Notes From a Porn Set

 

WHAT I’VE LEARNED from being a production assistant and an extra on porn sets is there is a lot of downtime. Since I know this, I bring a laptop and answer emails. The way I type is fast and frenetic and I’ve been told it’s a little obnoxious. I’m self-conscious because one of the porn stars is sitting on the opposite end of the couch, so I decide to tell him that I will stop typing so crazily if it’s bothering him.

I say, I’m sorry—

Oh! He says, I’ll stop. I’m sorry.

I realize he is apologizing because his hands are down his pants and he is masturbating.

We both laugh because we’re both self-conscious. Me, about typing, him, about masturbating, and we both say, Oh, it’s okay, I don’t mind. Then we look away from each other and continue with what we are doing.

~

It’s a BBQ-themed public sex shoot and I bring the chips for the set and cigarettes for the director. In the beginning of the shoot, the dom places yellow cheese slices on the sub’s ass. He tries to put the uncooked hot dogs in her vagina or was it her asshole? Anyway it was a bad idea because they don’t go in or they do but it takes several tries and no one is turned on.

Midway through the shoot, I am chatting with another extra and we both admit that we don’t want to be there, we’re just friends with the director, and she needed last minute help.  Once we realize we have a mutual friend that is in charge, we separate ourselves from the other extras. They don’t seem to care that the shoot is taking too long, that the sub keeps taking breaks, that she isn’t exactly having a good day.

During the climatic scene, I am behind the cameras, trying to keep my conversation with the other extra going. I make sure to ask him questions, to nod and laugh in the right places. Still, from the corner of my eye, I know the sub is tied up and bent over and the dom is smearing large chunks of watermelon all over her ass and the extras are hollering and cheering. I am trying very hard to block out the lights, the sub, the dom, the crowd, all of it. The shoot is causing a sensory overload. I think I am having a trauma response; It’s surprisingly easy for me to check out. It’s also a bad shoot that I don’t want to watch.

~

The director forgot her checkbook. She texts me that she is directing a gang-bang shoot and needs it to pay the talent. She is letting me stay in her apartment for a few weeks, so I agree to find it and I drive to the gated home in Sherman Oaks and drop off the checkbook. I walk up the long driveway and the producer opens the door. I give the producer the checkbook and walk down the long driveway.

Later that evening, when the cameraman returns to the director’s apartment, he tells me that as I walked up the driveway, all five men were naked, standing in front of a large window, watching me. They were hitting the glass, holding onto their dicks, and waving. The cameraman laughs as he tells me the story. They wanted so badly for me to look up and see five naked male porn stars, waving hello, but I didn’t.

 cheese

 

About Zoë Ruiz

Zoë Ruiz is the managing editor of The Rumpus. She studied creative writing at UC Santa Cruz. She curates READINGS, a reading series in Los Angeles.
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  1. Pingback: It’s October! | Zoë Ruiz

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