girls on set that day:

Reagan Foxx and Vanna Bardot, Elsa Jean and Sarah Vandella

 

Reagan Foxx and Vanna Bardot

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Never seen a Girlfriends Film DVD?  Go here and here for a look at the company and the product.

 

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Whatever Feels Good

by Rich Moreland, November 2015

This is the final installment of my day with Dan O’Connell. The movie is Women Seeking Women #123, a Girlfriends Films production.

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Eye Contact and Touch

It’s worth a mention that Dan believes his scenes must be a natural extension of two girls who might be real life lovers. Feelings and emotions, rather than gonzo-type hard banging, highlight his filming philosophy. The result is a Girlfriends‘ product that differs from other company’s more trendy girl-on-girl scenes. Sex toys are nowhere to be found, everything is generated by the performers’ hands and mouths.

Aidra and Jorden Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Aidra Fox and Jorden Kennedy
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Like organic foods at the supermarket, there are no additives to gobble up the real sex of the scene.

As Vanessa Veracruz remarks after completing her shoot, Dan has his own approach to expressing girl/girl eroticism. “It’s definitely more about sensuality, connecting instead of just being a sex act. Dan usually tells us he wants a lot of eye contact, a lot of touch, a lot of feeling.”

The thoughtful and provacative Vanessa Veracruz talks with me.

The thoughtful and provocative Vanessa Veracruz talks after her scene

It’s all very appealing to this Mexican-American performer because she does only girl/girl shoots.

A self-identified bisexual, Vanessa explains that Girlfriends’ preferences are not characteristic of other companies. “It’s awesome shooting for them . . you really connect with a girl that your are working with. We don’t have enough of that in a scene.”

Aidra Fox who chats with me before picking up her check, offers that Girlfriends is a favorite studio for her.

“The moment you walk on set it’s super nice. The crew gets along with everyone and when it comes down to that actual scene, it’s always easy.”

The twenty year old Midwesterner praises Dan.

The sexy and charming Aidra Fox after her shoot

The perky and charming Aidra Fox after her shoot

“He’s always puts me with good girls, someone that is very into their job, very into me. . . It’s just real sex. He lets you do the positions that you want to do for however long you want.”

Most important for her is Dan’s easy-going manner.

“He doesn’t really tell you how to have sex. He lets you do whatever feels good, whatever feels right and natural.”

Like some of the other performers Dan hires, she came into the business “only doing girls,” Aidra says. Though she enjoys “the rough stuff” in filming, the dimpled brunette also likes the “really sweet stuff” Girlfriends offers.

Big Papa Bear

While the performers are being paid, my associate and I settle on the veranda with Mike Towers. An affable guy, he lives in Santa Monica which is a decent drive from where we are at the moment. Mike has perfected his still photography and cinematography having been in adult for over twenty years. Samples of his work can be found here.

As I listen to Mike talk with my assistant, I drift back to what Dani Daniels said when we did a short interview before her shoot.

Getting a few valuable minutes from Dani Daniels

Getting a few valuable minutes from superstar Dani Daniels

“Dan’s like big papa bear. His brain is awesome. He can come up with stories that I couldn’t come up with in a year. I love working with him. He sets are comfortable, you always get to work with a girl you want to work with. He treats his girls great.”

Dan O’Connell began Girlfriends Film to create his own vision of adult film and Dani’s words I’ve heard from others in the industry. But it’s Dan’s demeanor that is the real story because it sets the tone for an entire business model.

Dani elaborates.

“He’s got a great attitude. He’s calm, always about connection . . . real sex, real chemistry. There are very few companies that will turn on a camera and say, ‘Ok, have sex. Do whatever you want.’ I feel like my best scenes are from Girlfriends Films.”

Papa Bear setting up his shot.

Papa Bear setting up his shot.

After everyone leaves Dan joins us and the possibility of a brew and dinner comes up. My assistant and I are good to go. We’ve more to learn about Girlfriends and what better way than by relaxation and good companionship after an active shooting day.

