By Rich Moreland, April 2019
In this post and the next, we will take a look at how five performers who exemplify the super star concept in porn react to the question, “What is it like to shoot for Bree Mills?”
Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Box cover courtesy of Pure Taboo.
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Based in Montreal, Gamma Films Group is an entertainment network that currently maintains several production studios. Among them are Girlsway and Pure Taboo that appear under the umbrella label, Adult Time. Recently, Burning Angel joined the corporate family.
Bree Mills writes, directs, and produces for Gamma Films. She is best known for the operation of Girlsway, an all-female content producer, and Pure Taboo, a niche-oriented studio that, according to its website, delves into “the darkest corners of sex and desire” through the exploration of “forbidden subject matters.”
Key to a Mills production is superb cinematography and impressive acting. Without a specifically written script, performers have the freedom to rely on their talents to create the characters the New England born director wants. The results are spectacular and, in the case of Pure Taboo, often disturbing.
Part of a rising group of female writers and directors in porn, the thirty-something Mills possesses the right skills to fuel performances previously thought foreign to the industry.
Like Jacky St. James, Kayden Kross, Angie Rowntree, and others, Bree Mills knows that the thespian talent in adult film is far greater than the public . . . and many in the industry . . . realize.
Proof is in the 2019 AVN awards. Gamma received an astounding eighty-four nominations that encompassed the best of filmmaking in porn.
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In seeking opinions on shooting for Bree Mills, I was fortunate to talk again with three “old friends,” if I may be permitted to use that phrase, and chat for the first time with two performers whose work I’ve come to admire.
To begin, we’ll see what two of porn’s male veterans have to say.
Interviewing Tommy Pistol is always a joy. His acting ability is beyond reproach and his enthusiasm for the industry is likewise unvarnished.
He begins by describing the fundamentals of a Bree Mills film.
“We’re making a feature but it is only a long scene. It’s almost like a play,” he says. “Bree calls it porn theater.”
The native New Yorker elaborates that Bree’s script is not really that, it’s more of a “breakdown, a blueprint.” She describes the characters and “the situations they’re in” and what it all leads to.
“She leaves it up to the actor to fill in the dialogue,” he says. That allows performers to give the characters their voice within the framework of the story.
The result is an intensity that adult actors rarely get to show on-screen.
“Bree trusts her performers to do dramatic, dark roles, to dig deep,” Tommy explains. “She gives us a platform to shine.”
I suggest that Bree’s set is “guided spontaneity.”
“Guided spontaneity is perfect,” he exclaims. “She already has a vision [and] trusts us to give it words.”
As an example, we discuss Tommy’s role as a parent in one of the Future Darkly series. In the story, scientists bring back his deceased daughter (played by Jill Kassidy) in the form of an avatar. He’s intense as the grieving father.
“I am a parent. I have two boys and I love them,” Tommy comments then talks about putting himself into the “mind frame” of how he’d feel if he lost them. The result was beyond awesome.
Next, I mention my urge to fast forward through the sex scenes to follow the story when watching a Bree film. Not that the sex falls flat, but that the story is so deeply engaging.
“Isn’t that something!” Tommy comments with glee. “We’ve grown as an industry.’”
Referring to the porn formulas of sex positions with minimal storytelling, Tommy says, “the cookie cutter stuff is cool, but we gotta do more [in making films]. We have the skill, the talent, [and] the equipment.”
“As a performer, sex is one thing, but when you get honest appreciation for the things you do [as an actor], that’s amazing.”
He leaves us with an observation. His role in Pure Taboo’s The Weight of Infidelity created quite a stir on set. The story is the brainchild of performer Angela White who stars in the production.
His portrayal of the repugnant husband “made people uncomfortable,” Tommy says, because he insulted and humiliated Angela. Nevertheless, he adds, outside media sources proclaimed that the film “isn’t a porno, this should be an art piece.”
That’s Bree Mills’ goal, to bring porn out of the shadows and into artistic daylight.
Incidentally, The Weight of Infidelity won AVN’s award for Best Featurette and Tommy Pistol for Best Actor in a Featurette.
Porn veteran Derrick Pierce brings a business vision to the Bree Mills discussion. He points out that Bree became “a director out of necessity.” She was “a numbers person for Gamma,” so she knew the score at the company.
Bree learned directing on the fly?
“A hundred percent,” DErrick says. Bree is “the originator of what she does,” and takes the attitude with performers of “let’s try it and see how it goes.”
In describing the writer/director’s strength, Derrick says she gives performers “a lot of depth” to explore their roles within the scope of her narrative.
Her premise is to develop “the synopsis and the background” of the story and introduce the characters. The rest is up to the actors.
And, she pushes boundaries.
Bree is “always looking to see where the line of uncomfortable starts and finishes,” Derrick states. If the actors feel uneasy about what’s going on, Bree reminds them that the viewer will feel that way also.
“They’re clicking on the uncomfortable moments” that precede the sex scenes, the Massachusetts native adds. Those moments bring the sex in her films to life.
“That’s what makes her so dynamic as far as being a storyteller,” he believes.
Derrick goes into what now is evident about Bree Mills. She turns the porn formula on its head because the sex scenes are “secondary to what she wants.”
Bree is transcending the mantra of “sex is sex is sex,” Derrick explains. “The premise is always the key and if you don’t have the buildup the sex is always going to be mediocre.”
As he previously mentioned, Derrick insists that Bree never forgets the business fundamentals of building a brand and the fan following necessary to sell it.
“She came from the numbers. She’s watching and seeing what people are clicking on and purchasing.”
To reinforce his point, Derrick Pierce touches on Bree’s business acumen when he says Adult Time “acquired the rights to Vivid catalogues” and Burning Angels’ production.
“She’s purchasing and unifying other companies and their content and putting into a functional application that’s user friendly.”
In conclusion, he describes the totality of the Bree Mills enterprise as a “juggernaut.”
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Next we’ll look at shooting for Bree from the perspective of female performers.