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Wait! What?


They have scriptwriters in porn?

Jeebus, how many variations of Tab A Slot A, B, C are there?

And how much do they pay and who are they? Could this be the only form of movie where the writer gets more cash than the actors?

21 thoughts on “Wait! What?”

  1. Yes Tim, even silent movies have a screenplay. Because

    Wife bends over revealing no knickers to repairman

    Has to be written down somewhere.


    SANDY, wearing a very revealing outfit, opens the door to the PIZZABOY.

    Ma’am, maybe I’ll give YOU the tip.

    A PLUMBER shows up.
    So you need me to lay some pipe?

    Now a POLICEMAN.
    Lemme take down your particulars.

    And a FIREMAN.
    I’d love to put out YOUR fire. No, waitaminute… I’ve got a better one…

  3. >Could this be the only form of movie where the writer gets more cash than the actors?

    I really doubt that. The ‘actors’ and their ‘equipment’ are what it’s all about, not the writing.

  4. There are a number of works on the topic – two that are well worth reading are an essay by AA Gill in the book AA Gill is Away, where he goes to California to write a porn film, and Once More, With Feeling by Victoria Coren and Charlie Skelton, who funded, wrote, cast, and filmed a porn film.

    Turns out it’s much harder work than you think, and does involve quite a lot of writing. Also amusing to read.

  5. And no, the best paid people in porn are the female stars. Which annoys the Bluestockings no end, because it’s direct microeconomic proof that their oppression theory is incorrect.

  6. If you’re trying to get into scriptwriting, take anything that you can get. Having something, anything on your CV at the start is good. You can at least prove that you can do the job.

    (realistically, it’s probably softcore Cinemax)

  7. @Ian B

    and for me has always acted as proof that the bluestockings are stoopid, because anyone with the slightest ounce of sense could see that the female performers would have to be the best paid. More demand for them, and they do the most work. I was a bit surprised at the ratios though, since the chaps are required to perform always and on cue, so to speak, which must be a skill one needs to develop.

    I assume that in films for gentlemen-who-prefer-gentlemen the fees vary on aesthetics and, err, difficulty.

  8. Sam,

    It probably doesn’t help that said Bluestockings not only don’t understand basic economics, but stop their ears if someone tries to discuss it with them. If you don’t understand that income is a monetisation of utility…

    Of course that’s another part of the problem. They only understand utility as a synonym for “being used”, that is, “exploited”. Which leads them to the bizarre logical inversion that being paid is exploitation.

    Unless you work in the Noble Sector of the economy (Guardian columnist, crusading tax expert, MP, etc).

  9. There was in interesting radio interview on France Culture a while back. Porn producer discussing the economics of the business.
    Apparently it’s an industry in decline due to amateur competition. Some actresses make decent money, but far less than they would in prostitution. Prod thought some were looking for a souvenir for their old age, some were exhibitionists, and some just thoroughly enjoy it. Hard to believe the last, but some actresses are just not very good at acting.

  10. picking up on Sam’s point…Victoria Coren and Charlie Skelton scripted a porn film, cast it, shot it, edited it etc with all sorts of inevitable compromises along the way …but only after shooting was finished did they realise that they had not included a conventional m/f sex scene.

    The script is an essential part. As someone else said, silent films had scripts too, sometimes called continuities. Anita Loos, who wrote Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, started out writing continuities for silent films. There were even text-books published for writing silent film continuities.

    Embarrassed enough already, Tim?

  11. In bluestockingland I assume the high pay for female porn stars proof of economic oppression in the same way that supposedly low pay for females in all other walks of life is proof of economic oppression.

  12. JamesV-

    Yes, so far as I can tell it comes down to their moral measure of reality. If you’re doing something immoral (porn, capitalism), your income is a measure of evil. If you’re doing something good (independent tax research, activism, writing for the Graun), it’s a measure of goodness.

    Or, I think it’s something along the lines of, “this proves women don’t want to be debase themselves for male oppressive lust thingy, so that’s why they have to be bribed with so much money.” It’s part of the bizarre “they wouldn’t do it if they weren’t paid” argument which doesn’t apply to wholesome professions, e.g. serving the middle class as a waitress in an organic food emporium.

  13. I assume that in films for gentlemen-who-prefer-gentlemen the fees vary on aesthetics and, err, difficulty.

    Especially as not all gay porn actors are gay. Mate of mine was at school (in Norway) with a guy who became a very successful gay porn actor in the US, but he was straight.

  14. not to mentiojn that the guy who did principal photography on Orson Welles’s last projects made his living in the porn industry. Professionalism exists at all levels.

  15. Especially as not all gay porn actors are gay.

    makes sense, I suppose. I’ve never imagined for a second that ‘lesbian’ porn actresses are, in fact, lesbians.

  16. Well, to be picky, lesbian porn isn’t actually lesbian. Gay is characterised not by liking men, but by not liking women. Lesbianism is characterised not by liking women, but by not liking men.

    So the two things in porn are a bit different, since gay porn normally is men having sex with men, for men to watch, whereas lesbian porn is women having sex with women and men, for men to watch.

    Having devoted a large proportion of my life selflessly to research into the matter, largely by forcing myself to sit through vast amounts of pornography, like that bloke from the Viewers And Listeners Association, the poor chap, I cannot help but wonder whether faux “lesbian” acting has some instinctive component, and might be better characterised as “cooperative female sexual display”.

    That is, just as there are specific genes in the male which cause him to display himself to females by removing his shirt and chopping wood with an axe, or rescuing puppies while wearing a fireman’s outfit, perhaps in the female there are specific genes which cause them to kiss and fondle each other in the kitchen at keg parties, etc.

    Hence the paradoxical situation that for me, doing “gay” is far more outre than doing “straight”, whereas for women, “lesbian” is seen as the less outre option. How many (straight) men would say, “well, no way am I fondling a girl on camera, but I’ll do it with a bloke”?

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