We head out with the setting sun. The fading warmth of a fall day is only surpassed by the welcome mat of a Girlfriends Films set.

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gfs logoHere’s a final note about Dan O’Connell. In 2012, Dan won the XBIZ “Man of the Year Award” and in 2015 he was inducted  into the AVN Hall of Fame, an extraordinary honor. Over the few years I’ve known Dan, he has always been the consummate example of class. He, director B Skow, company president Moose, and others at Girlfriends Films continue to work with purpose to elevate the studio’s reputation in the competitive world of adult film.

Their formula for success works. As a business, Girlfriends maintains high ethical standards and treats employees and performers alike with respect.

 

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Let’s Go, I’m Ready

by Rich Moreland, November 21015

This is the third part to my adventure on a Dan O’Connell set. If it’s Girlfriends Films, it’s an enjoyable day with good people.

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The Veranda

The Veranda

Two on the Veranda

Break time and my lovely assistant notices Jorden Kennedy and Aidra Fox on the veranda getting into each other.  Reminds me of Julie Andrew’s ditty in The Sound of Music “Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy when I’m with you.” Precisely.

Jorden and I had talked earlier and she loves shooting for Dan, but for reasons the other performers didn’t mention.

Jorden Kennedy Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Jorden Kennedy
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

In her brief time in porn, the twenty-three year old has appeared on-screen a handful of times for the company. They’ve told her, “We really like how good you are about dialogue and improvisation.”

The compliment fits Jorden’s professional agenda. The college grad likes Girlfriends “because there’s a story” in their shoots. “There’s back story, characters, and you get to act and I thoroughly enjoy that.”

Well, there’s not much acting going on outside right now as she and Aidra are getting deeper into the Julie Andrews theme!

 

We Know What You Like

Aidra Fox Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Aidra Fox
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

The impact of Jorden and Aidra’s playful interaction is evident when the crew sets up the next bedroom scene. Dan is going over what he wants and Aidra pleads, “Can’t we just come in and have sex?” All that bullpen action on the veranda is paying a dividend.

The girls continue their fooling around on the bed while everyone else is still getting their individual act together.

Corralling their attention, Dan gives the girls their instructions, seemingly unneeded because Jorden beams, “We know what you like” and Aidra chimes in, “Let’s go, I’m ready.”

And finally, so is the crew.

The girls get their directions, but they know what Dan likes

The girls get their directions, but they know what
Dan likes

More Touch than Kiss

The tone of this scene is the opposite of the romantic flavor of the Dani/Vanessa episode earlier. These girls are going for rough and tumble.

Like schoolgirls, they're listening to instructions, but they're ready to dive into a great scene

Like schoolgirls, they’re listening attentively, but they’re ready to give Dan a hardcore show

But Dan reins them in a little with the directive, “more touch than kissing.” At the beginning he wants some restraint because that fits the format for the opening minutes.

Once the sex really gets underway, Dan lets them go. The girls do indeed know what he prefers and the scene has an energy that electrifies the room.

Because porn is a formulaic list of sex acts, there is a limit to what performers can do. Jorden and Aidra’s enthusiasm uses up the variations with time to spare. Dan tells them  quietly, “I need ten more minutes.” Never missing a beat, the girls go into improvisation mode.

For clarification, the Jorden and Aidra scene is distinct from its Dani/Vanessa counterpart. These girls are into spitting, spanking, aggressive finger play, and crunching body movements, working each other over pretty well with heavy breathing and lustful expressions.

Aidra, in particular, smiles broadly and often, redefining the meaning of a sexual frolic.

Aidra gets the action started Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Aidra climbs on board
Photo courtesy of Girlfriends Films

Unlike a constrained Vanessa an hour ago, there are no demons to exorcise here!

The girls wind things down with cuddling, a favorite Girlfriends Films romantic conclusion to hot sex.

*          *          *

The final look at a day with Dan O’Connell is next. I get an opportunity to chat with Vanessa Veracruz, Dani Daniels, and the irrepressible Aidra Fox.

 

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Box Cover

by Rich Moreland, November 2015

Here is the second installment on my visit to a Girlfriends Films shoot. It’s about the box cover, the image that captures the consumer’s eye.

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I’ve been on shoots before, but I’ve never seen a box cover being photographed. Because stills in adult film are routinely shot with few, if any retakes, I am surprised at the time invested in the cover. On the other hand, a well thought out shot sells the movie, so repeated takes make sense.

The equipment waits patiently for the cover takes.

The equipment waits patiently for the cover takes

Dan O’Connell pairs the girls on the cover according to their scenes. What astonishes me is the discussion among Dan and girls that surfaces as Mike Towers clicks away.

This part of movie-making is not solely director dictated, at least for Girlfriends Films‘ founder.

One of many shots taken to find the boxcover.

One of many shots taken to find the boxcover.

In an atmosphere akin to an open forum, Dan asks the performers for input to make this vital shot unique. Among the ideas bandied about is Vanessa’s suggestion that she kneel at Dani’s feet in an act of submission. It takes hold for the moment but we won’t know until the final product comes out if the cover designers liked it.

Try This

After Dan endorses Vanessa’s suggestion, the other two girls, Jorden Kennedy and Aidra Fox, experiment with different poses. They are sensuous with each other which makes for a terrific erotic exchange. Actually, they were getting along very well on the porch (warming up to get the juices flowing, if you know what I mean) while waiting for their scene to be shot, so anything here is simply an extension of that.

Jorden later tells me that Dan encourages input from the girls and she is more than willing to contribute.

Talking with Jorden

Talking with Jorden after the shoot

“What if you did this or tried this. Like with the praying or the kneeling or flipping your hair back or with Dani pulling my hair,” Jorden says as she describes how the cover exchange involved everyone. “That’s very normal of him. He’s very open to suggestions.”

Then she adds for emphasis, “He’s outside the norm as for as taking suggestions.”

What this tells me is that Dan O’Connell invests his performers with a stake in the movie they are creating.

Reinforcing my thought, Jorden summarizes the Girlfriends Films attitude.

“Dan actually cares about the scene looking beautiful and passionate because he cares about the viewers as well as us to make sure that we’re having a good time as well. He wants us to enjoy ourselves as much as the viewers.”

Incidentally, she hits the word “us” with emphasis, the mark of ownership Girlfriends’ performers take in their work.

Hands

Though the cover is actually two pairs of girls that offset or counterbalance each other, blending them together into a cogent artistic expression becomes the dynamic that sells the film. Everything relies on Mike’s talent in catching the right expression at the right moment.

Dan’s chief concern reflects Mike’s: what to do with hands. They have to be placed appropriately to convey sensuality. Of course, no arm behind the back can be completely hidden, it suggests an amputee. So hands cover breasts, then don’t, then go to tummies and arms, then search elsewhere . . . all for just the right pose.

What to do with hands?

What to do with hands?

Many clicks later, Mike has what he needs and I am eager to find out which shot will be the cover winner. It goes without saying the girls are panties only because full frontal nudity carries possible obscenity implications that differ from state to state.

However, there is more to this moment than just a photograph. It brings back memories for me and relates to a conversation Dan and I had a few years ago.

We shared stories of our conservative upbringing, his in Montana, mine in small town Southern Maryland. For both of us in that long ago pre-computer time, lingerie ads were about as erotic as our teen-aged eyes ever got to see, especially if you were trying to survive a religious household.

Unless, of course, the lazy days of summer meant the carnival midway and hanging around the hoochie koochie tent with only your imagination as your friend.

For a moment I am a kid again among the sideshows, listening to barkers lure passersby inside to see real flesh and hoping for a furtive peek at what I wasn’t supposed to see.

A playful look at the box cover babes! Dani, Jorden, Aidra, and Vanessa Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

A playful look at the box cover babes! Dani, Jorden, Aidra, and Vanessa
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

*          *          *

The third installment in this series looks at the scene between Jorden and Aidra who change the tone of Women Seeking Women from romantic to aggressive.

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After the First Kiss

by Rich Moreland, October 2015

During my recent trip to LA, I was invited to a Girlfriends Films set by Dan O’Connell who founded the company several years ago. My visit with the crew and performers is in four installments, this is the first.

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Dropping in on a Dan O’Connell shoot is to be surrounded by pulchritude and comeliness, or for those who don’t want their vocabulary expanded, hot girls. When my associate (who is quite a looker herself, I might add) and I arrive, Dan is setting up a take staged in the front yard of the house he is using for this 123rd version of Girlfriends’ popular series, Women Seeking Women.

Dan lets me know what the line-up is for today's shoot.

Dan goes over the line-up for today’s shoot.

Vanessa Veracruz’s dark eyes and engaging smile greet us with a “Hi.” The starlet is playfully checking out the faces in the window. My guess is they are part of the story line because Dan likes to spin a plot around the sex. Later we’ll watch Vanessa kneel to pray wearing only her white lingerie for an interesting mixture of sex and religion Dan has in mind for the shoot.

What is striking about this moment (and what follows once we are inside) is how the girls hang around each other as if this were a sorority house. It’s obviously a relaxed atmosphere for everyone.

Dan reviews the general directives with Dani, Jorden, and Aidra. Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Dan reviews the general directives with Dani Daniels, Jorden Kennedy, and Aidra Fox.
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Leaving the heat of day, we go indoors and quickly meet cinematographer Mike Towers and once again offer a “hello” to Girlfriends’ favorite PA, Sabrina. She was with B Skow when we were on his set a couple of days ago.

More Romantic

Before pairing Dani Daniels and Vanessa in the first sex scene, a brief episode involving a phone call is shot. The crew films it with Dani sitting on a toilet and Vanessa on her bed. The set is really the master bath with an open door to the bedroom so communication is easy between Dan and the girls.

A break is called and Dani readies herself while Vanessa kicks back patiently awaiting the action.

Dan and Mike setting up.

Dan and Mike setting up in the bathroom to film Dani.

Sabrina and Mike are setting up the lighting which includes Impact flood lights. They demonstrate for me how the lights can be angled to get the effect they are seeking.

No one is hurried, though everyone works efficiently.

Dan and Sabrina getting set up.

Dan and Sabrina testing the angles for the sex scene.

The girls are all set, we are quiet, and Dani walks into the bedroom.

“After the first kiss, we’re not going back to the dialogue,” Dan announces softly, then follows with more direction.

He tells Dani to be considerate of Vanessa because of the prayer scene filmed just a short time ago. “Be tender with her,” he says. Then he reminds Vanessa that her character is unsure of what she wants “because of this religious thing” and instructs her to resist Dani’s advances.

Mike and Sabrina preparing for the prayer scene.

Mike and Sabrina preparing for the prayer scene.

Vanessa gets into her role with expressions of reluctance laced with conflicting desires. Doubt versus longing fill her eyes while she offers her submission to Dani.

The curvy lass climbs onto the bed and approaches Vanessa with hushed conversation and wanton looks. Kissing, a Dan O’Connell favorite, follows.

The performers’ caressing and mutual pleasure is so believable that I feel like a voyeur rather than a writer visiting porn set. By that I mean, I have willfully suspended my disbelief, the mark of a powerful scene.

Dan reviews what he wants in the shoot.

Dan reviews what he wants when Dani moves on Vanessa.

Dani and Vanessa are established adult actresses who understand the dynamics of a girl/girl scene. Dani smiles sweetly, Vanessa rolls her head in ecstasy and the rest of the shoot moves forward with the gentleness Dan wants in this episode. He later explains that “taboo” drives this scene; it’s an internal struggle for Vanessa with her “inner demons pulling her into sex.”

Dani plays the aggressor to a tee, moving catlike over a shy Vanessa.

The actresses are facing Dan who is beside the bed which allows Mike to keep his position near the foot board. The boom tilts above the girls to pick up subtle dialogue.

Talented performers! Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

Talented performers!
Photo courtesy of Mike Towers

The scene is like a well-rehearsed musical composition, moving to its conclusion with a kind of rhapsody that good porn is capable of producing, but rarely does.

When we’re finished, I corner Mike and Sabrina for a short course in lighting, learning about balance, shadows, and how to emphasize skin tone.

Dan interjects that “lighting is more important than the cameras you use.”

Cool. Makes a non-camera person like me want to take a pic or two.

 

*          *          *

In part two of this day on the set, I get my first look at what sells a porn film, the box cover.

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Hiding Her Light: Kalie Montana, Part 1

by Rich Moreland, November 2014

“Over the years she has been one of the most beautiful and passionate performers in girl/girl and she brings all those talents to the boy/girl game,” Elegant Angel general manager Graham Travis tells XBIZ in August, 2012. He is talking about Karlie Montana, a ten-year veteran of the adult film business whose sparkling career hovers just beneath porn’s noise and glitz.

Karlie is the type of performer an industry writer “stumbles upon” through reviewing films. Her name rarely comes up in conversation because the dazzling twenty-eight year old is sinfully guilty of hiding her light under a bushel, as the old Biblical saying goes.

Not surprisingly, finding Karlie took a bit of effort on the part of this writer. Inquiries among industry friends finally yielded her contact information and she was gracious to grant an interview.

Photo courtesy of Twistys.com

Photo courtesy of Twistys.com

Stability

What to make of this “star” who goes about her business in an orderly resolute way, the sure sign of a blue-collar work ethic? Make no mistake, Karlie Montana is not seduced by fleeting glamor like so many gullible young women who give porn a shot then bail after a few months. She could never afford to be. Longevity was always her plan and that meant passing up quick money for a steady income.

“I have lasted this long because I paced myself,” the 5’7″ stunner says. “I’ve taken my time in this business. Fame was never my goal, stability was.”

Taking a moment to reflect, Karlie reemphasizes being grounded and taking care of herself. “The one thing I appreciate from this business is the financially stability it has given me.” That’s wisdom in an industry that seduces “stars” who are often ill-equipped to manage instant attention. A director once characterized most girls as way too young to negotiate their way through the adult film business, making $20,000 a month and ending up with $21,000 worth of debt from wasteful spending. Like hamsters on wheels, they turn over their days booking whatever comes along because they have no plan, no anchor.

In fact, Karlie broke into porn at eighteen, the earliest age legally possible and her story at first seems to fit the misinformed image that porn girls are desperate creatures without resources. In this respect, Karlie’s background feeds the public’s perception of porn as an entangler of young women living on the fringes of decent society.

Part of Karlie may appear to offer credence to this perception, though a closer look dispels any assumption that she was ever victimized by the industry or her own lack of control over her career.

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Karlie moved to Southern California where she started working at age sixteen serving up ice cream. “I grew up in the “Valley,” she says, speaking of the San Fernando Valley on the far side of the iconic Hollywood sign. “So porn has always been around.” Indeed, Karlie saw her share as an adolescent.

Her developing years were not easy. “I was a teen runaway and a high school dropout,” she remembers. Cashing in on her street smarts, the amply built performer used her situation to her advantage by celebrating a fondness for showing off her physical assets.

“I’ve always been an exhibitionist. I love flashing people at the street races!” Karlie exclaims with a wink. Soon after she reached the magical eighteen, a modeling agent connected with the industry contacted her and the red-haired seductress turned her free-flowing sexuality into a career. “Porn truly gave me a way to be financially stable,” Karlie repeats with appreciation. “Without it I don’t know where I would be.”

A Life Changing Decision

Decades ago when the venerable Jim South was porn’s most well-known agent, girls were advised to not jump right into the roughest and nastiest sex. They began with solo shoots (magazine photos for the most part), then accumulated some girl/girl scenes before plunging into the hardcore action that will follow them until the end of days.

It was a gradual process that accustomed performers to the unforgiving demands of adult film.

Karlie used this formula to move from porn’s wading pool into the deep end. “I didn’t start doing boy/girl right away, I’ve taken my time in this business,” she says with measured confidence before touching on her shooting history.

“I started in 2004 as a girl/girl and solo performer. I did girl/girl for eight years before I decided to transition to boy/girl. I was twenty-five when I did my first boy/girl. I felt at that point I was grown enough to make a life changing decision. To me there is a huge difference between girl/girl and boy/girl and the lifelong impact that goes along with it.”

Photo courtesy of Torrid Art.

Photo courtesy of Torrid Art.

When asked to elaborate on her fondness for girl/girl, Karlie explains that personal taste (pun intended) is the key. “It’s all I wanted to do,” she says. Though she remained single, men were always around. “I had a few relationships in those eight years,” she adds. So, unlike some porn girls who stop doing the opposite sex on-screen when they enter into a steady relationship, Karlie’s decision “wasn’t for a man,” she jokes.

Essentially, it was a business move that reflected Karlie Montana’s understanding of economics and the concept of scarcity. “Because I held out for so long, people were willing to pay for something fans have been dying to see. As a result, I had one of the highest boy/girl rates around.” Porn girls can be plenty smart in this regard, don’t forget Allie Haze and Jessie Andrews who finally did anal on film after establishing themselves in the business and waiting for demand to build.

Karlie’s patience paid off. “I waited for so long because [hardcore] is a big deal.” Boy/girl is “very different,” she explains. “I wanted it to be a decision that I was completely sure of and doing for the right reasons and ready for the impact it had on my life.”

Karlie’s foray into explicit penetrative sex was rewarding, but short-lived. “I have now returned to girl/girl because it’s what I’m happiest doing.” So for her fans, the boy/girl shoots are limited and destined to become a library in their own right.

There are further issues in her decision, however. Karlie admits that “boy/girl takes a lot from you physically and emotionally. It’s hard on your body and affects all areas of your life.” She comments that during her boy/girl time she was in a committed relationship. Home life can take a hit when a significant other is doing penetrative sex on film; the personal sense of vulnerability that results can be difficult to manage.

So, where is Karlie today? “At this point in my life I want to be happy and healthy and enjoy what I do for work,” she says, then humorously declares that for her fans, all is not lost. “There’s content out of me sucking and fucking to last for the rest of my life.” Enough for all.

Referencing her close friendships in the industry, most of whom are photographers and filmmakers (Dana Vespoli, Rick Shameless, Dani Daniels, Tammy Sands, and Stormy Daniels head a list she describes as “real relationships.”), Karlie understands the value of support and carries this over to her own directing gigs. As a performer, she has learned that being in the director’s chair means “treating the talent like humans and not robots.”

Karlie shooting with Dani Daniels. Photo courtesy of Twistys.com

Karlie shooting with Dani Daniels.
Photo courtesy of Twistys.com

As in any business, people bring their home issues to work. “Sometimes people have a bad day. It’s not easy to disconnect from your personal life problems and walk on a set and give your all to a scene,” Karlie says. “So for me as a director, it is important to let the talent know that I care about them as people and want them to enjoy their time with me on set. That’s how you get happy faces!”

When pressed about her future, Karlie Montana not surprisingly points toward directing, a path to which many performers aspire. With her work ethic, success is bound to come her way.

*          *          *          *          *

In the second part of the Karlie Montana story we’ll take a look at her preferences on-screen and how she perceives some of the issues facing porn today. In the meantime, for more pics and information catch up with Karlie on Facebook and twitter.

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